Key Account Manager Interview Guide

Key Interview Tips:

INTERVIEW rawpixel-com-274860-unsplash.jpg
  • Smile!   Think FUN!
  • Decide beforehand what questions you will ask/other interviewer will ask
  • Make eye contact
  • Listen – for specific examples that describe real situations, specific actions the individual took and what the result was
  • Take notes
  • Provide specific examples of your own (or others’) personal experiences at (insert company name) to answer questions the candidate asks you about the job/company (where applicable)
  • Don’t ask about age, marital status, political affiliation, etc.


General /Warm Up Questions:


1.    Tell me in more detail about your role at _______________.   The highlights?  The frustrations?  The challenges?

2.    Tell us the scope of your responsibilities as the (insert title)  at (insert company name).   What were your core accountabilities monthly, quarterly, annually?

3.    What was your reason for leaving?


SETTING THE AGENDA (Planning & Executing) 



1.    Tell me about a customer or sales initiative that you developed and executed that you are particularly proud of.   Why?

2.    Describe for me how you go about planning your business (your portfolio) every year.   What are some things that you do that you believe either make you successful and/or unique in your approach?

3.    How do you keep on top of everything you need to do?    Tell me about your personal planning tool or system that you use.     Now, tell me about a time where your system did not work for you?   What did you do?   How did you recover?

4.    Tell me about a time where you came up with an idea that you effectively turned into a plan of action within your organization/with your customer.

5.    Tell me about a time when you considered several alternatives before deciding on a solution to a problem.   How did you go about evaluating each alternative?   What support or challenges did you have to overcome?



1.    Describe the most difficult situation you have faced dealing with a customer.  What did you do? How did you resolve it?   Describe your relationship with the customer post –situation.

2.    Describe the most complex problem or issue you have dealt with on the job.

3.    Describe a time when you identified a small problem before it became a major problem.

4.    Tell me about a time where your business was not meeting its targets.   What did you do?  What was the result?  What was your follow up?

5.     How do you go about engaging others in the organization and customer in executing your plans or initiatives?  What tools/tactics do you use?

6.      Tell me about a time where you had lots of things to do, many people demanding your time and energy and not enough time to do it all….how did you establish your priorities?    What were they?   How did it turn out?

7.    How do you tend to follow up on your major customer initiatives?   Can you give me an example?


Functional/Technical: (choose 2-3 minimum)

1.    Describe a time when you had to use your knowledge of category management to reach your / or your team’s goals or solve a problem.

2.    Tell me about a time when you had to think broadly to solve a problem outside your area of expertise.

3.    Tell me about a time when you worked with a team of people with different types of expertise to solve a complex problem.

4.    Can you provide us with an example that would demonstrate your ability to leverage technology and/or data to make your job (or others) easier or more efficient?   

5.    Tell me about your experience in building/using complex financial models.

6.    Give me some examples that would clearly demonstrate your knowledge and ability in category management/understanding AC Nielsen data.


Taking Others With You: Communication(chose 2-3)

 1.    Tell me about the most difficult or frustrating person you’ve ever had to work with.  Why was that person difficult and how did you handle that situation?

2.    Describe your greatest success in building internal work group alignment and commitment to a customer initiative.

3.    Tell me about a time when you had to use more than one approach to persuade others because your initial approach failed.

4.    Describe a time when you worked most closely with a team. Tell me how you helped team members be successful.

5.    Tell me about at time you had an idea that required your team to “buy-in”.   How did you go about getting it?


Building Talent/Motivating Others: (chose 2-3)

1.    Tell us about a time where you had to gain alignment or coach and manage others over a large geographic area. What were the challenges?  What were the successes?   How did you get alignment/build strong working relationships?

2.    Describe something “big” that would not have happened without your leadership.

3.    Tell us about a time you had to influence/coach others who did not report to you in order to reach a goal/get a result.  What was the situation?  What did you do?   What was the result?

4.    Can you give us one or two specific example (s) that would give us a flavour of your leadership style?

5.    Tell us about a time you changed a process or a work procedure that your team “had always done it that way”.   What was the situation?  Why did you change?   How did you gain you team’s commitment/alignment?


Doing It the Right Way (chose 1-2)

1.    Describe a time when there was conflict between what you felt was right and what someone wanted you to do.

2.    Describe when you had the hardest time establishing a good working relationship with someone.

3.    Tell me about a time where it was important for you to “take a stand”.

4.    Tell us about the biggest disagreement you’ve had with someone at work.

5.    Describe a time that was particularly challenging for you because of “politics”, or conflict

6.    What do you believe are the two principles that you believe anyone in a key account role should hold himself or herself to?  Why?


 Career Interests/Long Term Goals:

 1.    What will key deciding factors in your decision on which organization you join/role you pursue?   Why?

2.    What career goals have you set for yourself over the next 3-5 years?    How do you see this role at HFL fitting into your plan?

3.    What skills or leadership qualities do you need to develop as this stage in your career?



Overall Assessment:


Strengths (list skills/competencies):


Opportunities/Areas not clear:

Robyn Hounjet