Leadership

How to reintroduce yourself during an internal interview

If you decide to interview for another position at your company, how do you present yourself? Here's how to demonstrate skills that may not be visible on the surface to interviewers.

If you decide to interview for another position at your company, how do you present yourself? Here's how to demonstrate skills that may not be visible on the surface to interviewers.

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In my last blog, I wrote about whether you should tell your manager or co-workers that you're applying for a different position within your company. Another complication of applying internally is that your work reputation may precede you. That is, there is the distinct possibility that your current work perforamnce is already well-known by the person who will be doing the interviewing and hiring for the new position. And, of course, this could be good or bad.

It could be good if you have a great reputation at work, known for the depth of your knowledge and for getting things done. In that case, you don't have to work as hard in the interview. In some situations, you may have to explain how the skills you demonstrate in your current position will translate to the new job, but, on the whole, you have that proverbial foot in the door.

All may not be lost, however, if you don't have a sterling work reputation. There are instances in which a person may not be excelling in his current position due to it being a bad fit. You can explain this in an interview, taking special care not to place the blame on your current supervisor, even if he or she is responsible.

TechRepublic member joe broadway offered this great advice in response to the first blog about internal interviews:

Even if you have a long established relationship with your interviewers, there are still lots of things that they might not know about you. Dealing with conflict, managing a situation/project/person without direct authority, and failure/learning from mistakes are all things that your current management team may have trusted you to do without direct knowledge or input. And they are definitely things that they will be interested in hearing about. Also, it's a great opportunity to demonstrate the little things that you've done: have you, off your own back, introduced a new change control process or convinced the department to adopt version control - even organising team drinks demonstrates that you are concerned about more than just doing the nine-to-five. These are things that your management team would have been grateful for, but might have forgotten amongst the larger projects. This is an opportunity for you to remind them just how much you've added to the team.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

17 comments
bill.waugaman
bill.waugaman

Communication is the key here. Be proactive and ask your interviewers what you should be bringing to the intervier/performance evaluation. Prepare a current resume. Make sure they know all about you. Don't assume anything. Make sure they have the information you want them to see. You say you can't sell? You most certainly can!! Any interpersonal negotiation is a sale, be it with your spouse, kids, or co-workers. Get Jeff Gitomer's "Little Green Book of Getting Your Way" For a performance evaluation, if the evaluation form is available, complete it from your viewpoint and submit it prior to the evaluation. Have copies of awards, "well done" emails, letters, etc. Comments from clients and co-workers. Samples of completed work. Be prepared!! Approach the interview from the bosses viewpoint, and focus your input to answer his one burning question..."What's in it for me??" Take this opportunity to interview your new boss as well. Ask open ended questions so he/she talks about themselves. Find the hot buttons, priorities and goals. The better you know the boss, the more responsive you can be to meeting his/her needs and requirements. Remember "Prior Preparation Prevents P*** Poor Performance"

awolff
awolff

After a corporate buy out, when requesting a posting outside of technology (IT dept was going to be cut by 70%) I introduced myself to the head of finance and suggested a need in his organization for my skills. I sent a follow note to him restating my interest. I included an updated resume, a project list for my 9 yr tenure with the bought company, and a description of how I thought my experience would benefit the new organization and dept. I also included refernces from staff outside my chain of command. He did not have a position for me but he referred me to VP of Sales Operations. The internal interview took all of 10 minutes and I have been working like a dog for the new organization ever since.

chaz15
chaz15

Especially with large or larger organisations, the managers may have a none too clear appraisal of your work performance. This may be sketchy at best, or even actually be highly inaccurate. Have evidence collected to present to prove your competence and on-the-job results. Unfortunately other factors may cloud the issue. There are many firms where applying internally is an advantage, but others where it is actually a disadvantage. Some firms almost never appoint internal candidates. This is usually where managers have an over-high expectation of work performance. Tread carefully if there have been any negative appraisals of any aspects of your work. They will peruse HR records and applying internally may re-surface work performance issues. I worked for one boss who seemed strict and distant, but found out afterwards he 'A' graded me. A second boss seemed much friendlier but it transpired he 'D' graded me for the same work /performance!!!! By all means try for a better post internally, but be prepared if they 'let you down'. It can be a big blow to your confidence if you don't get a post internally. DO ask for feedback afterwards if you don't get the post. It can be a huge clue as to whether it is time to move on to another employer!!!!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

For reasons to complicated to go into, I'm on my fourth manager in about 18 months. I haven't met the current one or had a in-depth conversation with him; we're at two different sites and he's new to the company since last fall. Now he's going to be doing my annual review within the next two weeks. In addition, he's got a new boss who's been with the company less than a couple of months. That one also wants to do interviews, although I've had no contact with him yet in any form. I received 'Good' to 'Excellent' reviews for years from the last supervisor-but-three. I feel I get my job done at least as well as anyone else could, but I don't know what to say under these circumstances. I'm lousy at selling myself; if I wanted to sell things I'd be in Sales. Any advice?

1ronman
1ronman

Found myself in the same situation. Our new boss was some guy no one had ever met, worked a thousand miles away, had a hundred new employees due do a reshuffling of organizations....and it was performance review time. It?s an discouraging feeling knowing that you are now just one more of a large number of employees that this guy doesn?t know from beans. I took it upon myself to send him an email and ask him "seeing as how we hadn?t had the opportunity to meet in person yet" if it would be ok if I sent him my bio. Which listed all of my responsibilities, and all of the accomplishments that I felt were noteworthy for the previous 12 months. I had a wise old boss who once told me that by the end of the year, he had a hard time remembering what he had done, let alone each of his employees. Performance review time is your opportunity to remind your boss via a list of your accomplishments for the year, all the reasons "couched in humble terms of course :-) ? of all the great and might things you have done for him. Hopefully, your co-workers won?t go to the trouble of keeping track of all they have done through the year. Who do you think is going to stick out? :-) Good luck!

