Hey, Support Driven Community. 👋🏻
We’re starting to highlight some questions and answers you’ve all shared via Slack on our blog. We want to showcase your unique perspectives beyond just Slack.
If you’re not familiar with our Slack community, it’s full of 8,000+ members who care about customer support. We ask for advice, share our expertise, and have fun virtually connecting.
Let’s get into this week’s highlights.
I’m in the middle of interviews for a job at an amazing startup. I’ve only worked for long-established companies. I know I am in for a change. I’d love to hear any advice about working for a startup (100% remote company). Suggestions on further readings, podcasts, anything?
“This is probably role-dependent, but the biggest change I had to adjust to when moving from a big co. to startups was the way responsibility is divided. At the big co., ownership was clearly pigeonholed, and I was mostly expected to stay in my lane and not step on anyone’s toes.
At startups, people owned outcomes rather than areas. I was expected to take action and make decisions far outside of my literal job description if they were relevant to the outcome I was going for.
It took me a while to shake off the learned helplessness I’d gotten at the big co., but once I did, it was quite satisfying to be able to just get things done at the startups. So my advice is to think of your job description as a starting point and not a constraint. :)”
–Dan Urman, Head of Product Support at Mavenoid
TLDR? The Twitter thread’s about 4 questions you should ask in a startup interview:
- Can you tell me how much money the company has in the bank?
- Could you tell me about a time when the founders disagreed and what happened?
- What’s the role of your board of directors?
- What changes have you experienced over time working here?
“Embrace the craziness is my biggest bit of advice! When you don’t have solid scalable processes in place, and potentially leaders who haven’t scaled organisations before, it can be quite easy to be overwhelmed by how big the job seems. Very important to focus on the key steps needed to scale and how to get there via alignment with the organisational leadership team.
It’s the most exciting and fun environment to work in, but combine that with the most uncertain (especially due to shorter runways) so the increased pressure is something that takes some getting used to. Good luck! I’m sure your experience from those larger organistaions will be invaluable to them.”
–Josh Sugarman, Sr Director, Tech Support at Khoros
I would love to hear people’s views on anonymous feedback. On the positive, it gives those who are less confident or are scared of repercussions an opportunity to feedback. However, if your team culture is open enough, people should be able to (and learn how to) give honest and constructive feedback, both up and down. Not knowing who has commented can lead to: a lot of anxiety, an inability to clarify, get context, and in some cases, address the feedback.
“Having a culture where people can be transparent and open is ideal but doing anonymous engagement surveys is important to have too.”
–Stacy Justino, Director of Customer Happiness at Wistia
“I am a manager used to giving feedback, and I’m not shy about it. I’m also a 40-year-old Italian man. If I put myself in the shoes of other people that maybe are more shy, from groups that habitually receive discrimination on the workplace (e.g. women), younger, less experienced etc. For one reason or another, other people will not be comfortable sharing direct feedback. Ignoring the reasons why I think is blindsided.”
–Simone Secci, Support Lead at Doodle
“You hit the nail on the head there. Ideally, you don’t want it to be anonymous, but sometimes you have to start that way as you build a good culture.”
–Alice Hunsberger, Sr Director of Customer Experience at Grindr
“It also depends on if anyone is doing anything with that feedback. (You can) send monthly surveys of anonymous feedback…Survey wisely and actually do something with the feedback.”
–Cheryl Spriggs, Customer Support Manger at Service Direct
“Culture surveys must begin anonymously, but you can then follow up with focus groups as needed.”
–Justin Grenier, Senior Director of Client Services at Articulate
For those hiring, I was curious what your feelings on cover letters are?
“We use cover letters extensively! We care a lot about motivation and interest in the role. I’ve never interviewed someone who hasn’t sent in a cover letter who also made it through the first interview. We usually err on the side of giving people a chance if there is a third step, but the first place we look for “Why are you applying for this job here?” is in the cover letter.”
–Nouran Smogluk, Customer Support Lead at Komoot
“I’m a no. I think they deter passive job seekers, which are often some of the best potential candidates out there.”
–Erik Hart, Senior Trust & Safety Manager at ZipRecruiter
“For roles that have ambiguity to them, I like seeing cover letters that tell the story that a resume can’t always tell. It tells me what the applicant really cares about, beyond what they’ve done and their rote experience. Cover letters can be bad, but I’ve rarely (if ever) seen a great resume and a terrible cover letter. I have seen so-so resumes and interesting cover letters.”
–Lance Conzett, Business Operations Manager, CX at Postmates
See you next week with another roundup of Q&A highlights! If you’re not already part of the Support Driven Slack community, join here.
Subscribe to get our weekly newsletter straight to your inbox.