When you make it to the interview stage for an account management position, seize the opportunity! Of course, you’ll want to prepare solid answers to standards such as, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “Tell me about yourself,” but the hiring manager likely will pose some other questions specifically targeted to the role.
Here’s a look at four account manager interview questions, why they get asked, and how you can formulate a response that boosts your candidacy.
Account Manager Interview Questions
In your own words, what are the main job duties and responsibilities of an account manager?
Igor Mitic, co-founder of Fortunly.com, frequently presents this starter question “to help make candidates more at ease since they are probably well-versed in answering it.”
But while this question breaks the ice, it also aids the interviewer in determining your grasp of the position at hand. If your idea of what’s expected of an account manager differs too significantly from the employer’s vision, problems could result down the line.
From your research on the company, select a few keywords and concepts to include in your response. Speaking “their” language (within reason), helps solidify yourself as a good match.
And after your answer, consider advancing the conversation and gaining insight with something like, “I realize that while certain tasks are common to most account management positions, each company has its own requirements. What are the specific duties and responsibilities you deem most important for this position?”
How will you build loyalty to the company with your clients?
As succinctly stated by Jon Hill, chairman and CEO of The Energists, “Acquiring new contracts is useless if the account manager can’t hang on to them in the long term.” Thus, employers possess a vested interest in hearing how you’ll further the relationship with those you’ve been assigned to serve.
Your answer should show that you realize how important an account manager’s actions are to establishing a positive bond. Possible areas to discuss include regular check-ins with clients to assess satisfaction and answer any questions, prompt attention to all correspondence, and dedication to meeting needs so that they’ll want to stay.
Bring your commitment to building loyalty to life with an example of a time in which you went above and beyond to serve a client in a previous job.
How do you deal with clients that come across as aggressive or perhaps lay blame on your organization for a problem that has occurred?
Jessica Salter, talent acquisition manager for Best Response Media, likes to ask account management candidates this question because “empathy is one of our core values, and it is essential to understand why the client is unhappy so that you can try and fix the problem professionally and logically.”
Essentially, this question is a position-specific variation of the interview staple “How do you handle conflict?” Prospective account managers should view it as an opportunity to talk about effective communication, commitment to customer service, calmness under pressure, and problem-solving prowess. Resist the temptation to say that you never encounter difficulties with clients, which comes off as unbelievable.
Rather, select a real-life tense situation that you think you handled especially well. Walk the interviewer through your thought and action process, and be sure to make it clear how what you did led to a positive outcome.
Did you ever lose a client due to negligence or a mistake that could have been avoided? If so, what did you learn?
Talk about being in the hot seat! This account manager interview question can make even the most confident interviewee experience butterflies—and the interviewer realizes it.
“I would expect them to stumble on this one,” Mitic admits. “The purpose of this question is to determine their level of honesty, accountability, and self-awareness.”
While cognizant that most candidates will reveal only a minor issue from their past, Mitic says he’d be impressed by someone who brought up a major error. “It would prove to me that the candidate is self-confident, honest, and able to learn from their mistakes.”
Your own comfort level determines what you care to admit in this situation. Whatever you choose, the most important thing is to show how you came out of it a more skilled professional. Maybe you learned firsthand the value of double-checking work or listening very carefully. Perhaps you’re now more attuned to signs of dissatisfaction and act quicker. All account managers make mistakes, but good ones turn negatives into growth.
Acing Your Account Manager Interview
The best way to prepare for an account management interview is to prepare your answers ahead of time. Talk to peers or contacts within your network to make sure that you’re set up for success.
Furthermore, if you’re looking for account management jobs, FlexJobs can help! We off full-time, part-time, and freelance positions with companies that range from Fortune 500 to small businesses. Learn more today!
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