When it comes to things that fill you with dread, interviewing for a job is right up there with exams and root canal – but they are a necessary evil if you want to bag the career of your dreams. In the competitive and fast-paced world of SaaS, the thought of a job interview could be even more daunting. Sure, you know you fit the criteria in terms of skill and experience, you’ve done some basic research on the company, and you’ve ironed your best threads. But, when it comes to the interview process itself, what are you likely to be asked, and how can you best prepare?
If you’re interviewing for a SaaS job, your interviewer is going to work from a carefully thought-out list of questions, and will use your answers to determine what you can contribute to a team, and how you’re going to fit in, so you’ll want to be mindful of that fact when you answer their questions. Then of course, there’s the dreaded; ‘Do you have any questions for us?’ It’s always a good idea to ask something – preferably something insightful and interesting that showcases more of your potential as an employee.
It’s a lot to think about. But don’t panic. Dry off those sweaty palms and let Abika prepare you for your next SaaS interview with these handy tips.
1. Be prepared
It goes without saying that good preparation is key when it comes to interviewing for any job. But when it comes to SaaS job’s, it’s not enough to know when the company was set up and by whom. You’re going to want to prove that you’ve done more than take a cursory glance at their Wikipedia page on the train on the way to the interview. Make it your business to know the company’s mission and ethos inside-out and upside- down. Research who they are, what they do, who they do it for, and why they started doing it in the first place. Read, read, and read about that company until they could be your specialist subject on Mastermind. And then read some more. The saying, ‘better to be over-prepared than under-prepared’ has never been more relevant than during the interview for a job you’re determined to land!
2. Be Able To Answer ‘Why?’
Of all the interview questions you’re likely to be asked when you’re going for a SaaS job, the toughest one might also be the simplest:
‘Why do you want to work for us?’
Spoiler alert: the right answer isn’t ‘I need the money, and you’re the first company to show interest.’ – companies want missionaries, not mercenaries!
Much like on a first date, showing interest and offering a certain amount of flattery is going to do wonders for your success. This is where your research comes in. If you align yourself with their ethos, are excited because they are a start-up or a well-established business with a rich history, or are looking to get involved with a company based on its reputation – let them know. When you’re doing your research into the company, ask yourself if this is somewhere that you can see yourself spending the next 2-5 years of your career. If you don’t know, then you might want to reconsider whether to interview with them at all!
3. Mentally Prepare Your Answers
This is a tough one because you can’t predict EXACTLY what you’re going to be asked during the interview, but there are some fairly standard industry questions that it’s worth preparing some answers to.
- What has been your biggest personal success within a SaaS team?
- What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the SaaS industry today, and how would you address it?
- How do you deal with stress?
- What are the largest and smallest sales teams you’ve worked with?
- Tell me about a deal you have won
- Tell me about a deal you have lost
- What three words would a former client use to describe you?
- What are your short-term and long-term goals?
Of, course that’s nowhere near an exhaustive list, but the key to answering ANY interview question is, again, preparation. Try to avoid ‘umming and ahhing’ and keep your answers clear and to the point (there’s nothing worse than going off on a tangent and realising ten minutes later that the interviewer’s eyes glazed over about nine-and-half minutes ago). If you really can’t answer the question, let them know that that’s something you would have to take some time to think over, and then follow up with something that lets them know you understand what they’re asking and why, for example:
‘It would be hard to pinpoint my long-term goals at the moment, but I know that this is an industry I enjoy being a part of and I can certainly see myself enjoying a long-term career within your company because of x, y, z…’
4. Use Their Product
Or at least have tried it – it could be pretty hard to sell it convincingly otherwise. Whether you’re interviewing for a SaaS job in engineering, sales or marketing, having personal experience of the product will help you know whether you can be passionate and excited about the company and their product.
This is going to help you to convey that passion to your interviewer, and also help during interview questions such as, ‘how would you improve the product?’ – which is a question you’re almost definitely sure to be asked, and one that you won’t be able to answer if you haven’t even tried it.
