How to express your opinion of a company during a job interview

Marlon Mai September 22, 2015 3 mins read

Many people often think of interviews as a one-way street, but actually, interviews are an opportunity for both the employer and the prospective employee to get to know each other; the company is evaluating you, but at the same time, you're evaluating the company.

How you feel about the company is one of the more sensitive questions that an employer may ask you. In asking this question, the employer is able to evaluate your qualities in many fields. Therefore, different responses to this question will have drastically different effects on the employer's opinion of you, and may even have an influence on the final outcome of the interview.

Firstly, you must ascertain exactly what it is that the employer wishes to know about you by asking this question. Many candidates mistakenly believe that the interviewer merely wishes to determine how much you know about the company at which you are applying to work—in other words, whether or not you have adequately prepared to work there. In actual fact, this question is much more complicated! As you elaborate on your opinion concerning the company, the interviewer is also able to ascertain how much you have prepared for the question, the degree to which you respect the company, as well as your motivation and work ethic. In addition to these qualities, an interviewer can also evaluate the candidate's ability to adapt to new circumstances, their professionalism, their communication skills—even the degree to which they are sincere. Therefore, you should adopt a pleasant attitude when responding to the question; don't put on airs or boast. Whether your answer is right or not isn't important—what's important is your attitude.

So, what kind of opinions may an interviewee express regarding a company? For example, an interviewee may talk about the company's prospects, its corporate culture, its competitive advantages on the market, as well as its potential for development. The interviewee may provide any kind of insight, so long as its relevant to the company.

Out of the many questions that an employer may ask you regarding your opinion of the company, one in particular will have a considerable influence on the outcome of the interview: what do you think the company is doing wrong? This topic may be posed by the interviewer, or may be brought up by the interviewee themselves. However, many candidates tend to overlook the importance of this question and how to answer it.

Some candidates may, based on their own observations and understandings, list one or more of the company's shortcomings, and then wait for the interviewer to provide their own input. Should you respond in this manner, regardless of the validity of the shortcomings you mention, the interviewer will ask themselves: if you feel that the company has so many shortcomings, why did you even bother to attend the interview, and why are you interested in the position in the first place? Therefore, it is not wise to mention too many shortcomings; one or two is quite sufficient. Clever candidates should be able to realize that what the interviewer cares about isn't the question itself, but the candidate's ability to answer it tactfully.

A clever candidate should be able to mention problems with the company itself, while at the same time finding a strategy to answer the question as diplomatically as possible. Meanwhile, the candidate should, through their responses, show the interviewer that they would make a valuable addition to the company. Proving our value as employees is the reason why we attend interviews in the first place—as such, shouldn't it be the focal point of our responses?

Marlon Mai's picture
Managing Director | Finance & Accounting, IT, Sales & Marketing Recruitment
mmai@morganmckinley.com

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