Interview Question: What Do You Know About This Industry?
How to Answer Interview Question: What Do You Know About This Industry?
Do you know enough about the industry you are working in? This is one of the questions that you may need to answer in an interview.
While some interview questions are tricky and not straightforward, this question is as clear as they come. It is nothing short of an interviewer’s attempt to drill a candidate, trying to know how well-versed they are in industry affairs.
Fortunately, we have prepared a list of the best ways to approach this question. Likewise, what to avoid when answering this question is all in this guide.
Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?
To test your knowledge of the industry.
In general, those who know a lot about the industry they are in perform better at their jobs. The knowledge they have of the industry sets them apart from others. Also, it opens their eyes to other aspects of what the job entails that the average professional wouldn’t bother to look at.
Indeed, employees who have broader industry knowledge and experience are more dynamic, knowing the latest trends in the industry. Also, the knowledge they have of the industry makes them look more into the future and make better short-term and long-term decisions. Although the candidate benefits the most from their knowledge of the industry, their employers will also share some of the spoils.
To know how much of the role you understand.
The average employee who develops a keen interest in the affairs of the industry as a whole performs better. They know better than their peers about what the job entails. Some employees hardly know the significance of other departments in their organization. Likewise, some don’t fully understand the process and implications of the duties they perform.
Profound knowledge of the industry takes much research and additional time invested in industry appreciation. For this reason, employers ask this question to be sure that candidates understand their roles better than the average employee.
To see whether you are driven by a passion for the job.
Having a commendable knowledge of the industry takes a lot of work. While your peers end every discussion about work as soon as they walk out of the office building, you don’t. Industry enthusiasts continue the conversation and research when they get home. This act is a combination of commitment and passion.
People who do this are most likely driven by their love for the job and industry as a whole. From reading journals to subscribing to paid newsletters, these candidates make sacrifices no one asks of them just to keep up with the industry. To employers, only a few traits are as admirable as this. This is also why you might hear an interviewer ask you about your knowledge of the industry.
To determine the correlation between your resume and your responses.
Sometimes candidates shoot themselves in the foot by introducing self-harming exaggerations to their resumes. More often than not, the interview questions expose them while their answers betray them also. To find out about the authenticity of some of the claims in a candidate’s resume, this question could be asked.
As the candidate begins to speak about his or her industry knowledge, the interviewer goes through their resumes. If they find out that some information does not add up, they could raise further questions. Before a candidate knows it, the interview could become an interrogation.
To know if you are a fast or willing learner.
Knowing much about the industry has everything to do with actively learning. Industry knowledge in all its richness does not fall on a person’s lap. Only those who are interested in learning more about where they make a living get the adequate knowledge they crave. From reading to attending industry meetings and workshops, the earnest professional learns the ropes.
The determination to understand more about the industry is a positive trait every employer would want their candidate to possess. It shows how much the candidate is willing to learn. Anyone eager to learn is most likely teachable. Employers know that they would be spending company funds to train employees in the long run. It is gratifying for employers is spending money on employees who love to learn.
How to Answer the Question
Show your knowledge of the past
Knowledge in any sense should either relate to the present, future, or the past. In the same way, when you start talking about your industry knowledge, take a look back in time. Remind the interviewer of the history that binds every organization within the industry. This history forms the basis on which the present progressive methods of operating in the industry are built.
From the founding principles that have been modified to industry practices that are still in use, mention the terms. In about two sentences, use your knowledge of the past as an introduction to your next point.
Talk about the recent developments in the industry
After making an introduction to the answer with a walk down “memory lane”, the next point should refer to the recent industry developments. There must have been a series of growth and progression from old ways to more efficient methods in use today. Mention these recent developments.
For instance, if the most reliable software or tools used by professionals in the industry have been surpassed by a new one, name it. Also, if the leaders of industry associations and bylaws have changed, explain the transition. The most relatable developments in the industry are the ones that are ushering the industry into a new era. Mentioning them briefly would highlight the vast knowledge of the industry you have acquired.
Mention the trailblazers in the industry
Throughout history, men and women of immense skill, vision, and undeniable success have shaped every industry from art to engineering. The average employee mainly pays attention to the task given to them and knowing the founding fathers matters less. However, when a candidate mentions the names of trailblazers in the industry, it speaks volumes of his or her knowledge.
