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'What do you know about us'? Five things an employer want to hear

By HNGUGI | January 27th 2020

When going for an interview, it’s no longer enough to know the vision and mission. While the ability to recite the vision and mission is used to show if you’ve done your research, the current employer wants to know if your values and goals align with the company’s vision. Moreover, according to experts in the HR department, the company wants to know if you have a grasp of the following five things. 

  1. Products and Services

As a potential employee, you need to understand what the company deals with every day. You will have the upper hand if you know where the products are sold, the benefit of these products to the market, feedback from consumers about the product, cost of products and services, who are the competitors and how the company offers services differently from its competition. Most importantly, how will your input build value for the company in the offering of these products and services or improving sales? While this shows you’ve done your research, it also gives the employer a compelling reason why you’re the best fit for the company. You can get this information from the company website, social media pages, and even someone you know who uses the company’s products or services. 

2. Management & Company structure 

Demonstrating an understanding of the company structure is essential. An employer will want to know if you recognize where your role in the company fits in terms of departments, hierarchy, and supervision. While this is often stated in the job description of the vacancy announcement, it is important to go a step further and know the name of the actual supervisor and the pecking order. Take a top-down approach if you are going for a management position; You should find out the name and job description of one or two people in the department you will be leading. The most important people to know in an organization include The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chairman, Human Resource Officer, Operations Officer, Head of Department/Immediate Manager, and Chief Finance Officer (CFO)/Treasurer. These are the integral persons in any organization structure who will have some influence on your employment. You can source information from the company website, LinkedIn and company reports, and newsletters. 

3. The people interviewing you

While the overall company structure is necessary, a better advantage point is to know as much as you can about who will be across the interview table. The most likely people to find in an interview room include the Human Resources Manager, Department Manager, and a Manger from a coinciding department. E.g. The Head of Digital can be in a Public Relations department interview. In my experience, knowing this has helped me deal with anxiety and confidence issues. Information about the people you are about to meet gives you a sense of familiarity, and it feels like you’re not meeting strangers, but people you’ve interacted with before. Your research should include their education and professional background; which schools did they attend and when? Where have they worked before? How long have they been in the industry? How long have they been in the company? You should also try and find out their mindset, what do they think about the business, the industry, and what does best practice mean to them? If possible, find out their hobbies as well. There are various ways of finding this information; LinkedIn, Company Website, and social media profiles. Moreover, find out if they have done interviews with the media. 

4. The latest news and upcoming activities

Having some knowledge in what the company has been doing indicates that you are up to speed with the firm and the industry at large. It tells the interviewer that you are prepared. However, a stronger standpoint is to know where the company is going. This information gives you a good understanding of why they are hiring someone in that particular position and what they want to achieve with the position. This information shows that you an idea of where the company is headed in the long term and how you could contribute towards the company’s growth. To find this information, go to the News tab on the company’s website. Additionally, google the company’s name and go to the News tab on google search. If possible, approach someone you know who works in the company and get more information on upcoming opportunities. 

5. Why your position is important to the company 

Last but not least, given everything you know about the company, where do you best fit in the company? An easy way to figure this out is by looking at the company’s current and past challenges in the department you are looking to join. For example, as a salesperson, the company might be struggling to make sales in an area you are well familiar with. Mentioning this in the interview not only shows that you know the company, but you also know the contribution you bring to the company’s growth. Many companies post their yearly results on their websites. You can look at the reports and identify the challenges the company is facing. Another way is to look at customer feedback. If people on social media keep complaining they can’t find products in a particular area, that’s your loophole. 

While these are the things you should keep in mind when going for interviews, do not expect the interviewer to always ask direct questions from these areas. If they don’t ask, you should find a way of weaving this information into your other answers. 

Doing proper research is like revising for an upcoming exam. The more you know, the more confident you are and thus better chances of passing the interview. Moreover, proper research will tell you if you are the best fit for the company; this saves you from interviewing for an opportunity that doesn’t meet your skills or career path. 


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