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My manager was to be in an interview panel for selecting a person for a role senior to mine (I won't be reporting to). Since he could not make it I was requested to be on the panel which I obliged. It turns out the first candidate is actually internally applying and had actually interviewed me.

He was my official buddy at the start, just a few months back. I talk to him on a weekly basis, though we do not collaborate on much. It is a weird situation for me. And potentially for him.

What is the optimal way to deal with this scenario?

Note that I would be interviewing only this candidate. My manager would be available for the others.

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  • Well if you rate his skills as a "buddy" and mentor, then it seems like an excellent opportunity to recommend him to the other panel members and talk to them about his strengths! – Steve May 11 at 16:41
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    Just play it straight, no need to make it an issue. Disclosing existing relationship may well be considered a slight positive or an implicit recommendation. Because of relative seniority, it is unlikely your voice would be decisive in the hiring group anyway. – Pete W May 11 at 17:18
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There are multiple aspects here, but the answers to all are "yes" except one is "yes, but."

The short answer is yes, but check a couple things with the selecting official/ whoever determined who is on the panel.

Interview a candidate for a role senior to yours- Yes, in fact it is a good idea for the organization to get opinions from people of diverse levels and expertise. The one caveat here is to be sure your manager was not on the panel for a specific reason- i.e. if he is there so there is someone from your division, then fine. But if he was there as the manager level person, that could be an issue.

Someone who previously interviewed you- Yes, everyone should be professional and give an honest assessment.

Someone who is your buddy- From the context I assume you mean buddy as a workplace role- help show you the ropes, be a mentor, etc and not someone you have a personal relationship beyond work and maybe casual after work. This is the "yes but". Just disclose that to whomever is in charge of the panel. It sounds like he is not your direct supervisor so there should be no conflict of interest. Really, probably fine without further discussion but just to be above board careful you could disclose it.

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  • Everyone in the panel knows about it. As a matter of fact the other interviewer is his own current manager. I have sought his advice on work multiple time, so he knows me quite well. – kosmos May 11 at 21:43
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Talk to your manager or the senior panel member.

There's nothing wrong with interviewing someone who you have had a previous working relationship before, as long as it is transparent.

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