When Friends Compete for Jobs…

Gold, Silver, Bronze, originally uploaded to Flickr by TofflerAnn.When friends compete for jobs, can you maintain the friendship? Reader L wonders how to stay friendly with people who compete for the same jobs she is…

I am about to graduate from graduate school in a professional field. My friends and I are all searching for similar jobs. How can we deal with the competitive nature of the job hunt, specifically in our field, without letting it get in the way of our relationships? I feel pangs of jealousy when a friend gets an interview for a job I applied for (a highly immature reaction, I know) and I’m sure I’m not the only one of the group to feel this way. I try to avoid discussing the job hunt, but it seems to come up in conversation regardless. Help!

We got into this a bit back when another reader asked about being competitive with her significant other, but I don’t think we’ve talked about it in the abstract.  So let’s discuss.  (Pictured: Gold, Silver, Bronze, originally uploaded to Flickr by TofflerAnn.)

First:  Don’t talk about it.  You know this (everyone does), but hey, one must start with the basics.  If you’re stressed about interviews, don’t talk about it.  If you’re worried about an upcoming interview, don’t talk about it.  If you’re pleased that one went well, definitely don’t talk about it.  Some of this comes down to social circles — surely you have friends or family who are not going through the same interview stress that you are right now, and you can talk about it with them.

Now, if you’re doing poorly, perhaps you should talk about it to see what you’re doing wrong.  But I would start with Career Services at your school, because they’ll have the best idea of how you’re actually doing.  For example, if you’ve applied to ten jobs and gotten two interviews:  that may mean “wow, let’s find that typo on your resume” or it may be “congratulations! that’s great in this economy!”  After you’ve talked about it with Career Services, if you still want to talk to friends about it, choose one or two people who you will listen to and trust their advice, and no more.  Bonus points if you can find friends a year or two ahead of you in school who’ve already been through this all before, but are no longer mired in it.

Second:  Deal with what you can control: yourself.  I completely understand the jealousy — it’s human nature.  I would take “immaturity” out of it and ask yourself: can you get over it?  For example, can you reason with yourself that the other people have a different background, different wording on their resumes, different connections — and all those little differences sometimes add up to “let’s call person X” or “let’s not call person Y.”  The mood of the person selecting resumes could have been different… they could have been rushing… they could have preferred the font your friend used to the one that you used.  It could be anything.  The trick is to acknowledge that and move past it.

Now if you can’t move past it — that’s OK.  I think it takes maturity to recognize that and act accordingly, such as removing yourself from those social circles for a little while and hanging out with other friends, or by yourself.

Third: If people are jealous of you, you’ve probably broken Rule the First — and talked about it.  So: don’t do that.

Readers, what are your best tips for dealing with this situation?  How do you handle it when you and friends compete for jobs?


  1. When I was getting ready for On-Campus Interviewing in law school (which for non-lawyers on here, is a process where law firms come on-campus and do large numbers of first-round interviews with students all in a two-three week period, it is a close approximation of h*ll) everybody the year before warned us that we would all hate each other by the end and that all our classmates who weren’t getting interviews would hate us even more.

    But I’m not sure if its because the economy had tanked by then, but I felt like my class was more in a “we’re all in this together, lets hope for the best for as many of us as possible.” So we paired commiseration with happiness for those who were successful. And I came out of the process having made more friends then I had before. :-P So I think its about mind-set to a certain extent.

  2. Just wanted to thank those of you who emailed me extra birthday love… thank you for remembering and for thinking of me. Super hoping that the really tough stuff has washed away with the old year and that this new year will bring a reprieve or maybe even a good thing or two. I am so so grateful to have you all in my life :)

    Being that I’m 29 (oh god, haven’t said that til just now), what are some things you either wish you’d done before turning 30 or that you want to do before you turn 30? Or what was the best thing you did before you turned 30?

    • canadian anon :

      happy birthday K! I have no advice but will watch everyone else’s carefully.. turning 26 in a few weeks.

    • Happy Birthday!!!!! I didn’t e-mail you…but I’ll say it here.

      I’m about six months behind you — so can’t give good advice on the turning 30 thing, except to say that 29 isn’t old! Its the age my mother always WISHES she was when she’s wishing those sort of things. But then I get offended, because that’s when she only had my brother and not me. :-P She insists that has nothing to do with it. (Lol).

