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Account Executive interview questions and answers

This Account Executive interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions.

Nikoletta Bika
Nikoletta Bika

Nikoletta holds an MSc in HR management and has written extensively about all things HR and recruiting.

account executive interview questions

10 good account executive interview questions

  1. What do you find most satisfying about this job?
  2. How do you handle rejection?
  3. Are you comfortable with cold-calling?
  4. What methods do you use to discover sales opportunities?
  5. What does a demo/presentation need to be effective?
  6. How do you build a successful business relationship?
  7. How familiar are you with CRM?
  8. Do you use social media to identify prospects?
  9. If a prospective client kept presenting you with excuses not to buy, what would you do?
  10. Imagine you have to solve problems for multiple clients at the same time. How do you prioritize?

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

1. What do you find most satisfying about this job?

Understanding what motivates a candidate can provide insights into their passion and dedication to the role. This question seeks to uncover what drives the individual in their profession.

Sample answer:

I find it most satisfying when I can truly understand a client’s needs and provide a solution that not only meets but exceeds their expectations. Building lasting relationships and contributing to the company’s growth is immensely rewarding.

2. How do you handle rejection?

Rejection is a part of sales and business development. This question aims to gauge the candidate’s resilience and their strategies for bouncing back from setbacks.

Sample answer:

I view rejection as an opportunity for growth. I always ask for feedback to understand the reasons behind the rejection and use that information to refine my approach for future interactions.

3. Are you comfortable with cold-calling?

Cold-calling is a common method used in sales to reach potential clients. This question assesses the candidate’s comfort level and experience with this technique.

Sample answer:

Yes, I am comfortable with cold-calling. While it can be challenging, I believe it’s an effective way to reach potential clients and introduce them to our offerings. I’ve developed strategies to make my calls more engaging and successful.

4. What methods do you use to discover sales opportunities?

This question delves into the candidate’s proactive approach to finding new business opportunities and their strategies for lead generation.

Sample answer:

I use a combination of methods, including market research, attending industry events, networking, and leveraging CRM tools. I also believe in continuous learning to stay updated on industry trends.

5. What does a demo/presentation need to be effective?

Presentations are crucial in the sales process. This question evaluates the candidate’s understanding of what makes a presentation impactful.

Sample answer:

An effective presentation should be tailored to the audience’s needs, clear, concise, and engaging. It should highlight the value proposition, include real-life examples or case studies, and end with a compelling call to action.

6. How do you build a successful business relationship?

Building and maintaining relationships is at the core of an account executive’s role. This question seeks to understand the candidate’s approach to relationship management.

Sample answer:

Building a successful business relationship requires trust, understanding the client’s needs, consistent communication, and delivering on promises. I always prioritize the client’s interests and ensure that I’m available for support whenever needed.

7. How familiar are you with CRM?

CRM tools are essential for managing client relationships and tracking sales activities. This question assesses the candidate’s experience and proficiency with these tools.

Sample answer:

I am very familiar with CRM tools and have used platforms like Salesforce and HubSpot extensively. They are invaluable for tracking interactions, managing leads, and analyzing sales data.

8. Do you use social media to identify prospects?

In the digital age, social media can be a powerful tool for lead generation. This question gauges the candidate’s familiarity with using social platforms for business development.

Sample answer:

Absolutely! I use platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to identify potential leads, stay updated on industry news, and engage with prospects. Social media allows for a more personalized approach to outreach.

9. If a prospective client kept presenting you with excuses not to buy, what would you do?

This question tests the candidate’s persistence and problem-solving skills in the face of challenges.

Sample answer:

I would first seek to understand their concerns and address them directly. If they still aren’t convinced, I’d provide additional resources or case studies and possibly offer a trial period or demo to showcase the value of our product.

10. Imagine you have to solve problems for multiple clients at the same time. How do you prioritize?

Handling multiple clients and their issues simultaneously is a common scenario for account executives. This question evaluates the candidate’s time management and prioritization skills.

Sample answer:

I prioritize based on the urgency and impact of the issues. Clients with time-sensitive problems come first. I also communicate transparently with all clients about timelines and ensure they are kept in the loop.



Account Executive Interview Questions

Account executives are the main players in your company’s business development efforts. Depending on the company and sector, they may be responsible for finding and closing deals, managing contacts with clients or both.

Experience in sales or customer service is preferred for senior roles. If you’re hiring for an entry level position, look for enthusiastic, outgoing, curious and smart candidates. The best among them will demonstrate their capabilities by asking the right questions and showing ample interest in your services or products.

You can ask the proper questions to evaluate the core traits of excellent account executives. It’s also a good idea to ask them to make a brief presentation or a sales pitch for a few minutes. You’re looking for excellent communication and negotiation skills, a business acumen and confident manner. The candidate you’ll end up hiring should complement all these with a great deal of initiative, persistence and problem-solving aptitude.

Red flags

Beware of candidates who lack enthusiasm for the role, have difficulty handling rejection, or show no initiative in seeking new business opportunities. Additionally, those who cannot provide concrete examples of past successes or demonstrate familiarity with essential tools like CRM may not be the best fit for the position.

Now, let’s summarize some of the questions and add a few more divided into specific types.

Operational and Situational questions

  • What do you find most satisfying about this job?
  • How do you handle rejection?
  • Are you comfortable with cold-calling?
  • What methods do you use to discover sales opportunities?
  • What does a demo/presentation need to be effective?
  • How do you build a successful business relationship?
  • How familiar are you with CRM?
  • Do you use social media to identify prospects?
  • If a prospective client kept presenting you with excuses not to buy, what would you do?
  • Imagine you have to solve problems for multiple clients at the same time. How do you prioritize?

Behavioral questions

  • Recall a time when you faced a dissatisfied and aggressive customer. How did you handle it?
  • Describe a time you solved a client’s problem
  • What was the most difficult deal you had to close?
  • Tell me about a time you successfully negotiated a customer contract
  • Describe a time you managed to reach an objective when odds were against you
  • What was your most complicated sales cycle in past positions?
  • Was there a time when you lost the chance to engage a prospect? What happened and what did you learn?

Frequently asked questions

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