Interview questions for Account Executive

We analyzed 15,982 interview reviews for Account Executive from various job sites, social network groups and forums.

Here are the most frequent job interview questions asked by HR managers during initial phone or onsite interviews. This list does not include technical or factual questions.

10 frequent non-technical questions for Account Executive:

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Tell me about yourself
What is your greatest weakness?
Why did you leave your last job?
What are your drivers? What motivates you?
Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment
What are your long-term goals?
How would you describe yourself?
How would you handle a customer with difficult behavior?
Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it

According to our research, hiring managers looking to fill Account Executive role ask soft skills interview questions 33% more frequently than for other roles:

Account Executive interview question statistics

1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?top question

How to answer

This question belongs to a family of behavioral, or even more precisely, reflective questions. The interviewer wants to see whether you are reflective about yourself, whether you are ambitious and strive to grow as a professional, whether you like to learn and develop your skills. They are also looking for your ambitions to fit the career path opportunities related to the position you are applying for.

  1. About Yourself

    Presumably, you are interested to grow professionally. Think about the possibilities that may lie ahead for you: take a personality test (I recommend 16Personalities which is a Myers&Briggs-based test), research the internet on what career paths are possible with your skills and current job. What challenges do you like overcoming? For example, if you are applying for a software tester position, you may find it fascinating to master automated testing in full and eventually become a software engineer, or you may be a natural trainer and love coaching other people which may lead you to become a QA team or department lead, or you may be more interested in understanding business aspects of requirements which may logically lead you into a Business Analyst position. However, if you are happy just where you are and want to further your current skills, that is also fine as long as there is a growth path for you that can be imagined and described.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what career opportunities may be available in the department you are applying to, and what the trends are in the company in general. Is the business expanding, are they opening new locations, or starting new projects? Or are they heavily automating and cutting staff? Let’s say you are applying for a UX designer position for a brand-new product. In the future, if the product becomes a success - which is what the company hopes for - the company will hire more designers and you may become a lead designer, or you may become a product manager.

    On a side note: If you train your mind to be open to opportunities you will be amazed at how much this world has to offer to you!

  3. About The Fit

    And of course, try to see where the perfect fit lies between your own potential and aspirations, and the company’s trends and hopes. However, beware of the risk of showing too much excitement for future opportunities compared to your attitude towards the current position. If you aren’t really excited about the position you are applying for and you demonstrate this lack of enthusiasm, the interviewer may conclude that you are not a good fit for the current position. Try to find a source of excitement in the current position as well, otherwise, you may be doing yourself a disservice by applying to a position you will find boring in 2-3 months.

Pro Tip

This question gives you a good opportunity to showcase your Key Selling Points (e.g. “as I am very good at delegating tasks, I can easily see myself leading a team of software testers in the future…”), and end your statement by asking about current initiatives and goals at the company.

It is generally NOT a good idea to say something like “Oh, I cannot imagine what happens to me tomorrow, let alone in 5 years”. This will show you as a person who is unimaginative and not forward-thinking enough to grow with and be a good fit for the company.

2. Tell me about yourself

How to answer

This question may sound vague, but it actually requires a matter of fact, concise and relevant answer. Here’s how you can approach it.

  1. About Yourself

    What is your current occupation? Define yourself professionally in one statement. Pick 3 key skills that make you great at your work (your Key Selling Points). How have you applied these skills? Try to give some numbers to support your statement.

  2. About The Company

    Research the Company. Based on what you know about the company and the job description, why are you interested in the position you are applying for?

  3. About The Fit

    Based on your Key Selling Points and your knowledge about the company, why do you think you are a good fit for this position? Can you support your statement with relevant examples from your past experiences? Try to be concise and stay within 1-2 minutes.

Pro Tip

You can also end with a question like “Do you know what the current needs in the company/department are, where my skills and experience can help?" That can help you learn more about the company and the job, turn the "interrogation" into a conversation and will allow you to relax some tension.

Read our blog post to learn more about how to answer this question.

3. What is your greatest weakness?

How to answer

This question ranks as the most challenging for many people. Fortunately, Mr. Simon is here to help!

Interviewers ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness, your honesty and openness, and your capability for self-improvement.

  1. About Yourself

    No one is perfect and your interviewer doesn't expect you to be perfect either.

    While it is good to be honest and open, it will not help you to put yourself down. What's important is to find a weakness that you have overcome or something that is not related to the position for which you are applying.

    For example, one of our clients admitted that he is not very good at public speaking and that he has recently become a member of Toastmasters International to improve. What a respectful answer and approach, in my view!

