This question is another way of asking, how well do you know the field If you aren’t aware of the companies with which this firm competes, it may be difficult to contribute to its competitiveness. Your answer to this question shows whether you’ve adequately prepared for this interview and have some degree of global understanding of the industry. This is a question that requires advanced preparation and one you should be ready to answer if you want to convince your interviewer to take you seriously.
Points to Emphasize
To demonstrate your savvy when it comes to the playing field in your industry, follow these tips:
- Research not only the company to which you’re applying, but also its chief rivals.
- Make sure you interpret the information you've gathered rather than just reporting it.
- Bring the focus back to you at some point in your answer.
- Be prepared to talk about industry and market trends, and what sets this firm apart from others.
Preparation is key for success with this question. It’s one that you may spend more time researching than some others.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Assuming you know your stuff when it comes to the company where you want to work, here are some possible traps to sidestep:
- Never disparage the firm in any way, even when discussing potential areas for growth.
- Avoid implying that competitors are the same or better.
- Don’t just list information about the company without demonstrating an understanding of it.
- Don’t try to wing it. If you inadvertently give even one piece of wrong information, you may destroy your credibility with the interviewer.
This question can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be a stumbling block if you’re ready for it. This is information you really should know if you’re going to work here.
Here’s a sample of a strong answer to this question:
My research indicates that Competitor A is currently outselling your product due to their line’s greater functionality. However, given the improvements you’re working on for the next generation being released this fall, I would anticipate that you’ll recover a good portion of the market share. Your planned upgrades will put you ahead in terms of functionality, and at a lower price. I would love to be able to apply my experience with improving efficiency in order to help this company keep costs low and maintain its competitive edge.”
Remember, the interviewer wants to know how you’re going to be an asset to the company and help it outpace the competition.