Commercial awareness


What’s the best way of answering question suchs as these in an interview?

“Describe a company you think is doing well/badly and explain why you think this is so.
What do you think are key qualities for a company to have to be successful?”

Anyone got any particularly good responses?


The article [[common interview questions]] could be helpful for this.

These questions are assessing [[commercial awareness]], structured thinking, confidence, and the ability to discuss complicated topics with intelligence. Pick a company that you are actually interested in and for which you can talk with some passion (it’s important to demonstrate passion and conviction at interview (see recent ‘’‘blog post’’’ - [[Applications & interviews: it’s all about the marketing]]).

Spend time reading the FT and relevant trade press to find out relevant people’s comments on why this company is doing well/badly. Find out really interesting reason - and find out different opinions too, so in your discussion you can bring out a balanced argument.

Regaridng the “key qualities” question, I suggest reading up about the “key qualities” the company you are interviewing with promotes themselves as having. Describe successful companies in terms of these qualities and relate things to the company you are interviewing at.

For this question, also consider how industry is changing. What qualities will companies (and employees) need in coming years? As the rate of technological improvements increases, companies must re-invent themselves to stay ahead of the competition. CEO’s must become entrepreneurs, to compete with the growing pool of entrepreneurs like [ Brent Hoberman] who are challenging traditional business practices. There is an interesting video with Brent Hoberman (Co-founder of [ here] where he talks about exactly this.

Any more questions - shout.