Q: For interviews and cover letters, I've heard that the best way to show interest in a firm is to give historical facts (founding date, important deals) or logistics (number of employees). How often should we work these in?
Yikes, what bad advice. That is the last thing I want to hear. When I am reading your cover letter, I do want to know that your letter has been written specifically to answer my job description, and that it is not a form letter. Likewise, when I am assessing you in both your cover letter (and resume) and during your interview, I am looking for evidence that you would want to work for me and my firm.
But, regurgitated facts are not the way to show it.
Experiences and skills that are aligned with what I do are much more relevant to me. I am never going to leave an interview thinking, “Wow, she was able to name all three of our founders and cited what their birthday’s were!” But you will be heading towards an offer if I am thinking “Wow, that research project she worked on covered exactly the type of problems we deal with every day!”
Dazzle me with your skills and evidence of interest in my industry; don’t bore me with memorized facts about my firm.
Author of Polished and former campus recruiter, Managing Director, and CEO.