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6 Account Manager Interview Questions and Answers

The process of hiring quality account managers is challenging because, by nature, salespeople are incredibly persuasive and can make you believe they are the right person for the job. Additionally, many leaders responsible for hiring – recruiters, sales managers, executives, etc. – lack the preparation, process, and skill necessary to interview candidates effectively. 

For this reason, our team at Sciolytix put our heads together and came up with six interview questions and answers for account manager roles.

Q1: What qualities and skills will you bring to our company as an account manager?

A1: An account manager interacts with your company’s clients on an ongoing basis. Therefore, they should have strong communication skills and the ability to develop customer relationships. Plus, a good candidate will demonstrate that they can help your company increase revenue, retain clients, and encourage new business. If your applicant can show they have consistently met or exceeded their quotas, they may be an excellent choice. 

What to look for in an answer:

  • A sense that the applicant understands your business
  • Ability to meet or exceed quotas
  • Successful communication and relationship skills

An example response might be: “I build strong relationships with clients so that they will trust me. This approach generates revenue for the company and helps me exceed quotas.”

Q2: How would you handle a personality conflict with a client or colleague?

A2: This question aims at understanding the applicant’s interpersonal relationship skills and ability to resolve conflict. An account manager must demonstrate fairness and honesty when working with others while representing your organization’s values. They should accept people and find creative ways to overcome differences while retaining their clients and serving them in a mutually-beneficial relationship. 

What to look for in an answer:

  • A recognition that not everyone is agreeable
  • Desire to empathize with others
  • Focus on retaining clients and increasing revenue

An example answer might look like this: “If a personality conflict interfered with my work, I’d seek counsel on how I could better understand my client’s point of view.”

Q3: Provide an example of a time you disappointed a client or colleague. As an account manager, how did you resolve the problem?

A3: All good account managers will inevitably disappoint a client occasionally, but they will also be willing to admit an error when it happens. A great applicant will be proactive to ensure that the same mistake does not happen again, especially to the same customer. This question will identify if your candidate is willing to accept responsibility and has the problem-solving skills to solve common problems. 

What to look for in an answer:

  • Humility and acknowledgment that mistakes occur
  • Ability to demonstrate problem-solving skills
  • Concern for customers and the company

An example answer might look like this: “Once, I misunderstood a client’s needs and lost the account. I learned that clear communication is vital to success. Now, it’s my top priority.”

Q4: Account managers have to juggle many responsibilities. On any given day, what does your workspace look like concerning organization?

A4: An account manager deals with multiple clients at the same time. Therefore, organizational skills are vital. You want to hire a manager who keeps an organized and tidy workspace. If a client or colleague asks your account manager to provide important information, you don’t want them digging through a pile of paperwork to find it. They should have an organizational system that is neat and efficient. 

What to look for in an answer:

  • Demonstration of effective organization
  • A systematic method of retrieving data
  • Desire to work efficiently and neatly

An example of a quality answer might be: “I keep a neat desk with only one project open at a time. Everything else gets filed so that I can find it quickly.”

Q5: How would you describe yourself as an account manager if you were your client?

A5: This question can glean much information about your candidate, particularly their confidence as an account manager. Since the position requires a skillset similar to sales, self-assurance and poise could be the difference between an average manager who maintains the status quo and a dynamic manager who seeks to build the account. The applicant should be able to express confidence in their ability to perform well. 

What to look for in an answer:

  • Confidence in their ability without arrogance
  • Honesty about weakness without self-deprecation
  • An overall positive outlook on their performance

An example answer might be: “I’m capable and friendly. I’m also proactive in presenting new ideas. I’m a pleasant person overall, as well as a good listener. I understand client needs.”

Q6: Tell me about when you successfully upsold a current client and how you achieved the sale.

A6: Upselling is one of the main revenue streams that account managers are in charge of, and they should have a history of proving their sales acumen with current clients and attracting new leads. Account managers use tact, timing, and product knowledge to recommend the right products to increase sales from existing accounts. This question addresses a candidate’s understanding of how to approach upselling and cross-selling. It also allows interviewers to assess the potential account manager’s ambition and initiative. 

Look for these parts of a successful response:

  • Knowledge of client needs and resources
  • Specific examples  
  • Sales strategies

One example of a solid answer to this interview question is: “At my last sales position in software sales, I saw the opportunity to introduce a longtime customer to one of our new executive-level programs. I asked them what they found most useful about our current software and was able to tactfully bring up how our upgraded software package could perform those tasks more efficiently and improve overall organization. Showing them a demo and informing them about the product in a low-pressure, conversational environment allowed me to secure the sale easily.”

We hope you find these questions and answers helpful. What interview questions work for you when hiring account managers? Please drop us a comment to share.  

When hiring account managers, knowledge is power. And a consistent, repeatable process gives you the best chance of success. For this reason, we developed the Sciolytix Sales Performance Predictor (aka: S2P2). 

To learn more, please visit: https://s2p2.sciolytix.com/. 

Author: Dario Priolo

Dario brings over 20 years of experience in the sales enablement and talent development industry. He has led marketing and strategy as CMO for leading companies like the Hay Group, Miller Heiman and Profiles International and has been part of 4 successful exits, including his own start-up.


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