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How To Answer “How Did You Hear About This Position?”

It is always a good idea when you go to any interview to be fully prepared. Interviewers often have some stock questions they like to ask everyone they meet.

Being prepared for these questions is important because then you can give a good coherent answer. Therefore, it’s an excellent idea to learn, How To Answer “How Did You Hear About This Position?” fluently and naturally.

how to answer how did you hear about this position

Why Will They Ask You?

It is a simple question but one that can reveal a lot about you. Quite often, an interviewer will throw it into the conversation quite early. Not being prepared for it might mean you don’t give a clear answer. Or worse, a poor answer, and that could start the interview off badly.

Remember, some interviewers will have an impression they will have formed of you in the first five minutes. If this question is thrown in early, you need to get the answer right.

Looking For Some Specifics

You may be wondering what they could possibly gain from this question. But there are some of your answers they will be particularly interested in.

Market Research

Companies or employers don’t usually place an ad for staff in one place. In fact, these days, there could be six or seven different places the same requirement is placed. Your answer will give them a little information about the effectiveness of the places where the ad was placed.

But a little more than that. It is also a reflection of the quality of the applicant that comes from each of the ads. If they recognize that one area is producing better quality candidates than another, that is interesting market research information for them.

how did you hear about this position

A Motivated Individual

They will be more interested in a candidate that actually sourced the job based on their own preferences. They will be more impressed with a candidate sitting in front of them who actively looked for this position.

Also, they will want to see a candidate who is searching for this job rather than ‘any’ job. If you intimate you stumbled across this position by accident, they will not be so impressed. Your answer then is going to be important.

Let Me Get Specific

So, having discussed some of the issues, let’s get down to basics. The interviewer has just said, “How Did You Hear About This Position?” How do you respond? Well, an important thing to remember is that you need to answer truthfully.

It will do your application no good to say that you read they were hiring and they hadn’t made it public.

Let’s identify some answers:

  • You have a friend who mentioned the company might be hiring people with your skills.
  • You read a press release or an article that stated you were looking at people with your experience- if indeed you actually did.
  • You’ve been aware of the company from your past business dealings and were always impressed with them.
  • You read an article about the company that aroused your interest, so you thought you would identify any positions commensurate with your experience.
  • You found the position while searching careers websites.

Five options there that will help to cement a good image to your interviewer when they ask the question.

Is There Anything To Avoid As An Answer?

There are probably quite a few things, but here are three you should definitely stay away from.

Don’t Make Something Up

As I said previously, don’t just make something up because it sounds good. If you’re quoting a real experience, make sure it exists. This next one is a situation that some observers cite as an advantage. But to me, there is a distinct disadvantage. That is…

The Friend Already Working in the Company

Some see this as an advantage. But what about if the ‘friend’ is not highly thought of? What if some of their behavior both at work and outside has come to the notice of the company? What if it is not favorable? Would you be aware of that?

The question is whether this could affect your opportunity. There is a chance that it could. “We don’t want another one like them” is what might be being thought. Your friend might be in a position of authority within the company, albeit in different departments. But that still doesn’t mean they are liked professionally or otherwise. If you are going to use that one, be careful.

how did you hear about the position

I Can’t Quite Remember

Another answer to definitely avoid. If you can’t remember where you saw an ad or an article, it doesn’t bode well. It can make you look disorganized and, in some ways, shows a lack of discipline that you can’t remember such a simple thing.

The Best Answers

The best answers are not complicated, clever, or witty. They are concise and to the point. They are polite and give off an air of professionalism. Also, they are relatively brief and don’t involve a complete run-through of your life story.

This is Probably Not a Trick Question

Most interviewers don’t ask this as a trick question. As I said earlier, it is most often used as a bit of an ‘icebreaker.’ Or possibly a ‘factfinder.’ However, they will be listening to your answers, and they will pick up on you if something isn’t quite right.

Giving You Word for Word Answers

That probably isn’t necessary or appropriate. And in any case, if you learn them, they aren’t going to sound natural if you just repeat them. I have given you five sample options as potential answers earlier. They are really just guidelines or topics as to the sort of things to say. The content of what you say must be yours.

If Your Answers Prompt the Question -” Are you Active or Passive in your Search?”

