Clichés exist. Clichés exist in stories, on the telly, in daily communication – even in the corner of Aunt Millie’s cupboard, (behind that moldy thing she insists is an antique). So, what are the clichés in an interview setting? There’s a bunch! But one particular phrase that is used a considerably amount of times is: ‘How did you hear about us?’ This can be answered in an array of ways – so long as you leave the ray gun at home. One is to rely on humour, ‘Jiminy Cricket whispered your company’s name into my left ear one night’ or ‘I’ve come from the future! Within the next three years the company will progress by my capable and willing hands. … I have also seen how you are on the verge of destruction. Don’t give into Skynet!’ but these particular comments are probably not a good idea, especially if you’d rather not enter an asylum, enjoy your freedom or have the faintest hope of attaining the position.
According to various intel sources, more serious comments say that you should mention:
- Job Seeking Websites: Websites such as Adzuna, Fish4Jobs, CV Library, Linkedin and more are great places to mention. It shows that you are serious about looking for a position and have checked various resources.
- Recruiter: If all else fails, you can droop your head and admit that even after various job seeking websites, you turned to the dreaded local recruiter agency. (‘Ahh, so you’re one of those people …’ – don’t think of this response!) Agencies can be a great network! They may know insider information or have contacts within your dream company which can help get your foot in the door.
- Research: Ding! This is a marvelous answer. Interviewers love to hear that you’ve done more than the required amount of homework on the company, position, whatever. What’s more, telling them how impressed you are by their distinguished company will allow you to shine out from the candidate slush pile. Don’t forget exact details and relatable experiences! Be the champ and tell them just how fitted you are for the position.
- Friends told you about it: You have friends! Congratulations! Word of mouth is effective. You can learn a lot from just talking to your friends, ‘Ah, yeah, I have this friend of a friend, who’s cousin works for this place in East Manchester – why not give him a call?’ This response is similar to our next point ….
- Inside Source: Fessing-up that you are in the interview by a friend referral within a company has two connotations. The hopeful comment is that 1) your friend is a superb worker and 2) so are you! In this case you can laugh with the interviewer, drink champagne and have a merry time. If, however, you are not a good worker, or rather, your friend turns out not to be good himself. This can stray in the wrong direction. Note: in some cases, interviewers may even spend extra time with you because you were referred. This is to distinguish if you truly are worthy for the position and not entering the company via a favour.
While these are viable answers, I, for one, disagree with all the above and have concluded that the answer, though temptingly the number 42, really ought to surround the food known as okra. Why? Because if one enjoys that gooey and stringy substance people have classified as vegetation, then you obviously must be healthy which indicates that you will be a dedicated worker or at least one who will not have problems in the areas of asthma, diabetes and have high levels of vitamins C and K.
Another question that goes hand-in-hand with, ‘How did you hear about us?’ is ‘What do you know about the company?’ Don’t be intimidated by the possible dark room and bright light shining down upon you. Turn it around and brag about every incy-wincy bit of information that you managed to extrapolate from the interweb, Facebook, brochures, their personal license plate – everything. (We aren’t stalkerish at all, right?)
The worse thing you can do is stay quiet. The sound of crickets is nice, but this is more true after work hours. Another thing not to do is admitting that you don’t actually remember where you heard about them! It tells your interviewer that are disorganised, a fuzz ball – whatever. Don’t lie of course, but you can stretch the truth by admitting things such as, ‘Well, I’ve been on Linkedin, searched on such and such website and your company was rather interesting to me …’ The last thing you want is to be caught in a lie. Thus, it’s best to quickly distract the interviewer by talking about how well you’d fit into their company. That their core values line up with yours – really anything that might distract them from the truth: That you completely have forgotten where you found them!
Why do they ask me this??
Don’t panic. There’s a reason for everything. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is a cliché question that has long since passed down in the generations of interviewers during the final ritual to become their own specialised interviewer themselves. This question is used to gauge if you are a looking for a quick job fix or are seeking a real career. Thus, it’s always a great time to build on your answers and inform the interviewer just how well you form into the company. For example, you could probably even tell them that you were personally carved by the company itself while forming into a live person inside your mother’s womb. But, just remember, that no matter what happens. If you truly want the job, bringing okra into the equation is sure to guarantee you the position.