When it comes to getting your dream position in the company you like to work at, there are many things that have to go right. It is not easy for one to get selected for their dream position. And this has become even more difficult due to the rise of online job-seeking tools and platforms. You can almost be sure that there are already fifty applicants for the job as soon as you hear about an opening. And the worst part is that they are as qualified as you are for the position. They hold the same level of education and experience required for the job. And it is the same with many open positions.
The sooner you apply for the job, the more likely you get your application reviewed. There is not anything you can do about a position with no interview process. So, what about vacancies that require a screening process and later through an interview phase for all the candidates. Now, this is where you can shine and separate yourself from the herd.
You need to prepare for the interview to the best of your abilities. You must be knowledgeable about the topic that you will be asked. Confident and succinct in your response and charming to the interviewing panel. But while this advice you will find on every interviewing guide, you can bet your fellow applicants have also read those.
So how can you create a distinct and memorable positive experience in the mind of the interviewing panel? The answer lies in one of the more commonly asked questions by every interviewing panel – ‘how did you hear about us?’ or ‘How did you hear about this opening?’, something to that effect. You can bet that this is a question you would surely be asked in your interview.
Why Do Employers Ask Such a Simple Question in an Interview?
If you think this is quite a common and easy question and you can answer it without any issue, then you are not wrong. It is not a difficult question at all. In fact, it is quite straightforward – which is why you need to find a creative way to answer this question. You can bet your fellow applicants have a similar thought process to you as well. But if you want to succeed in landing in the position of your dreams, you need to be sure to create a distinct impression on the interviewing panel. And a creative answer to this question does an excellent job in that aspect. In addition, there is another purpose of the interviewing panel, asking such a simple and straightforward question. Your response to this question could easily help them gauge your motivations for applying for the position. Employers look for an applicant familiar with the company. They want someone whose interests are aligned with their wants, needs, and values. So, naturally, your response should cater to what they are actually asking.
What to Keep in Mind While Answering This Question?
Here are some things to keep in mind while answering this question.
1. Show Excitement
Now it might be a dull question by your standards, but you should not show it on your face. Employers look for a candidate who is enthusiastic about the job and the company. This is what your interviewing panel will look for in your answer too. So, you need to carefully consider how you will answer this question. First, you can share why the company you are interviewing for has caught your eye. Then, talk about employee growth opportunities and positive work culture in the company. This would indicate that you have given some time and done research about the company before the interview.
2. Name Drop
If you have been referred by someone already working at the company, then you need to name-drop them as soon as possible. This will significantly bolster the chances of you getting the job. Further, it would indicate that the person already working in the company thinks you would be a good fit for the vacant position. Share what kind of relationship you have with the person and how long you have known each other. References are important in getting a job, and if you have an excellent reference, make use of that.
3. Be Specific in Your Answer
It is essential that you must be specific in your answer. For example, share the exact place where you find the listing or how you become aware of the vacancy. Specify why you thought this might be the perfect position for you. And then follow up with how you are excited about the opportunity on offer.
Here are Some Example Answers to ‘How Did You Hear About Us?’
#1. From an Existing Employee in the Company
“I heard about a vacancy from Roger who works in marketing in your company. Roger and I were in the same class during our college years, and we have been in touch for many years since then. He informed me of the vacant position and asked to apply for it. He believes that I am uniquely qualified for the job and has the right personality to excel and provide value to the company.”
“Once I went through the application, I knew this is the perfect position for me. I am a creative person who is not just a go-getter and detail-oriented. And I think I would be an extremely valuable part of the team.”
As you can see from this example, the applicant did not even hesitate to name-drop someone they know working in the company already. But that is not all; they even went as far as to emphasize the special connection both parties share. Even pointing out that their reference, someone who already works in the company, thinks they are the right person for the opening. And then, the applicant finishes off by pointing out their qualities and how they would be the perfect fit for the position.
#2. From an Online Posting
“I came across this vacancy when I was browsing Monster from a job matching my specialty. Under the keyword marketing specialist, I came across your listing, which caught my eye right away. And while Monster could put some effort into revamping the job search page, your listing stood out to me right away. The wording on the job listing was instantly able to draw a clear picture of what kind of person you are looking for the position.”
“I am a team player who likes to work for a tightly-knit and creative team, which is why I applied for the vacant position. Collaboration and teamwork are two words that stood out to me in your listing. And with the sort of background and the experience I possess, I think I would do wonderfully in the vacant position.”
The key to constructing a good response to the ‘how did you hear about us?’ the question is honesty. The above example is one excellent way to answer this question when you have seen the job listing on an online job listing board. It shows that you have not come across the listing simply by chance, but you are actively looking for an opportunity to grow your career. And your advance search on the job listing platform also reflects that. And you finish off by describing how you can be the perfect person for the job. Every word in this answer was carefully worded – which is why it is an excellent answer to the question, especially in its criteria.
