By Ashley Hall
This is Part 2 of an earlier post about how to kick off the process of hunting for a customer success role. This post continues the journey through the interview process.
Great work! The effort of networking and applying for jobs has paid off. It’s time to get ready to interview. Do not panic! Interviews are naturally stress-inducing, but great preparation is the key to success. Here are some guidelines that will help you to arrive cool, calm, collected and ready to nail the interview.
The Phone Interview
Phone interviews are a common first step of the process. Just because it is over the phone does not mean you should take it lightly. This is an integral step to create a strong first impression and preview of your personality and background.
First, a few style notes. Talk slowly. Nerves will, of course, cause you to speak a bit faster than usual. Taking a deep breath and remembering to speak slowly will help you be heard loud and clear. Be sure to smile while you’re speaking! They can't see you, but the positive energy of your smile will come through while you are speaking with the hiring manager.
Summarize your professional, not your personal life. “Tell me about yourself” is a common opener to these conversations that should be taken seriously. It may feel more natural to just wing it on this response. I recommend rehearsing your answer to make sure you focus on the professional and highlight your strengths as you answer this question.
The Onsite Interview
Once you ace the the phone interview you will be invited to come to the office for an in-person meeting. Here is a checklist that will set you up for success.
Know who you are talking to
Be sure to get a list or schedule for the interview by at least the day prior to your interview. This way you can come up with unique questions for each interviewer as well as study up on their LinkedIn profiles before meeting them in person.
Get your act together
Arrive a few minutes early. 10 minutes is too early: You'll put unnecessary pressure on your interviewer. That said, a few minutes early will give you time to take a few breaths in the lobby before meeting everyone.
Always bring a bottle of water. It sounds silly, but every time I don’t bring water I get a little tickle in my throat I can’t clear! Having your own water will ensure that you don’t run into an awkward scenario where you must excuse yourself.
Prepare questions and answers
Be sure to have unique, pointed questions for each interviewer. Also prepare your notes and answers so you can respond to questions like “Why are you the best candidate for the role?” “Tell us about your greatest successes in your last role.” or “Tell us about a challenging customer and how you dealt with the situation.” Having talking points for these scenarios will help you showcase your ability to prepare and be a few steps ahead of anything the situation calls for.
Bring your homework
It’s standard practice these days to ask candidates to complete some sort of assignment to secure a role. It could be a presentation or a simple writing assignment. Be sure to complete your assignment on time and have it printed out for reference during your onsite interview.
Send thank you notes
Be sure to send individualized emails to each interviewer you meet with. This is the polite, professional thing to do, but also another opportunity for you to highlight why you are the right person for the role. It also gives you a chance to combat any opposition or push-back you encountered during the interview.
Finally, be yourself! Do your best to channel your nerves into positive energy, and try to have a bit of fun! Don't forget: Interviews are a chance for you to learn about the company you might be working for, as well as for them to learn about you. Being yourself will help you to avoid a culture misfit.
Want to be prepared for your next customer success role? The Success League offers a CSM Training Program that covers 8 core skills you need to rock your interviews and land your next job. Learn more by visiting our website - TheSuccessLeague.io
Ashley Hall - Ashley loves to lead account management teams; from training newbies to building processes out of chaos to working directly with customers. With an eye on the future she is a powerhouse in building scaleable frameworks that support and drive growth. Ashley serves as an advisor to The Success League, and is currently working for Singular.net as an enterprise account manager. She holds a BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder and enjoys living in San Francisco, CA.