There are some interview questions that come standard, regardless of the position or company that a candidate is interviewing for.

What is your past experience?

Why are you looking for a new opportunity?

What is your biggest strength and weakness?

And then, of course, what do you know about the company?

This standard question can garner many different answers, from someone who seems like they’ve never even heard the name of the company, to someone who you might want to put on a stalker watch list.

But, in between the lines of all these different answers, there lies certain key things you should be looking for in the answer…

That the candidate knows what your company does.

Okay, this one might seem like a no-brainer—after all, how could a candidate know about the job without knowing what exactly they’d be doing and the company they’d be doing it for—but hear me out.

If your company does manufacturing, a candidate’s reply should go above and beyond simply answering, ‘Manufacturing.’ At the least, the candidate should be able to give a brief pitch on who the company is and why they want to join your specific team.

That there’s some inkling in their answer that they’ve checked out the website. 

Here’s where you’ve got to look for clues. Some companies, you may have such a cool website the candidate just comes right out and says they loved your website and explain why (coughourcandidatesdocough).

But for some companies, you see if the candidate uses any phrases or facts that are on your site, or maybe mention an employee testimony that’s there as being why they wanted to apply. However obvious the candidate makes it, keep an eye out for if they checked you out online.

Ditto for social media.

Same goes for your social channels (which, you should definitely have, by the way).

This one is a little newer than websites, as most employers are just now getting in the social employer branding space, but most candidates—especially the younger ones—should have checked social media to see if you are an employer they want to work for.

You can even do some post-interview investigation. If they candidate is following you on social, major brownie points should head their way.

That they’ve thought about ways they can contribute to the team.

This is the clutch moment—the one that separates the boys and girls from the men and women. Sure, a candidate may have checked out your website, they might know what you’re about, but have they thought critically about any of these things?

If a candidate follows up their brief knowledge with an expecting look that says, ‘Praise me for doing my research’ they are not the superstar they could be. A true superstar follows up by telling what they know, then telling what could be if they were part of the team.

So what do these types of answer clues tell you?

  • That the candidate really wants the job.
  • That the candidate has the wherewithal to perform some due diligence.
  • That this candidate is one who will enjoy working at your company—after all, they dug around and still liked what they saw.

When you ask the question, the candidates don’t have to know the ins and outs of the operation, but they should display that they’ve done some base level research. Keep an eye out for these specific items during your next interview—you might just make your best hire yet.

Kate Weimer

Kate Weimer is a Marketing Lead at Kinetix, specializing in social media recruitment marketing and account management. Using a combination of her background in social media and love for the written word, she’s shoving all buzzwords aside and making HR and recruitment marketing work in today's digital world. Want to hang? Hit her up on Twitter or LinkedIn , or contact her via email.