If you are vying for the same job as a friend, remember to keep these three qualities in mind: respect, transparency, and motivation.
Over the past three years, I have become good friends with a co-worker. In fact, I became close enough that he asked me to take his engagement photos and attend his wedding. It was an honor to share such a special moment with him. We were both eager to further our careers, so when a position opened up at our company, we applied for it. This could have gone badly, but we remembered that while business is business, friendship matters too, and turned it into a good experience for both of us.
The key thing to remember is respect. Respect that your friend/co-worker is smart, and capable and desires this job just like you. We boosted each other up and were honest that if one of us won, we would be truly pleased for them, even though the other would be upset. Essentially, if you respect each other throughout this process, it’ll be a good experience for both of you no matter what the outcome is. Plus, maintaining the friendship will be easier to do once everything is decided.
The next thing I would tell you is something a lot of people might not agree with, but it worked for me. Be transparent about the process with your friend or co-worker—My friend and I talked openly about all the aggressive rounds of interviews we had to go through, and how each one went. We provided each other with helpful tips and even discussed the individual strengths that would make us the best candidates for the job. Although we competed against each other, we didn’t take it to heart. Going through the experience together not only created a strong bond between us but was an incredibly supportive process. Your friends and roommates can offer you some level of support, but having someone who is dealing with the same issues as you make all the difference.
The final suggestion I have for you is to draw motivation from the competition. If you have a friend who is also interviewing for the same job, it will help show you how badly you really want the job. The interview process can be draining but it can also teach give helpful insights about yourself that you might not have considered before. Having a friend who is struggling with the same issues can help you clarify what it is that you want if both of you are honest and respectful with each other. Your motivation might dwindle after the fourth interview, and you would prefer to bow out so that somebody who really wants the job gets it. On the contrary, after each interview, you may realize that this is precisely the professional path you want to take–and will fight for it until victory.
You will probably develop friendships with the people you spend most of your time with at work, and while this enriches your professional life, it may lead to blurring the lines between business etiquette and friendship. I have found that, in most cases, it is best, to be honest with people. If you are open and honest with each other, you will both come out of the experience stronger and closer than before.
Have you ever had to compete with a friend for a job? How did that feel? Let us know in the comments!