It’s an interview question you’re almost guaranteed to be asked: “What do you know about this company?” It’s a straightforward question, but sometimes it feels like it’s meant to trip you up.
Of course interviewers already know plenty about their own company, so what are they really asking, and how can you formulate an answer that will impress them? We’ll lay it all out here.
Why do interviewers ask what you know about the company?
When hiring managers ask about your knowledge of the company, they want to see if you’ve actually taken the time to learn more about where you’re applying. Some candidates submit applications to any open position they see regardless of the role or the business, and this isn’t the type of candidate good hiring managers want. If you’re applying anywhere and everywhere, you’re less likely to be invested in the job and more likely to leave on a whim.
Your level of research into the company gives an interviewer insight into your professionalism. If you couldn’t be bothered to learn about the company before arriving for your interview, how can they trust that you’ll devote the proper level of time and care to important tasks on the job? Showing them that you’ve done your due diligence to get to know the organization helps demonstrate that you’re a conscientious professional.
What interviewers are looking for when they ask about company knowledge
Interviewers don’t expect you to be able to deliver a dissertation on the company’s products and sales practices; they mainly want to see if you’ve taken the time to do some research about.
Do you have a basic understanding of what the company does? More importantly, is there a specific reason you want to work there? Your answer tells them how interested you are in the role, which is a strength as a candidate.
An interviewer is also interested in which company details you mention, as this can give them a better idea about your motivations for applying.
If you say you’ve heard about the company’s reputation for having great advancement opportunities, it can convey your desire to work hard and climb the ranks. If you talk about your obsession with the company’s product, they’ll understand that you’re likely to be a loyal employee and brand advocate.
How to answer
Research ahead of time
Even if you have a basic knowledge about the company when you apply, it’s a good idea to do a little further investigation so you know more than the average person. Run a Google search for recent headlines that include the company name so you’re up to date on newsworthy developments. Check out their social media channels to get an idea of how they talk to customers and position the brand.
Cite specific details
Mention specific facts about the company in your answer, specifically citing anything that jumped out to you as being super interesting or intriguing.
Here are some topics you can use to prepare talking points:
- How does the company make money?
- Who are the company’s main customers?
- How long have they been around?
- How big is the company?
- What is the company’s reputation?
- Why do people buy from them?
Use it as a springboard
This question is a great segue you can use to highlight your strengths as a candidate or ask more questions of your own. You can see some examples of this in our sample answers below.
How not to answer
The worst thing you can do is show up knowing nothing more than the company name. You can literally formulate an answer with a quick Google search while you wait in line for coffee, so there’s no excuse for not doing it.
Mention negative details
Sometimes, the company may have been in the news for negative reasons, like a lawsuit or layoffs. It’s best not to bring up these unfavorable details in your answer. Let the interviewer broach the subject if they choose to.
By connecting facts about the company with your motivations for applying, you’ll demonstrate your interest in the role and your preparedness as a candidate.