Having a connection in a company of your choice can help you a lot with getting a job. They can say some warm words about you in front of their manager, and they can also hand your resume to the right person at the right time.
What’s more, many companies run an employee referral program. If you end up working in the company, and stay for six months at least, your connection will earn a nice commission for recommending you, or basically for convincing you to apply with the company. They can get $500, but also $5,000, depending on your new job and the rules of the employee referral program they have in place.
But what if you know someone in the company, but they did not recommend you the job? And what if you do not have a good connection with the person you know in the company? Should you still admit knowing someone who works for them, or should you pretend that you’ve forgotten about them?
We will try to find the answers in this article. Let’s start with 7 sample answers to this interesting interview question.
7 sample answers to “Do you know anyone who works for us?” interview question
- I know two people, Jennifer A. and Damian C. We’ve been friends for years, and actually they recommended me your company. I’ve asked them a lot of questions about the working environment, company culture, shift patterns, and also about the management and career growth perspective in this corporation. They both told me good things about the company and particularly about the managers. The way they talked about your business made me interested to apply, especially when I read the job description and found it great match to my education and skills. Here I am, and I can definitely thank my friends for making this recommendation.
- Speaking honestly, I cannot say. This is a big corporation, and I am almost sure that some people from the college work here. But I am not really a social media guy, and do not maintain my connections with people from the university, except of few best friends, who do not work here, as far as my knowledge goes. To be honest, one can read a lot about your company online, including reviews from existing and former employees. For me that’s good enough to learn as much as I need to know to make my decision to apply for a job or not. The rest I will find out in an interview, and it is not necessary for me to hear an opinion of someone I know personally.
- My brother Markus works for you. But I want to ensure you that we are different personalities. I would prefer if you did not compare me with him, and did not make any judgements about my skills or motivation following the results of my brother. Here I am in the interviews, ready to answer each your question. I honestly hope that you will make your decision according to my interview answers, and not according to what my brother does or says about me–if they care to say something at all.
- I am not aware of any familiar face working for you. But I think that Anita, my acquaintance from my last job in retail, had worked for you several years ago. She sometimes said things about the job, such as that the workload was heavy and the place was understaffed. Having said that, she worked here five years ago, so I do not consider her words relevant. I want to make my own impression, according to the things that I see and hear in an interview. I do not care what someone else says, especially when they do not work here anymore.
- Yeah, and I honestly think that it’s the reason why I am here today. It is not easy to get your job application noticed in such a popular place. But I know that Glen, who works here as an assistant manager, brought my resume to one of the HR managers and helped me to get this interview invitation. But I do not consider it unethical or anything similar. It’s good to know someone in the company, because they can tell you a lot about the working environment and expectations of the managers. Then you can make a qualified decision whether to apply or not, and they can also help you with your job application. That’s exactly what happened in my case. At this point, however, I do not count with their help anymore. I am here and I will try my best to convince you to give me a chance.
- I did my research about your place, and I found someone I know in the company. But I would prefer to not share their name with you. The reason is simple: we were close six years ago, and both of us changed a lot since then. I do not think it will be fair if I give any feedback on them, or contrariwise. But I want to assure you that I have no problem with the person I know in your company, and can imagine sharing the workplace with them.
- I know your CEO only, and I read the book they wrote. It’s an inspiring story of entrepreneurship, courage, and of overcoming one challenge after another, as they tried to build a successful international brand. I must confess that after reading the book I was definitely motivated to work here, and perhaps have a chance to meet the CEO in person one day. It will be a dream come true…
Avoid any negative remarks about the people you know in their company
Life is not perfect and we do not have to be friends with everyone we know. Maybe you do not like the guy who works for them. Perhaps you consider them stupid, incompetent, or at least lazy. And maybe you even know well enough to tell–for example when you worked together before.
However, you should avoid any such comments in an interview. Nobody wants to hire someone who sees the bad things in people, someone who complains about their colleagues. If you know someone who works for them but do not like the person, you should do one of the following things:
- Say that you do not know anyone in the company (you can forget).
- Name the person, but do not make any additional comments about them.
Everyone loves to hear words of praise
Did your connection praise the employee benefits, team building events, working environment, cafeteria, dress code, or anything else about your future place of work?
If they did, you should repeat their words in the interviews. Everyone loves to hear some words of recognition, and the managers who lead the interview with you are likely responsible for the good things (or at least they somehow participate on them).
Praising good things about the company, you are in fact praising the people who lead and manage the company. Use this interview question as an opportunity to strike their egos a bit, and to win their favor…
* Special Tip: “Do you know anyone who works for us?” isn’t the most difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, dealing with ambiguity, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
Admit if someone helped you in, but ensure the interviewers that you have to make the final step on your own
There’s nothing wrong if someone helps you to get an interview in a company. At the end of the day, they helped both you and the employer, they made things easier for everyone, and helped the company to save some money.
But you should ensure the interviewers that you do not expect to get a job just because you know someone in their place, and they said something nice about you. They helped you get an interview, and you are thankful for their help. From now on, however, you are ready to convince the interviewers with your answers, and do not expect help from anyone in the company.
Conclusion, answers to other tricky interview questions
Hiring managers can ask you whether you know someone in the company for a variety of reasons:
- To find out if someone from the company is eligible for the employee referral commission, if they decide to hire you.
- To hear what you will say about the person who recommended you, and to perhaps inquire them about their opinion about you, your motivation and skills.
- Sometimes they may ask the question just because they found it on a list of common interview questions, and they aren’t entirely sure what they try to find out with the question…
In any case, try to use this question as an opportunity to show the right attitude (saying something nice about the person you know in the company, or thanking them for such a great recommendation), or to improve the connection with your interviewers (repeating the nice things your connection said about the company, praising the managers in between the lines). That’s the best thing you can do to improve your chances of getting hired…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- How do you think I rate as an interviewer?
- Describe your best boss and worst boss.
- What is the most important thing you learned at school?