Far too many people think a recruitment process is one way; it’s all about the organization discovering if you are the right person for them. To me this is only half the story. It is equally as important to find out if the organization is right for you by undertaking ‘due diligence’. Much of what I will say below refers to my area of specialism, Customer Experience, but the same principles apply to other roles.
So let me set the scene. Let’s assume I have applied for the role of Head of Customer Experience. Here is what I would ask/do and the reason why:
1. What is my role and responsibility?
- Do I think these responsibilities are reasonable? What levels do I have in place to achieve these?
2. What does this mean I can and can’t do?
- What I ‘can’t do’ is potentially more important than the ‘can do’. Many times people are given responsibility without authority. That is a recipe for disaster. Don’t just take their first reply, test them. For example; ask them if you can stop a product being launched as it will provide a poor Customer Experience? The answer will be revealing.
3. What is the vision/mission of the organization and please show me how this is being delivered.
- I am trying to see here if the vision/mission is ‘real’ or just a piece of paper. I am also looking at how good they are at implementing strategy. If the vision/mission is just a piece of paper, why is this the case and what do they really do?
4. How do you define a ‘Customer Experience’?
- I am trying to discover if they know what they are talking about! Does the organization know what this will take to do? If they don’t, make sure you tell them what you think will need to change. If they don’t think you will be able to do this, don’t take the job. You are setting yourself up for failure.
5. What does the senior team think is a Customer Experience and how committed are they?
- Ideally I would ask to talk with a couple of senior managers and quiz them on how committed they are.
6. What is the reason the organization is trying to improve the Customer Experience?
- I am trying to discover the motivation behind this action and establish if they are really committed to making the necessary changes to improve the Customer Experience.
7. How customer-centric is the organization today?
- I am trying to understand whether they realize customer centricity and improving the Customer Experience go hand in hand.
8. Can I spend a day at the office?
- I would ask to spend a day at the office, to get a sense of the culture for the organization by talking with people. I don’t believe people do this enough. This is also a great way of finding out what they think of you. If they thought I was a good fit for the job then they would welcome this. If they didn’t they wouldn’t go to the bother of doing this. I would go so far as to say if they didn’t want me to do this but still offered me the job, I would refuse the position.
- I think by asking this it shows commitment from me and also from them. During this day, I would wander around and talk with people, asking what it’s like to work there and whether they think senior managers are committed to the Customer Experience.
9. I would find some of their Customers via social media and talk with them.
- How good/bad is it? Do they think the company is committed?
10. I would find ex-employees that used to work for the company, via LinkedIn and get their views.
- By selecting people that have left you may get a more honest view of what it would be like working there.
This is my due diligence. But what is the organization looking for? What attributes make a great Customer Experience professional? Am I even applying for the right job? Following a post on LinkedIn a few weeks ago, I stated a key attribute of a Customer Experience professional is a high level of emotional intelligence, but what else? I ‘crowd sourced’ the attributes listed below.
The really interesting point for me is that a number of these are attitudinal, but I wonder how many companies are recruiting based on these.
So when it comes to recruitment remember that it’s a two way street. It’s not just about the organization it’s also about you. Ask challenging questions. If they have any sense they will welcome it. If they haven’t, they are probably not the right organization for you in the first place!
My thanks to the following people who contributed the attributes above:
Tim Harpe, Karen Ball, David Physick, Monica Avby-Strahm, Wisdom Yao Nugba, David Kellett, Eva Maria Armborst, Tim Belon, Scott Faranello, Isabelle Roughol.
What other ‘due diligence’ actions would you take?
|Colin Shaw is founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books. Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialised research & training from offices in Atlanta, Georgia and London, England.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter: @ColinShaw_CX