In other words, are you actively looking for a new job, or did you just happen to come across this position? Either answer is acceptable. Maybe you are actively seeking a job, and you saw this particular company and position. If so, be prepared if they ask why it was appealing to you?

Or maybe it was more of an accident than you actively looking for a position. If so, then be prepared to follow up with why this job or the company appeals to you?

Simply The Best

That is what your answer needs to be. If this is the first interview, how many other candidates do you think they will be talking to? Five or ten, maybe more? The answer you give to the question “How Did You Hear About This Position” has got to be ‘Simply The Best.’ It’s got to place you in front of the others. In other words. ‘Better than all the rest.’

How can you achieve that? I have already covered some options and points to include and not include. But let’s look at creating the right impression when you give your answer.

Why Are You at The Interview?

The interviewing process has become far more sophisticated, even more so than it was twenty or thirty years ago. The advent of technology means that certain comparisons can be made between candidates. Statistical analysis of a candidate’s performance can be very influential in the decision process.

In today’s job market, there are things you need to emphasize in your interview. And especially when asked questions like this.

You Are There to Learn

That is one thing that must be at the front of all your answers and comments in the interviewing process. You want to learn about the position and the company, just as they want to learn about you.

The best interviewees will focus on the position and glean as much information as they can. There may even be the opportunity to ask questions if you are invited, which is quite common. If so, keep them relevant, polite, and giving off a confident and relaxed atmosphere.

how did you hear about position

Tips On How To Answer “How Did You Hear About This Position?”

This question may well generate a conversation which is one of the reasons for it. That way, as I have already said, they will find out about you. But you can also find out a little about them.

How you answer this question, though seemingly just a friendly starting point, can make or break your interview. Speaking in a confident professional way in answering will go a long way. But so will the way you present yourself. Accessories can play a big part in how you look.

First Impressions count, remember, so here are some items to help you. A classy briefcase looks the part, I’d commend the Tassia Luxury Leather Executive Case Attache Briefcase. And to make sure that you don’t get wet if it is raining on your way to the interview, get yourself the Lilyxin Premium Automatic Compact Umbrella Windproof.

And in case you are asked to sign something, a quality pen is always impressive; I would go for the Parker IM Fountain Pen.

The Bottom Line

You are going to this interview to do four things:

  • Give a good account of yourself.
  • Look and sound professional.
  • Put yourself ahead of any competition.
  • Find out as much as you can about the positions and the company.

Looking For More Interview Info And Advice?

Well, firstly is the all-important resume. So, I’ve put together advice on How To Write A Letter of Interest, the Most Important Skills To Put On A Resume, Job Titles On Resume, Achievements To List On Your Resume, How To Address A Cover Letter, what Hobbies Interests To Put On Resume, as well as How To List References On A Resume in 2022.

For additional info on writing the perfect resume, check out the Land Your Dream Job: Join the 2% Who Make it Past Resumé Screening, CVs, Resumes, and LinkedIn: A Guide to Professional English, English for Academic CVs, Resumes, and Online Profiles, and the Marketing Yourself in the Age of Digital: CVs, Applications, Interviews, Social Media, LinkedIn all available online today.

We’ve also put together our own guides on interviews with our How Would You Describe Yourself, What Are Your Career Goals, Why We Should Hire You, What Are You Most Proud Of, How Do You Handle Stress, Why Do You Want To Work Here, and of course Answering Tell Me About Yourself In Interview.

Final Thoughts

You want to make it look like you don’t want just ‘any’ job. But this one might be the one where you can make a real contribution.

The interviewer will want to know that you can make that contribution. And the questions asked will be geared towards that end. A good answer to the question “How Did You Hear About This Position” will start the proceedings off on the right foot.

All the very best with your Interview!

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About Carmen Smith

Carmen grew up in San Diago but now lives in Boston. She loves traveling, experiencing other cultures, and basically exploring the world, be country at a time.

Her other passion is helping people find the perfect career. We spend 33% of our working lives at work, so it's ridiculous that many people do jobs that they do not enjoy. Carmen wants to change this and thinks that anyone who isn't happy in their employment should keep looking until they find something that they really enjoy. 

She firmly believes that "Everyone's perfect job is out there; it's just a case of continually looking until you find it."

Carmen lives with her husband Johnny, a keen birder who also loves to travel. He finds birds while Carmen makes plans for where they will be eating next...

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