Why do employers ask you where you learned about a job opportunity? Why is that a thing? And how should you answer that?
Typically, an employer asks that question to find out about recruiting strategies that are currently employed within the organization. An employer may be paying a recruitment firm, or be posting jobs to specific job boards, or targeting specific communities, or even wondering if a current employee referred the job opportunity.
By asking this question, employers get an idea of which strategies may be working, and which strategies may not be working within the organization.
When it comes to recruitment and outreach, it is important for employers to be able to track things to see if they are getting a return on investment (ROI) or return on equity (ROE).
In addition to seeing which recruiting strategies are effective for the employer by asking this question, it also may say something about you.
Was this job found on LinkedIn? If so, the employer may check out your profile since you are on a professional network. Did you find the job on a specific job board reaching out to a specific community or skill set? That could give the employer an idea of who you are and what you are looking for.
Finding a job is a complex business, and employers will do what it takes to find top talent. Certain types of employers are required by law to outreach to specific diverse communities and knowing how a specific job opening was found can be beneficial to both an employer and the job seeker. The fact that you are in an interview with someone asking you this means they may have some idea of where you found the job. Whether you provided that information in the application process, or the company set up automated tracking, you should be prepared to answer this question as it may create a solid foundation for the interview.