Employers love to ask, “what do you know about our company?” in the job interview.
There are a few things they want to hear, and a few things they do *not* want to hear.
So in this article, I’m going to reveal how to give a great answer to this question… while avoiding the potential traps and mistakes that can cost you the job.
Then we’ll look at 3 sample answers for “what do you know about our company?” so you can practice and come up with your own answer.
Let’s get started.
There are a couple of reasons why employers ask this question in interviews.
The first reason is they want to make sure you did some research before applying. They don’t want someone who’s applying to 200 positions per day without even looking or caring what type of job they get.
Why? Well, employers want someone who will be motivated and work hard in their job. And they figure if you have thought about your job search and have specific reasons for applying, then you’re more likely to really like their job.
Whereas, if you’re just applying randomly to as many jobs as you can find online, there’s a greater chance you won’t like their job… which means you might leave, lose motivation, etc.
That’s how employers see it.
So companies ALWAYS want someone who’s being careful and selective in their job search.
If you don’t know anything about their company, why did you want to interview? Or how do you know you won’t hate working for them?
So they ask, “what do you know about the company?” to see how much research and preparation you’ve done for this interview. And to impress them, you need to be ready to get specific and name facts and details you read about their company.
Now let’s look at how…
The best way to answer, “what do you know about our company?” is to name specific facts you found while researching the company that demonstrate you understand their business and got to know their organization before applying. You can name facts you discovered on the company website, social media channels, news articles and more.
Here’s an example of what a good answer will sound like. We’ll look at more sample answers later in the article, too.
“I read on your website that you’re one of the top data security companies in the US, and that you serve more than 40 Fortune 500 companies including some of the biggest tech companies like Microsoft and IBM. I also read a recent news article that mentioned you’re looking to expand into providing these services for financial institutions as well. Is that right? And can you tell me more about that?”
This is a great sample answer for, “what do you know about this company?” because it shows you did research and are able to name specific facts about their company. You’re also going to stand out by ending your answer with a question for the interviewer.
This turns the interview into more of a back-and-forth conversation which will help the hiring manager see you as a colleague – and someone they should hire!
There are a couple of things that will definitely not impress the interviewer when they ask “what do you know about our company?”
If you know absolutely nothing, it’ll kill your chances at getting the job.
If you did no research and try to lie and cover it up, it’s even worse. So make sure you actually know a few things about the company. It only takes 5 minutes of research to prepare for this question.
And finally, saying things that aren’t accurate or correct will also hurt your chances of getting hired.
It’s better to know one or two facts that you’re sure about than to walk into the interview with 10 facts and get half of them wrong.
So keep it simple and just know 2-3 basic facts about the company.
I mentioned above it only takes a few minutes of good research to have a few facts you can respond with.
But what exactly should you look for, and where?
Those are just a few examples. You can research other areas of the company too. You just need a couple of facts you can respond with when they ask this question.
Just show them you read about them and know the company you’re interviewing with. That’s the goal.
You might find some unique information here about recent developments, and mentioning this can help you stand out from other job seekers when you answer what you know about the company.
This will help you find even more relevant, new information about the company like new projects, announcements, growth reports, and other great information you can name to show that you took the time to know their company.
Now that you know what to say, and what not to say, let’s look at more sample interview answers for when they ask what you know about their company.
We looked at one example answer earlier, but I want to give you a few more so you can be 100% confident that your own answer sounds right.
These are all good answers that would impress the interviewer. Try to come up with an answer similar to these when you prepare for your interview.
“I know you’re one of the biggest providers of payroll software, and you were founded in 2012 when your CEO realized many small businesses spend far more than they should on payroll, which hurts their growth. The story on your website’s “about us” page was interesting, and it seems like there’s a big need for this product based on how quickly you’ve grown. I read that you doubled in size last year, and you are on track to do it again this year.”
“I know that your company is one of the largest investment banks in the US. Your headquarters is in Raleigh, NC, and you have 25,000 employees worldwide based on what I read on your website. I’ve known about your company for a couple of years now because I’ve been working in this same industry. Your company is one of the names I think of in this industry, which is why I was excited to apply for this job when I saw it posted on your website.”
If you follow the example answers above, show them you’ve done your research and know what type of company you’re interviewing with, you’ll do fine on this question.
This is not one of the more difficult interview questions to answer, and as long as your response sounds similar to the two sample answers we just looked at, then you’ll impress the employer.
You now know the basics of how to answer this interview question. However, there’s one tactic you can use to really make them love you when you answer this.
Here it is…
If you can compliment them or show exactly why you were excited to apply for their job and interview at their company, it’ll make your answer even better.
You’ll notice this is happening in sample answer #2 above.
When you tell a hiring manager, “Your company is one of the names I think of in this industry,” it’s a huge compliment.
It’s going to make them feel proud about working for this company, and it’s going to reassure them that you’ll be motivated and work hard in this job!
There are a few major factors that employers look for in interviews, and one of the biggest is: Do you seem to truly want this job?
Most job seekers think about proving they can do the job. But employers won’t hire you unless you also prove you want the job.
Employers are TERRIFIED of hiring someone who quits after a few months, doesn’t try hard, brings a toxic attitude, etc… even if you have the necessary experience.
If you’re talking to a bank with fewer than 150 employees and you tell them they’re one of the biggest names you know in banking, they’re going to think you’re crazy.
There are a lot of ways to complement a company, so pick one that’s true. It doesn’t have to be their size. You can say, “I know somebody who used to work here, and they had great things to say about your company culture and how you support your employees.”
You could compliment them for being well-known in the local community if that’s true. You can compliment them on their rapid growth if they’re a small firm but growing fast (You’d discover this type of info by searching the company on Google News, etc.)
It all comes back to showing you’ve done research and are really excited to be talking to this company. That’s how to get them excited to talk to you!
If you follow the steps and sample answers above, you’ll have a winning answer to, “what do you know about our company?”
Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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