“What do you know about this company?”
This is a very common interview question and one that often appears early on, sometimes even right at the start of your job interview.
Fortunately, with the right preparation, this is also one of the easier questions to answer because a lot of the work is done pre-interview.
This article will cover how to come up with a well-rounded response and what mistakes to avoid along the way.
Variations Of This Question
You might hear this one phrased differently from one job interview to the next, but they all essentially mean the same thing:
- Why our company?
- What do you know about us?
- Why did you apply to work here?
- What do you know about our organization?
- What interests you about our company?
- Do you know our company mission statement?
- Why was our company created?
What The Interviewer Really Wants to Know
Interviewers ask this question to find out how interested you are in the job and how committed you are to the process.
Preparing for the interview and learning about the company is a good indication of the level of effort you would put into the job.
A well-prepared applicant is an ambitious applicant. From the interviewer’s perspective, you’re likely to be someone determined to advance his/her career, which means you’re also likely to work hard.
The interviewer is also trying to find out what you know about the business.
Your knowledge of the company and its structures, policies, and practices shows the interviewer that you know the industry you’re aspiring to be a part of.
Overall, a simple question about their company forces you to demonstrate not only how prepared and driven you are but also gives some insight into your organizational awareness and expertise.
How to Answer: “What Do You Know About Our Company?”
Follow this 3-part structure to build your answer and you’ll pass this question with flying colors:
1. Give 2-3 Facts About the Company
First, you’ll need to provide some facts about the organization to demonstrate that you actually have some knowledge of what it does, and how it operates.
The sweet spot is two or three facts.
This gives the interviewer enough information to show you’ve actually done research on the company, but not so much information that you don’t have time to elaborate on what you’ve said.
Of course, this means you actually need to do the research beforehand.
Prior to the interview, read through the company’s website (particularly their ‘about’ page), Google them, read their Wikipedia page, check out their LinkedIn Company Profile, and search for their Annual Report.
You don’t have to remember everything you read, but you should try to memorize a few facts so you don’t come up short in the interview.
Here are a few ideas in terms of specific facts:
- Their website address
- Who they’re owned by
- When they were founded
- What they’re known for
- How many stores they have domestically
- How many stores they have locally
- Where they have the most stores
- Where their HQ is located
“When I think about insurance, I think about [Company]. You’ve been leaders in insurance sales for the last 3 years running”
2. Show Genuine Interest in at Least One of Those Facts
Next, you need to show genuine interest in at least one of the facts you mentioned.
Showing your passion and enthusiasm goes a long way here. It gives the impression that you’ll bring that same energy and drive to your new position.
You can achieve this by expressing an understanding of the type of business the company conducts, or you could explain how your strengths align with the company’s goals.
“I like how your company focuses so strongly on good customer service. I’ve found that happy customers translate into overall success. When I work with customers, I always ensure their experience is a positive one.”
3. Ask the Interviewer to Elaborate (Optional)
No matter how good your research was, there will always be gaps you can explore for the final part of your answer.
You can take advantage of this by preparing a question for the interviewer based on your research.
You don’t need to do this, but it does help to make the interview more casual land conversational, while also showing allowing you to show even further interest in the company.
Just be careful not to ask a question you could have easily found the answer to during your research. It needs to be a thoughtful and targeted question.
“What can you tell me about [Company]’s plans for the future?”
Putting It All Together (Example Answers)
Following a structure is one thing, but seeing how it all comes together to form a complete answer is another.
Let’s look at some examples that do just that:
“I know your company was founded by a woman at a time when women were so overlooked. I think the fearlessness and commitment to excellence with which [Name] created this company are still present, and I was so impressed to read about the corporate outreach program [Company] took on recently.
Your efforts to improve numeracy and literacy levels in young girls are impressive, and I hope I’ll have the chance to get involved and contribute to such a worthy cause.
Your vision for the next [Company] event also caught my eye. It’s actually one of the key reasons I want to work for your company. It’s sharp, trendy, and relatable, and it must have required a great deal of teamwork to create it.
“I’d love to be a part of it going forward.”
“I recently watched a webinar in which your CEO [Name] spoke about developing the [Company] group from a backyard garage into the multinational it is today, and I admire the tenacity that must have taken.
That drive to succeed is something I’ve employed in my own struggle to come from a low-income background and put myself through college. The intense focus on success and growth that [Name] displayed is still evident in your last annual report, and it seems there’s a culture of growth within the organization.
Has that been your experience?”
“I went to school with [Name], who currently heads up your internship program. We both volunteer together at the [Charitable Organization], and she always speaks so well about the support she receives from management in terms of her personal growth strategy.
You also won the [Award] for employee satisfaction for the last two years running, and I know that takes some doing. The level of employee satisfaction within [Company] certainly speaks for itself.
Do you guys set out to focus on employee growth or is that an offshoot of something else?”
How NOT to Answer
Make sure you don’t make any of these mistakes when answering this question:
Don’t Say You Know Nothing About the Company
“I don’t know much about your company” is code for “I didn’t bother to prepare for this interview at all”.
A candidate who prepares for an interview is a candidate who wants the job.
To an interviewer, the reverse is also true. An applicant who didn’t prepare for the interview must not be invested in getting the job.
Don’t Give Any Wrong Information About the Company
Giving wrong information about the company is just as bad as giving no information.
An incorrect answer tells the interviewer that either you don’t care enough to remember the facts, you have a bad memory or your research skills aren’t up to par. Either way, it’s a black mark against your name.
It’s better to give two correct facts than five wrong ones.
Don’t Just Recite Their Wikipedia Page
You might be tempted to recite any one source verbatim, but interviewers will know what you’re doing.
Parroting information suggests you did only a minimal amount of preparation.
More importantly, your recitation suggests that you lack enough industry knowledge to comprehend the information and use it in a discussion.
- Learn the different variations of this question
- Research the company (Google, Wikipedia, etc.)
- Provide 2-3 facts in the interview
- Expand on at least one of those facts
- Ask a question based on your research (optional)
- Avoid giving wrong information or reciting sources verbatim