It’s a sad truth that internal candidates often get overlooked in favor of external candidates. There are good and bad reasons for this, most of which only tangentially apply to specific employees. Still, it’s also something you must be aware of as your promotion interview approaches. Opening the position to internal candidates might be a mostly hollow gesture. It also means that you must work twice as hard as external candidates to convince the hiring manager of your worth. So what can you do to give yourself the crucial edge?
Another harsh truth is that many internal employees let professional development slide unless it’s mandated by policy, law, or a professional organization. If your company doesn’t compel your continuing education and professional development, you must make it part of your lifestyle. One of the big reasons internal candidates get overlooked is that their skill set doesn’t match up well enough for the new position. Being able to tack on a handful of certifications and new skills since the higher-ups last saw your resume can change the game for you. Give some attention to soft skills and leadership training. Those are crucial for any kind of supervisory or managerial position.
Respect the Process
Your company set out hiring process guidelines for specific reasons. In most cases, it’s about streamlining the process without ignoring valid candidates. You must follow the steps of that process. This does a couple important things for you. It shows that you don’t expect to get a pass on the hoops just because you’re an internal candidate. It also gives you the opportunity to critically examine your resume, skills, strengths, and weaknesses before you get there.
Don’t expect to waltz into the interview and fly by the seat of your pants. If you do that, those external candidates will blow you out of the water. They spent weeks studying up on the company and maybe even cyberstalking the hiring manager to get a feel for his or her personality. Prepare answers to those common interview questions that highlight your achievements, strengths, and how they’ll serve you in the new position. Give your supervisor a heads-up if you get the call for an interview. They’ll need to at least start some preliminary groundwork for replacing you.
Don’t Treat the Interview Casually
You might find yourself getting interviewed by someone you know and like. It’s easy to slip into informality in that situation. Don’t let it go that way. Practice makes perfect, the more interviews you attend, the more confident you will be in that situation. Treat the interview like you’re looking for a job at your dream company, whether that be something as simple as a position involving the sale and installation of security cameras, or one as complex as coding for a technology company. Take it serious and dress the part. Give succinct but complete answers to the questions. Remember, this interview will largely determine whether you get that promotion. You must be your own advocate here. That means you must make sure the interview knows that you can do this job. If you let the interviewer treat the interview like it’s not real, they won’t take you seriously. Don’t slack off at this point either. Use the same follow-up protocol you would if the job was for another company.
Internal candidates often have the deck stacked against them. They often get overlooked or no one takes their interviews seriously. It’s on you to make sure that no one treats your interview that way. Make yourself a better candidate by working on your professional development. Respect the hiring process in place. Prepare for the interview and treat the interview itself like it’s happening with a company you don’t work for. In essence, be your own best advocate for why you should get the job.