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Being Interviewed…By Someone You Already Know!

Preparing for a job interview can be nerve wracking enough but once you walk into the interview room, you know that this is it - the moment for the actual interview has finally arrived and there’s no turning back.
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
May 8, 2024

Preparing for a job interview can be nerve wracking enough but once you walk into the interview room, you know that this is it - the moment for the actual interview has finally arrived and there’s no turning back. As well as your stomach flipping over several times with anxiety and your heart beating so fast and loud that surely it must be heard right throughout the building, it may be both a shock and a surprise if you recognise the interviewer as someone who you are already acquainted with.

The dynamics of such a situation can be both advantageous and challenging, which can make the intricate process of being interviewed more complex than anticipated.

Seeing a familiar face can bring comfort and alleviate some of the stress which is typically associated with meeting someone who is a complete stranger, especially in a formal setting such as an interview. Already knowing the interviewer can ease tension and allow for a more relaxed and informal conversation with more open communication. This can also make it easier to discuss your short and long term aspirations and  goals, to discuss qualifications and previous experience of similar roles.

However, being on familiar terms with the interviewer can lead to feelings of complacency. Whether or not you know the interviewer, you must maintain professionalism at all times and avoid assuming that because of the dynamics of the relationship between you both, that you do not have to try so hard when answering questions or that the job will inevitably be given to you. By becoming too casual, this will seriously undermine credibility and will diminish the serious tone by which the interviewer perceives you.

In whatever capacity that you know the interviewer, striking a good balance between showcasing professionalism on your part while maintaining a comfortable rapport can be extremely challenging. You must demonstrate respect for the authority that the interviewer holds during the interview as you aim to highlight your suitability for the job.

There will be a risk of bias, both consciously and unconsciously, which can influence the perceptions and decisions by the interviewer about you. Preconceived notions can cloud judgements and therefore it is absolutely crucial that both you and the interviewer approach the interview with an open mind and a firm commitment to being fair and objective, putting personal feelings aside.

Despite the obvious challenges, being interviewed by someone you know can present unique opportunities simply due to the fact that you can leverage your existing relationship to gain insights into the company culture, expectations and potential challenges. The familiarity can provide you with a better understanding of the interviewers preferences and communication style which can help you to tailor your responses accordingly and more effectively.

Of course, being interviewed by someone you know does not automatically mean that if you are successful in securing the job, that you will be working alongside them. Therefore, during the interview, both parties must be prepared to try and overlook the obvious complexities and ensure that a fair and objective interview takes place which will lead to a successful and totally unbiased selection process.

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