A great job has opened up at your company, and you’ve already scheduled an interview. Although you might have plenty of experience with the company, it’s a good idea to prepare for the interview just as thoroughly as you would prepare for an external interview. Preparation involves more than just updating your resume. You’ll also want to find out everything you can about the position and the department.
Get the Inside Scoop
As an insider, you have special access to information about the position. Chances are you’ll find a member of the department or someone who works closely with the department who’s willing to share information with you. Ask why the position is open, what the primary tasks are and what qualities a new employee needs to succeed in the department. Evaluate any complaint about the department or the supervisor carefully. Some people just like to complain, so a few petty complaints don’t mean the job is a bad one. Complaints are more likely to indicate a problem in the department if several people mention the same issue. Even then, that doesn’t mean that the job won’t work for you, particularly if you have a solution to the problem that you can discuss at the interview.
Identify Transferrable Skills
Think about how your current skills will transfer to the new position. If the position requires you to act as liaison with community groups, you might mention that you’ve developed valuable people skills working with company vendors and recruiting volunteers for the company’s annual 5K run. If the position requires a certain skill, such as proficiency with a certain type of software package, try to learn it or least become familiar with it before the interview.
Look to the Future
During your conversations with employees, ask about the short- and long-term goals of the department. Use the information you obtain to help sell yourself during the interview. For example, if you learn that the department plans to move from the Windows operating system to the UNIX operating system by the end of the year, talk about your experience and familiarity with UNIX during the interview. Your ability to meet a future need might just make you the top candidate for the job.
Plan and Practice
No matter how well you know the interviewer, it’s still important to rehearse what you plan to say during the interview. “Forbes” magazine suggests that you ask a co-worker from the department you’ll be interviewing with to give you some feedback on your interviewing skills. If your co-worker knows the type of questions usually asked during interviews, you’ll gain valuable information that can help you ace the interview. Expect the interviewer to ask you to describe how you’ve handled difficult issues or how you would handle a particular problem or challenge. Make sure the examples you choose highlight your strongest skills and abilities and your knowledge of the company.
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images