Person standing behind counter helps two other people
Graphic that shows three different types of interview questions you should be asking.

Use these questions to identify a candidate’s technical knowledge and abilities

Use these questions to determine how a candidate handled situations in the past

Use these questions to assess a candidate’s personal traits and cognitive skills

Why this matters

This question can help you assess the candidate’s process for providing support. While every situation is different, some customer service fundamentals should guide their approach. Even if they’ve never worked in a customer-facing role before, an understanding of best practices is important for performing this role well.


 

What to listen for

  • References to steps like acknowledging the issue, asking clarifying questions, and seeing if an immediate resolution is possible before escalating
  • Top answers will emphasize the importance of making the person feel heard and valued

Why this matters

Candidates’ answers to this question will reveal their approach to handling unfamiliar situations, as well as providing insight into whether they’re committed to driving improvement. It’s important to find a resolution to the problem at hand—but it’s equally important to recognize this situation as an opportunity to improve company policies and ensure a speedier resolution for future customers.

What to listen for

  • Evidence that the candidate strives for constant improvement
  • Strong answers may mention making a judgment call or escalating the issue in this instance, then working with key stakeholders to put a policy in place for next time

Why this matters

Your next care specialist will represent your brand. Over time, they’ll develop an in-depth and nuanced understanding of the company’s offerings, allowing them to provide better support to customers, clients, and guests. While your candidate doesn’t need to be an expert, it’s good to know whether they’re already thinking like a care specialist by doing their due diligence before the interview.

What to listen for

  • Evidence that the candidate has done their research and possesses a baseline understanding of your offerings
  • Strong verbal communication skills and a friendly, approachable demeanor when discussing products and services

Why this matters

If your candidate has worked in any customer-facing role before, they’ve likely encountered people who are unhappy with the service or products they’ve received. In these situations, you need to know they can listen empathetically and look for ways to peacefully resolve the situation. Your next care specialist will be tasked with improving the customer experience, and that encompasses the occasional difficult customer.

What to listen for

  • Evidence that the candidate knows how to deescalate a heated situation
  • An ideal answer will demonstrate that they listened to the customer and were able to reach a positive resolution for everyone involved

Why this matters

Top care specialists don’t just respond to customers’ immediate issues and needs—they proactively look for ways to make the customer experience better. If your candidate has a proven track record of going the extra mile at work, then they’ll likely do whatever it takes to leave customers with a positive impression of your brand. 

What to listen for

  • Signs that the candidate enjoys helping others
  • A humble answer that focuses on the positive outcome their actions created for the other party, rather than personal achievement or glory

Why this matters

Even when a care specialist communicates clearly, there will be times when customers or guests misunderstand what they’re saying. When misunderstandings aren’t resolved quickly, they can lead to bigger problems down the line, so it’s useful to know if your candidate can spot and resolve misunderstandings in a timely fashion—while preserving the relationship.

What to listen for

  • A strong answer will demonstrate that the candidate can recover quickly from a misunderstanding, keeping the customer happy
  • Evidence that they take steps to prevent misunderstandings, like confirming key details before ending the conversation

Why this matters

The best care specialists are problem solvers at heart. When they run into an unfamiliar problem, they leave no stone unturned while looking for a solution, even if that means collaborating with multiple teams. At the same time, they never lose sight of the customer or guest and take steps to ensure they don’t feel forgotten.

What to listen for

  • Great answers will demonstrate a methodical approach to problem-solving, such as reviewing company manuals before escalating the issue to the relevant team
  • Signs that the candidate keeps the customer experience at the forefront by sharing updates throughout the process

Why this matters

Since care specialists work closely with customers and clients, strong communication skills are essential—and part of being a good communicator is knowing how much detail share. Some information may only serve to confuse people, while other details may paint the company in a bad light or simply be unnecessary to include. 

What to listen for

  • Good judgment and discretion when determining how much information to share with clients and customers
  • A clear understanding of why withholding some information ultimately leads to a better customer experience

Why this matters

This question can help you assess where your candidate’s true passion lies. To be a successful care specialist, it helps to have a genuine passion for people. A love of solving problems is also valuable. It’s not a dealbreaker if your candidate doesn’t mention these specific passions, but they will ideally express that they find motivation in situations that will be a regular part of the job.

What to listen for

  • Mentions of helping others, finding creative solutions to problems, or other common on-the-job tasks
  • A thoughtful answer that demonstrates the candidate understands their motivation well and recognizes the job as a good fit for them

Read our additional interview guides.