Difficult Interview Question: What Do You Know About Our Competitors?
Every legitimate job interview site talks about how important it is to research the company you are interviewing for. This is important for several reasons:
- Questions about what you know about the company come up all the time in interviews.
- You can tailor your answers to meet the needs of the company.
- Researching the company shows real interest and commitment.
- You should probably have some idea of where the company is going.
Really, there is no limit to the number of reasons that company research is important. However, what many of these sites forget to mention is that you need to research the competitors of the company as well. This presents you with a variety of benefits:
- You can learn where the company is headed and if it is a leader in the field.
- You can see what some companies offer that this one doesn’t.
- You can see what some companies don’t offer that your company does.
- You can answer this job interview question.
Yep, you might be asked what you know about your competitors. If you didn’t look anything up, it’s going to be hard to answer. Your best bet is to highlight the positives about the company you are interviewing for and perhaps mention a negative or two that the company is in the process of rectifying.
“The software platform of your competitors is known to be a little bit less expensive, but it doesn’t have as many features. I don’t remember its name.”
“According to the Forbes list of top 10 enterprise research software, the only two companies ahead of you are Company X and Company Y. Company X’s design is not nearly as user friendly as your product, but it does have integrated analysis tools which I believe you are in the process of coding, correct? Company Y doesn’t have much of a platform but thanks to their marketing efforts they have pretty extensive brand recognition, but I expect them to fall down in the charts over the next few years.”
This is very specific and shows that you really did your research and pay attention to the field. Don’t mention things you cannot expand upon – for example, if you did not really read the Forbes article but skimmed for that specific talking point, don’t mention it in case the employer wants to discuss the details.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Thoroughly research the company’s competitors, especially their relationship with the company’s products.