    • If it’s any consolation, I found that being 29 was the hardest age I’ve ever dealt with, and I am many, many years beyond that now. Turning 30 was actually a relief in comparison to the previous year, when I did many stupid things because I had the feeling I was losing my youth. It turned out that you don’t lose your youth at all, and life gets better. So don’t do stupid things.

      • he Melitta :

        I’ve read that a person’s least happy years are in their 20s. There’s health and stuff, but it’s not enough to offset insecurities– emotional, financial, in relationships, etc.

    • Happy Birthday! What a great age to be! I think for most of us, who are introspective and thoughtful, 29 is a better place to be than 19.

      You know what book applies to someone at 29? (and 19, and 9, and 99, etc?)
      Dr. Seuss’s _Oh, the Places You’ll Go! _ It’s true at any age. There’s so much potential to get the most out of this life, and it sounds like you already have a lot of the wisdom to do so, just need a few lucky breaks. :-)

    • K, shortly before my 30th, I smoked my first joint and tried some meth. Not sure I’d recommend it, but I realized that tons of people I knew had past chapters involving such substances. I did not, & realized that the time for such indiscretions was rapidly passing. I was also divorced by then–rushing into marriage is something I would def not recommend, no matter what the INS says.

      Take some time to take an inventory of yourself–your powers, how you want to use (or curb) them, areas you want to grow in, etc. when I look back at the work plan my diss advisor had me draw up, I’m struck by how true it is to the goals I’ve had ever since. Haven’t met them all, & I’ve set some new ones, but it’s still a valuable document. Having similar in personal life would be amazing!

      • Meth? Really. Wow.

      • Yikes, 29 is not the time to start experimenting with drugs . At 19 its acceptable only because you’re a dumb kid. No one laughs about or sympathises with adults who use…especially meth. God, I wouldn’t even consider dating someone who’s tried meth.

  3. I would follow this by suggesting that you try your hardest to be congratulatory and genuinely happy for your friends as they get job offers, as best as you can. I always keep my ears open for what judges around my court are hiring and make sure to pass it on to those that I know are still looking for jobs. I probably wouldn’t do that, though, for someone who made me feel guilty or awkward when I got my clerkship– because I earned it, dammit!

  4. The law office I work for is closing and we are all being layed off. Myself and another attorney that works with me are close friends after having worked closely together on a project for over a year. We are now being thrust into the job market at the same time with the same recent resume and skills. I guess there is a first time for everything.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      If you are in a northeast law firm that is large for the city you are in but small in the national sense, rest assured that all the law firms in your city are very saddened by your closing and trying to find openings to absorb as many of you as possible! It was very eye opening and scary for the whole community and made everyone wonder “could we be next.”

  5. Has anyone ever done a bridesmaid dress fitting at J. Crew? I am going this weekend to try on dresses, and I find it odd that you have to make an appointment in order to see the dresses and they only have one sample size during the fitting. (This is what I was told by a non-bridal sales associate who said no way no how could I see a dress without an appointment.) Sure, they take your measurements, but it seems a little pretentious. I mean come on, it’s J. Crew not Carolina Herrera. OK, rant over.

    • Its for this reason that I didn’t try on my J.Crew bridesmaid dress, I just ordered it blind (figuring I could return it if it didn’t fit). Especially since you can only do fittings at certain stores.

      But, its how it generally works with most bridesmaid lines, not just J.Crew, so maybe they’re just trying to fit in with the crowd.

    • Boston Lurker :

      Yes, I had to do this a few months ago. Totally annoying in my opinion. Luckily the style I ended up getting happened to be in my size. When trying on the other dresses, it was pretty hard to tell if I liked one when I (a size 8) was trying on a size 2…

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Same here. I also got lucky in that the dress I ended up picking had the sample in my size, but it definitely made it harder to decide.

        (Upon reading some of the bridal threads on here, I’ve decided I must have the most relaxed, awesome friends ever. I’ve been in 2 weddings; one bride told me to get whatever dress I wanted as long as it was light blue, and the other said “get a J.Crew dress in x color and fabric, whatever style you want, and I’ll pay for it.”)

  6. Tish Baldridge :

    The recent wedding threads got me thinking…since when did it ever become OK to call a bride and ask for a +1? I have always believed that it is in horrible taste to put anyone on the spot about an invitation (especially for an occasion as pricey as a wedding). However the sheer number of Corporette women who seem to think this is OK have caused me to reassess my earlier position. Please friends, weigh in. Has this custom changed?

