Five Questions to Ask When Hiring an Account Manager
If you manage any kind of sales operation — from advertising to women’s shoes — you will likely require a team of high-performing and motivated account managers responsible for increasing revenue, cultivating relationships with existing business partners, and making sure that both parties are satisfied with the arrangement. As account managers are integral to the success of any company, it is important to identify and hire the top talent to build out your team. Here are five interview questions that will help you do just that.
How do you onboard a new client?
When a new person takes over an account, the primary responsibility for the account manager is to guarantee a smooth transition where both he and his client feels set up for success. That said, dig into your candidate’s onboarding mindset and process. How do they prepare themselves for a new account? Do they do any research? Do they do any competitive analysis in their client’s field? What steps do they take, if any, to go above and beyond for the client?
How do you communicate with clients?
While there is not just one correct answer to this question, candidates should probably talk about their preferred communication methods, whether it be in-person, phone, or email; how often they check in with their clients; and how quickly they respond to a client. Because an account manager is a client-facing role, you should ask them to explain their customer support philosophy and learn how they have dealt with any previous client-related conflicts.
How did you contribute to your top-performing account?
Your candidate may have an impressive roster of clients, but it doesn’t mean much if he was working on autopilot the entire time. Some big-name brands are so established that they might have set systems in place that have not been refreshed in some time. What you should be looking for is a specific example that illustrates a hands-on, motivated approach to boosting sales or nurturing a relationship.
What did you struggle with in your previous role?
Here’s a question that invites a goldmine of red flags. If a candidate mentions having issues with multiple clients, problems meeting deadlines, lack of organizational skills — move on. Unless, of course, they are able to demonstrate that they have corrected or improved a certain behavior. The best answers reveal where a candidate recognizes a need for improvement and actionable ways they are going about to achieve it.
What are your top skills as an account manager?
Again, this is a question that has more than one great answer. Depending on your industry, the answers may vary. But some good general responses may include: being an attentive listener, having excellent organizational skills, and strong customer service skills. Because an account manager’s top priority is to oversee client relationships, their answer should somehow support that responsibility.
By asking candidates these five questions during their interviews, you will be able to quickly identify who will flourish as an account manager in your company.