#3. From the Company Website
“I have actively searched for a vacancy in your company and have been paying attention to your company’s careers page for over a year. So naturally, as soon as this position opened up, I immediately applied for it right away. In fact, I have been actively looking at your company for quite some years now. Your company made quite an impression on me when one of your representatives went to my college a few years ago. His name was Robert, and he left quite an impression on me. His presentation inspired me to work at your company one day, and here I am applying for the same.”
“I am pretty sure that I would do excellently in the offered position. I am a team player who is quite enthusiastic about being a part of your team. And with the experience in the role offered, I think I would add a lot of value as a member of your incredible team.”
This is an excellent example for an applicant who has applied for the job directly through the company’s website page. As you can see from the given example, the applicant immediately conveyed to the interviewing committee where he got the information about the vacant position. But that is not all that the applicant did in this case. The applicant also informed the committee that they had been actively looking to get into the company. Thus, he also added a compelling story for their review. It showed how enthusiastic the applicant is about the company and the job. And at the end, they also emphasized their paramount quality and how they will benefit the company if hired to fill the position. By developing a story, the applicant can create a distinct impression in the mind of the interviewing panel and thus boosting their chances of landing the job.
#4. From a Recruiter
“I was contacted by Robert Langdon, who works for Abreus Recruiters Inc., about a position vacant in your company. He was quite impressed by my resume, especially with my experience of working with Fortune 500 companies. He connected with your hiring manager as he thought that I would be the perfect candidate for the offered role. And frankly, I was impressed with Linda, your hiring manager who explained to me about my future role and responsibilities in the company.”
“I am someone interested in building something from scratch, and working in your startup allows me to do that. As a result, I am sure that I will bring great value to your company. In addition, I have some excellent contacts which I am sure I could leverage to position your brand better in the market.”
This is an excellent example for two reasons. First, it shows that searching for a job is not the only way to apply for a position as companies hire recruiters to find them the perfect candidate for their business. And second, it shows how to pitch to startups. It informed the interviewing panel that the applicant is a highly experienced and connected personnel. And he is excited to work at a startup and willing to go out of the way to help the business in market growth.
Mistakes That you Should Avoid
While the above-listed examples are sure to help you out in answering the question – ‘How did you find out about us and the open position?’, they are not the whole answer, though. They can give you a direction for sure on how to model your answer; there are still some points that you should keep in mind. You must avoid making any mistake in answering such a simple question.
Here are some pointers that you must keep in mind to avoid any mistakes in the interview.
#1. Do not get overexcited in answering the question
While it is true that you are enthusiastic about finally getting your dream job, nothing is set in stone. You still have to clear the interview process. Being enthusiastic is good; it shows how excited you are about the position and would do your best if hired to fill the vacancy. But if you are overexcited, you might commit a mistake, which would not look favorably to you.
#2. Do Not Give Out too Much Info About Your Reference
Now you might have heard about the vacant position from an existing employee in the company, but you should never give out too much info about the relationship you have with this reference. Just explain the nature of your relationship and how they think you would be the perfect fill for the job, and that is all.
#3. Do Not Give Our One-Word Answer
Employers look for personnel who are of the confident sort and can handle what the company and the role might throw at them. Giving out one-word answers is simply not going to cut it. It gives out the impression that you are someone low on confidence and low in knowledge as well, which is simply not a good look no matter the position you are applying for. You have to ensure that the interview panel distinctly remembers your interview, and giving out a one-word answer will not do that. So, simply avoid vague one-word answers in your interview.
#4. Do Not Try to Build a Lie
It might be possible that you do not remember the exact site or job board you have seen the job listing, which is alright. However, in such a scenario, it is better to not dwell for a long time for an answer and simply state the truth that you found on a job listing online. Do not attempt to lie your way out of it. It would not paint a good picture once you are found out.
#5. Do Not Yell Out That You do Not Remember
While forgetting about where exactly you found the job listing is completely alright, that does not mean that you should simply blurt out that you do not remember. It would give out the wrong impression about you to the interviewing panel. First, it would indicate that you are disorganized in your job search, and second, it will hint that you might not be taking the interview seriously. Both of these impressions would seriously hinder your chances of getting the vacant position.
#6. Do Not Drop the Name of an Employee Who has Recently Quit the Company or is Not Happy Working There
While dropping names in an interview is generally considered a boon, you should avoid doing that if your reference does not work in the company anymore. Or is someone who is not happy working in the company. This would again create a negative impression about you in the mind of the interviewing panel. And that is why you must completely avoid dropping their name or even a reference when asked this question.
#7. Indicate How Serious You are About the Offered Position
Many employers are out there to look out for candidates who are serious about working in their company. And exactly, that is what you need to sound like to get the offered role. Do not sound like you are applying for several other jobs simultaneously and are desperate for any job you land. This would give out a wrong impression to the interviewing manager.
So, you have some amazing answers with a sample to this question. Now, you just need to look confident and give the best answer to how did you hear about us?