How to Approach an Interview When the Interviewer’s Your Friend

The following interview situation isn’t out of the norm. After all, if you got your foot in the door because you know someone at the potential employer, you may actually know more than one person. And that person may happen to be your interviewer.

A post on The Daily Muse outlines tips for interviewing when you’re actually friends with the interviewer. No matter what, keep it professional and stay on point.

1. Stay professional. Instead of slipping into friend mode, you’ll need to be particularly cognizant about maintaining your professionalism. Keep the small talk to a minimum and avoid using the time to make happy hour plans. Assume the interviewer is an interviewer you need to impress, not someone you know. This is no longer just your friend, this is your potential colleague now, too. And if your friend keeps his or her guard down by dishing about weekend plans, steer the conversation back to the job.

2. Discuss your working relationship. As the piece points out, both of you should talk about whether or not your friendship will impact a professional one. Yes, it’s the elephant in the room but it still needs to be addressed. The piece recommends beginning the discussion by simply saying, “Maybe we should talk about how this will affect our outside relationship if I get the job.”

3. Follow up. If you treat the job interview the same way you would treat any other one, you’re good to go. Maintain your professionalism throughout the process and part of that entails the thank you note.

4. Be gracious and accept the outcome. If you get the job, clearly that’s the desired outcome but if you don’t, simply accept it and continue interviewing elsewhere. Don’t hold a grudge against your friend; so many factors are taken into account when a hire is made and your buddy may not have enough influence on hiring.