You’ve done a great job on your current position, you enjoyed your time in the company. You are happy, they are happy. It’s time to move one step further. Job promotion interview may seem like a formality. They know you, they’ve had enough time to appreciate your qualities and skills, and since it is natural to grow and progress in life, they will give you a better job now. After all you deserve it.

Or is it, perhaps, not as simple as that? Promoting you to a better position has several implications for the company:

  • They will need to find someone to replace you in your original job.
  • You will take a job of someone else. What will happen with that employee? Do they have another position for them? Can they also be promoted? Or will they have to demote them, or even fire them?
  • If they promote you, won’t your colleagues also demand promotion, or at least a raise? How will your promotion affect the atmosphere in the workplace?

Promoting an employee can have much bigger consequences than the outsiders realize. That’s why your interview won’t be a formality. In this article we will look at some questions you will face, and how you should answer them to convince the HR managers to proceed with your promotion. Enjoy!


Describe the time you’ve spent in our company so far.

Try to talk positively about everything you’ve experienced, and learned. Praising them for an excellent training program, or internal policies and regulations, or for a great working environment, will definitely help to create the right atmosphere in this interview.

You should also focus on good things you’ve done for the company. Any achievements, any processes you helped them to improve, money you helped them to save (or make). Try to show them the value you brought to their business. They should get an impression that it is good to have you onboard (on whatever position).

You can also talk about some mistakes you made, and how they helped you to become better in your work. All in all, they should get the feeling that something changed from the day you entered the company–that you grew both as a person and as an employee. And are ready for promotion now.

creative discussion is goin on in an office

Why do you want to get promoted to XYZ position?

Your application should make sense. Perhaps you believe that you’ve already learned everything you could learn in your last role, and now would like to bring your knowledge and expertise to a leading position.

Another option is saying that you had this goal from the very beginning. You had your career plan, and while applying for the first job with them (year ago, three years ago, whatever), you already thought about this option. Of course, you weren’t ready back then. You had to learn how the business works, the ins and outs of your profession. Now you feel ready, however, and would love to take this opportunity.


Do you think that you need to improve on some skills, or gain some knowledge, to be able to handle the new job?

In the best possible answer you should combine humility and a healthy level of self-confidence. You will respond for some new duties, and you will experience new situations.

For example, if you move to a leading role, you’ll have to learn how to manage people effectively, how to deal with conflicts and also other situations concerning your subordinates (who were your colleagues before).

Ensure the interviewers that you do not consider yourself perfect, and that there certainly are many skills you can improve on–and want to do so. At the same time, however, you should show confidence in your ability to learn these things, and to successfully transit to your new position in the company.


Some of your current colleagues are also interviewing for this position. How do you think your success will impact your relationship with them?

Let’s be honest: most people do not like to see others succeeding–especially if the success of the others has some implications on their own success–which is the case in job promotion interviews. If you get the position, your colleagues won’t. And it would be naive to think that everyone will be happy for you and your success…

Show the interviewers that you see things realistically. Some of your colleagues will certainly be upset, and you have a full understanding for their emotions. But that’s simply life. If we always considered what everyone else thought, we would never make any move, forwards or backwards.

You can also say that emotions have no place in an effective management. The HR managers should do the best thing for the company (hopefully promoting you is the thing). How others deal with that emotionally is of secondary importance.

* Special Tip: You can also download all questions in one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

job promotion interview questions, PDF


How will you handle it if we don’t promote you?

You can be honest and show them how much this opportunity means for you. You can calmly say that you’ll be disappointed. After all, you’ve tried your best, and you feel ready for the promotion, so it will be a setback.

But you should also add that you’d understand their decision. Only one person can get a promotion. HR managers are more qualified to decide who deserves it more–you, or one of your colleagues. Though disappointed, you’ll accept their decision and move on, continue doing a good work and waiting for the next opportunity.

Note: Maybe you plan to leave the company if you don’t get promotion, and maybe you have good reasons for your decision. But you shouldn’t say so in an interview. Threatening the interviewers isn’t a way to succeed.

Man tries to explain his salary expectations to the interviewer.

What are your salary expectations on the new position?

You should have some insider knowledge when applying for a job promotion. You likely know how much other managers from the company earn, and you should definitely expect a raise. After all, leading role means more responsibility, and you should be compensated for bearing this extra responsibility.

Do not be afraid to ask for more. If other managers earn five thousand a month, ask for the same amount. But add that you are open for negotiations and that bigger salary certainly isn’t the only reason why you want to get promoted.


Some other questions you may possibly get in your job promotion interview

  • Why do you think you deserve this promotion more than your current colleague [name of your colleague]?
  • Imagine that we promote you to this role. What will be the first thing you’ll do in your new position?
  • How do you imagine your day in work will change with this new job?
  • If we promote you, for how long will you be satisfied with the new role? (When will you demand another promotion?)


Conclusion and next steps

Interviewing for a job internally may seem easier than applying with a foreign company, but it’s not always the case. HR managers already know a lot about you, and have some prejudice (can be both positive and negative, depending on your relationship with them).

You can’t afford telling lies (which you may try in other interviews), and you will sometimes compete with your colleagues and friends for the job. All of this makes the interview more difficult–for both you and the interviewers.

Think about your situation in the company for a while. Try to identify the value you can bring while having the new position, and also recall the mistakes you made in your present job (they may ask about them). Prepare for the questions from this article, and think about the answers you will give to your interviewers.

Last but not least, job promotion interview is a job interview like any other one, and you should ensure you’ll do everything right (your dress, body language, follow-up, etc). Read the following articles to continue your preparation:

Matthew Chulaw
Latest posts by Matthew Chulaw (see all)