500 Questions: About the Company, Part One

How do you believe you could best make a contribution to our company?

Your expertise, training, experience, and background are valuable assets to bring to any company. Talk about what you have accomplished in the past and what you plan to do in the future.

This is a much larger (or smaller) company than you’ve ever worked for. How do you feel about that?

If the company is larger, you are undoubtedly looking forward to terrific growth opportunities and exposure to more areas of knowledge that you have access to now. If the prospective company is smaller, tell the interviewer you are looking forward to a far less bureaucratic organization, where decisions can be made much more quickly.

Describe our competition as you see it.

Give evidence that you have researched the company and industry carefully and acquired more than superficial knowledge. Point out positive and/or negative aspects of the company’s competitors. Discuss how the company’s initiatives are better suited to your personal interests.

What do you think your employer’s obligations are to you?

Employers hope that you will be able to come to them for support or guidance, but that you won’t depend on them in carrying your job duties. That balance between being able to take direction and being able to work independently is crucial. Commonly, interviewers also keep an eye out for the employee who wants a positive, enthusiastic company atmosphere and the opportunity to advance. Such a candidate, they surmise, has both motivation and staying power.

What would you do differently if you ran the company?

In a constructive way demonstrate that you have enough knowledge about the business to answer this question convincingly. You can also turn this question around. Ask for the recruiter’s ideas as well. You might learn something valuable.

Where do you think we are most vulnerable as a business?

Describe things you believe the company does not do well compared to its competition. Explain how the company’s financial strength is important.

Tell me what you think our distinctive advantage is within the industry.

Describe things you believe the company does very well, particularly in comparison to its competition. Explain how the financial strength of the company is important.

What is your favorite product made by our company?

Describe personal use. Why do you use the company’s products? What do you think are new market opportunities for the product? You should be familiar enough with the company’s products to make informed, intelligent comments about them.

What initially attracted you to our company?

This is a chance for you to state the most prominent features that you know make this company distinctive from others. Use the knowledge you gained in your pre-interview research to show what you know about the company’s history and notability. Your preparation and research should become apparent here. Give one or two reasons why you are interested in the company, and what in particular piqued your interest.