    • just Karen :

      No. I think the majority were in favor of calling to ask for clarification on whether the boyfriend was invited (since they only has a save the date, not an invitation yet), and not actually asking for a spot (that may have been my interpretation skewed with wishful thinking since I have less than seven weeks to go before my own wedding).

    • Call me the minority, but I do not think it’s ok to call a bride and ask for a +1. Ever.

      • I am a bride and I am fine with it, so there! And in fact, our website makes clear that you can only bring your life-in SO and your children. But still, a friend emails, asks if she can bring her little brother since her fiance can’t make it, and you know what? I am not particularly peeved, and I say yes, since it looks like we will have room. I also would have felt comfortable saying no, and I was kind of surprised given how clear our website is, but nevertheless, not put out, not made uncomfortable, and in a sense I’m glad I’m an approachable-enough bride that she felt she could ask me. And again, if more people were coming, I would have told her no, and I doubt either of us would have had to write to Dear Prudence for affirmation of our actions.

        • I think that’s totally different than the situation that was initially proposed – i.e. calling a bride and asking for a +1 when you weren’t invited with one. For instance, I would have had no problem with the situation you proposed, but I would be upset if a friend had called me and asked, after not being invited with a +1, to bring her little brother or friend. It’s a numbers game. If I invite you with a +1 I don’t particularly care who you invite. I do care if you try to weasel one out of me after you were invited solo.

    • I think my opinion varies with (a) the type of bride, (b) the type of wedding and (c) the relationship to the bride.

      In the case yesterday — the girl and the bride were very good friends. If a very good friend had had a situation arise months before my wedding where she really wanted a +1 for whatever reason (and I hadn’t given her one…) then I would think it was okay to call. Same if I had a good friend who was in a serious relationship and I didn’t invite their SO because in that case, I feel like it might have been an unintentional omission (though in either case, I sort of feel like this is what e-mail was made for — gives the bride time to compose a response, doesn’t place her so much on the spot).

      But if it were a really big wedding, if I wasn’t close to the bride, if it was a relative, or if I just felt like there wasn’t a strong relationship there, then definitely not.

      Which I guess focuses less on etiquette and more on relationships. I guess what I’m saying is, it IS a breach of etiquette, but if I’m close enough to a person, I don’t care if they breach etiquette. Tada! :-P

      • I agree with this. As a general rule, I don’t think you should call up a bride and ask for a +1. But in this particular case, the OP said that she and the bride were very close, she had been dating her boyfriend for several years, and they were living together. Plus I think the wedding would have required travel. When you have that confluence of circumstances, I think it’s ok to ask for clarification as to whether the boyfriend is invited. In my mind (and maybe I’m making this too literal), I don’t think this is asking for a +1 so much as trying to figure out what’s what.

        FWIW, I had a very small wedding (sub-70 people), and we didn’t give +1’s to anyone who wasn’t in a relationship (due to space reasons), but if we had had the room (or if others rsvp’d no), we would have. We agonized over it. And if any of those handful of people had asked, I would have happily explained.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I have asked, but only once because 1) I was in the wedding and the bride was one of my best friends who I knew would not feel awkward telling me no, 2) the +1 was my (very) long-term, live in BF, and 3) the wedding was in a foreign country and we were planning on traveling around said country for a bit before the wedding (because if you’re crossing an ocean, might as well go all out), and I made it very clear it was fine if she didn’t have room and he could hang out on his own for a day in foreign city.

      I probably wouldn’t consider it polite to ask for anything less than a very close friend with some extenuating circumstance like major travel involved.

    • he Melitta :

      My boyfriend did this without even discussing with me early on ion the relationship. Neither the bride he asked (right in front of me!) or her mother have liked me since. Definitely a no-no.

    • It didn’t even occur to me at my wedding to ask people to come solo. I gave everyone the option of a +1. Who wants to travel alone especially if they won’t know many there- how awful? I’d rather have a shorter list with happy guests than miserable resentful solos. When did this become a thing? I wasn’t focused on the ‘rules’ and just did what I thought was best for people skipping most formalities (no bridesmaids, no church part, etc.) and I have often been told it was peoples’ favorite wedding they’ve been to (who knows if they are just saying it, but have heard it).

      • Agree. Who would ask someone to come to their wedding solo? Wouldn’t even occur to me.