5. Know How You Will Add Value
You’re probably not the first person to be interviewed for this job, and you might not be the last. So, how do you stand out from the crowd and pip those other hopeful candidates to the post?
By being memorable.
No, we’re not suggesting you turn up in a bright yellow suit or on a horse (although that will certainly be spoken about in the office for years to come). What an interviewer will remember above all else, are the candidates who show how they can add value to their company.
Show your interviewer that you’re familiar with their product, and that you have ideas on how to improve it. Talk about the features of the product that excite you, and how you would use that to engage users. Tell them how you think the company could increase conversions, how you think customer service could be improved….basically any ideas you have about how you personally could help push the company forward – tell them.
6. Show That You Know The Industry
It will be obvious from your resume what you know and don’t know about the SaaS industry, and what your particular skill set is. But, if you want to stand out against all of the other interviewees with similar talents and experience, show that you know the companies that could be a competitor to the one that you are interviewing for.
Read articles and reviews on rival companies and try to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses and think of examples of how they could be exploited. This shows an interest in the market, and that you’re aware of the need to be constantly honing and fine-tuning a product and the sales and marketing processes.
7. Abika Says ‘Relax’
Easier said than done, it’s only natural to be a little nervous during a job interview (especially if you reeeeallly want it!), but remember that interviewers are people too, and they might even be just as nervous as you are. Maybe more! After all, the very future of their business’s success could rely on finding just the right person for the SaaS job your’e interviewing for.
Ultimately, they’ll be looking for enthusiastic, intelligent people who will mesh well with their existing team, so be sure to showcase your passionate, friendly and knowledgeable attributes!
Be well-rested, have a good breakfast, and turn up fresh, presentable and well-prepared, and you won’t go far wrong!
What To Ask Your Interviewer
Ok, so you feel like you absolutely smashed that interview; you had a well thought out answer to every question, you came off like a SaaS industry expert who could single-handedly launch the company into the stratosphere, and you did it all while looking as cool as a cucumber. Surely all that’s left is the handshakes and the old, ‘We’ve got a few more interviews to do, but I think I can safely say we’ll be in touch…’
However, before that comes the bit that candidates are most likely to fear and under-prepare for…
‘Is there anything you’d like to ask us?’
You can of course choose to say, ‘no, I don’t think so,’ or make a joke about, ‘just when can I start?’, but if you want extra brownie points and to up your chances of actually getting that start date, that would be a mistake. It’s always a good idea to have a few SaaS-related questions up your sleeve, just to further cement your interest in the company into the
If these points haven’t been explicitly clarified during the interview process, and the answer to these questions couldn’t be found during your pre-interview research, some great things to ask include:
- In which industry does your product tend to have the most success?
- What is the quarterly target for this team?
- How many of the sales team hit these targets?
- Is this position open due to department growth?
And of course, the biggie:
- Based on my experience and this interview, is my skill set what you’re looking for?
Post SaaS Job Interview Tips
These might sound fairly obvious, but once the interview is done and the relief has washed over you, the instinct could be to cut and run – but don’t forget your manners! Be sure to thank your interviewers for their time and interest before you leave, and possibly even follow up with a thank you note or email to reiterate your interest in the job – especially if it’s been a remote interview rather than face-to-face.
Make notes of what you were asked and how you responded, that way, if you’re not successful this time, it might help you to see how you could answer differently next time, or prepare answers for the interview questions you couldn’t answer this time around.
Half the battle when it comes to interviewing for a SaaS position is finding a company where the chemistry is absolutely right. Often this isn’t something you’ll discover until you start working there! The best way to increase your chances of getting a SaaS job within a company that is looking for someone exactly like YOU is to let Abika Consulting make that match for you. We help clients from all over the world find the very best SaaS candidate for them – and vice versa! – ensuring long, rewarding careers in the SaaS industry. Upload your CV today.