Interview exercises/homework to better assess candidates CSM / CSE roles

Sarah Evans
Sarah Evans Member Posts: 2 Navigator
edited April 2021 in CS Org Conversations
Hi there GRR community!

I have a question for you. I am currently conducting interviews for CSMs and CSEs and am looking for ideas on exercise/homework I can assign to candidates to better assess their skills. 

Does anyone have examples they could share with me? 

Thank you!


  • Jim Jones
    Jim Jones Member Posts: 25 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited April 2021
    Hi @Sarah Evans:

    A couple things come to mind:
    • I was on a webinar yesterday where the speaker was talking about building a CS team from scratch. He said they use the DISC profile as part of the assessment process for new candidates. They do this to assess personality and culture fit.
    • I've used an exercise in the interview process I found very effective: having the candidate write a customer intro email. We would give the candidate a customer and a scenario (i.e., "your customer will be Comcast and the former executive buyer just left and their replacement just came on board"), and then ask them to write an email to request an introductory meeting. They had access to a computer and could do whatever research they wanted to into the company and the new EB. It gave us some great insight into how the candidate thought, the way they would engage with customers, etc. That was really helpful.

    I hope these ideas help!

  • Sarah Evans
    Sarah Evans Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited April 2021
    Thank you Jim! This is indeed very helpful. I like the idea of the customer intro email as I would not want the exercise to be too taxing on the candidate. Appreciate the insight!
  • Andrew Marks
    Andrew Marks Member Posts: 54 Expert
    Office Hours Host 2022 5 Likes First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited April 2021
    I really like asking someone to build out a deck about a topic or issue that they know and can teach something about. It could be a hobby or a previous product that they supported. It should include an explanation of the topic along with a walk-through of some aspect of the topic where they are put in a role as a teacher.  You want to lay out some criteria about how long it should be, the format, and the structure. 

    Asking a CSM to do this sort of exercise highlights a number of key aspects of what you want from an individual in this role:
    1. Commitment: You're asking them to do something that takes some prep time. This should give you a sense of how interested they are in the role and how serious they take preparation.
    2. Organization: It will give you a sense of their organizational skills. How well are they able to gather information and present it in a format that is easy to consume.
    3. Communication: How well and easily are they able to communicate the concepts of the topic to an audience who isn't familiar with it.
    4. Advisory Patience: Do they possess the teaching/advisory patience and clarity necessary to help customers navigate the change management efforts (education and habit-forming) necessary to drive adoption.
    5. Listening Skills: I am partial to purposely only providing these instructions verbally to the candidate to determine how well they listen and take notes.