Tough Interview Question - What do you know about our company?

What do you know about our company?

Similar interview questions:
Do you understand the different parts of our company?
When did you first learn about our company?
What can you tell me about our company?
Do you understand our company’s market positioning?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer wants to know if you: a) have done your research about their company; b) can describe the company well as an informed outsider; and c) can translate what you know about the company into expressing interest. The question is, in effect, a reverse sell. It may be the setup question for the interviewer selling you on the company, with the question acting as the baseline for what additional information they may need to tell you about. It is usually a good indicator that the interviewer is interested in you if they go into “sell” mode.

The best approach to answering this question:
Do your research. Know the employer well enough to be able to succinctly describe it in 30-60 seconds. Don’t just take it for granted that you know the employer, do actual in-depth research. For example, I was previously VP Global Talent Acquisition for Amazon and this question was often answered something like this: “Well, I’m one of Amazon’s best customers…” That’s good to have a customer perspective, but just understanding the customer view is only one part of a much larger company perspective. Then, after your 30-60 second recap, turn the question into a why are you interested response.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"Goldman Sachs is the leading investment bank and provides a wide variety of financial services to corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. Your Institutional Client Services group, where this position is based, works in equity, fixed income, currency and commodity markets. My experience in fixed income is well aligned with this role in your fixed income group, which is what generated my interest in speaking with your firm…"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"I’m an Amazon customer and have been for many years. But I know that Amazon is much more than the consumer retail side and the focus on price, selection and convenience. The company also includes Amazon Web Services for Cloud Computing, products such as Kindle, Fire and Echo, and many of the Prime-related activities in entertainment. There are many different parts of Amazon that I find to be fascinating and would love the opportunity to be part of the organization…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"Well, I know that GE makes light bulbs and I’ve certainly bought my share of light bulbs over the years. And I think you make refrigerators as well, or at least you used to make them. My parents have a really old GE fridge in their kitchen and it’s still working."

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

Further review: know the answers to these 100 Common Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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