Internal Interview Questions and Answers (With Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated September 29, 2022
Published July 26, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
When trying to fill a position, hiring managers may look to hire an employee internally. If you apply for a role within your current company, you need to take this opportunity as seriously as any other interview. While the hiring manager may know you well, it's still important that you show that you have the right skills and experience for their job opening. In this article, we share many internal interview questions along with advice and samples that can help you craft your own effective responses.
Related: How To Prepare for a Job Interview
General internal interview questions
An internal interview is not much different from any other job interview, so it's likely the interviewer will start off with some general internal interview questions. You can prepare for them like you would any interview. Remember that if you work for a larger company, your interviewer may not know you or the other people you currently work with in your department and may ask general questions to understand you more as a candidate. Some general interview questions include:
Can you tell me about yourself?
What is your preferred working style?
Why are you a strong applicant for this position?
What is your dream job?
What are the biggest strengths you can apply to this position?
Do you prefer to work with close oversight or to be assigned a task and given the freedom to complete it as you see fit?
Do you prefer working alone or in a team more?
What is your management style when leading other employees?
Questions about experience and background
When applying for an internal posting, the hiring manager may want to learn more about your current role and your other professional experience. Common experience-based questions include:
How long have you worked in this field?
Which experiences have helped you grow in your current role, and what are the biggest lessons you've learned that helped you meet the requirements of this position?
Describe your experience working in a cross-functional team.
What do you like most about your current role? What do you like least?
Can you tell me something you learned from a prior employer that would improve our efficiency?
Can you tell me about a time you faced an unforeseen challenge and how you solved it?
Who has been the biggest mentor in your professional career? What was the most important lesson they taught you?
What about your time here has prepared you to assume this new position?
How would your current coworkers describe you?
In-depth internal interview questions
When applying within a company where you already work, talk about what motivated you to apply for a new role, particularly if the move wouldn't be a promotion. Be prepared to answer in-depth questions like these:
Why did you decide to apply for a new position with the company?
Can you describe a time when you worked with the department you're hoping to join? How did it go?
Can you tell me about a time you disagreed with a coworker at the company? How did you resolve the situation?
What would you do to help your replacement should you move on to this position?
How would you help yourself transition to a new role?
If we hired someone else for the position and you had conflicting opinions on how to progress on a project, how would you make sure you remained professional?
What is your greatest achievement with the company? How does it demonstrate your readiness for this new role?
Tell me about a time with the company when you received a special commendation for your work.
What's the first change you'd make to the way this position is currently being carried out, based on your experience with our company?
Have you spoken about the position with your current manager? If so, what did they say?
Internal interview questions with example answers
Rehearsing your responses to questions is a great way to prepare for an interview. Here are some sample questions from an internal interview along with effective responses:
What is the primary skill you can bring to this position to set you apart from other candidates?
Hiring managers ask this question to see which of your particular skills prepare you for this role. They want to see that your current role has allowed you to develop transferrable skills for your potential new position. When preparing for your answer, carefully read the job description to find out what skills your hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. You can also figure out which skills are important by observing the person who currently holds this job, noting which skills help them with their daily tasks.
Example answer: "In my current role, I've developed my communication skills. My ability to communicate and listen to others makes me an excellent candidate for this human resources role. As an internal employee, I already know our company's internal communication structure, setting me apart from external candidates. I've studied our employee handbook, learning the different protocols and policies of our HR department. If I were to get this role, I'd need very little training on how to communicate as an HR professional. I have the skills to ensure employees understand the company's goals, policies, and internal structure."
If a different candidate got this position, would it affect your ability to continue in your current role?
This common internal interview question helps an employer gauge whether you plan to stay with the company if they were to choose someone else for the position. This can be a challenging question to answer, as you want to have leverage during your interview. If you're certain you would stay with the company if you didn't get the role, ensure your employer that you plan to stay, though you would continue to seek promotion opportunities within the company. If you would leave, politely say that you are ready for a new role and would need to seek employment elsewhere.
Example answer: "As you may know, I have been with this company for five years now. When I saw this leadership position was open, I was eager to apply as I feel I am ready for the next step in my career. I would like to stay with the company while I continue to advance my career. I love working here, I already know our clients, and I get along well with my colleagues. If you were to choose another candidate, I might need to look for another role that is suited for my leadership capabilities."
What would your coworkers say if we asked them about your suitability for this promotion?
Hiring managers ask this question to see if you have a realistic perception of how others view your work. Since they might reach out to your coworkers for their opinions, you want to anticipate what they may actually say about you. When planning your response, reflect on what positive things your colleagues would share about your working habits. Think about what value you're currently adding to the team and what you can achieve in this new role. This is a good opportunity to highlight some of your most relevant skills, too.
Example answer: "I feel that over these last two years, my team members and I have grown to be a productive team. I think if you asked them how they feel about me taking on the role of their manager, they would be pleased. Joanne is always telling me how much she appreciates my guidance, and Thomas was grateful for my help on last week's project. I'd imagine they expect me to get this role, as they have both encouraged me to apply."
What part of your current position has led you to seek a new opportunity?
This interview question helps hiring managers learn more about your intentions behind applying to an internal position. It helps them decide if your current role has prepared you for a new opportunity and whether you're happy with continuing to work with the company. When answering this question, speak positively about your current role while also sharing a few reasons you want something new. Perhaps your job search is due to your desire to have advanced responsibilities or to work in an area you have always wanted to pursue.
Example answer: "While I enjoy working as a copywriter, social media marketing has always been something I was interested in pursuing. When I saw the social media manager position was open, I was eager to apply as I feel I have the right skills and passion for this job. Throughout my time as a copywriter here, I've learned to craft concise and engaging messages for an online audience. Although this position has given me great opportunities to grow, I'd like to focus more on social media. If I were to get this position, I could combine my professional talents."
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