An interviewer asking internal interview questions to a candidate

HR Resources

5 Brilliant Internal Interview Questions (And What to Look For in an Answer)

December 8, 2022

Reem Al-Tamimi

Reem Al-Tamimi

Content Writer

Interviewing internal candidates can be quite a challenge! To nail it, you’ve got to come up with a killer set of internal interview questions that’ll tease out the best of the best.

But here’s the good news: when it comes to evaluating your own team members, things can actually be easier. No need to worry about whether they’ll mesh with your company culture or whether they can actually do the job. That means you’ll be able to speed up the hiring process and get them up to speed in no time. Piece of cake!

But there’s no denying that conducting internal interviews has its fair share of challenges. That’s why we have prepared for you 5 important internal interview questions to ask. 

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The importance of asking the right interview questions for internal candidates

According to LinkedIn’s Workforce Learning Report, 93% of employees would remain at a company for a longer time if it invested in their career development. 

Well, the numbers don’t lie when it comes to employee retention. But how do you ensure your internal hiring goes smoothly and without any complications? Asking the right internal job interview questions can be your answer. 

It can help you know if the candidate is ready for the new position. Current employees can understand what comes next and the new responsibilities through these questions. Plus, with your powerful internal questions, you can demonstrate the company’s focus on employee development. This will help employees to stay motivated and engaged, whether you fill your open positions with internal or external candidates.

Moreover, internal hiring, like any other hiring effort, should focus on matching internal candidates with job description requirements. But, unlike external candidates, your company must communicate with internal candidates on a daily basis even if they are not hired. Therefore, you need to ask the right internal job interview questions and ensure they are impactful.

5 strong internal job interview questions to help you make the right hire

Internal candidate waiting for the job interview

Are you ready to rock your internal interviews and find your next superstar employee? It all starts with the right questions!

Need some inspiration? Here are 5 awesome internal candidate interview questions that will help you get to the heart of what makes your current employees tick.

Question #1: What distinguishes you from other candidates for this position?

This is one of the most direct and important internal interview questions to ask. Sometimes the best way to evaluate someone is to ask them to describe themselves directly. This question allows you to learn more about:

  • Their ability to strike a balance between humility and confidence.
  • Their soft skills include perseverance, hard work, and leadership.
  • If their hard skills match the requirements of the position.
  • Specific examples of how their abilities benefit the company.
  • The characteristics that distinguish them from other candidates.

Question #2: How do you believe this role is different from your current one? How will you adjust to these changes?

Get ready to uncover the secrets to your internal candidate’s success! With this question, you’ll get a sneak peek into how they’ll handle their shiny new role. Plus, it’s the perfect chance to set expectations and make sure everyone’s on the same page. In the candidate’s response, you need to discover:

  • The differences between their current and prospective roles.
  • A clear strategy for dealing with these challenges.
  • Optimism and confidence in their abilities.
  • Clarity, adaptability, and a growth mindset.

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Question #3: What professional skills have you gained in the last [X] years?

Do you want to know how the candidate grew from previous experiences? This internal interview question allows you to gauge how well the candidate learns from their previous experiences, mistakes, and other life situations. Plus, it’s an indirect way of asking about their career goals, as they are likely to mention skills that they hope to use soon. In this question, you should look for:

  • A good combination of soft and hard skills the candidate gained, which hopes to use in the new position.
  • The tendency for self-improvement and growth in order to fit the new role.
  • A demonstration of mentorship and collaboration abilities.
  • How the candidate demonstrates dedication and determination to work.
  • Interests and skills relevant to the position.

Question #4: What would your mentor or supervisor say about your work?

A recruiter asking internal interview questions

Let’s be real here: asking candidates about their strengths or weaknesses will definitely make their palms sweat. At the end of the day, they want to make the best first impression. Therefore, you need to ask the right set of questions that won’t have them running for the door. This internal interview question helps you unravel the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in an indirect way. The candidate’s answer should convey:

  • Their objectivity and perspective.
  • Their analytical skills and thought processes.
  • Their relationship with their current mentor or manager
  • Their openness in accepting constructive criticism.

Question #5: If a different candidate got this position, would it affect your ability to continue in your current role?

If internal candidates do not get the job, they may decide to leave the company. You don’t want to end up looking to fill two open positions instead of one. 

With this internal interview question, you can determine whether the candidate intends to stay with the company on the long haul – even if someone else is chosen for the position. Plus, this question also enables you to predict how the candidates will react if they are rejected. For example, if their productivity will be reduced or if they choose to leave the company.

So, what should you look for in the candidate’s answer?

  • If the candidate will be dealing with the situation objectively.
  • If the candidate has the right mindset for the new position.
  • If the candidate intends to stay in the same position or will look for another opportunity.

Wrapping it up

If you plan on hiring internally, you must master the delicate art of conducting internal interviews. It’s not an easy process – and if you don’t handle it with care, you could end up needing to hire for two more roles instead of one! Therefore, make sure to create a great candidate experience by asking the right internal job interview questions.

A recruiter looking for the best internal candidate

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Reem Al-Tamimi

Reem Al-Tamimi

Turn top talent to employees fast

Hire, assess, onboard and manage top talent for every job. See how Elevatus streamlines everything; from acquire to new hire.

Request a demo