      • Yeah that’s the kind of wedding I’m planning, but we have a very strict number (we’re going to be at a B&B because of travel issues — my grandmother cannot fly, several of his family members cannot fly and then take long car trips so we are stuck in some sort of middle ground). We can have 30 guests. So we each have ten close family members and split the friends. I’ve actually been disappointed that everyone is bringing significant others, since we have a “wait list” of guests we’d really like to come, but can’t invite. Luckily, one of my very dear friends will have a one-month old and so I’ve been able to not invite them since they won’t be travelling.

        Sometimes you just don’t have a choice and it has nothing to do with you, but a series of extenuating circumstances you’re doing your best to get around.

  7. Totally NOT okay. One of my husband’s friends actually wrote in his (brand new) girlfriend’s name and food selection into our RSVP card. My husband had to awkwardly inform him that only married/engaged/very long-term couples were getting +1’s … i.e. not even my sister! horrible.

    • Have you seen the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Ted RSVP’s for 1 and then decides to bring Robin at the last minute (I think its Robin). And the bride flip her proverbial sh*t. She was presented in the show as … haha … look at the crazy bride. But until you handle getting a guest list finalized in the final two weeks before the wedding, you have NEVER known stress. I’d have flipped my sh*t too!!!


      • ha yes! Making that damn seating chart is a pain in the ass. We had one or two people not be able to come at the last minute and I was like aghhhhhhhhhhh.

        • Yup. And the people who couldn’t come were for VERY good reasons (baby came early — hospitalization type reasons) and a little part of me was still like AGHHHHHHH.

    • this happened to us also. by that point they’d already bought plane tickets, and we had the space, and it just seemed to me that I’d rather take the high road, so we said nothing.

  8. canadian anon :

    I went through this with my master’s program a year and a half ago (on-campus recruitment from a fairly small program, not too many opportunities because of the crummy economy). It was in some cases a bit tough, and I’m not sure I walked the line totally perfectly (my then-bf and sister both yelled at me for sharing my cover letter and resume with a good friend in the program to help her out, since they felt I should have been more protective of myself, and on the other hand I definitely struggled with jealousy/resentment in some other cases). We all sort of knew who got interviews for what, and there were definitely times when we thought the wrong people got interviews and the wrong people got the job.

    My two bits of advice though are:
    1. Only talk about it very superficially, if at all, with more than the 1-3 (max) people you are actually close friends with. If it’s not someone you’d truly be happy for if they got a job that you didn’t, then do not talk to them, or tell them about your interviews, or ask about their interviews, or think about what they’re doing, AT ALL. Focus on yourself and your actual friends.
    2. Remember that what may sound like The Perfect Job Perfectly Suited To Me might actually be not at all perfect. I struggled with this for sure when I didn’t get certain jobs or interviews (especially if they went to. But I now know that the two jobs where I struggled with that most are actually fairly dysfunctional work environments, and that although the job I did get sounds a lot less sexy and isn’t in my ‘dream’ field — I’m getting a ton more exposure, responsibility, and experience than they are. So you never know.

  9. I agree with the above comment about how sometimes it is nice to commiserate. As a general rule, I would follow the rule about not talking about it, but it is totally cool to share frustrations with some close friends.

    Also, another rule that I wish people would follow is to withdraw applications if you get a job. I know so many people that don’t do that and it is really frustrating for those of us who are still looking.

    • Do you mean if you accept a job? Because just because you get a job offer doesn’t mean you are necessarily going to take it – you might still want to interview/look at other places and then have more opportunities to choose from.

    • Former MidLevel :

      That’s a great point.

  10. Just hired :

    I actually just went through a ridiculously stressful and drawn-out process that is, in material respects, not that different from law school OCI. And I managed to *make* friends, not just keep them. I think the key is to remember that: (1) these are your future colleagues; (2) you have similar interests, otherwise you wouldn’t be interested in similar jobs; and (3) as Kat mentioned, hiring is very idiosyncratic, so the fact that you didn’t get an interview with X firm doesn’t automatically reflect poorly on you. Admittedly, my #2 is perhaps a bit less applicable to law firm jobs than more specialized jobs, but you are friends in law school for a reason (or reasons) – don’t forget that. But #3 is really important – remember, you have special qualities and interests that may (or may not) match a given firm’s needs or wants.

