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Being considered for a promotion or applying for one can be a great opportunity to advance your career and use your expertise to help the organization succeed in a new way.
Plus, it might also bring a nice increase to your paycheck and a fancier office.
Even if you think you’re a shoe-in for the position, you will likely still have to go through an interview process, so don’t start shopping for new business cards just yet.
While already being a part of the company can be an advantage to you in a promotion interview, you still need to put in the effort to prepare for it. In this article, you’ll find tips on how to do this, as well as some sample questions and answers to practice with.
A promotion interview occurs when a position opens up at the same company in which you’re currently employed. You then apply for said job and are offered to interview as any potential employee would. No matter how great of an employee you are, there is no guarantee that your current job performance will ensure your success in the new one.
Executives and hiring managers at your company know this, so they want to make sure they do their due diligence to find the person who will truly be the best fit for the position. As a result, they will likely interview all of their candidates.
Because you’ve already worked at the company, this interview will likely be different than the one that got you your current position. The interviewers will already have a point of reference for your work, so they will likely ask you a different set of questions to get to the heart of why you’re the best person for this position.
In addition, your interviewers will likely be watching you and your work performance more closely both before and after your interview to see if your actions line up with your words. This can add more pressure to the process, but it can also relieve some if you know that your work speaks for itself.
Whether you think you’re going to have to make a strong case for yourself or not, it’s always a good idea to prepare for a promotion interview just as much as you would for any other type. Here are some ways to do that:
Tell Your Boss. The first thing you should do when you apply for a promotion is tell your manager about it. This will help maintain a good relationship whether you get the position or not, as well as stave off any damage that will come if your boss hears about it from someone else first.
Plus, they might have some tips to help you make an even better impression in the interview.
Do Your Research. Don’t assume that you know everything about the position you’re applying for simply because you worked with the department a few times. Research the details of the position by looking at the job listing and talking to your boss and others within the department.
You should also brush up on your knowledge about the company itself, especially if the hiring committee is interviewing external applicants as well. The interviewer wants to know that you are actively furthering the company’s mission and vision and will continue to do so in this new role.
Dress To Impress. Show you care about getting this job by dressing professionally for the interview. While you don’t need to overdress, try to at least match what your interviewers and the person who currently holds the role you’re applying for normally wear to work.
This extra effort will show that you’re taking this process seriously and understand that there are different expectations that come with a new position.
Prepare for More Intense Questions. Because this is a unique situation where your interviewers have been able to watch you work, you will probably find yourself having to answer more specific and probing questions about your work than you would in a normal interview.
Prepare for this by thinking of successes and failures you’ve had during your current role and be ready to receive some criticism about your weaknesses. Be confident when you’re asked about these topics and explain how you’re working to grow. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t panic, and follow these tips.
One of your greatest advantages when applying for a promotion is your insider experience, especially if there are external applicants being considered for the position as well.
Be sure to point out how this inside knowledge sets you apart from other applicants during your interview. Examples of points to bring up could include:
Having a working relationship with others in the department you’d be joining that would make the transition easier and your management more effective.
Knowing the pitfalls common to the position and how to avoid them.
Understanding how the company works as a whole and how to help unify departments on projects.
If there are other internal applicants, be very careful to not put any of them down as you talk about what sets you apart. This negativity doesn’t reflect well on you and could make things awkward in the future.
What do you like best about your current position at the company?
Your interviewers may ask this question because they want to see if you’re a positive person who enjoys working at the company and isn’t just trying to find a way out of your current role. This is also a great opportunity to show that you enjoy furthering the company’s mission and vision and to acknowledge all they’ve done for you.
I’ve enjoyed getting to strategize and problem-solve with my team to figure out how to grow our audience. I’ve learned a lot and have had a great support system while I improve at implementing and adjusting our strategies.
What was your biggest success story in your department?
This is an opportunity to show why you are ready to move up and how great of a candidate you are. Be as detailed as possible with the results of your success and, if possible, share an example that relates to the new position. Include how the company helped you succeed as well.
I was given team lead on a new project for the first time last year. Even though I had never had that position before, I was able to take advantage of the professional development resources and support the company provides, and our team successfully completed the project ahead of schedule.
Why do you want the new position?
Hiring managers want to know your motivation behind applying for a promotion. When you answer this question, be sure to point out any of the ways that your motivation matches the company’s values or vision.
During my time in this position, I’ve been able to improve my skills in a variety of capacities.
