Tips for interviewing for an internal promotion

Written by joanne guidoccio
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Tips for interviewing for an internal promotion
Go beyond the parameters of your present position. (la rencounter image by Yves Damin from

You have been shortlisted for a coveted position in the organisation. The human resources department has called and set a date for your job promotion interview. You are probably experiencing myriad emotions and might even be second-guessing yourself. Take a few breaths and spend some time preparing for the interview.

Be Prepared

Go beyond the parameters of your present position. Reacquaint yourself with the company's history and all levels of the organizational structure. Read all reports and newsletters that have been published within the past year. Look at the competition--how are their products or services different from those of your company? Can you make any suggestions for improvement? Reread the work experience section of your resume and create accomplishment stories that demonstrate your own knowledge and experience. Be professional and concise: Each story should be no more than 60 seconds in length. Describe the original situation, your subsequent actions and the final results. Write out all these stories and practice delivering them in a mock interview with a friend or relative.

Be Honest

You know your interviewers, and your interviewers know you. They have been watching you since day one and are aware of your strengths and weaknesses. During the interview, they will bring up past successes and failures. Be honest and explain the reasons behind each specific situation. When describing successes, discuss your own role as well as that of your colleagues. Do not blame colleagues, the government or the economy for any of your failures. Take responsibility for any shortcomings and explain how you intend to improve your performance in the future. Prepare for situational questions. For example, "You are supervising two of your friends who are not meeting their deadlines. What do you do?"

Dress Appropriately

The interviewers will be analysing every detail of your appearance and performance. They will be looking for evidence that you can successfully assume more responsibility and fit into the higher levels of the organisation. Dress very carefully for the interview. If you are working in an office, wear a black, brown or blue suit in a solid or pinstripe with a white shirt or blouse. If your organisation is more relaxed, take business casual up a few notches and wear dark trousers with a new blouse, shirt or sweater. Avoid cologne or perfume, flashy ties and accessories, and uncomfortable shoes.

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