Wikipedia describes competitive intelligence as the action of defining, gathering, analyzing, and distributing intelligence about products, customers, competitors and any aspect of the environment needed to support executives and managers in making strategic decisions for an organization. How does this relate to an executive in job search? Your competitive intelligence is where you demonstrate to potential employers your knowledge and even perhaps experience with their products, services and company.
The question often comes up in interviews, “Why do you want to work for our company?” Your response will be much stronger if you have competitive intelligence about:
- Distinguishing features, products and services.
- Company strengths and weaknesses
- What you can offer to improve company’s organization, products or services
- A 90-day plan of action
Start by researching the potential company website as well as the websites of their competitors. An executive might do this in the normal course of a business day for their current employer. What you are trying to determine is where the potential company is lacking and their competitors are excelling. This research will give you information you can use to identify the problems, and offer yourself as a solution. Be sure to highlight your unique talents and skills that set you apart from other executives who are interviewing for the same position.
Potential employers are impressed by a candidate’s knowledge of their company, and action planning solutions. They may even ask you during the interview questions like, “What do you propose to do in the first 90 days after you are hired?” or “If hired, what would be your 30/60/90 day plan of action?”
So next time you get the opportunity to interview with a potential employer, use your competitive intelligence to ace that interview and advance in the hiring process.