How To Answer The Interview Question: Do You Know Anyone Who Works For Us?
As a job applicant, you may have been attending interviews and you have always wondered why you were asked some particular questions because there are some certain interview questions that will leave you clueless, blank and most times speechless like a cat got your tongue. But then once you begin brooding and thinking deeply about these questions after the interview, you would realize that there are motivations behind a number of these inquiries.
One of these interview questions is, ‘Do you know anyone who works for us?’ While this question in theory should get a one-word response, it’s not so as most answers to questions asked in an interview requires you to make use of several words.
Generally, most HR departments understand the need of having friends or familiar faces at the office; it enhances productivity, engagement, retention, and job satisfaction. The job may make you feel down sometimes, but knowing that you have someone who you can open up to/ confide in at the office, can lift up your spirits and make you feel better.
Having a connection in an organization of your choice can help you so much with getting a job there. They can say some nice things about you to their hiring manager or employer, and they can give/ submit your resume to the right person at an appropriate time.
Most organizations run an employee referral program, if you end up working in the organization, and stay for close to six months at least, the person who connected you will earn a nice commission for recommending you, or basically for convincing you to apply with the organization. They can get a good amount of money which depends on your new position and also the rules of the referral program.
But what if you know someone in the organization, who did not recommend you for the role? And what if you do not have a good relationship with the person you know in the organization? Should you still say you know someone who works for them, or should you pretend that you’ve forgotten about them? These questions and more will be answered shortly.
Why do hiring managers ask this question?
When the hiring manager asks you this question, it’s going to look as if a simple yes or no answer will suffice. But it’s important to recollect that the majority of interview questions are asked with a purpose. They are not randomly thrown out there for the applicant to reply flippantly then advance to why you’re the best fit for the role.
The motive behind this question is to test your character and see how well you know the person, especially if they’re among those who are in management or top of the organization’s ladder. Plus, the hiring manager may be aware of the fact that employees who have friends in the office are more likely to be productive and engaged with their work.
Hiring managers ask a question like, “Do you know anyone who works for us?” for a few different reasons. In some cases, an organization may have rules and regulations which prohibit family or friends from working together. This question also helps the interviewer anticipate any disruptions which may result from hiring someone with social connections to the organization.
There are different ways in which this question can be asked:
• Do you know anyone in our company?
• Do you have anyone who works with this organization?
This question always presents three possibilities in front of you:
• You know someone who is an employee with a good reputation and it is ok to mention his / her name.
• You know someone who is known for his negative activities and it is better to avoid saying his / her name.
• You know no one in this company.
How to Respond
You know the motive why you are being asked this question and the variations the hiring manager may use. The next step is to compose a response that will be pleasing to the hiring manager, make you look good during the interview process, and increase your chances of being offered the role. A straightforward and honest answer to this interview question is very important. If you know anyone who works there, explain your relationship, what connected the two of you, and the way you get along. Assure the hiring manager that your association with that employee won’t affect your ability to carry out the duties associated with the job and that you’ll remain professional while at it.
Here are a couple of recommendations for coming up with a good answer.
- Go through the company’s corporate policy
Whether you checked it off or not, if the application form had a section that asked if you were referred by anyone, you should be ready to be asked during the interview, ‘Do you know anyone who works for us?’. So, it will be wise to review the organization’s policy and know what the rules and regulations are regards to having friends, relations, and spouses in same the workplace. Some HR departments can be so strict about employees working with their loved ones or friends and this is to prevent personal issues from spilling into the office, therefore affecting their performance.
You don’t want to be ignorant of these pertinent details.
- Have an idea of your contact’s performance at work
Do you know if the friend or loved one who recommended you is a model worker? This is an important question to ask because as the saying goes, ‘You are the company you keep.’ In other words, if you know that this person is always late for work, unproductive, or disrespects their superiors, it’s best not to mention his or her name. But, if you do, try not to talk about your relationship with them so much.
First impressions matter, so if the interviewer thinks you share a similar work ethic with them then they would not be impressed and this can reduce your chances of getting the role.
