How to Answer What Do You Know About Our Company
Hiring managers often ask candidates the interview question, "What do you know about our company?" When they do, they’re trying to find out two things:
- Do you care enough about the organization and the role to do your research before coming into the job interview? They want to hire someone who wants this specific job, not just any job, and someone who feels a passion for the work and the employer.
- Are you a good researcher? Even if the job they’re hiring for doesn’t specifically require research on the job, employers want to hire people who are curious, ask the right questions and know how to find answers.
Preparation is key to answering this question effectively. Do your research, and be prepared to demonstrate that you've taken the time to learn as much as you can about the company, and in some cases, the interviewer. Learn relevant, even critical information about the company so that you can apply your qualifications and interest to the not just the job, but the employer as well.
The selection process often is based on how well the candidate fits in the organizational culture, and part of the fit is based on how well you appear before the interviewer and your level of interest in the company that might be cutting your paycheck.
Research the Company
Start by researching the company online. Review the "About Us" section of the company website, paying attention to the organization’s history, achievements, goals, and values.
If the company lists founders and/or an executive team, take the time to familiarize yourself with those folks and their achievements. You may not meet with any of the bigwigs during the interview process, but it helps to get a sense of who’s in charge and what their careers have looked like. Plus, by learning their names and faces, you can avoid being caught unawares if you run into one of them in the elevator or the reception area.
If you're a college graduate, check with the Career Office at your school to see if you can get a list of alumni who work for the company. That's an ideal way to get an insider's view of the employer and to get information that might not be available elsewhere. Also, you might find an alumnus who may be able to help you get an inside track to the organization and maybe the job. A connection with a current employee is always helpful in getting the hiring manager’s attention. You’re much more likely to make it to the next round if someone who’s already on the team will vouch for you.
Check the company's LinkedIn page and the company website to review the information provided by the employer. Also, check to see if you have any other connections at the company who can provide you with insight and advice. If it's a publicly traded company, check out the "Investor Relations" page on its website to learn more about the financial side of the enterprise.
Visit the company's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages to see what information the company is promoting and sharing. You'll be able to pick up tidbits of information that you may be able to use during the interview. Search Google News for the company name so you can find the most current information available on your prospective employer.
Also, research the people who will be interviewing you. Review their LinkedIn profiles and Google them to see what information you can find. The more you can discover, the more comfortable you will be speaking to them.
How to Use What You've Learned in the Job Interview
- Create a List of Facts to Remember. Use the information you have gathered to create a list of bullets containing information that you can easily remember during the interview. Taking the time to research will help you make a good impression about how much you know of the company.
- Connect With the Hiring Manager or the Company Culture. In the course of your research, you might find that the hiring manager went to your school or lived in your hometown, or you might learn that the company sponsors a day of volunteering on an annual basis. Use what you’ve learned to forge a genuine connection to the people you’re speaking with. Show your enthusiasm.
- Formulate Your Own Questions. At the end of the interview, most hiring managers will ask you if you have any questions for them. Use your research to create your interview questions and fill in the gaps in your knowledge. These questions shouldn’t be anything that you can learn through additional research; rather, they should be things that aren’t readily accessible via the web, such as “Can you describe a typical day in this position?” or “What is this company’s management style?”