Now, I feel that I’m ready to use the experience I’ve gained in this new role, which will allow me to better support the sales team by mentoring and leading them.
One of the company’s values is excellence, and I believe that I could produce even more excellent work by using my skills in this position.
Why should we consider you for this promotion?
This is another opportunity to talk about the skills that set you apart. Speak confidently, because the interviewers want to see that you’re sure of your ability to do the job.
I should be considered for this position because I have been successfully taking on more responsibility in my current role and have led my team to success in a number of projects. These projects have changed the way our department operates and increased our bottom line.
I believe that my skills and leadership experience will allow me to be just as successful in this role, benefitting the company as a whole.
Can you tell me what you know about the position you are being considered for?
Interviewers ask this question to find out if you know what you’re getting into. Your answer will also show how invested you are in this position, since applicants who have put in the time to do their research are probably more invested than those who haven’t.
Try to find out as much as possible, but if you don’t know something, don’t try to fake it. Your interviewers know the right answer, and you’ll look foolish if you make something up. Instead, explain what you do know and then ask questions about the rest.
I know that this position handles a lot of client and employee needs and complaints, which requires a great deal of problem-solving and professionalism. I also know that this role relies heavily on teamwork within the department and requires being on-call during the weekends.
How will you react if you don’t get this promotion?
The tricky part about applying for a different job within the same company is that it can get awkward if you don’t get the position. The hiring committee wants to know how you’ll respond to rejection and if you’ll stay with the company if you aren’t offered the job.
While I will be disappointed if I don’t get this position, I do understand that you may determine that someone else is the best fit for it. If that does happen, I will remain in my current role where I will continue to work to further the company and produce an excellent product.
If you receive the job, how will this promotion affect your current work relationships?
Just as your interviewers want to see how you respond to rejection, they also want to know that you’re a gracious winner and are prepared to work through uncomfortable situations with others who didn’t get the job or with your current team members, especially if you’re being promoted within the same department.
I will work to maintain our current good working relationship by letting them know that I welcome their ideas and feedback and will be as open and honest as possible. I will also work to mentor them and to help them grow. I will deal with any issues quickly and with empathy and honesty to protect our relationships.
Tell me about a time when you had to complete a task you had never done before. How did you go about it?
Your answer to this question will give interviewers insight into your problem-solving skills. This is important, as you’ll be faced with many new tasks if you get the position.
The first time I was asked to put together a data analysis report, I asked my supervisor questions so that I’d have a better understanding of her expectations.
Then I looked at samples of similar reports to get an idea of what it should look like, and I blocked out some extra time to work on it since I knew it might take longer than usual to complete.
What adjectives would your colleagues use to describe you?
It’s important to be honest with your answer to this question, because your interviewer either has already asked your colleagues what they think of you or will be asking them soon. You can even ask your coworkers how they’d answer before you go to the interview.
My coworkers would describe me as organized, efficient, and a good team player.
If promoted, what would you hope to accomplish in the next three to six months?
This question is to show the hiring managers what your vision for the position is. Make sure you give specific action points and not just vague goals in your answer.
I hope to double the department’s productivity by improving team organization, identifying and cutting down unproductive time, and increasing morale and motivation. I will also help my team set and reach goals for themselves during this time.
What training will you need to become successful in this position?
Interviewers want to see how confident you are in your ability to do the job and to make sure their expectations for when you’ll begin to be productive align with yours. If you’re expecting to have a month of training in order to get up to speed and they’re expecting you to fully take the reins right away, this could cause some problems.
My experience in my current position has prepared me well for this role, and I understand that you’re going to have the person currently in this role stay for a few weeks to help with the transition. While I know there’s a learning curve in any new job, I’m confident that these two factors will help me start being productive very quickly.
Tell me about a time you failed in your current position?
This question might be even more specific to your work history in your interview, because the interviewers probably looked at your records and want to ask you about a particular mistake they saw you made.
Be honest (they already know what happened anyway), and explain what you did to fix it and what you’ve done to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Early on in my time in this position, I wasn’t very organized and misplaced a record of an important request from a client. This resulted in my team not being able to fulfill the request and losing the client.
Since then, I’ve set up a system to help me keep organized records of every client interaction I have. I then compile them into a report that I put in a shared folder so that other members of my team can keep me accountable and access the record in case something comes up and I’m not available.
My supervisor liked this system so much that now everyone on my team uses it.
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