Internal Interview Questions

If your company has a new job opening, you want to find the best candidate for that particular role. You’re looking forward to meeting new potential hires and asking them interview questions about their previous experience. But what about if one of the candidates who applied for that particular job opening already works at your company?

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➡️ Before we dig deeper into the Internal interview questions, don't forget to download our free Guide for Conducting Job Interviews & The Ultimate Candidate Interview & Employee Onboarding Checklist!

How to interview internal candidates? 

When interviewing external candidates, you can reuse most of the questions you used in your past interviews.

When interviewing internal candidates, you’ll have to get creative. Internal candidates already work at your company and have some experience with your business and company culture. Internal candidates know how your company breathes and asking them a bunch of common questions would be a waste of everybody’s time.

Internal candidate interview questions 

Even though it will take some time for you to get better prepared for the internal interview, there are a lot of benefits when thinking of hiring an internal candidate.

Interviewing and recruiting internal candidates can lower your cost-per-hire and can result in faster hiring times. Onboarding is also much easier.

By asking internal candidates the right questions, you can also learn a lot about what your employees think of your company and how you can improve your employee experience and employee engagement.

Promoting your employees keeps them invested in the success of your company and motivates them to upgrade their skills. Make sure to let them know you appreciate their previous contributions to your company.

How to prepare for an internal interview? 

Interviewing internal candidates can be a delicate process. Although the interview can be somewhat more relaxed and casual than when interviewing external candidates, you will still need to carefully question your internal candidate’s skills and abilities.

A great way of evaluating whether the candidate would be a good fit for the open position is to reach out to their supervisor and team members.

Interview questions for internal candidates 

We bring you a set of interview questions to ask your internal candidates:

  • Internal interview questions for motivation
  • Internal interview questions for communication skills
  • Internal interview questions for past performance
  • Internal interview questions for management skills

Internal interview questions for motivation 

Answers to these questions will give you an insight into your candidate’s reasons to switch roles. By asking your internal candidates these questions, you will learn a lot about their interests and desires. It is also important for you to find out if your candidate has a clear understanding of the new job and its requirements.

  • Why did you first decide to work for our company?
  • What do you like best about your current role?
  • If you could change one thing about your current role, what would it be?
  • What would you change about our company to make it a better experience?
  • What is your proudest achievement with our company?
  • Can you tell us what you know about the position you’re applying for?
  • Why are you interested in this new role at our company?
  • What are your long-term goals for this position?
  • If a different candidate would be selected for the position you’re applying for, how would it affect your ability to continue in your current role?

Internal interview questions for communication skills 

Answers to these questions will give you an idea of how your internal candidate communicated and collaborated with other team members at your company.

  • How would your current team members describe you?
  • How would your team members describe your communication style?
  • Have you ever had any communication issues with anyone on the team?
  • How did you handle situations when you were given unclear instructions?
  • Can you remember a time when things on a project didn’t go as planned? How did you
  • handle that?
  • Have you spoken with your current manager about your application for this role?

Internal interview questions for past performance 

Answers to these questions will give you a clear understanding of your candidate’s company-specific experience. If you previously reached out to their supervisor, you already have some perception of their attitude and abilities.

  • What was your favorite project with our company?
  • What was the most challenging project you worked on with our company?
  • Have you ever missed a deadline on a project?
  • Can you tell us how you have helped achieve the company goals?
  • Do you think your team members would have anything negative to say about your work?
  • Can you tell us in which areas you think you’ve grown? In which areas do you think you still have an opportunity to improve?
  • Would your current manager recommend you for this role?

Internal interview questions for management skills 

If your internal candidates are looking for a promotion and more responsibility, they will need to show you they are up to the task. The purpose of these questions is to find out if your candidate has the required skills to adapt to the challenges of the new role.

  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What qualities do you think are most important to be a good manager?
  • What do you think it takes to be a successful leader at our company?
  • Were there any situations in your current role where you would be described as a leader?
  • How would your team members describe your management style?
  • Were you ever in charge of managing a project?
  • If hired for this role, how would you handle team communication and collaboration?

Bonus internal interview question 

  • Why should we hire you for this position instead of an external applicant who does not create a new opening elsewhere in need of filling?

In case your internal candidate does get the position, you’re going to need to find someone else to fill their current role. Be careful, if you don’t make an effort of creating an even better candidate experience for your internal candidates, you could easily end up with the need to fill two positions instead of one.

Looking for more questions to ask your candidates in an interview?

Find inspiration in our list of interview questions by type and make sure to check out our Complete guide for asking candidates the best interview questions

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