“What do you know about our company?” Uh oh. This is a common question that might be asked during an interview. There are a few different purposes to this question. A hiring manager might want to see how much research you have done about the company. They also might use this to gauge how interested a candidate is in working for their company. This makes sense, considering many companies want employees who are enthusiastic about working for them, which will yield many benefits, like boosting workplace morale and lowering turnover rates.
Now that we’ve established what employers are looking for, it’ll be easier to tackle this tricky question. This question can trip people up, because, unlike most of the questions you’ll be asked, if you didn’t prepare for this one, there’s no way you can come up with a good answer. Do your research before you go into an interview, and check out these tips to help you answer the question “what do you know about our company?”
The company website is always a good place to start. At the very least, read the “About Me” page, and you’ll find a timeline of the company’s history, a summary of what they do, and a mission statement. Pay extra attention to the mission statement, as, nine times out of ten, it will incorporate the company’s values. When you answer the question, what do you know about our company, bring in evidence that demonstrates how you are aligned with its values. For instance, if the company you interview for lists customer service as one of its values, think of a time where you provided excellent customer service to someone and mention it while talking about the company values. If you have enough time, definitely explore the other pages to learn more. Even if you don’t think the information will help, it’s always better to know more than less.
The company website isn’t the only place to learn about them. Follow them on whatever social media accounts they have, especially LinkedIn, which, being a professional networking platform, will give you insight into their work environment and company culture. Keep an eye out on how the company’s doing in the news by setting up Google Alerts that will let you know when an article with the company’s name is posted on any news site. If you’re interviewing for a company that has any relation to financial services, it’s best to take a look at the company’s stock performance, as well as comb through the company’s public financial statements to get an idea of its financial performance. They might not directly ask you, but, if you can tell them approximately how much revenue they’re bringing in, they’ll be pretty impressed with your attention to detail.
While informational interviews are usually for figuring out your future career plans, they can also be tailored toward learning more about a company. Say you had an interview for Target, next week, and you don’t have a clue of what the company’s like. You could always find an employee who works at Target and ask if they can set aside a few minutes and talk with you about their experience at Target. Possible questions you can ask are
So you’ve done all the research you need to, and now it’s time to put your knowledge to the test. The interviewer looks up from their question sheet, smiles, and asks, “What do you know about our company?” You stare at them, ready to dump all the information that you’ve gathered onto the table. Pause for a second.
Interviewers are also looking for succinctness, so don’t be too wordy. On the other hand, don’t just say one fact and be done. Say enough so that the interviewer knows that you did your research. Below is a sample interaction. All names and dates are made up.
Interviewer: So tell me what you know about [company].
You: Sure thing. [Company] was established in 1965 by Burrows when she found inspiration in the hippie movement and decided to create her own clothing line. Today, [Company] has about 500 employees, located all around the country, while its headquarters is in NYC, New York. [Company] is planning on expanding its clothing line to include summer dresses and skirts and is also in talks for international expansion. I think this is great, because [Company] really values diversity, and, by making this brand available to customers all around the globe, [Company] is taking steps in the right direction!
This answer just showed the interviewer that you know when and why the company was founded, its status today, and plans for the future. It also shows them that you know and are supportive of the company’s values. Perfect!
Of course your answer will vary depending on the company you are interviewing for. But with the right preparations, you’ll be ready for anything.
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