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Questions to Ask During an Internal Interview

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Hiring managers often ask internal job candidates about current accomplishments and shortcomings at their present job and about ideas they have for the future job, should they get it. Evaluating a job candidate's successes and weaknesses in his current position offers insight as to how reliable, skilled, dedicated and productive he will be in the future. It also helps you assess how well internal candidates handle work-related problems or concerns. The goal is to determine if the employee is a good match for the new job responsibilities.

Current Accomplishments

Inquire about internal applicants' accomplishments and successes in their current position. In-house employees already have experience with company clients and staff members, so you want to get a clear idea of how much they currently contribute to projects and work assignments. You might say, "Tell me about an experience in your current position where you were especially pleased with the outcome of your work efforts."

Learning Experiences

Ask about work-related challenges or difficulties the applicant has faced in his current position. Avoid general questions that could apply to any applicant, and ask pinpointed questions that directly relate to the applicant's present role in your company, recommends Abacus Group, an executive recruiting group in New York City. You might say, "Tell me about a time when you encountered hardships or challenges in your current department and how you addressed those difficulties."

Competencies and Plans for the New Position

Determine how familiar the candidate is with the new position. Ask her to list skills and previous work experiences -- at her present job -- that equip her for the new job. Ask the candidate to provide a list of references, both internal and external, who can verify that she has the specific skills and types of experiences that translate to the new role, recommends The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit leadership-building organization with offices in Boston, New York and San Francisco. The goal is to determine if the internal job applicant understands the expectations and has the skills and experiences necessary to fulfill the job goals. You might say, "Explain how your current strengths and skills will transfer to the new position." Or, "How do you plan to use your skills and experiences to satisfy the new job requirements?"

Company Culture

Examine how well the employee understands your company culture. The applicant should have a strong understanding of how different personalities blend together in your workplace and how to incorporate company standards, policies and procedures into the new job, reports Sean Silverthorne, editor of Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, according to CBS Moneywatch. You might ask, "How do you manage conflicts with team members?" or "What would you do if a co-worker ignored a company policy out of convenience?"


As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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