You thought you had it made. A friend set you up with an interview at their workplace. Surely your success is guaranteed, right? After all, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, right?
But they still employed someone else. What happened?
I gave a friend’s CV to my employer once. I felt so good inside! I was going to help my friend get a job. I was going to help my boss find someone with the right demeanour for the role. I was sure my friend would fit in well, in fact I was very confident she’d hit it off with a few of the senior members. You can imagine our surprise when my pal ended up being second choice.
We both could have prepared much better!
3 things to consider before the interview
Here are the important things to consider if you get an interview through a friend, or any mutual connection:
- Are you the right fit? Cultural fit may be more important than you think. Depending on the team dynamic, your relationship with your connection could be either a positive or negative in the employer’s eyes.
- How well does your connection know you as an employee, or know your career goals? An employer will assess you based on your abilities and your potential. You connection probably knows your abilities, but are you both sending the same message about your potential?
- Are you ready to do your best – just like any other interview? Don’t take this opportunity for granted – show that employer that you really will do what it takes!
3 actions to take before the interview
So how should you prepare for such an interview?
- If there is a job description available, get a copy. If there isn’t, go online and find one. Then quiz your connection about how it matches the role and what elements would be best to highlight in the interview.
- Ask your connection to inspect your outfit choice. Just because the uniform includes jeans, that doesn’t mean you should wear them for the interview. Best to dress “at least one notch more formally” than the current employees.
- Ask yourself why you want the job? Would you still want this job if your connection wasn’t working there? If yes, that’s great! If not, this might be the time to politely withdraw.
Remember, it is an opportunity. It’s not a guarantee, in fact, it may not even be a good idea! Assess this opportunity like any other and take it if it’s worth it. I’ve had interviews via connections before which resulted in a job offer, how about you? When has it worked for you, or when did it become a disaster?