There is one critical interview question can make or break your chances of landing your next job. This question is often asked early in the interview process. So your answer is pivotal to whether you move forward or not.
The question is, “What do you know about our company?”
As a recruiter, I used to do phone screening interviews for a screen door manufacturer. I would call potential candidates to ask a few questions including this question. When I got to this question, the candidate would often stumble. They would respond vaguely based on the company name. “I think your company makes screen doors?” Or they would say, “Where are you calling from again?” Sometimes, candidates would recite information from the company website.
One of my friends operates a home staging business. She uses this question during phone screening interviews. If it is obvious that someone does not know anything about her company, she moves on. Recently, she advertised for an accounting position. The candidate she selected had the accounting skills necessary to do the job. But beyond that, this candidate also expressed her motivation to work for a home staging company. She had researched my friend's company and was able to share how she could add value.
Think about this from the employer’s perspective. Employers want to hire people who want to work for them, not just someone who wants a job! When you can demonstrate that you know about the company and how you can add value, it makes you stand out!
When you do your research, go beyond the company website! Employers do not want to hear their website information recited back to them. And in an age of accessible information, you can tap into a variety of information sources.
Read the company’s blog.
Like their Facebook page.
Use LinkedIn to research who works there.
Find out if the company has been in the news recently.
Try to talk to someone who works there already.
Because you could receive a phone call at any time, you need to do your research ahead of time. Keeping track of your job applications is critical to successfully answering this question! Create a spreadsheet or paper-based system that will allow you to quickly access information.
If you can nail this question, it will go a long ways to making a good impression!
Good luck. You got this.
Kristin Vandegriend is the founder of Career Story where she has helped hundreds of her clients successfully transition to work they love. Kristin is passionate about supporting her clients to uncover their strengths and communicate to get what they want in the workplace.