You have successfully submitted your application to the dream job and you wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and you think the reason you never heard back is because you are not the top few candidates. Sound all too familiar?  

Fortunately, not hearing back immediately does not always mean that you are not going to be successful at getting an interview. Recruiters receive many applications each day, especially via LinkedIn applications. Often a single recruiter is managing multiple recruitment activities, and often with several hiring managers.

Can can you fast track the time to first interview? I believe so. In Part 1 of my blog, I discussed leveraging someone on the inside to submit your CV to the hiring manager? Ask your contact if they can kindly track the status of your application, can they check in with Recruitment or the Hiring Manager. Don’t be afraid to call the company direct and ask to speak to the recruiting department; you can often find the right person on LinkedIn.  

Once you have Recruiter on the phone, ask if they have a few minutes to speak to you, get their email address and send your CV to them right then, whilst you are chatting to them on the phone. This is called the recency effect, and can be valuable to differentiate you from the many other candidates, who seem similar on paper. Be ready to discuss what you have to offer,  if they don’t have the time to talk with you then schedule a time with them whilst you are on the phone. This way you have guaranteed yourself the first interview. 

The first interview for a customer success role is usually with the Recruiter. It’s typically 30 mins long. Your objective is to get to the next step in the process (or decide the company not a match). Increase your likelihood of success by coming with prepared with questions about the role and company. The recruiter will be looking some specific examples of behaviours and skills from your experience that are directly linked to the job description.  They are looking for which candidate to send to the second stage interview with the Hiring Manager.  

If the job description mentions, “Drive Enterprise Customer Retention”, “Team Work” etc,  have some specific examples prepared you can talk about. My biggest TIP here: BEFORE you do the interview have a copy of the job description in front of you and use a highlighter to pick out the key requirements. Jot down some specific examples of how you may answer behavioural questions based on the job description,

“At company X I has responsibility to improve customer retention across mid-touch customers. These were customers we communicated with mostly by phone and email, with biannual face-to-face reviews (*Situation).

I noticed that these customers gave lower scores on their NPS surveys. I aimed to understand why this was, and to what degree it correlated with customer retention. (Task).

I undertook a structured set of interviews with our top 10 and bottom 10 mid-touch customers on NPS score. They told us parts of the product don’t fit for their business. I asked the analytics team to test this with activity data. We shared these findings with Product, who made some feature changes in the product, which increased activity for mid-touch customers, with no impact on others.(Action)

What started as curiousness, became a multi-team project. We executed the changes in 9 weeks. Through instigating data-led research on this potential churn issue we increased NPS from 5 to 7 and improved customer retention for mid-touch customers by 17 per cent (Result).”

Always end the interview knowing where you stand. This is called closing the interview.  Practise the following statement “Based on our discussion today,  I am really excited about doing this Customer Success role as I can bring my skills in X and Y way to your company. From your assessment of our chat today, do you have any objections in putting me forward to the next stage’’?  This is a very scary question to ask!!  Be bold and commit to ask this question. This way you will know if you are through for sure if you are through to second round.

In my next blog, I will be successful at the second stage interview with the hiring manager!

*The STAR is a recognised technique to provide structured responses in a behavioural interview. A behavioural interview is when you are asked to share examples from your experience in previous roles of solving problems, or overcoming issues. The acronym STAR is : Situation, Task, Action, Result

About me: I have  been a career coach for over 14 years with a passion for inspiring and motivating others and in my day job I have over 8 years experience leading and growing international customer success teams.  I am married to my partner James, we live in London and have a Beagle called Bob!

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