Do you enjoy being put on the spot and asked uncomfortable questions? Great, then you’ll love when the interviewer asks, “What could this company do better?”
But, if you’re like most people, when the interviewer asks this question, you’ll be sweating bullets trying to think of a good answer. Let’s face it, they’re basically asking you to point out their company’s shortcomings.
Some other ways they might ask the same question include:
- What do you think we could do better?
- What would you do differently if this were your company?
- How do you think you could improve our company if we hired you?
Luckily, with some simple preparation, you can show you’ve done your homework on their business, understand the industry, and highlight your skills. Let’s see how you can plan a delicate and professional answer to hits those marks.
In this article, we:
- Discuss why recruiters ask you, “What could this company do better?”
- Show you step-by-step how to answer this question.
- Include 5 examples of great answers to the " What could this company improve?” interview question.
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Why do recruiters ask, "what do you think this company could do better?”
There are two main reasons hiring managers ask this question. Both offer you an opportunity to impress them.
First, they want to know more about you. They’re reading between your answer's lines to see what you’re like and how you might fit into their company culture.
Depending on your answer, they may decide you have tact and excellent communication skills or that you’re condescending and full of yourself. Worded correctly, you can show genuine interest in their business instead of coming across as a know-it-all they don’t want on their team.
Second, they want to know what you think of the company. After all, they’re considering hiring you because they believe you understand something about their business, so they stand to gain from your insights.
What is the best approach to answer "what do you think this company could do better?”
Because you’re being asked to point out flaws in the company you’re interviewing for, this question can be uncomfortable and a minefield. No sweat, right?
Follow these simple steps to plan an answer that impresses the recruiter:
1. Do your research
The only way you’re going to be able to put together a good answer is if you research the company in advance. You’ll need an idea of how they operate and fit into the industry to give an answer that impresses the recruiter.
Look online or reach out to your network to gather information about the business’s products, revenue, image, goals, market, employees, competition and reputation. These areas will give you an idea of where they might come up short.
2. Be specific
Use what you learned about the company to identify specific aspects about it you admire and others you’d suggest changing. If the recruiter asks you this question, they want you to give them a concrete answer, not beat around the bush with a vague one.
3. Consider the company values
Companies operate differently from one another, and you want your answer to align with their values and goals. Because your personal mission statement will differ from their corporate mission, look into the company’s values to suggest improvements they’d actually be interested in.
The reverse of this is also true, which is another reason to research the company. It would be best if you don’t make suggestions that go against the company values since that would be a red flag that you won't fit in there.
4. Start with a positive
Lead with a relevant complement to frame your answer in a positive light. This shows the recruiter that you know your stuff and can give constructive criticism without coming across as one-sided and negative.
5. Be critical (to a point)
Based on what you learned about the company, describe one specific thing about them you would do differently. But remember, you’re being judged on how you approach this answer, not just the content, so offer your insights without going on about them.
6. Bring it back to you
Once you’ve answered their question, shift to how you could help make those changes. Moving the focus to you ensures you aren’t too negative about the company.
It also puts you ahead of the competition by letting you pinpoint some of your strengths. Use this opportunity to tell the recruiter precisely what sets you apart.
Answering this question is one piece of the puzzle. If you’re unsure about another aspect of your job interview, look over the best of our expert advice on the most common questions we get to ace your interview.
Example answers to, "what do you think this company could do better?”
These examples follow our steps of starting with something positive, moving on to moderate criticism, and then highlighting how your skills could help. Adapt these answers or craft one yourself that follows these basic rules.
Example 1 – Updating outreach
This answer is perfect if you’re interviewing for a role in marketing, HR, or any management level. It shows you’ve done your homework on the company and points the recruiter toward a valuable skill that makes you a unique candidate.
Example 2 – Transition period
There’s always a transition period when a company goes through changes. That’s a perfect time to show potential employers you have the soft skills they need to help them build a strong workforce.
Example 3 – Sales
Recruiters love to hear that you’ve used their products because it shows that the company is more to you than just a paycheck. This answer also demonstrates how your insights as a customer and employee offer them a unique opportunity.
Example 4 - New to the industry
Sometimes you don’t have years of experience to fall back on, but that shouldn’t limit how much you can impress a recruiter. This answer shows that despite being new to the industry, you’ve done your due diligence in looking into them. Even more, it shows you have the humility and confidence to admit when you don’t have the answer.
Example 5 – Social motivation
This answer demonstrates so many levels a recruiter will love to see. It shows your interest and knowledge in the company, your motivation to support its values and your interest in being with it for long-term growth.
- Lean into specific opportunities to improve the company; the recruiter doesn’t want you to avoid this question with a vague answer.
- Research the company’s products, revenue, image, goals, market, employees, competition and reputation to craft an informed answer.
- Start with something positive, present a shortcoming, and then offer to use your skills to solve it.
- The recruiter is judging how you’ll fit into their team, so the goal is to sound knowledgeable without coming across as a know-it-all.
- Moderate your answer by moving quickly from constructive criticism to offering a solution.
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