Internal Candidates | How to Maximize Success

Internal candidates have an advantage when they're applying for a position. But they still have to prepare to be successful. Here's how.

I am always surprised when my own employees mess up the interviews. You already work here – how come you don’t shine like a diamond? And then I realize – they underestimate the importance and overestimate their ability to just come in and discuss, instead of interview. It’s a shame, especially because it may follow them for a bit.

Companies that have a sound internal recruitment process have a huge advantage: they don’t have to just rely on the external candidate market to find talent for their positions. They have a massive pool of candidates that know the organization, culture and processes already. Onboarding is halfway done. There are other things organizations need to consider to set this up effectively, but in principle, when done right, this can be a very important aspect of the talent process.

But just the fact that you work at your organization doesn’t mean you’d automatically be successful when you apply for a role. Today, let’s take a look at the five things you can do to make sure your internal candidacy for a position at your current company.

1. Communicate with your current manager

The journey starts with the support of your current manager. There may be occasions where you don’t have a relationship with your supervisor to safely discuss your intentions to move beyond your current role (talk to HR). But generally, your manager should be supportive of you progressing in your career in your organization. When you discuss your desire or actual plans to apply for a different role, you can discuss your chances, where you stand out and where you need to brush up knowledge or add experience.

You can also discuss whether a move in a particular role helps you with your long-term career plans. Discuss these points in your performance cycle or plan a separate moment for this discussion. When you do that, ensure your manager knows what you plan to discuss, and prepare for the meeting. Think of the reasons why you want to move, what you’d get out of it and alternatives routes to get there.

2. Brush up your resume

Especially when you have been working at your current organization for a bit longer, chances are that your resume is outdated. So, take the time to update and refresh your professional details. Include your current position and think about the goal of your job hunt when you write it. Remember, you don’t necessarily want a standard resume but a template that you adapt to fit the role you’re applying for.

When you update your CV, you do that with the role that you’re applying for in mind. Think of the items and characteristics that matter in the role, the background they’re looking for and particular skills that are needed. If you have any of those, ensure you bring that front and center in your resume. Don’t rely on the fact that the hiring manager may know you, but be clear in what you specifically bring to the position. Explain why you’re the best candidate for this position by having your background speak for you.

3. Network ahead of time

Talking to the employees in and around the role you aspire and the manager, will help you get a good understanding of the role, requirements, deliverables and expectations of the manager. You’ll get insights that you may not be able to pick up from the job posting, like context, quirks or a particular emphasis that the manager places on particular skills for the role. By networking and connecting with key employees, you have an edge by knowing what they’re looking for. You can implement that in your resume and cover letter, but for sure in the interview, if and when you’re invited.

Connecting to the key employees has another effect: it shows that you’re interested. Taking the time to learn the role and key deliverables leaves a good impression on the hiring manager. Even in a situation where you already work for the company, it is more than helpful to show genuine interest in the role, and you do that by showing up. Actually, not doing that may hurt you in both the short and long run. It doesn’t take too much time but can mean the difference between progression and not.

4. Know what you’re talking about

To a large extent you cover that by putting in the effort in point three. You talk to the manager, and if possible, to the current incumbent of the role. You can study the needs and requirements, and as said, what’s important in the position. It helps you give appropriate and knowledgeable answers to the questions of the hiring team, it gives you the opportunity to ask meaningful question to the team and it helps you with a good understanding whether the role is indeed good for you.

We mentioned it before, but you cannot rely on the fact that you work for the company. You have to deliver, and you do that in part by investing time and energy in preparing.

5. It’s an interview – treat it as such

That brings us to the final point. You have to treat it for what it is: a formal job interview. You may be friendly with the hiring team and have an informal way of acting, but push that to the side when you’re interviewing. Don’t assume you know everything but talk to the team. Don’t wing the discussion but prepare ahead of time, and think of answers and questions.

Make sure you don’t show up in your everyday work outfits, but take it up a notch. If you wear slacks, wear a suit. If you wear a suit, wear a tie and if your wear a suit-and-tie, make sure you wear your power-combo in which you feel the most confident. In all cases, if you dress up for the interview, the team will notice it, and in practically all cases, will reward you for it with extra points.

Thank the team with a short email after the interview. And finally, be specific and deliberate in your applications. Don’t apply for every single role available, but pick and choose the one(s) that make the most sense. You are a valuable asset, and you treat yourself as such. You only apply for roles that give a high reward on your investment, whatever that may be.

About us

AskAway disrupts the way recruitment is done, by eliminating the need to plan and schedule time-consuming meetings in packed agendas and by offering tools to record or even prerecord interviews. This allows you and your hiring team the opportunity to share and analyze the candidates for your interviews when it suits you. We pre-screen so you don’t have to.

Contact us to find out more, or sign up for a no-strings attached free demo of our tool here.

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