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Learn how to get an Account Executive job in an interview

Last updated on August 2nd, 2018 at 04:18 pm

An account executive is responsible for retaining existing accounts, providing excellent customer service to one or more delegates of the client company.

The second main responsibility of this important figure in sales, marketing, IT, and finance business, (which can turn into a primary role, especially if we talk about account executives working for brokerage firms or for marketing agencies), is acquisition of new clients.

Are you ready to convince the employer of having both skills and guts to take care of these duties?

 

Bordering sales and customer service

Having to do something with both customer service and sales, account executive is a great position, and you can earn a lot, and learn a lot while having the job.

But you have to be good at it, you need courage, and first and foremost, you need to get it in an interview. So, how to succeed? What will the interviewers inquire about? How will they test you during the meeting?

The interviewers will use mostly behavioral questions, trying assess how you would act in various work related situations. They will ask some personal questions as well, just to understand your motivation, attitude to the job, and basically who you are, as a person, if you fit to their place and working environment.

Last but not least, you may be asked to demonstrate your customer service and sales skills in a role play – mocking a call to a client. Let’s have a look at the questions right now!

 

Common interview questions for Account Executive job applicants

Why do you apply for a job of an account executive?

Try to focus on the value you can, and want to, bring to the company. For example, you can say that you believe to have good communication skills, that you have a decent understanding for the needs of the people, and know how to design and offer good solutions for the client, based on the information you can gather about them.

You can also say that you like the job description, the working environment in the place, that you would enjoy working for them.

A simple honest compliment will always help your chances in an interview.

Alternatively, if you’ve done this job before (or had any other role in sales or marketing), you can base your answer on that, saying how your past experience has prepared you for the role of an account executive.

 

How do you imagine a typical day in this job?

Try to show them that you can organize your day, and know how to prioritize your tasks. Tell them that you will make a schedule each morning, and work accordingly.

You can say that you will either work on finding new opportunities to help the existing clients, or, if there’s nothing to do for exiting clients, you will try to find and acquire new clients. The key is to show them that you like to be busy, that you always look for something to do.

Nobody wants to hire an account executive who just sits on a phone, waiting for a call from one of their existing clients. Show them your proactive approach. Show them that you are not afraid to make a call, to take action.

 

Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work. How did you handle the situation?

You should show them (ideally on an example from the past) that you can handle the pressure, that it does not affect you negatively in your job.

The more details you include in your answer, the more trustworthy you will sound.

You can even make up something, or talk about a situation from school, if this is your first job application. Remember that your attitude matters, not the particular situation you’ll talk about.

The truth is that this job is stressful–like most other sales jobs. You will have targets to meet, and you will spend a lot of time on a call, which is not easy for anyone. However, if you do it well, if you handle your tasks, and the pressure, the reward can be very sweet, and lofty…

 

Imagine that a client calls you. They say that they have found a new supplier, and do not want to cooperate with us anymore. What will you do?

You can definitely expect at least some questions that deal with real problems and situations that relate to this job.

In your answer to this particular question, you should ensure the interviewers that you would do your best to retain the client. You can go for a new, better offer, or at least one that matches the conditions the new supplier offered them.

And if nothing worked, you would at least try to understand why they made up their mind and looked for a new supplier, to be able to take action and ensure it would not happen with other clients.

 

Behavioral questions – to test your attitude to work and to other people

  • Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work.
  • Describe a conflict you had with your colleague.
  • Describe a situation when you went above and beyond with your service (for the customer, for the client)
  • Describe a situation when you reached a goal and tell us how you achieved it.
  • Describe a situation when you had to motivate someone in work (your colleague, your subordinate, or even yourself).
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with an angry or upset client (customer).
  • Describe a situation when you did not agree with the opinion (or decision) of your superior or supervisor, and knew that they were wrong. How did you handle that?
  • Describe a situation when you faced a particularly demanding problem or challenge in your personal life. How did that affect you in your job?
  • Describe a time when you struggled with motivation in job (it was repetitive, you did not enjoy your duties, there was no work to do, etc). How did you overcome the crisis?

* Behavioral questions represent the toughest part of a typical account executive interview, together with a role play. Check our Interview Success Package to see multiple great answers to each difficult question.

Do not let a few tough questions to ruin your chances in an interview. Get ready for the challenge and surprise your interviewers with amazing answers!

 

Role play in the interview

Role play has become very popular recently, especially in the United States.

The interviewers will play a client, and you will play an account executive.

Your task will be to either sell them something, or to deal with their complaint, or the request they have.

The exercise helps us to understand your readiness for the job. It is the best possible way of assessing your customer service, communication, and sales skills.

How to do well in this particular role play?

It is not that easy. You should definitely ask “the client” a lot of question, try to explain them the benefits they will gain from working with the company, and somehow build a relationship with them on the call.

However, the interviewers do not expect to hear a flawless sales pitch from you. If they hire you for the job, they will provide an excellent training, and help you to start well right from the get-go.

But they must see that you at least understand the basic nuances of professional selling, that you are not afraid of the task, and can lead a meaningful and relevant talk with someone on the phone.

 

Stay ahead of your competitors

This was just a short selection of questions you can expect in your interview. If you found them easy, good for you, and you will likely do great on a big day.

If you struggled a bit, however, (or struggled a lot, and still feel anxious), you should have a look at our Interview Success Package.

In a few hours, you can learn how to make a great impression on your interviewers, and surprise them with great answers to all their questions.

Thank you, we wish you good luck! InterviewPenguin.com – Your best job interview coach since 2011.


May also interest you:
  • How to dress for your interview – Four rules to consider when choosing clothes to wear. Many people will typically compete with you, especially if you try to get an account executive job in one of the leading sales or investment companies. In such a scenario every detail counts, and you should not underestimate the choice of your attire.
  • How to answer interview questions – It is not only about what you say, but also how you say it in an interview. And interesting insight on your interview presence, and a way of making a good impression.
  • Follow-up letter after the interview – Advice on how to write a good letter (or email), with sample letters attached. Understand the most important sections on your letter, and make a final push towards a coveted job contract.

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