The "what do you think this company could do better" question is very common during interviews. Some hiring managers may instead say "how could you improve the company"- or "what would you differently if you were starting your own company." Really- these are just different ways to ask the same thing. No matter how the interview questions are phrased- they serve a similar purpose.
Hiring managers want to know what you think of the company. If you have a holier-than-though attitude- you may not fit in at the company. At the same time- there are likely ways the company could improve- so the interviewer may be looking for some initiative from you and the other candidates. This is not an easy question to answer on the spot- but you do not want to simply say the company is perfect as is. You have to do some simple preparation before the actual interview to ensure you are ready to give a solid answer to this troublesome inquiry.
How to Answer the "What Do You Think This Company Could Do Better" Interview Question
Look at Positives and Negatives: The fact is- part of your preparation is going to- or at least should- include research on the company. As you do this research- you do not want it to be one-sided. You should look at both positive and negative takes on the company you could end up working for after a few interviews. Try to get information about the business' products- revenue- image- goals- market- employees- competition and reputation. These areas will give you an idea of a few shortfalls. When you actually answer the question- feel free to loop both the positives and negatives into the response. If you only focus on the characteristics that need improvement- the hiring manager may feel as if you are not really interested in working for the company. As a bonus- this type of research will help you ascertain whether you want to work for the company in question.
Focus on You: You are the main focus of the interview. Most of the interview questions look at your skills- qualifications- experiences and achievements. Rather than solely focusing on how your potential future company could be improved- let the hiring manager know you are ready to step in and help the company reach its goals. Answer the question- and then expound on how you can help bring about those changes. Changing the focus from the business to you will help ensure you do not get too negative on the company. This type of answer may also help you stand apart from your peers because you seem like an integral part of an improved company plan.
Keep Your Answer Parallel to Company Values: What one company perceives as a shortfall another may see as a positive. You need to familiarize yourself with the company's values. This will help you talk about improvements the business would actually be interested in making. For example- your old company may have focused on family values- so you could say the company might improve by making family even more important by hosting more picnics and company events. However- not all companies want family to be the center. Only suggest improvements in areas that fit the goals- reputation and values of the business. Keeping this in mind will make you seem like a candidate who would fit in at the company.
Sample "What Do You Think This Company Could Do Better" Interview Answers
1. Obviously- this company has a great reputation as an innovator and leader in the industry. A lot of things are going right- which is part of the reason why I am so interested in this position. This is a great company- but like everything else that is great- there is always room for improvement. As far as I can tell- the lead generation of the business is not as proactive as it could be. Right now- there is a lot of reliance on word of mouth and other passive lead generation. There is nothing wrong with these methods- but the company may be better served with a little more initiative in lead generation. I have experience designing and implementing these exact policies.
2. Thank you for asking this question. As a jobseeker- I am always trying to look at what I can do for a company. If there isn't anything that needs improvement- I feel there is very little I can help accomplish. This company is very good at what it does. Customers are happy with the services provide- and employees are happy with the work. It may seem like a perfectly functioning entity. However- I feel the company could be better at its use of social media. This is a fantastic way to connect with current and future customers. With my background in social media management- I know what steps to take to improve the social media standing of the company.
Even common interview questions can be a challenge to answer. Use the tips and samples found here to prepare a standout answer.