How to Successfully Interview for a Job Promotion

Successful partnership
Photo: pixelfit / Getty Images

Promotions aren't always automatic. With some employers, you may need to interview for the next step on the career ladder. It depends on the organizational structure and company policy.

Are you being considered for a promotion, but have to interview to get considered for the new job? What's the best way to handle an interview for a job promotion? What can you expect when you're interviewing with a company you already work at? Read on for answers to these questions, and advice on acing an interview for a promotion.

Employer Promotion Company Policies

The reasons you may need to interview for a promotion is because poor HR/promotion practices can cause job dissatisfaction, turnover from those who were passed over, and possibly discrimination claims if employees believe they were discriminated against.

It's important not to expect promotions to come automatically. It's also important to prepare for the interview as you would for any other new job opportunity.

What Is a Job Promotion Interview?

A job promotion interview is an interview for a promotion or a different job at your current employer. Many companies require internal candidates to go through a similar hiring process as external candidates for employment.

A job promotion interview is different from a job interview for a new position for several reasons:

  • You are already part of the company, and you know what their expectations are.
  • Every day—before and after the interview—will give you an opportunity to show off your abilities while working in your current position.
  • You can use your already established commitment to the company, and your aspirations to grow within it, to your benefit.

On the flip side, you still need to go through an interview process and will be compared with other candidates for the job, possibly external as well as internal candidates.


Your interview may be tougher than those for external candidates, because expectations about what you know and your skills may be higher.

Job Promotion Application Requirements

When applying for a promotion or a lateral job change within the company, employees may be expected to apply and interview for the position per company guidelines.

Even though you're already employed at the company, don't be surprised if you have to resubmit your resume and craft a cover letter for the new position. In fact, submitting a custom cover letter specific to the new position can be very helpful in landing the job.


Remember, you may be competing with outside candidates, and although you have an advantage in that you already work for the company, that doesn't mean you should skimp on your job application efforts. Take the time to review and proofread your application materials carefully before you submit them.

Tips for Before the Job Promotion Interview

  • Pay attention to the hiring process. When you find out there is a job opportunity you're interested in, follow the application instructions. Don't expect to be able to bypass the company's hiring process to get the job. If the company has rules, they still apply.
  • Prepare for the interview. Review common interview questions and answers and consider how you would respond, based on your knowledge of the company, your current job, and the new position, your skills, and your goals for the future. Review the skills you have that make you qualified for the new job. Also, review typical job promotion interview questions that you may be asked.
  • Do your job well. Even though you may be moving on, continue to do your current job well, to remind your superiors about what a great employee you are.
  • Tell your boss. If you get selected for an interview, tell your current supervisor so they don't hear the news from a third party. Explain why you're applying and ask your boss for their support.
  • Prepare for the promotion. Prepare to pass your current job on to someone else. If your goal is to continue moving up in the company, leaving a mess behind can reflect poorly on you. Offer to assist with training and to be available for questions.

During the Job Promotion Interview

  • Stay professional. Even though you know the company and you may even know the interviewer, do not lose your professional attitude. It's important not to come across as too casual and relaxed.


It's important to show the interviewer that you want the job, and have what it takes to succeed in the new role.

  • Highlight your strengths. Your strengths may include your familiarity with the position and the company, the success you have had in your current position, and the commitment you feel toward makingthe company as successful as possible.
  • Remember you don't know everything. Be prepared to talk about unfamiliar aspects of the position. Do not assume you already know the ins and outs:you may get caught off guard.
  • Share your enthusiasm. Be sure to let the interviewer know how much you appreciate being considered for the job and the opportunity to grow your career with the organization.
  • Don't be overconfident. Do not go to the interview presuming that you've already "got the job"—an overconfident attitude can be damaging.
  • Ask questions. If you have questions about the new position, what your role will be, and how you would transition, be sure to ask during the interview. Here are examples of questions to ask the interviewer.

Tips for After the Interview

  • Say thank you. Write a thank-you note to the person who interviewed you. Reiterate your interest in the new position.
  • Don't burn your bridges. If you get the promotion, do not burn any bridges. You will be leaving co-workers behind, possibly becoming their superior.Treat them with the same respect you did when you were working together. When the promotion is finalized, let your co-workers know that you are moving on. However, if the company is going to send an official announcement, wait until that is sent before sending a personal email message.
  • Don't have hard feelings. If you don't get the job, leave any negative feelings behind and work toward the next promotion opportunity.
Was this page helpful?
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. SHRM. "Review Promotion Practices to Avoid Turnover, Lawsuits." Accessed May 18, 2021.

Related Articles