The 7 Places I Visit When Preparing for a CS Interview

The 7 Places I Visit When Preparing for a CS Interview

Interviewing for a Customer Success Manager (CSM) role can feel like a game of chess, with high stakes and fierce competition. With so much at risk, it's normal to feel anxious and uncertain about how to prepare.

In this article, you'll learn what seven places you should visit when preparing for an interview to demonstrate how your skills and experiences align with a company’s goals and values.

So get ready to take your job interview game to the next level!

1. YouTube

You may wonder why I recommend starting with the company’s YouTube page rather than its website. A website is mostly for marketing and filled with buzzwords and benefit statements rather than how the product works.

Your goal is to learn about the company, not to buy the product.

However, YouTube will likely hold recorded demos from the company and tutorials from power users. Take advantage of these resources.

Just add the product name in YouTube + Demo to see what pops up.

As you watch these demos and tutorials, take note of the following.

  • What features do the videos highlight?
  • What kinds of benefits do the videos claim to give customers?
  • What does a day in the life of a user look like using this product?
  • What messaging does the company’s sales team and/or the trainer emphasize during the demo?

Pro tip: Using similar messaging from their company demos during your interview will show your alignment with the company’s mission and allow the interviewer to visualize you as a CSM representing the company.

2. Crunchbase

Crunchbase will list the company’s most recent news and investment rounds. This is especially valuable if you are joining a startup and are concerned about its fiscal stability. The amount of funding raised can give you a reasonable estimate of how much runway they have. This will help you determine if this is a viable job for you in the short and long term.

By seeing what round of investment the company has closed, we can estimate the level of maturity the company has in terms of SaaS and Customer Success. This can play into your strategy for presenting your skills and help you decide if this is your optimal environment.

You can also use this info to congratulate the team on a job well done during the interview.

Answer the following questions when you look through Crunchbase to determine if this is a company that still interests you.

  • How much money have they raised, and what investments have they closed recently?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Where are their headquarters located? (for your use if you plan on climbing into leadership)
  • What are their products? (find under the technology tab)

Protip: Leverage what you learned during your research when the interviewer asks why you want to work for them.

3. Google News

Find out what publications are saying about the company by searching them in Google and clicking on the news tab.

Use Google News to answer these questions:

  • What magazines or online publications have they been featured in?
  • Have there been any significant recent layoffs?
  • Is the news primarily positive or negative? What is the focus of the news?
  • What are news outlets, investors, or the public most excited about with this company?

4. The Company’s Website and LinkedIn Page

Get the info straight from the source. Find out their marketing messaging so you can mimic the same rhetoric in your interviews.

Use their website to answer these questions:

  • What story does the blog or customer-facing articles on their website tell?
  • What products do they have, and which are most prominently promoted on their website?
  • What problems does the company believe they are best equipped to solve?
  • What customers are they proud to display? Are any of these customers similar to customers you have worked with?

5. The Company’s Public Resources

Some companies keep their support and knowledge base articles open to the public. That means you should be able to read 3-10 articles to get a good understanding of the product offering and its benefits and to identify what you like about the product.

Also, search under their resources tab to discover any helpful webinars, white papers, guides, courses, events, community programs, and other helpful customer education resources. These types of resources focus more on strategy and best practices than their support center, which assists users with using their products. It is important to research and learn from both.

Pro tip: Find a few features and best practices that you enjoy talking about. During the interview, demonstrate why you are passionate about them and how you would get customers excited about them as well.

6. The Interviewer’s LinkedIn Profile

Looking up the interviewer’s LinkedIn can help you discover things in common to allow the interviewer to see you as an individual instead of words on a resume. You can also align yourself with their brand of thought leadership.

Answer these questions when researching your interviewer’s LinkedIn.

  • What path did they take to get into their current role? Is there any similarity between your approach and theirs? Are you seeking to replicate their success?
  • What have they posted about on LinkedIn? Are they passionate about this area, and does it align with your core values? Is it something you can aid them with?
  • Have they participated in panel discussions, seminars, and webinars? What are their philosophical principles? Did they share any ongoing initiatives or previous initiatives they are proud of? How does that align with your skills?

Protip: During the interview, use what you know from your research to build rapport and demonstrate your interest in the company and with the interviewer's background. For example, you could mention a particular article or post they shared on LinkedIn that resonated with you or ask them about a specific initiative they mentioned in a panel discussion. This can help to create a more meaningful and engaging conversation, increasing your chances of making a positive impression and ultimately landing the job.

7. Glassdoor

Using Glassdoor can help you decide if this is the right environment for you.

Use Glassdoor to answer the following questions.

  • What does the interview process look like at this company?
  • What are typical interview questions reported by people who have interviewed with this company?
  • What have people answered before, and did they get the job?
  • What are people's overall sentiments about the company's culture and leadership?

Preparing with the extra-mile research will help you separate yourself from the rest of the field en route to a job offer. Good luck!

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