    I think you’re smart to generally avoid talking about interviews with these friends, but sometimes it can be cathartic. Just don’t dwell. During our OCI, my friends and I would routinely call for moratoriums on OCI-talk. If you do it with a smile, people will generally move to another topic. Good luck – and hang in there.

    • he Melitta :

      I think it is natural for this stuff to come up when everyone is going through it. As long as you don’t brag, don’t initiate the conversation, and put and end to it (read: make a joke about how you can’t stand to hear about it anymore) when you start to get uncomfortable, then I think you are fine.

      In fact, it can be comforting and even helpful to hear about how much trouble others are having. Admittedly though, I live in a pretty close-knit little state and the thing about being future colleagues applies a little more than I think it probably would in a big city. We also have a pretty bad career services office, and i always end up finding my own jobs. Highest ranked school in a poor state so we get a few big firms and unpaid government internship interviews, but that’s about it. It’s almost better to let people know when you are still looking because you never know who can help you out– even other students.

  11. anon in tejas :

    I think that this is more stressful and there is a whole separate dynamic when you are out of law school. I have had a few friends who are looking try to utilize me for networking purposes and it’s tough when we are competing for work in the same field.

    Any recommendations on how to handle that?

  12. Similar Situation :

    As a kind of related threadjack — I’ve had a few friends from law school or elsewhere request that I pass their resume on to the recruiting people at my firm. I’m happy to do that, since I do think they would be suitable candidates. I don’t pore over the resume, but give it a quick glance to make sure everything is copacetic and pass it on.

    A few times the recruiting person e-mails and says ‘His/Her GPA is too low, we won’t consider him/her.’

    I haven’t passed this on to the applicant- since the firm will send out a rejection letter. It feels rude to not follow up, but at the same time, too harsh or intrusive if it comes from a peer. Suggestions from the hive?

    Luckily this doesn’t happen too much.

    • I would tell the person. They weren’t too embarrassed to have you see their GPA on their resume, and this is important information for them to have so that they could possibly refocus their search or mitigate it in some way. GPA is a fact, like number of years of experience, not a personal judgment.

    • I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying that the GPA was too low. I also think it is fine to inform someone even before s/he passes on a resume that the company is only looking at people with X gpa and above, no matter what other qualifications that person may possess. At this point, if you know what the cutoff is, I think it’s best to be honest with people about it instead of continuing to submit resumes you know will probably be rejected. I’ve certainly had people mention open positions to me and then say “Oh they won’t accept you unless you have X and Y” and if I don’t have those things, I will just thank my friend for letting me know before I wasted anyone’s time.

      • As someone who has received the mysterious rejection letters from my friends law firms, it always helps to know that the hiring committee are numbers obsessed. It takes the sting/ mysteriousness out of rejections.

        To be honest, I am 8 years out of a well ranked law school, do I really need to include my GPA on resumes?

  13. Confession. A local friend and I, with very similar background experience, are looking for jobs in the same field in the same city. I told her about a posting she hadn’t seen, and we both applied. I was surprised and embarrassed and the intensity of jealousy that came forth from deep within, when she advanced further in the interviewing process than I did. Not my proudest moment.

    The joke turned out to be on both of us, however, when the company went with an apparent dark-horse candidate with a connection to the hiring manager. I decided to take it as a learning moment and vowed to share commiseration but never information with a direct competitor. I’d managed to hide my feelings from her for several weeks, and since she didn’t ultimately get the job, the issue went away. But I was honestly worried that I wouldn’t be able to get over my jealousy and remain friends.

  14. As someone about to go through the OCI process (in six months) I love this thread. *listens*

    • Just hired :

      Smart girl. :) Maybe you can give *me* some advice for when I start teaching 1Ls in the fall…

    • The nice thing about law OCI, in this economy, is that a lot of people see firm jobs as more or less fungible. Why should I care that my friend interviewed for X, Y, and Z firms, while I only got interviews to A, B, and C? Or if they get A and I get B? They are all big law firms, and everyone should be (and mostly is) just thankful to have a job. God forbid I be forced into *real estate* transactional work instead of *emerging markets* transactional work.

