April 17, 2024
min read

How to Respond to the “Why Do You Deserve a Promotion?” Question

Luis Minvielle

Facing a promotion interview within your current workplace can feel a bit awkward. They already know a fair bit about you and how you work, but they’re still asking.

“Should I keep it chill and casual or go for a more formal approach?”, “What can I say in the interview that they don't already know?” These are common questions you're probably asking yourself, and many other people in the same situation have probably asked themselves the same thing. The key to success is strong communication: Research indicates that inadequate soft skills and attitudes drive 89% of hiring failures, highlighting the importance of refining these skills and your technical abilities.

We will analyse different strategies to help you answer the question, “Why do you deserve a promotion?” We’ll also provide you with samples of promotion interview questions and tips.

Before you answer: A self-audit

Firstly, be completely honest with yourself: Do you actually qualify for this promotion? Here are some useful questions to ask yourself—writing the answers down can be very helpful too.

  • Have you consistently exceeded expectations in your current role? Can you point to specific instances where you went above and beyond?
  • Can you quantify your achievements with numbers and data? Did you make something easier, save/make the company money, or impact the company’s bottom line in any meaningful way? (If you haven’t figured out this, do it—it’s excellent for your resume)
  • Have you taken on additional responsibilities or projects that weren't part of your initial job description? 
  • Do you have the skills and experience necessary for the new position? Have you been actively developing yourself to bridge any skill gaps?
  • If you leave, would they be able to replace you quickly enough? You don’t need to blackmail them into a promotion, but maybe implying there are other opportunities on the table to bump up your chances.

If the answers to these questions are mostly “Yes,” you’re ready to start preparing for an internal interview.

Coming up with your response—The STAR method

The STAR method is one of the most effective logical processes for talking about examples, and examples are very prevalent during interviews. It allows you to show practical experience while highlighting CV skills in the process, so you’re adding a story on top of each resume entry. Its formulaic style means you can easily apply it in most interview question scenarios—especially in that “Why do you deserve a promotion” question.

If you haven’t heard about this method, here’s what STAR stands for:

  1. Situation: This is the initial scenario in which you found yourself. Here, you should describe the setting and circumstances that led to the challenge (or opportunity!) that pushed you into action.
  2. Task: Specify the particular task that needs to be dealt with within the given situation. Describe what you were responsible for or what you needed to accomplish.
  3. Action: Explain the steps and strategies you took to address the challenge. Highlight any skills or resources you used during the process, and try to explain why you used them with measurable figures. If you used the Scrum framework because you had figured out—based on company practices—it would get the job done in 4 weeks instead of 5, say it.
  4. Result: Quantify the impact of your actions. How did you improve workflows, save/make money, or help the company?


  1. Situation: Our customer service team was drowning in repetitive inquiries, leading to long wait times and frustrated customers. Our churn rate was skyrocketing.
  2. Task: I decided to find a solution to improve customer satisfaction.
  3. Action: I conducted research, analysed customer data, and took charge of the development of a comprehensive FAQ section on our website. I also collaborated with the development team to implement a chatbot that could handle basic inquiries. 
  4. Result: By implementing the new FAQ section and chatbot, we decreased call volume by 30% and a 20% increase in customer satisfaction ratings within the first three months. It was estimated that these implementations saved the CS team three hours of work per week…

The STAR method can be very useful as a starting point. Having a good grasp of the method will show the interviewer that you are a good communicator and are capable of clearly and effectively getting your ideas across. It’s no silver bullet, though. It’s just a good tool to talk about your achievements, but it doesn’t cover other things such as your goals or aspirations regarding the job, which are of great importance too. And it doesn’t ask questions. If you want this to become a conversation and not a monologue, you’ll always need those questions. Let’s see some additional tips that address these aspects too.

Promotion interview tips

An internal promotion presents an extra challenge because it requires the company to see your value (translation: more money for you, less for them) beyond simply keeping you on staff. Just being an excellent employee doesn’t guarantee a promotion, especially in a field like programming, where the skills required for a management position, for example, may differ dramatically from what you need for coding. And often, if you are a very good individual contributor, a company would prefer to keep you in that role.

Extra challenges require extra considerations. Here are some additional promotion interview tips:

  • Be very sure they need that role, and not any other. Essentially, this means ensuring your career preferences align with the company’s expectations for the role. Maybe you were planning to be a senior software engineer and live as a work-from-home hermit. But, instead, they’re looking for managers who can go Monday to Friday to the office and teach their team how to make the most of stand-up meetings? You’ll hate your new job in 3 months. Avoid any potential disconnect that could lead to dissatisfaction down the line. Check there’s a “market fit,” so to speak.
  • Don't assume the interviewers know your work. Explain your accomplishments as if you're talking to strangers. You might be interviewed by colleagues who haven't directly taken note of your achievements.
  • Focus on internal competition (respectfully). If you think they’re promoting someone else, convince them otherwise. While you don't want to badmouth anyone, highlighting how your particular achievements and skills make you a stronger candidate than your peers is a valid strategy. The ladder only fits one.
  • Have a clear pitch for how you will excel in the role. Instead of solely asking what is expected of you, take a proactive approach. Show your readiness for the position by clearly outlining how you can make an immediate impact if you get the promotion. Present concrete plans and strategies for how you can contribute and add value to the organisation.
  • Talk about the state of your professional career. Could other companies be trying to lure you away? Rather than making demands, approach the conversation with tact. If presented with a competitive offer, instead of issuing ultimatums or threats, have a conversation with your manager about your interest in growth opportunities within the company. Maintain professionalism and clear communication throughout the process, even if your current employer cannot match external offers—this will leave a positive impression on possible future opportunities.

What to avoid when interviewing for a promotion

Some of these considerations have already been mentioned in previous tips. However, let's clearly state the things you should avoid doing when interviewing for a promotion so that you don't overlook them:

  • Don’t assume familiarity
  • Avoid negative comparisons
  • Steer clear of overconfidence (don’t act with an arrogant attitude)
  • Don’t skimp on soft skills
  • Avoid generic responses—focus on the data
  • Don't underestimate preparation

“Why should we promote you?” sample answer

Finally, here’s a simplified sample answer to argue why you deserve that promotion:

“I’ve been working here for three years now, and I’ve learnt everything there is to know about our product and codebase. Now, I’m ready for more—I want to put all that knowledge to work to make things better and take on new challenges.

I led a team in developing an automation tool that reduced manual workload in the HR team by 40% last year! I had suspected it’d be good when I received props from the People director, but the figure was really enthusing. 

I've also improved coding standards, resulting in a 30% decrease in errors and a 20% reduction in debugging time with practices I introduced to our team. I've built up my leadership and collaboration skills by leading and managing projects across departments and achieving tangible outcomes.

And I'm always looking for ways to grow professionally. Right now, my career calls for this next new step, and I really want to take it here.”

With this, you’re very subtly saying you’d consider other companies if they don’t go along with the promotion. Please—don’t ever read it out loud. Just write down your talking points.

If you want a promotion, you can always look for a new job

If you're unable to secure a promotion or better pay, it may not entirely be your manager's fault. It’s possible the company doesn’t have the need or money for a new role. It could be some time before a position opens up and you’re not in the mood to wait. 

There's always another way to secure a promotion, and that's by negotiating a new salary… with a new employer. At WeAreDevelopers, we specialise in helping top developers across Europe connect with leading companies in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and other EU countries. Check out our job board and start searching for a new job that can provide the salary increase you require at this stage of your career. Best of luck!

How to Respond to the “Why Do You Deserve a Promotion?” Question

April 17, 2024
min read

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