Interviewing for Customer Experience Rockstars

Designed to Gauge a Candidate’s Service Aptitude Potential

The brands that will survive the next decade will be the ones that remained relentless with their hiring standards.

 

You get what you pay for; hiring great people is an investment. Every employee is like a stock in your investment portfolio. The rock star rule is that fewer employees are paid more, which equals a lower total labor cost. It has been said that one high performer delivers more than ten average employees in a creative environment. Not to mention, average employees bring down high performers. Performance is contagious.

The Objective of a Company’s Hiring Process

Hiring aims not simply to fill job openings with warm bodies. It doesn’t matter if you are a small, medium, or large organization; or if you are the director of human resources, head of recruitment, or a department leader; or if you are hiring seasoned people with a certain level of expertise or less experienced people you will have to train. Regardless of all these factors, your number one job is to find a candidate who fits your culture and will enhance it.

A great leader and a great organization understand that just as much as the potential employee needs to be the right fit for their company and team, the company needs to be the right fit for the potential employee. If not, within the next six months, both the company and the person hired are likely to be back at the drawing board, with both parties looking for a new situation.

Great companies are great precisely because they stand for something special, different, distinctive.  That means, almost by definition, that they are not for everybody.  -Jeff Bezos

Three objectives of an interview

  1. Scare away the wrong candidates.
  2. Find out who the potential rockstars are.
  3. Make the potential rock stars want to work for your company.

Hire for the Heart, Train for Part

Your goal is to find candidates who are happy, kind, caring, empathetic, friendly, positive, optimistic, grateful, and genuinely like others.

Natural customer experience rockstars genuinely like and care about others.  Your hiring process needs to identify those who do and those who do not.

 

The following is an abbreviated list of optional interview questions from the Interview Question Guide to Gauge Service Aptitude that focus on whether the candidates have the potential to provide excellent customer experience skills, primarily soft skills. These questions should be combined with other interview questions not listed here that assess skills like technical knowledge, work ethic, cultural fit, etc.  We also do not recommend using all these questions; pick the ones that best fit your company’s customer service culture.

*Related – The Employee Experience Revolution: Increase Morale, Retain Your Workforce, and Drive Business Growth

These questions are broken into six key categories:

  1. Happy/Optimistic
  2. Genuinely Likes Others
  3. Curiosity
  4. Kind & Caring
  5. Desire to be Great at Customer Service
  6. Empathy

The Engagement Indicator—the Five Es

If you are seeking people who have the potential to be customer-centric team members, evaluating their Five Es (see below) might be your most powerful tool. Many of our consulting clients have incorporated the Five Es into their interview process, literally counting the times a candidate demonstrates each one.

*Throughout the interview, we measure how often the following occurs

Engagement Indicator, The DiJulius Group 

Please note that the interview questions provided herein are designed to assist with evaluating candidates’ qualifications, skills, and experience in a manner consistent with fair hiring practices and compliant with federal, state, and local employment laws.  This disclaimer is provided for guidance and does not constitute legal advice.  Interviewers should consult with Human Resources Department or legal counsel if in doubt about the appropriateness of an interview question or topic

Happy/Optimism

  1. How are you doing today?
    • How happy are they? Looking for a better answer than “fine” or “okay.”
  2. What is something you love to do when you are not working?
    • Do they show enthusiasm when they talk about what they love? 

I can get a sense of any place within seconds by observing the quantity and quality of the employees’ smiles.  My emotional antennae could pick up whether they were genuine or just a mask.  -Chip Conley

Genuinely like others

  1. Think about some of your favorite people you have ever met, such as friends, family, colleagues, etc. What characteristics did they possess that made you like them so much?
  2. Would you rather work alone or collaborate with a team?
  3. How demanding do you think customers are today?

Curious

  1. How would you get someone to like you during a conversation?
    1. The best answer is “Ask them questions to learn more about them.”
  2. What would you like to ask me (the interviewer)?
    1. Are they curious? Do they want to learn about the interviewer, company, etc? Besides the next steps in the interview process.
  3. How do you handle situations where you disagree with someone’s viewpoint? Provide a specific example.
    1. Assesses the ability to maintain empathy towards others’ viewpoints, even in disagreement, and seek mutual understanding or compromise. 

Kind & Caring

  1. When did you last make someone’s day, and how did you do it?
    • Follow-up question: How did it make you feel?
  2. After coming in contact with you, how do you want customers to feel emotionally?

Anybody who’s on that front line who is ever going to interact with a customer needs to understand this awesome responsibility they have to be the one person representing the entire copmany at that moment – like the CEO of the moment.  -Shep Hyken

Desire to be great at Customer Experience

  1. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best), how would you rate yourself for delivering customer experience and why?
  2. Do you feel you need training on customer experience?
    • It always can get better. Are they open to a company that constantly trains on CX?
  3. What does customer experience mean to you?

Empathy

  1. Let’s watch a video (Day in the Life of a Customer).
    • Follow-up question: tell me what you think.
    • Did it move them, inspire them, or were they uninspired?
  2. Can you tell me a time when you showed empathy for a customer?

While most employee candidates have the potential to provide excellent customer service, not all do. These sample questions from the Interview Question Guide to Gauge Service Aptitude can help you identify candidates who can achieve a high service aptitude with additional customer experience training.

Announcing our Newest Book –

The Employee Experience Revolution: Increase Morale, Retain Your Workforce, and Drive Business Growth

Jobs do not define who we are. But, what we do for a living, our careers, and who we decide to do it for are huge parts of who wePre Order Today And Well Send The 15 Page Interview Question Guide FREE 6, The DiJulius Group are. We spend a significant amount of time working. Every leader should realize that the work needs to be rewarding and fulfilling.  Of course, this is in addition to the financial compensation one receives. Leaders need to build the type of company that helps employees be proud of the work they do and allows them to have an opportunity to live their best lives.

Every day businesses seek to make a profit. But sometimes, the bottom line is not the best indicator of a company’s long-term health. In the wake of the Great Resignation, companies are scrambling to retain employees and profits. It turns out that one answer is the key to both. The Employee Experience Revolution divulges the little-known secret. That secret is how to become a more profitable company in both the short and long term: happy employees. “Your customers will never be any happier than your employees. Remember, your people . . . create and deliver the experience that keeps customers coming back.”

Bonus!

Pre-order your copy today and receive a limited bonus, 15 pages of questions designed to gauge applicants’ service aptitude potential. Interview Question Guide to Gauge Service Aptitude.  

Episode 154 of The Customer Service Revolution Podcast: Time to Have Some Insights

Video of the Week: Leaders need to build this type of company

Register Now for our Next Webinar on Thursday, May 16: Creating a Recruitment Experience

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.