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How to Identify Top-Tier Candidates for Your Customer Success Team

A recent LinkedIn study showed that Customer Success is among the top ten fastest growing professions in the U.S., with postings having increased over 700% since 2015.

Especially in observing SaaS and cloud companies, Customer Success and Support roles have become critically important to companies increasingly focused on delivering a customer-centric approach and a quality personalized experience.

What should a manager be looking for when identifying talent for a CS position? We asked some of the brightest leaders in Customer Success what they personally look for when hiring.

Here’s what they had to say:

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“Hire according to your overall customer experience mission and organizational values. That alignment is critical to ensure each customer success team member shows up for the customer in the best ways.”

-Jeannie Walters | CEOand Chief Customer Experience Investigator at Experience Investigators

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“If you hire good people, you build a good team…but if you hire great people you build a great team. As such, Iaim to hire candidates based on specific strengths rather than a lack of weaknesses. It’s rare to find people who are great at everything, and I’d rather have a team of people who are each great at something specific, than a team of people who are good at everything, but great at nothing.”

-David Apple | Chief Revenue Officer at Zingtree

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“When assessing top performers for my CX organization I hone in on a few qualities:

1) Consistency in Work Ethic
2) Mastery of Common Sense
3) Showing up daily with a “Can Do” attitude.

You may never see these on a CS Skill matrix because everything there is table stakes – communication, ability to develop strong relationships, technical aptitude, etc. You have to have all of those things, but my stand out employees have almost always had an unwavering work ethic and believe the work they are doing is critical. They can take a step back and assess a situation and think logically about how to handle it to move things forward. The SaaS world can be challenging and you need a positive solutions-oriented mindset to ensure things are going to keep moving forward.”

-Kristi Faltorusso | VP of Customer Success at ClientSuccess

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“Seek out the right mindset. I once interviewed a top executive from a world-class company about how he hires customer service teams. He said if he had a choice between someone with years of support center experience or someone with a few years behind the front desk at a hotel, he would choose the hotel clerk. The hospitality mentality is hard to find. Once you find them, you can train them on the technical side of the business.”

– Shep Hyken | Customer Service and Experience Expert, New York Times bestselling author

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“Most people love to hire people that will just shut up and do their job. They consider them low maintenance. I am the opposite. I want people who are constantly advocating for the Customer. I want them to jump up and down if we are wrong. I can easily educate the associate if they are wrong but, if the associate is right, I can now know about the problem and fix it. We need and must encourage employees to be Customer advocates.”

-Frank Eliason | Consultant at Frank Eliason LLC

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“Build a world class Customer Success strategy and program that attracts top talent and positions your company as THE place to be for Customer Success professionals.”

-Keri Keeling | Global Head of Customer Success Innovation and Intelligence at VMware

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“One thing I know from hiring many customer support professionals….your top candidates almost always come as referrals from your top employees. When we take great care of our people they become a recruitment beacon in the best possible way. Not getting strong referrals? Take a look at your eNPS score! There are likely some specific things you could do to enhance the employee experience, and become the type of workplace folks want to enjoy with their most talented friends.”

-Nate Brown | Chief Experience Officer at Officium Labs and Co-Founder of CX-Accelerator

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“I take the Go-Giver ( approach where you focus on giving value and enjoy extraordinary results. By actively engaging in the CS community, I’ve connected with top candidates and built a strong network for referrals (candidates and opportunities).”

-Ellie Eu | VP of Customer Experience at Bugcrowd

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“No matter what roles I’m hiring for on my teams i look for three qualities: you have to be humble, hungry and smart. These characteristics translate into someone who is authentic, growth minded and good with people. This concept comes directly from Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Ideal Team Player, a great read for anyone building a team.”

-Jay Nathan | Chief Customer Officer at Higher Logic

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