While this may seem like a basic question, it's a great reminder to track the details on your job search and a good opportunity to score some bonus points early on in your interview.
Read on for quick tips to keep in mind when answering this question.
Highlight your attention to detail
If your response to this question is "I don't quite remember," this likely won't hurt your chances of landing the job if you're a fit. But, if you're able to confidently and quickly respond with a firm answer regarding how you heard about the position, all the better!
It's useful to remember where you find specific opportunities as you’ll often be asked this question, either in person or during a phone screen, and it’s an easy way to illustrate your attention to detail. To that point, if you find yourself applying to more than one job at a time (as many of us do), be sure to track the following details for each position:
- How you found out about the position
- The full job description
- When you first applied
- The resume and cover letter you sent with your application materials
Since you should be customizing each resume and cover letter you send in, this practice will help you track which details you share with which potential employer.
Name drop (the right way)
If you heard about this job through a contact, now is a great moment to remind the interviewer of that connection. If the organization has an HR team or recruiter acting as the first point of contact for applicants, there's a small chance that your interviewer doesn't know about your connection, or simply doesn't remember.
If you didn't hear about this position through a contact or colleague, be sure to do your due diligence and, if you can, find at least one person in your network with whom the organization is familiar. Reach out and let them know that you're applying for the role and ask if they have any advice for you as you go through the application and interview process.
Pro Tip: Not sure exactly how to go about reaching out to folks in your network? Browse templates and tips in our Template Toolbox.
If you're able have a conversation with your friend, colleague, or mentor who's connected to the organization, you can mention their name here:
I originally heard about the position on Idealist.org, and then I had a chance to connect with [NAME OF CONTACT] and she was so excited to hear that I was applying!
No need to drive it home right here. If the name sparks some interest from your interviewer, they'll ask you to share more. If not, it's okay to simply move on.
Get more tips from our Interview Q&A series.
What interview question stumps you every time? Tweet at us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to walk you through the perfect format for a killer response!
As the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications at Idealist and a lifelong nonprofit professional, Alexis offers job seekers, game changers, and do gooders actionable tips, career resources, and social-impact advice.