- Highlight their strengths
You have to be prepared for a follow-up question and it could be something along the lines of, ‘How would you rate their work ethic?’ Indeed, if you have a close relationship with the person, then this question might be a plus or disadvantage to your prospects. This goes back to the previous point, but the difference is that you have to showcase your connection’s strengths.
- Find out if the person you know works for a competitor
In today’s competitive job market, most organizations are careful about hiring people that have a close relationship with someone who works for a rival company. So, when you let the hiring manager know that you are familiar with someone who used to work with them, you have to know if that person works for a competitor now.
- Everyone loves to hear words of praise
Did your connection say good things about the employee benefits, team building events, working environment, cafeteria, dress code, or anything else about your prospective place of work?
If they did, you ought to repeat their words during the interviews. Everyone likes to hear some words of recognition, and therefore the managers who are having the interview with you may be responsible for the great things.
When you are talking about the good features of the organization, you’re actually praising the people that lead and manage the organization. Use this interview question as a chance to stroke their egos and to win their favour.
- Admit if someone helped you in, but assure the hiring managers that you had to make the final step on your own
There is nothing wrong with someone helping you secure an interview in an organization. They helped you and the employer; they made things easier for everybody and helped the organization to save lots of money for advertisement.
But you have to assure the interviewers that you don’t expect to get the role because you know someone in their organization and that they said something nice about you. However, you are ready to convince the interviewers of your abilities and do not expect help from anyone in the organization.
Job interviews are usually the ultimate step in a tedious hiring process. For professionals, it’s a multi-step process: updating your resume, going through job advertisements, submitting an application, partaking in an interview then getting the job finally.
Are you prepared for all these steps? They say that you should never be intimidated by the interviewer and the only way not to feel overwhelmed is to get ready for a wide array of questions.
Responses to Avoid
When answering the question above, don’t talk negatively and avoid any negative remarks about the people you recognize in their company. Insulting or showing disrespect for anyone, personal or professional, may be a red flag for hiring managers and may affect their decision to give you the job.
Nobody wants to hire anyone who sees the bad things in people, someone who complains about their colleagues. So, if you know someone who works for them but doesn’t just like the person, you ought to do one of these:
Say that you do not know anyone in the company or name the person, but do not make any additional comments about them.
Life isn’t perfect and we don’t need to be friends with everyone we know. Also, avoid sharing private information about your friend or loved one during the interview.
When you take out time to think about and develop your response to this question can help you feel more confident and bold during the interview process.
In summary, these are key points to remember:
The three situations mentioned above should be treated differently. Know which situation you belong to before the interview and take time to prepare the best answer. In each case, be honest and try to avoid any false information
If you know someone, you can mention his/her name, but make sure you know the policy on relatives working for the organization.
If you don’t know anyone then, in this case, the answer is easy and relatively free of consequence. You can just say No and move on to the next question. But remember some organizations want to hire new employees with an existing connection to their business. So always try to look for someone who is good and mention his name.
Remember this question can be a standard fishing expedition to ascertain what the industry grapevine could be saying about the organization. But it’s also a trap because as an outsider, you never want to be the one who bears unflattering news or gossip about the organization. It can only reduce your chances and turn the heart of the hiring manager from seeing you as a potential employee. Just remember the rule – never be negative, be honest and forthcoming about any current employees you know and you’ll answer this question just fine.
Hiring managers can ask you whether you know anyone in the organization for a number of reasons:
To find out if someone from the organization is eligible for the employee referral commission if they decide to hire you for the job.
To hear what you will say about the person who recommended you, and to perhaps inquire from your connection their opinion about you, your motivation, work ethic, and skills.
Sometimes they may ask the question just because they found it on a list of common interview questions, and they aren’t really sure what they want to do with the information they find out from the question.
In any case, try to use this question as an opportunity to show the right attitude like saying something nice about the person you know in the company, thanking them for such an excellent recommendation, or enhancing the relationship with your interviewers by repeating the great things your connection said about the organization, praising the managers in between the lines. That’s the best thing you have to do to enhance your chances of getting hired.