Interview Question: How did You Hear About the Position?

Your guide to answering a question that reveals more than just how you look for jobs.

Maddie Lloydby Maddie LloydGet The Job, Guides - 7 months ago

“How did you hear about the position?”

Out of all the questions you’re going to be asked during a job interview, this one is one of the easiest to answer and hardest to screw up. This question usually comes at the beginning of an interview and is meant to be an icebreaker, not a trick question.

Don’t be as confused as this guy. Your interviewer just wants to break the ice.

The interviewer might be trying to judge if you’re an active or passive job seeker. Being an “active” job seeker means that you’re actively looking for a job. A “passive” job seeker is someone who will follow job listings that are given to them, but won’t take the time to get off of Facebook to look for a job on their own.

Even though this question seems to be a no-brainer, some people do somehow still manage to screw it up. Don’t be one of those people. Icebreakers can determine how the rest of your interview goes. You should look like you actually want this position with their company, instead of just looking like the least-bad option.

Here’s what you can do:

How to Answer

1. State the source
This will give your interviewer an idea of how much research you did on the company before applying.

2. Mention the eye-catcher
Tell them what caught your eye about the job and made you want to apply. This will show the interviewer that you’re actively looking for a job and that you were motivated by what you found. Remember to talk about the duties of the position or values of the company you liked instead of just how much money you could be making.

3. Talk about your qualifications
Mention why you feel qualified for the job and show excitement for the opportunity.

4. Sound enthusiastic
Employers want people who are passionate and care about what they do on a daily basis.

5. Let them know who told you about the job
If you heard about the position from someone who already works with the company, it could be helpful to mention their name. Having a professional contact shows that you’ve taken the steps to do some networking during your job hunt.

Mistakes to Avoid

1. Avoid giving vague, one-word answers
Giving answers like this make your interviewer think that you have little investment or interest in the position. It’s best to act excited to have found the opportunity.

2. Don’t try to make stuff up
If you can’t remember what job board you found the position through, don’t try to come up with something off the top of your head. Lying is never a good idea, and trying to keep up with false statements throughout your interview will distract you from giving good answers to the rest of your questions.

3. Be selective when name-dropping
If you heard about the job from an employee who is on a bad standing with the company or left on bad terms, it’s probably best to not mention their name. The interviewer might think that you have the same bad qualities as your contact, which could lead to you no longer being considered for the job.

Good Answers vs Bad Answers

Your answer for this part of the interview says a lot about how excited you are about the job and how they can expect you to perform if they end up offering you the position.

Even though your answer for this question can reveal a lot about you, there’s no need to stress over it. Taking some time to research and prepare can help you form a response that will leave a positive impression on your interviewer and make you stand out from your competition.

Here are some examples of what to do and what not to do:

“So, how did you hear about the position?”

“Uh, I don’t know? I think my friend Brad told me about it, he said he likes how much time he gets off. I applied because he said it pays $20 an hour.”

“… Thanks for your time. You’ll hear back from us soon regarding whether or not we decide to continue with the interview process.”

This answer went wrong because the interviewee was too vague and didn’t show excitement for the job. Their answer shows the interviewer that they’re a passive job-seeker and care about little more than vacation time and getting a paycheck. Don’t be like this guy. Here’s how you can spruce up your answer:

“How did you hear about this position?”

“I found the job listing on Indeed.com. I found this position through searching for editing positions in the area. I mentioned the job to a friend of mine who works in the editing department. She mentioned that she loves working with the company and recommended that I apply.

What really caught my attention about this job was the flexibility for creative projects. After looking into the company and reading up on your core values, I felt like I would be perfect for the position.”

This answer is successful because this person was specific about how they were looking for a job. They’ve shown that they feel qualified for the job, while also mentioning that they have a connection to the company and have done research on them. The interviewer can tell that they’re an active job-seeker and care about more than just getting a paycheck. You don’t want to be remembered as a lazy person who loves money — or do you?

Things to Keep in Mind

This question usually comes at the beginning of the interview, but don’t spend too much time trying to answer this one because it’s not the most important. You want to make a good impression, but also have plenty of time to answer questions about your qualifications and experience.

Remember to be confident. If the interviewer thinks that you’re nervous about such a simple question, there’s a chance that they will think you’re not the best person for the job.

Be specific and be enthusiastic. Even if you don’t care about the job at all, it’s important to pretend you do — even if the only thing that motivates you is getting a paycheck. You’ll never get one if you can’t get a job in the first place.

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