Tough Interview Question - How familiar are you with the community where we are located?

How familiar are you with the community where we are located?

Similar interview questions:
What do you know about ______ (location)?
What have you heard of ______ (location)?
Have you done any research about ______ (location)?
Do you prefer living and working in small towns or large cities?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
This question is most often asked by employers based in smaller towns. Many large corporations have either their headquarters or subsidiary locations in smaller towns, which can be surprising to potential candidates. So the interviewer is probing to find out if you are truly familiar with the town or city in which the job is located and, if so, what your impressions are of that town/city. However, this doesn’t just apply to small towns, it can apply for any job where a relocation to a new area may be involved. When I was VP Global Talent Acquisition for Amazon, we often asked candidates how familiar they were with Seattle. The answer was often: “Well, it rains a lot…” instead of focusing on the positive aspects of Seattle (access to mountains, lakes, Puget Sound, ocean, hiking, biking, kayaking, etc.).

The best approach to answering this question:
Know the town/city and do research on that location independent of the employer. Is it a great place to live? If yes, why? Be ready to answer with a reverse sell on why it is a great place to live and work.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"I’ve been reading a lot of information about Chattanooga and was pleased to see it rated as one of the top cities in the US to live and work. The combination of professional opportunities with the major employers in the city along with the quality of life make it a great place to consider for relocation."

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"I’ve been to Seattle several times before, since I have family and friends who live in the area. I love the combination of work and recreational opportunities in the Seattle area and have already explored with my friends some of the available options for apartments in the area."

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"Well, I’ve heard the slogan to Keep Austin Weird, but I’m not really sure what that means. If that means there are a lot of weirdos walking around, I guess I would just have to stay in at night to avoid them."

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

Further review: know the answers to these 100 Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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