Where a company stands in the market is important to the company and you. The company cares because their long term outlook depends on either offering a better product or marketing their product better. You care because a company that fairs poorly may not last very long if the other companies manage to show consumers why their products are more effective. It is more important than ever to research the company you are interviewing with.
Companies often ask applicants what they know about competitors for 3 reasons:
- It tells them how much research the applicant performed.
- It tells them how much knowledge the applicant has in that type of product.
- It tells them if they understand the product, by how they compare it to competitors.
How to Answer
You should research the major competitors of the company in order to have a solid answer to this question. Try your best to learn about the competitor’s products as well. When you answer, try to focus on the following:
- Specific feature differences and similarities.
- Projects/improvements in the pipeline.
- Market share and possibly marketing tactics of the company.
- Performance of the product and reviews.
Your answer should avoid the following:
- Simply listing facts and names that show no deeper knowledge.
- Saying anything negative about the company you are applying for.
- Hinting that another company may be better.
“I know that your lead competitor, OpposiTech, offers a product called the ‘EyeSoar’ that offers similar functionality. I also know that they offer 3 other products and they have a lot of the market.”
These are just listing facts. It is not that impressive an answer.
“From what I have researched, OpposiTech offers the most competitive program to your own. Their software has slightly greater functionality, including the ability to gauge user trends, but their program is not considered user friendly and would take about 3 years of reprogramming to improve ease of use. On the other hand, it appears that your product has the functionality in the pipeline for later this year, so I suspect their share of the market will decrease dramatically before their Ui upgrade is out.”
Here you show much greater knowledge of the product. This is an in depth answer that shows you not only did your research, but you also compared and contrasted, and are intelligent enough to do so effectively.
Take Away Interview Tips
Research the company’s products and its competitors by investigating:
- The company website and social assets.
- Online forums and product review websites.
- Press releases.
- Speak to current and past employees if possible.