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.
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.