January 30, 2012 Leave a comment
How many times have you been in an interview and gotten this question? Most first interviews involve this question, it’s an early screening question to see just how much you’ve researched and prepared. Interviewers use it to get a sense of what kind of worker you’ll be. How in depth will you go when they ask you to take on a task?
The truth is your answer to this question is a golden opportunity to outshine everyone else interviewing for the position. Especially for those entry-level positions right out of college. Because let’s face it, most people interviewing for that job don’t have a lot of experience. So interviewers have to gauge you more than ever off your answers to their questions.
How Not To Answer The Question
- “Not much, really.” Are you kidding me? You better know SOMETHING about the company. If you say this, the interviewer will be counting the seconds until they end the interview.
- “Well I know that you’re in __________ and that you have __________ # of stores and _______ # of employees. You’re headquartered out of __________ and your CEO is ____________.” Really? So you know about as much as anyone who’s ever looked at the company’s website or wikipedia page.
How To Answer the Question
- “Well according to your most recent annual report, company profits rose so and so percent. That’s one reason why your company interests me, it’s on the rise and making money in tough economic times. I know that recently you released this new product/service, and that it’s being received well by the public. ________ Magazine said it’s ___________. And your CEO, _______ stated that in the coming years you’ll be looking to ______________.”
- Be careful not to sound scripted. Sound like you just know a lot about the company and you’re thinking of these things off the top of your head.
I’m being vague on purpose. The answer varies greatly from company to company. But if you can cite specific examples about the company that’s been in the press recently, or bring up remarks made by the CEO in their annual report (or if you’re interviewing with someone that speaks publicly for the firm, recite what they’ve said recently).
If you can do this effectively, your interviewer will be blown away. Most people they interview will be giving them cookie cutter answers. Meanwhile here you are stating what’s in their annual report (10-k). Your interviewer is bound to have their interest in you peaked and you’ll land another interview, if not the job outright.