  2. About The Company

    Research the company (website, social media, etc) to learn about the company culture. What personal and professional qualities do they value?

  3. About The Fit

    It is important that the weakness you decide to talk about is not one that will prevent you from performing the job for which you're applying.

    For example, if you're applying for a front-end developer position, do not talk about how you are struggling to understand HTML code.

Pro Tip

Use this question to sell yourself! It's important to show how well you've overcome a weakness by motivating yourself and learning a new skill to grow professionally.

4. Why did you leave your last job?

How to answer

This question may be a little touchy for some people, but it's a question asked by interviewers, to find out why you left, in order to better understand how you may or may not make a good fit with their company. Remember, never speak ill of your old company (this will not go over well).

  1. About Yourself

    Most likely, there are three possible reasons you left or are leaving your last job:

    • You are looking for a career change,
    • You are unhappy with your current employment,
    • You were let go.

    Whatever the reason, it's best to always speak in a positive light.

  2. About The Company

    Based on your Research About The Company and the position, what do you like most about the company?

  3. About The Fit

    If you are looking for career advancement or a career change, you can be very upfront and honest. Be as enthusiastic as you can about the position.

    If you were unhappy with your previous job, focus on the positives. Talk about the ways that you will best fit in with the company, in the role for which you're applying.

    If you were let go, focus on the positive. Share your accomplishments at your previous employment.

Pro Tip

Whatever the reason you are looking for a new opportunity, always turn things around to show how you are the perfect fit for the job for which you are interviewing!

5. What are your drivers? What motivates you?

How to answer

Motivation is what we use to drive ourselves forward to complete tasks and bring results.

Why do hiring managers ask this question? They want to get a sense of your personality. But more importantly, they want to see your resiliency and determination. They definitely do not want to hire someone who will quit when encountering difficulties, whose focus will be elsewhere, and who will just waste their time.

Enthusiasm ranks very high on the list of qualities employers are looking for in a candidate. If you can demonstrate that you are genuinely passionate about your profession and interested in the position you are applying for, your chances of getting hired will improve significantly.

  1. About Yourself

    This question requires serious self-examination; you should be asking it yourself long before the interviewer does.

    Look back on everything you’ve done in your life, job, and career so far. What was it about your best days that made them the best? Can you take those feelings and apply them to specific moments from your life and past work experiences?

    Are you ready for tough projects or for being asked to do something that isn’t quite on your job description, or for having to stay at work till late instead of another team member? Will meeting deadlines, learning new things, finding a way to solve problems or overcoming a challenge inspire you and make you want even more?

    What gives you a sense of accomplishment when you can look back on and say "I achieved that"? Look deep inside.

    Analyze your experience by types of tasks, by type of environment, type of feedback, level of responsibility and stakes? Do you prefer independence, or being part of a team?

    • Task type: if you were given a whole day or even week at work to focus on just one of your tasks, without interruptions or multitasking, which one would that be? Why?
    • Environment: do you feel motivated in a dynamic environment with lots of action, communications, deadlines? Or would you rather disconnect from the outside world and immerse into a single task, with your headphones on?
    • Feedback: are you better motivated by positive feedback, or by healthy criticism? Or maybe by customers’ smiles and “Thank you” messages?
    • Responsibility and stakes: are you motivated to do your best when you know that the stakes are high and your contribution will make a great impact on the bottom line? Or do you feel better in a more safe and relaxed environment when someone else is responsible for making big decisions?
    • Financials: what is the salary range that makes you feel comfortable and respect yourself? Let’s be realistic, this is one (although definitely shouldn’t be the first) of the drivers.

    Be creative, this list is not exhaustive.

  2. About The Company

    Take a long look at the job you’re applying for. What kinds of tasks will you be responsible for? What will be the environment? What do you know about the possible kinds of feedback you will be receiving? What is the level of stakes in this role? What do you know about the salary they can possibly offer?

  3. About The Fit

    How comfortable are you with the drivers the company can offer, comparing to those of your own? Pick those that have a match and give some examples.

    For instance, if you’re applying for a software engineer job, describe how you are motivated by solving complex technical challenges. If the job involves teamwork, give an example showing that you love collaborating and accomplishing big things as a part of a team, and that’s what drives you to do your best each day. You can say you enjoy meaningful work creating products that change people’s lives, if this is relevant to the company.

Pro Tip

Be enthusiastic. The more enthusiasm you have for what motivates you, the more enthusiasm the interviewer will have for you!

6. Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment

How to answer

Of all your accomplishments (and I am sure you’ve had a great many of them!), you should choose the one most relevant to this job position.

