How Did You Get Your Job?

If an interviewee asks you about how you got your job, often it is because they are looking for insight into what to highlight in a second interview, if necessary. It can also be a way for job seekers to check out a company for signs that references and other professional overtures could help, or it can just be a way of attempting to understand how the company’s hiring practices work.

Points to Emphasize

As you work on framing your answer, keep these ideas in mind.

  • You are being asked to step someone through the hiring process, but they have already experienced part of it. Focus on what comes next.

  • Being honest about your personal experience is important, but your story should emphasize the way the company operates generally.

  • It can be helpful to point out differences between hiring practices in different departments, if there are any, to show where your example might differ from their experience.

  • Remember to fold in other details that are current and relevant. You can compare-and-contrast them with the way things were done when you were hired.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

Here are a few ways that the answer can get off-track. Avoid them, and if you find yourself going down those paths, reconsider your next thought.

  • Avoid specific relationships and connections in favor of emphasizing things like references, as it minimizes explanations and lets you focus on your message.

  • Remember not to make any overt commitments or promises, but to only provide background information that might be relevant.

  • Don’t go on for too long. Your interviewee likely has other questions, or even follow-up questions.

  • You should not either downplay or dramatize. Just provide a straightforward narrative of the hiring process.

Sample Answer

Here is one way to keep things simple.

When I started, it was a little different because they were hiring for a new department, so they had these big initial interviews at job fairs. After getting through that, though, the process was a lot like this one. A second interview, and of course my references reached out pro-actively when I asked them about sending in recommendation letters instead of waiting to be contacted. During the second interview, we toured the facilities, and I received an offer a few days later. Most of those second round questions had to do with specific cases and decision making processes, and I guess they liked what they heard from me.

Keeping it informative without being too detailed is difficult, but since the hiring process always works out a little differently from person to person, it is an integral part of giving people a useful answer.

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