Job searching can be brutal!
The rejection, the confusion, feeling ignored, feeling unseen, the lingering back pain from hunching over your laptop writing all the resumes, cover letters, applications...
The goal of this project is to provide what support candidates kept (understandably) asking for: insights into why they didn't move forward in the hiring process and what they can do better next time.
We want to help everyone who applies, but it's tough to give individualized feedback when we receive hundreds of applications. So this is our way of providing the feedback that you've been asking for.
Seven customer support hiring managers at remote companies who have worked hard to build great cultures and teams:
That means that we hire differently than a typical corporate behemoth that's looking to find the first person who matches the skills and salary that works best for the company. Keep that in mind as you read through the feedback below.
Now, let's get to it.
With the coronavirus pandemic affecting the whole world, many people have, unfortunately, lost their jobs. So it feels important to point out upfront that many companies are still hiring, including the majority of the awesome remote companies who participated in this project.
Nothing has changed in the way they're hiring during this time, so all the feedback below is still very much applicable when applying to support roles right now.
The clear winners for what hiring managers want to see more of is alignment and passion. They want to know why you think you're a good fit for THIS role at THIS company. And they want to hear about the work that you're passionate about.
Show them in your application how you "actually align with what [they] are looking for" and that you have "experience or interest in either a similar space ([ex.] B2B SaaS) or at least a space of [their] users ([ex.] Marketers/Product/etc.)."
Here are some more insights on alignment and passion:
If you're not researching a company before you apply for a job with them, you are killing your chances of getting the job. If you are doing research, keep in mind that research doesn't stop after you get an interview.
The point of a hiring process isn't just for a company to see if you're the right fit for them. It's also about you seeing if the company is right for you.
When you consider that this about you validating if the company and job are right for you, what kinds of questions would you ask? What's important to you in finding a job that you'll truly enjoy and where you can make an impact?
Here are a handful of other things to do and show during the hiring process:
If you make it seem like the main reason you want to work at a company is that the company is remote, you're not going to get the job.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to work remotely. Anyone who works at a good remote company can fully understand how life-changing remote work can be for lots of people.
However, many people want to work remotely, and there are more remote companies every day. So consider all the ways that a company feels like a great fit for you. Then share that on your applications and throughout the hiring process. This all ties back to the alignment and passion mentioned in the last section. It. Truly. Matters.
Otherwise, this is how you make hiring managers and their other teammates feel when they see that you only seem to care about finding a remote job:
Don't apply for a role where your background "doesn't fit with the requirements."
There is a lot of information on the interwebs about applying for jobs you're 60% or 70% qualified for, and that's not bad advice.
Just make sure that if the job post has a "Requirements" section, you're meeting those with your skills, experience, and interests. It's okay if you're meeting those requirements with transferrable skills as long as you make that clear in your application. Connect the dots.
More and more job posts are starting to specify how long they are accepting applications for and when you can expect a response. So please keep that info in mind before following up.
If you don't see that info:
Also, a quick note on reaching out through LinkedIn:
While you may not be interested in a long-term career in support, expecting to move off of support in a year isn't typically a reasonable expectation. Consider that support teams at these kinds of remote companies are not your typical customer service teams where turnover is high, and expectations are low.
Customer support is valued, respected, and the expectations for excellence are high. So if your goal is to move onto another team in the future, that's okay. Growth is definitely important. Just make sure you understand up front that you're signing up to spend at least a couple of years in support before moving onto a team outside of the support/customer-facing teams.
"Don't be late for your interview :D"
"Can clearly articulate their proposed thoughts/ideas in writing."
"They're empathetic, team players, that value the customer over the self."
"Has a high sense of ownership...and always striving for excellence (not perfection)."
Here's what else they appreciate about their star team members:
Many remote job seekers believe that remote companies only want to hire people who have previous remote work experience, and that's not at all the case. While some companies do explicitly mention that requirement in their job posts, it is not true for all companies.
Most of the companies surveyed for this project said, "Sure, remote experience is a bonus." But they are mainly looking for the qualities that make someone a good fit for remote work.
One hiring manager even responded that they don't assess for remote skills during the hiring process because they can always train for it later. So don't think that a lack of experience working remotely is holding you back.
All but one of the hiring managers said that they had previously hired someone based on a recommendation. So it is worth connecting with people at the companies you want to work for (and there are plenty of ways to do it without the awkward networking).
That's not to say that everyone hired is recommended. Lots of people get hired without a recommendation or referral.
If you're looking for a support job at a larger remote company or one that's growing fast, then they might have recruiters on their team that help with support hiring. In that case, it could be worth connecting with those recruiters. (You can search for the company and "recruiter" in LinkedIn to find them.)
For the most part, the hiring managers surveyed don't use recruiters when hiring for their support teams. So don't invest too much time working with recruiters, specifically if they don't work internally for the company you're interested in.
We hope that all of the insights we shared here will help you to better understand what we're looking for and how you can increase your chances of landing a support job at remote companies that care.
We don't want to miss out on great candidates like you.
So show us your passion for helping people, why you're a great fit specifically for this role at this company, and (cliché, though everlastingly true) be yourself. Tell us about your interests, unique skills, and values. Those details help us to better get to know you and see how you can add value to our teams and culture.