  1. About Yourself

    Write down your Key Selling Points - your top 3-5 skills that make you a strong professional.

    Write down a list of your top 3-5 professional accomplishments that you are most proud of. No need for lengthy descriptions, just 1-2 words for each one to help you recall each situation. Make sure you have developed the story behind each accomplishment and have a strong command of the details of what happened so that you can tell the story clearly and distinctly.

    Along with each accomplishment, mark which of your Key Selling Points they showcase. How exactly?

  2. About The Company

    Based on your Research of The Company, what are their current needs? What are the major projects going on? What are the expectations for the position you are applying for?

  3. About The Fit

    Try to imagine yourself being an employee of the company you are applying to, say, at your 6th month into the job. Which of your Key Selling Points and accomplishments would be most relevant to the company? What “have you accomplished at your new job?”

    Choose the most relevant accomplishment from your list and then practice telling your story.

Pro Tip

Most enterprises are now going through major transformations, often called Digital Transformation. Do your research on what it means and what is often involved, to get a better idea of the current goals and environments in companies. But one thing that definitely characterizes this transformation is striving for agility.

In particular, for startups (if you are applying to a startup or a small business), agility is their middle name, in order for them to survive among bigger sharks in the market.

So, demonstrating qualities like agility and adaptability should generally be helpful and quite a safe choice in most circumstances today.

7. What are your long-term goals?

How to answer

Even in this age of so-called Gig Economy, employers are always looking for people who can become their strong and loyal “soldiers”, a part of their “army” to help them conquer their market share against their competitors. So, even if at this moment this job may be, or seem like a temporary contract, you never know what opportunities may present themselves to you in this company. Trust me, your hiring manager doesn’t know either! So, be open to opportunities and use this question to emphasize how your personal goals correspond with those of the company.

  1. About Yourself

    Start with honestly assessing yourself. (At this moment, you are not sharing these thoughts with anyone, so be as open as you can.) Imagine that you have all the resources in the world and that all roads are open for you. How would you use them? Which road(s) would you choose? What do you see on the horizon in that direction? Be audacious and don’t limit yourself. There is no longer perspective than “long-term”, so be as futuristic as you possibly can.

    Write down a few “road” options that you would be enthusiastic about going. For example, this list may be as broad as the following:

    • Writer;
    • Choir director;
    • Software engineer and architect;
    • CEO of a unicorn startup company;
    • Entrepreneur.

    As William Shakespeare once allegedly said, “We know what we are, but we know not what we may be.”

  2. About The Company

    Now, look at the company. What is the industry they operate in? What is the position you are applying for, and what are potential career growth possibilities within the department, company, and industry?

  3. About The Fit

    Which of your “road” options correspond best with the opportunities presented by this company? Highlight this option and focus on it. Imagine, in as much detail as you can, going down this road. What would be the major milestones for you, in order to move towards your goal?

    Describe the chosen option by focusing on the first 1-2 milestones, and by presenting it in light of company goals and current initiatives. For example, if you are applying for a Project Manager position in a corporation engaged in the education industry, and your “road” option is “CEO”, your next career step may be a Program Manager, or an Innovations and Research manager. Explain why you are enthusiastic about reaching these goals, and what makes you think you have the necessary traits and skills to reach them.

    How can the company benefit from these traits and skills of yours already today, in the current role you are applying for?

Pro Tip

Framing your answer in terms, and using words from the terminology used by the company will help ensure the interviewer can easily understand your language and help you both to be “on the same page”. The easier you make it for the interviewer, the better are your chances they will “vote” for you over other candidates.

8. How would you describe yourself?

How to answer

This question is similar to the Tell Me About Yourself question usually asked at the beginning of an interview, but there are some subtle differences. It belongs to the family of Reflective questions where the interviewer is assessing your cognitive abilities, as opposed to the more factual and matter-of-fact Tell Me About Yourself question,

  1. About Yourself

    Think of how your bosses and peers would describe you. Throughout your professional experience, you have probably heard them giving you some labels - remember what exactly words they used. If you have received LinkedIn recommendations from someone, read those and think why people wrote them, what work situations prompted for those descriptions. Remember the context of those situations and frame them as stories.

    Make a list of keywords, or short key phrases, that can describe you. Your Key Selling Points should definitely appear on this list, but try to also use some adjectives here, to add a positive emotional touch.

  2. About The Company

    Learn about the company values, standards and policies. Make a list of keywords or short key phrases.

