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How to interview with someone you know

How to interview with someone you know

Whether you’re an internal candidate applying for a new role or an external candidate who just happens to know the interviewer, it’s important that you prepare well for the big day. Here are some important dos and don’ts.



…prepare as you would for any other interview. You need to present yourself well and plan your answers to the usual questions.


…dress professionally. Your interviewer may have seen you in scruffy clothes or without makeup before, but dress as you would for any other opportunity and don’t forget to smile.


…greet your interviewer warmly. There’s no point pretending you don’t know each other, so it’s fine to greet one another and run through a few pleasantries before moving on to the formal interview.


…take the questions you are asked seriously. You may both know that the answer to ‘Where do you see yourself in ten years?’ is ‘On a beach somewhere with a cocktail and a good book’, but stay on track and focus on your career.


…sell yourself as if you’re talking to a stranger. Even if your interviewer knows what skills and experience you have, explain why you are interested in this particular role and why you are a great fit. It might feel a bit cringeworthy selling yourself to someone you know, but that’s what you’re there for!


…accept the outcome. Great news if you get the job, but if you don’t, be gracious and move on. Try not to let it affect your relationship with your acquaintance, especially if you are an internal candidate and have to continue working together.




…be over familiar. Hugs aren’t usually appropriate in an interview situation and neither are cheeky nicknames.


…turn up late. If you already work in the building this is unforgiveable, but even if you’re travelling to the office make sure you leave plenty of time. Don’t rely on your interviewer to make special allowances for you.


…lie. Lying is never a good idea, but if you know the person who is interviewing you they may be aware that you are being dishonest. This is unlikely to land you the job.


…crack personal in-jokes. It can be tempting to do this to take advantage of the familiarity between you and your interviewer, but make sure you use professional language at all times and stay away from inappropriate humour and anecdotes. Bring any personal gossip back to the job in question.


…forget to follow up. If you haven’t heard back within a reasonable time frame, contact your interviewer to find out whether you got the job and to request feedback if you didn’t.