Sarthak has worked as a senior associate in sales for three years. A week ago, his manager approached him about a promotion based on his excellent performance in the last three quarters. He is one of three candidates up for the new sales manager role at their new headquarters.

A promotion interview will determine whether Sarthak gets the job or not. An interview for promotion isn’t unlike a job interview. The only difference is that it’s internal and requires a candidate to highlight what they’ve accomplished during their time in the organization.

Read on to discover how Sarthak should prepare for his interview with specific promotion interview tips, questions and sample answers.


  1. What Is A Promotion Interview?

  2. How To Prepare For A Promotion Interview

  3. Promotion Interview Questions And Answers

  4. Get The Promotion You Deserve

What Is A Promotion Interview?

A promotion interview or an internal interview is held when an employee is changing roles or departments, taking on a leadership role or getting a performance-based raise.

Most employees expect a raise and a promotion within a year or two of starting a job. It’s a highly competitive and rigorous process, depending on the organization. What kind of employee you’ve been—your accomplishments, work ethic and interpersonal relationships—will play a significant role in getting you a win.

Think of a promotion interview as a step on the corporate ladder. If you want to advance in your career, you should aspire to move ahead within your organization. This will help you when the time comes to change jobs if a better opportunity knocks on your door.

How To Prepare For A Promotion Interview

Promotion interview questions are aimed at understanding your roles and responsibilities, strengths and key wins. The question your manager will try to answer is, “Why should we promote you over others?” You may think that as your immediate supervisor they’d know enough to make that decision. But they’re giving you another chance to prove yourself. It’s a fair way to pick the best person for the job.

Here are a few ways to stand out in an interview for promotion:

  1. Bring Up Your Wins

A key point is to always make note of your wins. If you won a big client account, generated revenue for the organization or built meaningful and productive relationships, you should bring that up during your promotion interview.  Make a spreadsheet where you record your accomplishments so it’s easy to pull up. This way, you won’t forget anything and will know exactly what to say.

  1. Highlight Your Strengths

If you’re good at public speaking, you can talk about winning over clients during a pitch or a presentation. Focusing on foundational skills like building relationships, leadership qualities and teamwork shows that you’re a valuable asset. It’s important to be mindful of others in any situation. If you can convey your message while showing how you helped out a teammate or resolved conflict, you’ll likely build yourself a strong case.

  1. Express Your Motivations And Drive

You must show the interview panel that you’re keen on taking more responsibilities. You may have worked on individual projects, taken the initiative to do more than just the bare minimum or reached out to your manager for more opportunities. Discuss activities and achievements that aren’t directly related to your current job. This shows your drive to improve and be better than you were yesterday.

If you can convey that you’ve improved as a person and professional, you’ll be able to show your manager that you’re serious about the promotion. At the same time, you shouldn’t come across as arrogant. Be prepared to talk about your mistakes and weaknesses because nobody is perfect. Recognizing that there’s room for improvement is an excellent leadership quality.

Promotion Interview Questions And Answers

A promotion interview may ask about your work to date. You may have to talk about challenges you’ve faced and how you solved them and how you work with others. A great way to tackle promotion interview questions and answers is by using the STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) approach.

Let’s say that Sarthak was posed one of the most likely promotion interview questions: Why should we choose you over other candidates?

Now, he chooses the STAR approach to come up with a winning answer. Here’s how:

Sarthak: In the last quarter, we were falling short of our sales targets by 15% for the new product. I took the initiative to work with the marketing department to develop a social media campaign. With this strategy, we communicated with our consumers, identified what they need and rolled out a smaller version of the same product that was an instant hit. Not only did we make up that missing 15% but also surpassed our goals, turning the highest quarterly profit for the year.

Sarthak clearly explains the situation (falling short of meeting the sales target), task (meeting the sales target), action (social media strategy) and result (profits). He was able to pick an instance where he collaborated with others, took initiative and achieved his goals.

Get The Promotion You Deserve

You, too, can learn how to give winning responses like Sarthak! In Harappa’s Ace The Interview course, you’ll learn about preparation and practice, how to stay confident during an interview and give impactful answers. With frameworks like the STAR method and the PAM (Purpose-Audience-Message), you can ace any interview, be it an internal interview or external. Invest in your career and secure your future with Harappa!

Explore topics such as General HR Interview Questions, How To Improve Interviewing Skills, How to Answer “Tell Me About a Time When Your Failed” & How to Prepare for Mock Interview from Harappa Diaries and crack your next interview.

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