Certain interview questions do not make an obvious sense. This one definitely fits into the group. After all, why does it matter for the employer to know how did you hear about the position? What matters is that you are interested in the position, meeting the job criteria in terms of education and experience, and sitting in an interview with them, talking and trying to get the job. Yet as in many other instances when in comes to getting a job, things are not as simple as they seem to a common eye.
Employers can have a variety of reasons when they ask you this question. Among them:
- Trying to validate their marketing and talent acquisition strategies. Understanding how job candidates learned about the position, and why they decided to apply, helps them to see whether this or that candidate sourcing strategy yields the desired results. As an example, if 70% of candidates learned about the job in local newspapers, or 40% of candidates responded to a particular job ad, it is a clear sign that the given strategy works, and they should invest more money into it, when trying to recruit new people for any positions.
- Understanding how well you know the offer and the company. Did you get a recommendation from a friend, who happens to work in the same department of the company? Or did you pick them on purpose, being their regular customer, and knowing both their services and corporate values inside-out? Obviously such things can help you to differentiate from other candidates.
- The question can be a pretext to understand your motivation, and what exactly you are looking for in a new job. Hiring managers may use such questions, because while almost every job seeker prepares for most common interview questions in advance (such as “What motivates you?“), saying the right things, questions like this one will catch 95% of job seekers off-guard, and they will respond spontaneously.
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. You will find on my list answers for different situations and places where you can find out about a job, including some unconventional answers. I hope at least one of them will resonate with the message you want to convey to your interviewers.
7 sample answers to “How did you hear about this job?” interview question
- I’ve been looking for marketing jobs in the area, and came across your offer on XYZ job board. I was immediately attracted by the list of working duties, as well as employee benefits. I want to assure you that I am not a type of a person who applies to dozens of jobs, sending resumes left and right. On the contrary, I handpick my offers, and after reading your job ad, I was immediately convinced that I’d love to interview for this job.
- I heard about it from a friend, who happens to work for your company, in the FP&A department. I’ve been unhappy in my present job for quite some time, and was looking for a different working environment and attitude of the management. And so I reached out to my connections from all spheres of life, asking about their present jobs, how they feel about the work, if they enjoy going to work, etc. When I liked what they said, I asked whether their company isn’t presently looking for someone with my qualifications and experience. And that’s how I heard about this job, and decided to apply….
- Local newspapers. I am always looking for interesting part-time jobs in the papers, in the local area, since I do not drive. Your job offer for a part-time cleaner caught my eye, because the schedule fits me well, and I also know that my age is not a barrier for such a job.
- I’ve found it on the careers section on your website. To be honest, I’ve always dreamed of working for Google. Neither Apple, nor Microsoft, nor Amazon. I love the way your products impact billions of users on the web daily. And, of course, you have all these amazing perks in place for your employees. When I finally found a job I can realistically get, I decided to apply.
- I just walked in and asked. To be honest, I am a bit old school. Do not like the virtual reality, online job applications and everything. I like to see the place, look the manager in the eyes, look around, have a conversation, see the possibilities, and apply. And that’s exactly what happened here. Your assistant told me that one of the cooks went for a maternity leave recently, and you have an open vacancy. I gave them my resume, and the rest is history…
- I heard about it from a headhunter. Having worked on senior engineering roles in a variety of Fortune 500 companies, and delivering in each one of them, many headhunters and recruiters had me in their sight. Most of the time I refused any meetings and offers, but when I heard the name of your company from the headhunter, I immediately wanted to know more. We talked a lot about the job, products I will work on and team I will lead. I found it extremely interesting and decided to accept an invitation for an interview.
- I’ve been following you on social media for quite some time, without an intention of applying for a job. I simply like your company, find your promotional campaigns engaging and educative, and hence I decided to follow you. But things do happen in life, I lost my job during the pandemic, and started to look for a new one. When I saw your post on my Facebook feed, I decided to learn more. And after reading the job description I decided to proceed with my application. After all, it would be great to work for a company which I have always liked as a customer.
Each interview question is your opportunity to earn some points
As you can notice on my list of sample answers, job applicants always added something extra to their reply. They did not just dryly stated that they’ve heard about the job on some job board, or from a friend, or that a headhunter contacted them with an offer.
In each and every case, they used the opportunity to praise the company, or to explain why this particular job offer caught their eye. And that’s exactly what you should try to do. Ensure them that you didn’t blindly submit dozens of resumes, and are interviewing with them simply because they invited you for an interview.
On the contrary, you handpicked their offer, because you like their business and values, you’ve been following them for some time, or you simply found their job description a perfect match for your education, experience, personality, and preferences. That’s the attitude they are looking for in their new hires, and this question is your opportunity to show such an attitude. Try to get the most of it…
Ready to answer the question? I hope so! Do not forget to check 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- What do you enjoy most or least about teamwork?
- Why should we hire you, instead of one of the other job applicants?
- What do you enjoy to do in your spare time?