Note that innovators in any discipline are not limited to those who have achieved success in times past. Even people from the present and some that are yet to come will still join (or have joined) that category. Thus, knowing these people and acknowledging their impact on the industry shows how much of a student of the discipline you are. If you add the name of the potential employer to the list, then you will score extra points from the interviewer.
The trending industry practices
Part of every professional’s job is to keep up with current industry trends and practices. Not only does this make you good at your job, but it also shows that you have a vast knowledge of the industry. There are some industry practices you learn on the job. These are known methods practiced by veterans or senior colleagues who later pass them on to their juniors.
Then, other industry practices are not yet popular throughout the industry but are revolutionary. These are the industry practices that would impress the interviewer more. The reason is that they would make the candidate seem like they follow the current trends.
The company’s current progression
One of the best tricks of impressing an interviewer is to show that you have done your homework on the company. It shows that you are serious about joining them. The company you are looking to join is part of the industry in every sense. Thus, adding the company’s current progression to the list of notable industry progression is valid.
Use the company’s current standings among the industry’s greats as an example of how far the company has come. Also, state how you have studied the company’s impact in the industry and how it has inspired you.
How your role fits into the current state of the industry
It pays for a candidate to explain briefly how his or her role affects the industry. Truly understanding your role in the industry starts with doing some research into your job. This includes how it affects the company, industry, and society presently. Also, it stretches to how it could affect the industry in the future.
Show the direct link between your role and society and how it fits into the current state of affairs. Further, explain briefly how you think your role can evolve and how it should in the industry. Back these up with one or two facts you may have read in a journal or publication.
Explain what you have discovered so far
A good trait of an ardent student of any discipline is applying what they have learned through any possible means. This starts by explaining what you may have discovered throughout your time studying the industry. As you conclude the answer, recall some of the things you discovered from what you have learned so far. These should be some of the most relatable facts about the industry.
If you have theories, express them and ask for the interviewer’s thoughts on them. Even if your theories are not probable, having them shows your passion for the industry. And if your theories prove to have potential, this would make the potential employer more interested in you than ever. It shows that you have the potential to become a trailblazer.
What to Avoid When Answering the Question: What Do You Know About This Industry?
Try not to gloat
There are indeed candidates who have a vast knowledge of the industry they operate in. If these candidates feel like showing off, they may have earned the rights. Yet, gloating about your knowledge is not advisable because it could send a different message than you intended.
Some interviewers might interpret it differently as showboating or wanting to prove that a candidate knows better. Even though interviewers are mostly cautious when addressing candidates during interviews, it doesn’t stop them from harboring resentments. Thus, be mindful of the choice of words you use as well as gestures while answering the question.
Avoid arguing with, correcting, or interrupting the interviewer
There is a thin line between being cocky and being confident; try not to cross it. Sometimes, a knowledgeable candidate prepares so well for an interview that they know more than the interviewer expects. If they misuse this advantage, all the knowledge would be for nothing. A rookie mistake to make is correcting the interviewer or potential employer.
Interviewers don’t appreciate being undermined by a candidate who has less industry experience than them. If something was said wrong by the interviewer, don’t correct them as long as you understand their point. Likewise, interrupting the interviewer is not the best way to show that you know what they are talking about. If at first, you finish their sentence, don’t attempt to do it again.
The worst thing to do is argue with the interviewer. It does not send a good signal about you to them. Even when you indeed know it all, stay humble and let the interviewer feel less threatened.
Not accepting that you don’t know some things
Impressing the interviewer or potential employer is the goal of attending interviews. Answering questions satisfactorily is a good indication that you are on the right track to impressing them. Yet, trying your hardest to not be wrong is not the best tactic to achieve this. Some candidates go as far as making sure that the interviewer agrees with them on nearly every answer.
Once interviewers suspect that a candidate is trying to manipulate them, it’s game over. Thus, whenever you are corrected, accept it. If the interviewer asks a question you cannot answer, when they answer, say you appreciate it. You could go on to ask for hints on how to better understand the explanation. This again shows your humility and willingness to learn.
Gaining industry knowledge does not come overnight. It takes time and effort through studying and practicing what you learned. Books and journals are some of the sources of the necessary knowledge about the industry. Mention the books you have read and the journals that have impacted you the most.
Also, touch on your attempts to gain more knowledge and the success you have had so far. If one of the publications that caught your eye was written by the potential employer, mention it. Interviewers love to know that they are making an impact.