What takes up most of your day? For myself, I’m spending most of my time these days interviewing potential candidates. It can be gruelling and invigorating at the same time. I had an intern that I interviewed who gave me a whole new perspective on what their role would be – that is powerful.
When it comes to interview questions, I have a number of standard questions I ask candidates. I like to think I don’t make it too difficult for those I’m interviewing but it’s the answers not the questions that are important.
I won’t give away all my questions as the smart candidates are reading them right now (good on you). This one is specific to learning more about a candidate’s customer service background.
I ask the question “tell me about a time that you went over and above for a customer?” I ask this for a few reasons as I want to know:
- What type of customer experience do you have? Let’s hear a real example.
- Are you a cultural fit here? What is your definition of going over and above for a customer and how does that compare to our definition? I find that if people have bad habits, it can be hard to break them so you need to test for that.
Years ago (and I’m talking serious years) back when I was a stock clerk at a grocery chain I applied for a job at another grocery chain as I needed a second job to help pay for university. The hiring manager didn’t want me. He said “we keep things clean over here unlike where you currently work”. I said you’re right, they do keep things a little messy over there but let me tell you about how I helped clean up a massive mess of glass from a soda shipment (back when pop/soda was predominantly stored in glass) that was dropped by a colleague of mine. I volunteered to help and ensured that every last glass shard was picked up and that the floor was clear. I demonstrated that I went over and above to keep customers safe and would do the same for them. I have a few scars to prove it.
This may not be the right question in all customer success positions but you should come prepared with a good story to tell. I would even ask this question if I applied for a customer success position as I would want to know what the company does to delight their customers.
On a side note, you may nail this question but still not be considered for a position. This is one of many areas that you need to excel to be part of a customer success team.
What questions do you use that work well? What questions do you get that you hate?
Thanks for sharing, Chad.
One of the key behaviours that I look for in candidates is empathy. I typically ask candidates for their thoughts or feelings about a specific event in their lives. I want to know how compassionate and caring they really are, through real life examples. A typical question I ask is “Give me an example of when you went out of your way to help someone. What were your thoughts and feelings about that situation?”
I believe that anyone can learn the intricacies of our software relatively quickly, but the ability to be patient and empathetic towards a customer is something that takes years to develop and refine. It’s a character trait, not something that can be taught.
Great insights Brad – thanks for sharing!