6 Account Executive Interview Questions I Ask Every Time

See how a chronological interview approach helps you find top account executives.

Time to read: 2 minutes

Mike Wolff
SVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce

When hiring top account executives, there is an essential tool I always leverage: the chronological interview. When done right, this approach acts like a truth serum.

The key focus is the candidate’s resume and his or her specific background. It’s critical to walk through their relevant work experience chronologically as it’s the best way to surface and understand themes across their various opportunities.

To draw these out effectively, here are the specific executive interview questions I like to ask all sales executive candidates about each relevant step in their career. My advice for you is to be consistent, use some finesse, and give it a try.

1. Can you describe to me your current/former role, your responsibilities, and how success is/was measured?

With this question, I’m trying to get a sense for how succinctly and clearly the candidate can describe his or her responsibilities. Additionally, for a sales role, how success is measured should be pretty straightforward and it’s a red flag when the success metric is murky.

2. What is your proudest accomplishment?

This is an alignment question and tests whether the candidate’s proudest accomplishment is tied to the first question around role, responsibilities, and success.

3. Knowing what you know now, walk me through what you would do differently to drive even more success?

This interview question tests the sales executive candidate’s self-awareness and coachability.

4. If I were to call your current/former VP, how would he or she describe what you’re doing well and the areas that you’re improving?

Another coachability and self-awareness question. Additionally, this helps me understand how the candidate was previously coached, as well as whether he or she was receiving feedback.

5. Let’s turn this around: Thinking about your current/former VP, what do you appreciate about his or her leadership style? What do they do well and what would you prefer that they do differently?

This helps me understand the type of leader that the candidate prefers to work with.

6. What inspired you to move to the next opportunity?

Is the candidate running to the next role or running from something?

It’s critical to order your executive interview questions in a way that lets the candidate walk through their relevant work experience chronologically — it’s the best way to surface and understand themes across their various opportunities.”

Mike Wolff | SVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce


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About the Author

Mike Wolff
SVP Commercial Sales, Salesforce
As SVP of commercial sales, Mike Wolff leads sales efforts across North America for Salesforce’s small and midsize business teams. Wolff joined Salesforce in 2002 and has held a number of individual contributor and leadership roles. He grew up in the Bay Area, where he still resides, and holds a political science bachelor’s degree from University of California, Davis, and an MBA in marketing from the University of San Francisco. When he’s not focused on customer success and trying to make every month, he is most often spending time with his wife and two daughters, or rooting for the 49ers, Warriors, and Giants.

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