How To Answer: What Do You Know About Our Company?

Elizabeth Witbeck

How To Answer: What Do You Know About Our Company?

Searching for a new job is not very fun. It involves a lot of scrolling through online job boards, reading the newspaper for job advertisements, going to career fairs, writing and rewriting your resume, going on interviews, and it seems like you are just hoping that you receive an offer.

There is a certain monotony involved with the process. People often copy and paste the same cover letter to employers, or spontaneously apply to dozens of jobs without reading job descriptions. Some people fall into the line of thinking that if they apply to enough jobs, surely they will receive an acceptance offer somewhere.

This is a horrible way to go about the job application process.

If you make it to the job interview, one of the most common questions is, “Tell us what you know about our company.” Hiring managers ask this because they want to hire the best candidate possible.

The best candidate possible is going to be the person who has done research on the company, is passionate about the mission of the company, their products and services, has thoroughly researched the role, and can articulate why they are a good fit for that role. It shows you have prepared for the interview ahead of time.

Imagine if you got asked to go into a phone interview or in-person interview. The hiring manager may ask “What do you know about our company?” The problem is: You never researched anything about the company.

You may have just sent in your cover letter and resume blindly without looking at anything beyond the job description. You may not know what the company does, or what products or services they offer.

That would be an embarrassing situation to be in. It would show that you are not a good fit for the job position. Hopefully, from the interview, you would also come away with an understanding that particular job was not the best one for you either.

There are some basic things that you need to know about the company before you go into the job interview. Here is some essential information that you should research before your job interview.

What does the company do?

This might sound obvious, but it can be astounding to employers how many potential job candidates walk into interviews without a clue as to what a company actually does.

Basic research can be done before the job interview. You can do this by reading through a company’s website to get to know them better. Also, doing a Google search on a company will help you understand them better.

What products or services do they provide?

Many companies set themselves apart by providing unique products or services, opposed from their competitors. Find out what products and services the company provides.

  • How are these products or services different from other companies in the area?
  • What sets them apart?

If you have experience working with these particular products and services, be sure to mention that during your interview, because that will truly spark a hiring manager’s interest.

How long has the company been around?

There are benefits to working with companies with long or short histories.

Companies that have been around for quite a long time provide a nice job security to them. Their rules and policies are in place. They tend to be well known, and they have a steady history of clients who have been coming to them for years.

Startup culture, on the other hand, can be very exciting to work for. It is interesting to be able to be a part of something new from the very beginning. People at startup companies can be part of creating products and services from scratch, and formulating the policies and company culture of an organization.

Understand how long a company has been around, and also understand which type of organization you would rather work for.

What has the company been up to recently?

Companies are always up to new things, whether it is introducing new products and services, hiring a new manager or director of the company, opening a new company branch, and more.

A good way to find out what the company is up to is to do an Internet search. You can also check the local news, or check the website.

If the company has something exciting in the works, be sure to bring up your knowledge of that in the job interview. That will impress your employer. It shows that you went above and beyond to learn as much as you could about the company.

What challenges does the company face, and what solutions can you provide?

Everybody has challenges – we just don’t like to showcase them to the world!

Find out what kind of challenges this company might be facing. They may have:

  • Trouble selling a particular product or service
  • A lot of company turnover
  • Very little social media marketing or advertisement

Once you know what challenges this company is having, then you can figure out what your personal skills and talents are, and how you can use those to solve these challenges.

Maybe you can use your marketing skills to help increase the visibility of the company.

Maybe you have great management skills, and the company is in need of a new director.

Showing that you understand an individual company’s problems, and that you are the perfect person to solve them, will surely help you in landing the position.

Who are the competitors for the company?

If you are a business, you have competitors. Some large scale global companies have bigger competitors. Smaller, local companies have competitors on a smaller scale.

A competitor is a business that may offer better or worse products and services than your own. Clients may go to a competitor business if they feel the value at your own business is not worth it.

Research involves understanding who the competitors for this company are, and how this particular company stands out and what their strengths are against others.

What exactly will you be doing in this role?

Many hiring managers are constantly amazed by the amount of potential candidates that come into a phone interview or job interview, with little knowledge about what the job actually consists of.

This shows the hiring manager that you have not done any research regarding the role.

Be sure to thoroughly read the job description. Understand what you would be doing on a daily basis.

You may want to look at the company website and find profiles of other people who have the same job.

Another good question to ask is, “Is this a job position that has already existed within the company, or is it a new position being created?”.

If it is a job that has already existed, you may want to ask why there is an opening: is somebody advancing in the company, or is there an organizational restructuring?

If it is a completely new position, you may want to ask about what kinds of changes the company is undergoing that are creating the new role.

This should give you a glimpse into some of the research you should be doing in order to prepare for your job interview. Then, when a hiring manager asks you, “So, what do you know about our company?” you will know exactly what to say.

About The Author

Elizabeth Witbeck

Elizabeth Witbeck works as a college consultant and educational entrepreneur. She launched the first business in the United States that sends care packages to first generation college students, and also helps prospective college students on their applications. Her interests include education, poverty, and working with youth.

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