Right tone is crucial with interview acquaintances

By Mick O’Connor, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers Athlone

Mick O'Connor, Career Coach
Mick O’Connor, Career Coach

Q: I’m going for an interview next week, and it’s a bit like going back in time. In what we will call a previous life, I knew two of the five people who will be interviewing me – one in a professional context (we worked in sister organisations) and the other in a social environment (we played five-a-side together each week through mutual friends). Should I acknowledge the fact that I know them when I go in the door? (Tom, email).

A: I feel it would be appropriate to say something like ‘nice to meet you again’ or something of that nature. I would do it out of politeness – they might be taken aback if you don’t refer to it – but it is important to keep it at a level.

Don’t come over too folksy. “I still think about the night I nut-megged you for that winning goal” or “are you still going in with the studs up” would be a stage too far with your former soccer colleague (plus a little sad, it wasn’t exactly the World Cup).

In the case of the person from the sister organisation, it would be inappropriate to embark on a long discussion about mutual acquaintances, or to compare observations on how the respective organisations are proceeding these days.

Keep it warm and friendly, but professional.

Don’t make either of the people feel uncomfortable and don’t exclude the other three people on the panel with an esoteric discussion.


Mick O’Connor is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers and works out of Athlone. You can read more about him, and make a booking HERE for CV Preparation and Interview Training.

More articles from his blog can be accessed HERE