JamesRL
JamesRL

...and the last few days as well. James

adeyemiadeoye13
adeyemiadeoye13

Just be yourself.. and do what you do best, and dont worry about what other people will say about you.. be confident and stay calm

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

You actually started to sell yourself in your post. Just tell them who you re and what you do. In Canada we have early age cub scouts,(5-7yrs) called Beavers. Their opening ceremony for weekly meetings starts with "Who are you and what do you do?" (To which the little boys answers, Beavers, Beavers, Beavers, Sharing Sharing Sharing. ok, that flashback aside, just think WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO? I am Greg, I have worked in IT for about 9 years now. I find that I really excel in the areas of security and server maintenance as it seems to offer the constant challenges I enjoy so much...... So, Palmetto, Who are you and what do YOU do? It's easy, don't treat it like an interview, don't worry about buzz words, eye contact and handshakes. Just relax, be yourself and tell them who you are and what you do, you do it every day and tell other people about it all the time. Just tell them who you are, what you like about your job and give a couple of examples of hurdles or challenges you've faced. You already have the job, no worries. When talking to him, try and see where he nods in agreement, rolls his eyes when acknowledging a task,or offers his own comments or similar examples, then you can sit back and just take an interest in what HE says and what He does instead. The best idea is to have a few specifics that illustrate what you have done in the company or hurdles you've encountered that you feel make it unique and interesting.

bhopkins
bhopkins

This is why I love Tech Republic. I'm in this same situation as we are going through a merger and I have a meeting with my new boss on Monday. There is some good advice here and while I was planning on just taking it easy during the interview, I do need to ensure some of my past accomplishments are highlighted during this process.

ITCompGuy
ITCompGuy

Be yourself. I would think that you would have to be doing something right to still be employed and out-lasting multiple managers. As a new manager, I would have that in mind when we first met, and try to make you feel comfortable. I think that there is always a certain amount of fear when reporting to someone new. But you will have to be yourself. I recently went through the change of having a new Dept. Head that I report to. Knowing that the last person was the one that hired me and knew my work ethic along with my associated skills and the new person did not was a cause for mild concern. Upon reflection, I realized (like with any life situation) there is nothing that you can do with situations/things/people/perceptions beyond your control. All you can do is be yourself. Do a good job and make sure your performance is on point. Still be yourself. I new manager may not like your look/mannerism/voice or whatever, but you cannot control that. They may think that you are the best thing since the Internet, but you cannot control that either. Be yourself and whatever happens will happen, but you will feel good (and have less stress) keeping yourself calm with your integrity intact.

JamesRL
JamesRL

If he is half way decent, he will have read your reviews in advance. And he will not be coming to make any hard decisions, just to get to know you. When I took over a department of 20 people, I spent about 10-15 minutes with each one, and I asked - what do you like about your job (says something about you the person) and what do you not like about your job. If I heard the same theme on the not like, I would target that as something I needed to work on. If I heard some things from a number of people that they liked, I tried to preserve that aspect. The worst thing to do is to come off nervous and defensive. Try and ask him some questions to - this is about learning about each other. Kinda like a first date. James

aureolin
aureolin

One of the things that I do is keep a daily diary of accomplishments. Sometimes it's no more than a one-liner that I helped so-and-so. Other times it's a listing of what projects I spent time on. I rarely write more than 4 or 5 lines. When it comes to review time, I can just flip back through my diary and be reminded of projects completed for a listing of accomplishments for my manager. I've asked the people I supervise to do the same, but I've yet to really sell them on the idea. Still working on that one! Steve G.

vwallis
vwallis

I worked for a company for almost seven years, and had 14 bosses (and 17 desks). Each reorganization, I went through the exercise of updating my resume and providing it to them, for a couple of reasons. It provided them a more clear view into my capabilities than what I was currently doing, as well as gave them the understanding that I wanted to give them as much information about me as possible, since they didn't get to interview or hire me. As a manager myself during most of this time, I would have loved my reorganized team members to have done the same thing. On this specific topic, moving within the company, I had a somewhat tough time. I had a pretty good reputation in the company, which helped tremendously. The team interview was rather unpleasant; being interviewed by people that you were joking around with two weeks ago is awkward, at best. I basically followed their lead - if they acted formal, I acted formal; if they acted familiar, I acted familiar. It must have worked, as I got the job. :)

klaasvanbe
klaasvanbe

You're my type of manager. Practically all interviews (internal and external more or less the same) are about cracking open the future employee while the hiring manager stays in her or his shell. Not fair. I wish there were much more managers like James. Would make the atmosphere in work places and therefore the joy and motivation to get jobs well done a lot better in my opinion.

bfpower
bfpower

James, you sound like a terrifically logical manager. Do you have any open positions? =) just kidding...

tony.morgan
tony.morgan

I have also been in the situation of having a new boss and a colleague with a grudge, who got in first! My response was to send a resume of my time with the company, my primary skills and experience were all directly related to my job specification and my aspirations, which was going to be the basis of the review. I am still there, my colleague isn't! My advice for ANY event is - be prepared! Know the guy across the table, know yourself, know your company, know why you're in your post and where you wan to go. I would draw the line at saying that you want their job at this stage!! It sounds simple, but you can only sell something, even yourself, if you know your product and your market. The hard part is getting them to pay more than the market rate...

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