Your resume looks great!
You landed an interview with an awesome company, which just feels amazing.
The interview is going smoothly, and you are feeling nice and confident.
Then the interviewer looks at you and asks, “What do you know about this industry?”
Now, don’t panic.
This is where you need to shine.
This is an opportunity.
You can have a degree from a prestigious school, and that’s great.
But if you can’t apply your knowledge to your desired field, that piece of paper is worthless.
Even if you are switching careers, you must be able to show you know your stuff!
By following the below advice, you will help ensure a successful display of knowledge within your given industry.
Do Your Homework
Industries change constantly so it is essential that you stay up to date.
Do you think you know everything about your industry?
If so, one well-worded google search will probably be able to change that mindset.
Even if you know all the intricacies of an industry, make sure you are up to date on current events as well!
It’s good to have confidence, but don’t be so confident that you think you know everything.
Take a look at some specifics like:
- recent developments
- decisions of key people in the industry
- new technology and tools
Staying up to date will ensure that you will have plenty to discuss with the hiring manager during the interview.
Interviews can often lead to small talk about experiences throughout your career.
So, having enough to talk about will only benefit you in this scenario.
The Past Is the Key to the Future
The best candidates will have a great deal of knowledge about the industry in which they are applying.
But seriously, you should be able to give quite a detailed lesson if required.
Be sure to study up on not only the current state of an industry.
You will also want to study the history of the industry and how it has developed into modern times.
To go even further, provide your insight into where the industry is headed in the future.
If you do this, stick to 1-3 years in the future as nobody really knows what is going to happen beyond that timeline.
(If you go into flying car territory, you’ve gone too far).
Whatever your answer entails, do not make anything up or pretend to be more seasoned than you are.
The hiring manager should have extensive knowledge about the industry, so you are probably not fooling anyone.
Avoid topics you are fuzzy on or have limited experience with.
The interviewer could ask you to expand on any topic you discuss.
You do not want to start stumbling over your words.
Stick with what you know well.
If you accidentally go into unfamiliar territory, simply say, “But there’s still more I need to learn in this area.”
It’s okay to admit there’s more you need to learn, but it is best to stick to what you know.
How Do I Talk About What I Know?
Updating yourself so you know the history and current developments in the industry is half the battle.
If you don’t know what’s going on in your industry, then do you really know anything about your job?
The interviewer will think you don’t.
Plus being/seeming ignorant about your industry can make you seem careless like you’re only in it for the paycheck.
If you know everything you need to know but stutter out a response, then you might want to take a deep breath.
Stutter too much and your communication skills may come into question.
A good reason why you should definitely think about this question ahead of time.
One thing you want to avoid doing is giving a response like this:
Well, I know quite a bit about x, y, and z.
Knowing these things is great.
But simply listing them off can seem a little rehearsed and hollow.
You should mention the points you do with some purpose.
Giving some opinion mixed in with what you know can be helpful.
Giving some opinion shows the interviewer that you’ve put some thought into the development of the industry.
A better answer would be this:
Well, the industry itself has comes a long way in the last few years. I’ll admit that at first I thought programs like x might be a departure from our roots, but developments like y and z have proved x more than helpful and has actually pushed us gracefully into the modern world.
A short answer like this displays:
- Knowledge of industry history
- Opinion on developments and industry tools
- A glimpse at the future
There are several other ways to answer this question.
This is simply one.
When you respond, however, you want to cover the three points mentioned above.
Doing this will show a detailed knowledge of the industry.
You Got This!
This is your chance to really get technical and separate yourself from the other candidates.
Believe me when I say that many people do not prepare for an interview at all.
Preparing just a little bit will put you ahead of those who don’t.
One way you can do this is by considering possible interview questions.
Our article, 50 Top Job Interview Questions and Answers is an excellent way to do this.
You probably won’t be asked all fifty questions, but you can focus on the ones you aren’t very confident with.
Have confidence in your abilities/knowledge and answer directly.
As long as you have studied in preparation, you should have no problem expressing your:
If you are applying for this job, you should have no problem expressing your enthusiasm for the industry.
Don’t be shy!
If anything, your enthusiasm will be comforting to the interviewer or hiring manager.
Make sure you rehearse your response so you are able to deliver when asked this very common interview question.