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Relationship Manager

Best interview questions for your hiring process

Relationship Manager Interview questions

A Relationship Manager is an expert communicator who quickly and effectively builds lasting client relations. As the walking definition of a people person, the Relationship Manager loves to engage with customers and clients, as well as colleagues and internal stakeholders, to form and cultivate powerful business relationships. Their communicative skill is only surpassed by their power of persuasion, seamlessly opening upselling and cross-selling opportunities to help the company grow.

To find the right person for this position, you need to have a list of targeted Relationship Manager interview questions prepared so you can identify the perfect candidate when you see them. After all, with such an important role you don’t want to make a hiring mistake.

When searching for your new Relationship Manager you should look out for the following qualities and skills:

  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to easily build relationships with customers, clients, and colleagues alike.
  • Great at persuading and convincing customers to buy (or invest more into) your product.

Interviewing a Relationship Manager

To narrow down the number of applicants and get closer to finding the perfect hire, you need to play your cards right. And the earlier on in the interview process you do so the better. That’s why we’ve created this list of effective Relationship Manager interview questions that you should ask during the first interview.

Note that these questions are best suited for the first interview and early on during the process. They help you skim through the bulk of applicants to find the ones with the highest potential. During the next step, you should ask more industry/experience specific questions tailored to the unique needs of your business.

How to open the Relationship Manager job interview

Too many recruiters still think intensely questioning a candidate is the best way to test the talent pool. However, this interviewing style is generally considered to be outdated and is often actually counterproductive.

Many candidates are nervous about the interview, which is natural. These nerves can negatively influence the way they answer your interview questions. The candidate might actually know the perfect answer to your question, but if they’re overcome by nerves their anxiety can cause them to draw a blank.

Instead, you should try to start off light and make the candidate feel comfortable and at ease. Not only is this a lot more friendly, but it will also help you get better answers from them.

Best interview questions for your hiring process

Also see our Relationship Manager job description

For the interview

A positive opener to start

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

What do you enjoy most about being a Relationship Manager?

How has your career path been so far?

Behavioral Questions

Tell me about a time you had to deal with an unreasonable customer. What did you do?

Some customers are just clearly being unreasonable and don’t care if they are as “they are the customer so they’re always right”. Seeing how the candidate deals with this gives you a good understanding of their client management and interpersonal skills.

Tell me about a time when you lost an important client. What did you learn from it?

Failure is a normal part of working life. How one deals with it is what’s important. This question shows you how the candidate dealt with such a situation and what they learned from it to avoid it from happening again in the future.

A customer asks a product-related question that you don’t have the answer to. What do you do?

The Relationship Manager should have a firm understanding of the product, but there will be times that they have to ask a colleague for support. Seeing how they go about asking for help shows you a bit about how they will work within your team.

What would you do if you notice that one of our customers misuses our product to profit from it in an unethical way?

This question tests the candidate’s ethics. Seeing how they handle this gives you a good understanding of their work ethic and morals.

Tell me about a time when you struggled to build a relationship with a colleague. How did you overcome that?

As a Relationship Manager, you don’t just have to build relations with clients. Although the Relationship Manager will often be working alone and without colleagues, they are still part of your company and team. Therefore, they should be able to build relations with colleagues as well. This question helps identify if the candidate can do so even when this seems difficult at first.

Soft Skills

You’re presenting your findings during a meeting but the customer doesn’t seem engaged. What do you do?

Sometimes a customer won’t show any interest in the hard work the Relationship Manager has put in. Being able to deal with this kind of situation is an important skill for the candidate to have.

This job can get quite stressful. Explain to me how you deal with stressful situations.

This question teaches you a bit more about how the candidate deals with stress.

What do you think are some of the most important qualities a Relationship Manager should possess?

This is a great question to ask because you can get an idea of the skills the candidate values most. In most cases, this will also be the skill they consider themselves to be best at.

Hard Skills

What would you do to prevent customer churn?

Customer turnover or churn is a common problem for Relationship Managers. Asking how they deal with this shows you what kind of actions the candidate takes to minimise churn.

What tools do you use most during your work?

A simple yet specific question about their experience. It also gives you an idea of how much initial training they might need.

What mode of communication (email, phone, face-to-face) do you prefer and why?

This question gives you an insight into their preferred way of working and communicating. It also shows you how they might fit into your organisation.

How much experience do you have working in our company’s industry?

Although industry experience often isn’t essential it does make the onboarding process a bit quicker and smoother. This question shows you how much experience they already have.

Operational / Situational Questions

Tell me about a time you landed a really important customer for the business.

This question lets your candidate brag about how they roped in that massive account. It shows you what size clients they’ve worked on and how they go about winning a customer for the business.

You find out a client (our biggest one, in fact) has been grossly underpaid by our company for months. This client leaving the company would cause serious financial problems for our business. What do you do?

This question helps you find out how ethical the candidate is in their work.

Our main competitor has managed to convince one of your largest clients to switch to using their services/product. What do you do?

Does the candidate accept defeat or do they go in for the counterattack? Learn a bit more about how competitive the candidate is.

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