  15. How different this all is from academia!! We practiced job talks (research lectures given as part of the job interview) & critiqued each other’s, got together to commiserate over rejection letters (positions can have 35-400 applicants), discussed negotiations & tactics, and celebrated with colleagues after signing

    • Former MidLevel :

      Law firms have a way of making you feel fungible…

      • I love the eloquence of fellow corporettes,
        Just had to google fungible.. I will look so smart next time I use this word at work :)
        Disclaimer: English is my fourth language so I am not trying to be snarky

    • I think that since a PhD requires original research, by the time you are looking for a post doc or tenured position that you feel like individuals who have each delved deeply into your own area. Each person has their own distinguished research background so you do not feel as judged if someone else is found more suitable.

  16. FWIW – sometimes not talking about your interviews doesn’t solve the problem. Last year I interviewed constantly with/against one of my closest friends (as an aside, we have since dated and broken up so competing for a job with a friend doesn’t ruin things, though sex just might). In fact, I interviewed for my current position against him AT THE SAME TIME – he was in one room and I was in another and we had to sit side by side in this awkward silence. When I ended up with the second round interview I could tell he was upset. After I got the job we didn’t really talk for three months — until he found his current position.

    We haven’t really talked about it but I didn’ t begrudge him too much for disappearing, if our positions had been reveresed I can’t say I would have acted any differently. When I got my job we had interviewed against each other four times! (I have found out since that he bad mouthed the job after I got it – things like, “it wasn’t a place I would want to work anyway…” etc… so maybe I can begrudge him that). But giving your friends space can make it so you don’t lose your friend forever.

    In this economic climate there are just too many qualified candidates and not enough jobs. My advice: it sucks but these are all natural feelings. If your friend gets the job you wanted it will sting. But, if they are your friend and you are theirs, they will get over it and you will get over it and all will be well in the end. If you’re the one sitting with a job give your friend some sapce, it has to suck to be the one without one of the coveted jobs.

  17. Anonymous :

    You know what I hate more than schizophrenic weather? Mentally retarded weather! And the absolute worst weather is alzheimer weather.

  18. My husband and I once interviewed for the same legal job! Strangely maybe, we were totally okay with it- we wanted to move to west coast, and were happy with whoever got a job first. The non-job getter would then get to relax a little more anyway:) I was genuinely curious to see who they might click with, knowing it was an art not a science if you know what I mean. We have similar backgrounds (met in law school and work in similar areas) but he is tall, male, calm; I am short, petite freckled, talkative… in the end neither of us got it although they seemed to like us both during the interviews.
    Come to think of it we did this with a few law school summer opportunities too- forgot about that. Part of being in same field. Fortunate it’s been a non-problem.

    Doctor residents go through this a lot- my best friend now is competing against his colleague fellow and likes and respects her. He has no other offers so it’s a serious situation. How he stays calm and friendly, I don’t know. After 8 years of training and massive debt, with not enough jobs in his speciality, it is just maddening to be unemployed.

  19. We haven’t really talked about it but I didn’ t begrudge him too much for disappearing, if our positions had been reveresed I can’t say I would have acted any differently. When I got my job we had interviewed against each other four times! (I have found out since that he bad mouthed the job after I got it – things like, “it wasn’t a place I would want to work anyway…” etc… so maybe I can begrudge him that). But giving your friends space can make it so you don’t lose your friend forever.

    Read more: https://corporette.com/2012/03/15/when-friends-compete-for-jobs/#ixzz1pFVNaXEW

  20. As a law clerk who just landed a firm job for next year (after amassing enough rejection letters to build a life-sized statue of myself), I have been competing against my friends for years. It was hard at first (I wanted to hurl my laptop at anyone who was wearing a suit in class during OCI), but now it is a fact of life. I have found that sharing tips and resources with your direct competitors is actually very helpful. Realistically, keeping someone else from finding out about an opening is not going to guarantee you the job. In this market, if a firm wants to hire someone “better” than you, it will find a way to do so. Meanwhile, the people with whom you are competing are in the best position to help you, and if you work in a small market like I do, they are your future colleagues and adversaries and they will remember that you were nice to them when it mattered.

    As far as talking about interviewing goes, IME it’s nice to keep the lines of communication open as long as you can do it with respect and humility (and you avoid people who can’t). I was recently walking in for a second round as a friend of mine was walking out. It was extremely awkward but she texted me afterwards and we were able to laugh about it. We both got offers and will be working in the same group, so it’s good that it didn’t get ugly. Some people need their space and you should obviously back off they even show a glimmer of discomfort, but I found something tremendously comforting in knowing that other people “get” this high stakes, high pressure experience.