  3. About The Fit

    Which of your keywords correspond best with those of the company? Highlight 3-4 matches. Now try to imagine being a peer or a boss of yours and compile statements about yourself, in 3rd person, mentioning these keywords. Remember to use adjectives, and don’t be afraid to mention real references from real people.

    For example, if you are applying for a position that requires good people skills, and your boss at your previous job called you a “conflict resolution guru”, don’t be shy to mention this reference, and provide a brief context that caused your boss’s praise. Use STARS technique to craft your story.

    Don’t limit yourself with just one keyword. If you are concise and don’t ramble with your answer, your interviewer will probably have enough of an attention span for a few of those. Just be observant and watch the interviewer’s reaction, you want to keep them interested.

Pro Tip

If you haven’t yet received any LinkedIn recommendations, try to obtain them. Also, offer people to write your own recommendations for them - both received and given recommendations will be visible in your profile and will tell the interviewer exactly what you want to be known about your values, your attitude towards work and relationships.

9. How would you handle a customer with difficult behavior?

How to answer

People skills are highly valued in every company, and even so much more so in a company that deals with difficult customers occasionally. It is important to show how you can manage difficult personalities.

  1. About Yourself

    Look back on your experience. Have you worked with a difficult or disruptive person? Remember how you diffused the situation and how you turned things around. Do you have certain principles, or methodology, to deal with difficult people? Do you have strong people skills, are you good at conflict resolution? Are you high on emotional intelligence? Can you give an example?

  2. About The Company

    What have you found about the company and its culture? What have you learned about how the employees value each other? How do they treat their customers? Knowing their line of business or industry, what can be some examples of difficult customers? Do your research.

  3. About The Fit

    A question like this asked in an interview, may be an indication that difficult customers, or other difficult stakeholders, may indeed be something that you will probably encounter in this company, and it is important for the interviewer to know that you will be able to handle this challenge with good grace. If you can give an example of how you handled a difficult person in the past in a situation similar to what this company may require from you, this will strongly increase your chances of showing yourself as a good fit.

Pro Tip

One methodology for diffusing a difficult situation is called “the triple A” approach:

  1. Acknowledge - what the other person is feeling,
  2. Apologize - for the way the other person is feeling,
  3. Admit - that there was an issue that you are working on to get it resolved.

If it is a customer, it would add that extra touch if you added another "A" to your approach by Asking for the customer's contact information so you can update them of any progress on their issue.

10. Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it

How to answer

Nowadays, professional life is stressful everywhere and always. However, there are levels of stress that are so common that we consider them normal, and there are times when they really skyrocket. Your future employer wants to know how you will behave in such times, whether you will be a helping hand or a burden.

  1. About Yourself

    Remember a time when you had to hit a tight timeline and to work long hours, hard and overtime; or when you found yourself in the middle of a conflict with someone, or with a group of people. If you had more than one such occasion, choose one that ended positively and successfully, and ideally, that can demonstrate some of your key skills - your Key Selling Points.

    Most likely, the situation was highly emotional. What helped you persevere? Was there an element that you enjoyed? For example, in one of our projects, my team and I had to hit a really tough timeline for a customer, which seemed almost impossible in the beginning. However, we knew that we owned the results and that a major decision by the customer depended on the outcome. This sense of ownership, meaning, and impact gave us energy and excitement. Those were the challenges that we loved and could deal with for a sustained period of time. Also, the pleasure of working with a highly qualified top manager on the customer’s side added to the enjoyment. Now, after a few years, we remember those times as some of the most exciting for our team.

  2. About The Company

    What do you know about the company, where you may encounter a stressful situation? Are they working on a major project which is approaching a due date? Are they going through a difficult time when cost-saving is a top priority, company culture is full of negativity and mistrust, they have gone through massive layoffs, customers are neglected, and everyone wears a long face? These are always stressful times, and you should try to know more about expectations in the company, and how realistic they are.

    Or, are they just a dynamic, highly agile company run by smart and creative folks, which may work excellently for some people and be confusing and mind-blowing for others?

    Do Your Research!

  3. About The Fit

    Think of your ideal workplace environment. Does this company feel like it? Do you feel excited and enthusiastic about the kinds of stress you may encounter here? If you feel compatible with this company culture and enthusiastic about the challenges you expect here, this is a good chance to mention it and to show your excitement. Explain your approach or rationale and give your example from the past.

Pro Tip

If you cannot remember any stressful situation with a positive outcome, you can use one with a negative outcome accompanied by your Lessons Learned. However, this option should not be your first choice, as the failure to give an example of a successful outcome may portray you as an emotionally immature person.


This page has been updated on March 26, 2020.

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