How to Answer "What Do You Know about the Company?"
Updated January 23, 2023
When interviewing for a new position, hiring managers often ask questions you may not expect. One of these common questions asks what you already know about the company with whom you're interviewing. You can be ready to answer this question effectively by understanding why they ask it and following some simple preparation steps. In this article, we explain why companies ask, “What do you know about the company?”, outline steps for how to answer this question, and provide some example answers to show you what a successful answer may be before listing useful research resources.
How to answer “What do you know about the company?”
Here are some simple steps you can follow to answer the question, “What do you know about the company?”:
1. Ask some questions before the interview
Before you go in to interview for a role, it's wise to ask yourself a few fundamental questions regarding the business. Some of these questions relate to the function of the business, while others concern its history, ownership, or objectives. Some questions that can be worth asking before you commence research include:
What is their commercial offering?
What is their mission statement, and what are their values?
What is their target demographic?
Who founded the business, and where and when?
Who are its major competitors?
2. Do your research to answer these questions
Next, you can use a variety of tools to answer these questions. The company's website may have answers to most of your pre-interview research questions, especially those related to its history, mission and values, and commercial offering. To find out more information about the company's competitors, you may want to conduct your own market research, either online or in the physical marketplace.
For instance, you may find out about a shoe brand's products and competitors by looking them up on a search engine. Alternatively, you may gain more insight into how their business operates and how their product sells on shelves by visiting retailers. As you discover these details, take comprehensive notes to review before your interview.
3. Make your answer personal and honest
When it's time to respond to this question by answering it in person, you may have discovered all the details you require to provide a satisfactory answer. When answering this question, rather than simply listing the information that you've found, try to explain what you know in a personal way. This can mean describing the information which appeals to you the most, and offering a personal response. For example, you may begin your answer in the following way:
"Well, my favourite thing about this company is that it's been making shoes for so long, having started in 1954."
4. Finish on a positive note
Once you've explained your knowledge of the company and completed your answer, ensure that you finish on a positive note. To do this, finish with a personal sentiment about how all of this knowledge inspires you to pursue the position, and that you want to learn more as an employee. Ending on an enthusiastic note can make a good impression on your interviewer and endear them to you as a candidate.
Why employers ask this question
There may be several reasons why an interviewer asks you what you already know about the company with which you're applying for a job. Often, employers want to check that candidates have done their own research on the company. If you've done extensive research on the business, it can indicate that you have a high degree of interest in the position. It also shows that you wish to enter your interview being as prepared as possible, having researched the particulars about the company's history, leaders, and products or services.
Employers may also ask this question to determine your reasons for applying. If you're applying for this role because you have a genuine interest in working there, you likely know more about the company than if it's simply an available option. Employers usually prefer to hire candidates with a passion for the business itself, so being ready to answer this question in detail can give you a distinct competitive advantage.
Example answers to “What do you know about the company?”
Here are a few example answers to show a range of effective responses to this question:
Here's an example of a candidate's answer in an interview with a fashion brand.
"My favourite thing about this company is that it makes trendy clothes for people who can't afford expensive fashion. I like the fact that this brand sells in so many retailers and that it really is the best value brand in terms of style, in my opinion. I know that Chris and Sharma the founders believe in sustainable and ethical manufacturing, which is very important to me, so I'd really love to be involved with such a responsible fashion brand."
Here's an example of an interviewee's response in an interview with a marketing agency.
"I've been following this company's disruptive campaigns for a long time, and I especially love the work you've done on social media. For such a young agency, I think you've achieved great things, considering you only started in 2019. I know your primary competitors are the other two major agencies, but what attracts me to this company is the forward-thinking approach to digital advertising. I think the creativity in this business is a great match for me."
Here's an example of a candidate's answer in an interview with an accounting firm.
"I've done some research on the top accounting agencies who specialize in manufacturing and distribution, and I'm the most drawn to this business's consistent growth and reputation. This firm has consistently positive reviews from its clients, and past employees also rate it highly as a workplace. It has an established history, which appeals to me, and having read the founder's mission statement on valuing customer-focussed service and solutions, I'm eager to learn from him."
Related: Preparing for a Mock Interview
Ways to research for this interview question:
Here are some helpful resources for impressing potential employers with your answer to this question:
Diversify your research channels
When conducting your own research on the company, ensure that you diversify your resources. While company websites can offer a wide range of research options, it's important to remember that other resources may offer perspectives and information the company doesn't feature on their site. For example, companies rarely share their market share, revenue, or demographic information on their websites, but this information can offer valuable insights into their commercial operation. Such information can be available through third-party market data aggregators, or some online resources you can find through a web search.
Another valuable resource channel for preparing for an interview is word-of-mouth. If you know anybody who has worked for the company in the past, getting in contact with them can be insightful. In talking to someone who currently does or previously has worked for the business, they can provide information on the company's culture, structure, and systems. This first-person perspective can give you an advantage when answering this question.
Include reviews in your research
Another valuable resource for information that candidates may overlook before interviewing is reviews. These may be online reviews of the product or service that the business offers, or of the business as an employer. You can find these reviews online, often through a simple web search. Some job listing sites may have employer review sections where previous employees leave ratings and feedback for their previous employers. This is a good way to find a broad range of reviews from previous employees, which can be more diverse than asking only people you know.
Similarly, checking reviews for the company's products or services can equip you with a valuable understanding of the position the brand holds in the marketplace. It can also provide insight into the quality and value of their commercial offering.
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