Thank you for your recent inquiry about how to stand out against internal candidates especially in a unionized environment or in general.
It is important to understand that there is a sequence of activity and thoughts that most companies follow. As mentioned several times before every business exists to make money and as such will try to find the best solutions to do so. Companies will look internally first to see if they can replicate the efforts of a particular person in order to increase overall results as they affect the bottom line. If no one can be found internally they will ask employs to refer or recommend people for a particular opening. Once the organization has explored these avenues they will advertise the position to the general public. This is usually the sequence of activities in some cases some companies will advertise simply to build their pool of candidates or to show that they have done proper due diligence of looking for someone to satisfy union or legal regulations.
For the most part when a company opens a position to the public they have concluded that they need a fresh perspective that can improve the status quo. A company that is successful or profitable does not necessarily need someone to re-invent the wheel, but they might feel that someone new can change the energy, the approach and have a fresh perspective that can make things better.
Your job as the candidate being interviewed is to set the standard that all other candidates being considered are measured against and more so failing to surpass.
Words we choose have a huge impact.
You need to demonstrate that your experience your background gives you the background to do the job and your stories and example make you the most qualified to do it better than anyone else. BE CONFIDENT! and emphasize that you bring something that an internal candidate does not: a new perspective, no politics or drama, a desire to make your mark and produce results. As someone new you can re-energize, inspire and motivate the team changing a company culture dynamic that might be negative and stagnant.
You can also emphasize that you won’t take shortcuts and do not have bad habits that have been instilled by others. The KEY is to emphasize your greatness, your abilities and your productivity as it relates to the company that is interviewing you.
Remember don’t be negative or attack, simply point out the advantage of having someone new and fresh who is eager to contribute to the company’s bottom line. Focus on results not duties. Get excited and show it to your interviewer.