I can’t recall ever participating in an interview (as either interviewer or interviewee) where someone didn’t ask “what do you know about our company? It is one of the top 5 questions asked by interviewers, and the answer an interviewee gives to that question better not be “I don’t know much.”
Now, before the late 1990s, finding details about companies, particularly their recent achievements, was rather difficult, especially for small businesses. Today, a job seeker has multiple avenues for finding information about a company. At a job interview, you should be able to recite info about a company’s history, it’s legacy, its current MAJOR projects, and recent milestones the company and its personnel have achieved. I’m not just referring to a Google search on a company. Check out the company’s web page (see ‘about us’ links). Go to LinkedIn and scan the company’s page or look up professionals from the company on LinkedIn. As an fyi – they will receive messages that you have look at their LinkedIn pages. Frankly, I think it is a good thing as it shows you are thorough in your research and preparation, which ultimately shows your level of professionalism.
Why spend such a load of energy learning about the company? Professionals from the company want employees who will take pride in representing the company. If you don’t do your research and end up knowing little when that top 5 question gets asked, the interviewer(s) might question your desire to work there, or worse, they may question your professionalism. Fair or not. Let’s consider another scenario. You and one other interviewee are the final two under consideration for a position at a Fortune 500 company. If you and the other candidate are evenly matched, but they know about the company’s history and you don’t, they will have the edge and a greater likelihood of getting offered the job. So… be prepared to answer that question.
For other interview tips, see my book JOB INTERVIEW ESSENTIALS (yeah, I know, shameless plug). Best wishes.