Know how to prep for an internal job interview

Photo courtesy Flickr user bpsusf

(MoneyWatch) There's a lot of mobility in the business market these days. Not only do people change jobs and careers more than in the past, but changing roles within a company is also common. If you have your eye on a new position on another team, your existing position within the company can certainly give you an advantage over external candidates. But you still need to prepare thoroughly for the interview if you want to be offered the job.

If you're hoping to make a lateral move with your current employer, how do you prep? Amy Gallo at Harvard Business Review has some advice, and in my experience it's spot on. Here's what you should keep in mind as you prepare to change roles:

Be transparent with your current manager. Some companies have policies that govern whether you need to disclose your intention to interview with your boss. Either way, be up front and let him or her know that you're planning to interview. Your manager will probably find out anyway, and it's much better for him to hear it from you rather than from another hiring manager. Added bonus: You can ask your manager for advice or guidance to help you snag the role.

Be aware of how you're perceived. Even if you have a great reputation in the office, you might be seen as a rock star only in a narrow discipline. Get some candid feedback about how you're seen, and use that information so you can address these concerns in the interview.

Do your research. Don't think that research is only for external candidates. Make sure you understand the new role, what's expected and how well you fit. It's a good idea to set up an informational interview with the hiring manager before the actual interview.

Take the interview seriously. Even if you're very friendly with the hiring manager and prospective team, don't think of this as a developmental interview. Pretend that you're an external candidate and that you need to sell yourself and your fit for the role as if they have no idea who you are.

Be honest about your track record. One disadvantage of being an internal candidate is that your recent performance is an open book. Don't be defensive or try to deflect attention from errors or goofs. Own your mistakes and explain what they've taught you.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user bpsusf

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