Agencies

34 Marketing Agency Account Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Whether you’re hiring or applying for an account management role, here’s insights into how many agencies make hiring decisions.

Kevin Kononenko on January 17, 2018 • 32 minute read

“Do you know which factors will have the biggest impact on agency growth over the next 2-3 years?”

Okay, that one is not an actual interview question!

In the 2017 State of Digital Agency Report, 90 marketing agency leaders were asked that question. Their top answer, as you can see from the chart, was that “attracting and retaining top talent” would be the number one driver of growth!

So, out of all the strategic initiatives that an agency might take on during the course of the year, hiring top talent is probably at the top of the list! As service-based businesses, agencies are well aware that talent can be their main competitive advantage.

Account manager interviews can be especially challenging because… you know… account managers are the ones that need to work with clients all day! They are the public face of the agency.

We surveyed 30+ marketing agency leaders to uncover how they hire. Collectively, they’ve hired hundreds of account managers and plan to hire hundreds more this year alone.

In our survey, they shared the ideal ways to answer common questions, and what responsibilities are included in account management. If you have an interview coming up (or are looking to hire more account managers yourself), this list is probably a helluva cheatsheet.

Typical Agency Account Manager Responsibilities

Here is a breakdown of the typical expectations for account managers at each of the 34 digital marketing agencies we spoke to.

Key

  • Scope Out Work: Helping to scope out new client engagements pre-sale
  • Onboarding: Onboarding new clients
  • Client Calls: Holding regular calls with clients to finalize monthly deliverables and review work completed.
  • Client Reporting: Monitoring, reporting and presenting client performance data to ensure business goals are achieved.
  • Project Management: Managing projects to ensure deliverables are completed on-time and to the right standards.
  • New Tech: Managing the implementation of new marketing technology for clients
  • Upselling: Identifying and pitching new services to existing clients
  • Renewals: Client renewals and upselling
  • Billing: Handling billing and collections
Scope Out Work Onboarding Client Calls Client Reporting
Ironpaper x x x
Revenue River x x x
Saleshub x x x x
Builder Funnel x x x
Bluleadz x x x
Landscape Leadership x x x
The Whole Brain Group x x
IDS Agency x x
SmartBugMedia  x  x  x
Bureau Kraken x x x
Bayard Bradford x x x x
Ofg x x
Hudson Fusion LLC x x x
PR 20/20 x x x x
Idea Grove x x x x
SparkReaction x x x x
HubDo x x x
Kapowza x x x
Olive and Company x x x
Method Savvy x x x x
ObilityB2B x x x
Market Veep x x x x
Penguin Strategies x x x x
Story Collaborative x x x
Eastside Co x
UNINCORPORATED x x x x
Leighton Interactive x x x x
Passion Communications x x x x
Vajra Global Consultants x x x x
Bookmark Content x x x x
LaneTerralever x x x x
First Five Eight Media x x x

Part 2

Project Management New Tech Upselling Renewals Billing
Ironpaper x x
Revenue River x x x
Saleshub x x x
Builder Funnel x x x
Bluleadz x x
Landscape Leadership x x
The Whole Brain Group x x
IDS Agency x
SmartBugMedia x x x x
Bureau Kraken x x
Bayard Bradford x x
Ofg x x
Hudson Fusion LLC x x x
PR 20/20 x x x x x
Idea Grove x x
SparkReaction x x x x
HubDo x x x x
Kapowza x
Olive and Company x x x x
Method Savvy x x x
ObilityB2B x x x
Market Veep x x x x
Penguin Strategies x x x x x
Story Collaborative x x
Eastside Co x x x
UNINCORPORATED x x x x
Leighton Interactive x x x x x
Passion Communications x x x
Vajra Global Consultants x x x x
Bookmark Content x x x x
LaneTerralever x x x
First Five Eight Media x x x

Other Responsibilities

Here are some other responsibilities for account managers that agency leaders shared.

 

“Account managers must manage initiatives to ensure we are driving results for clients and achieving goals.

They are also responsible for pitching new ideas and being a growth advisor.”
-Ironpaper

 

  • “Monitoring budgets
  • Offboarding clients
  • Facilitating & scheduling meetings both internal /external”

-The Whole Brain Group

 

“The term ‘Account Manager’ is often misused. For many agencies, these are simply gatekeepers whose job it is to run interference between the client and the strategists, and serve no real customer value in the agency model.

We don’t use an account manager in that regard. We have our strategists – which are senior hires with 8-10 years client-side marketing experience – work directly with clients as if they are an extension of their team. Clients prefer this model rather than a junior account manager who is the go-between.

So we answered the questions above as we would for our Marketing Strategist role. Just wanted to clarify.”
-SmartBug Media

 

“Feedback to the strategy team because of the deep knowledge of the client’s company”
-Bureau Kraken

 

“Lead generation review, marketing to sales handoff, educating the client sales team about Hubspot”
-Bayard Bradford

 

“Working closely with our design and development teams to create, test, and adapt website assets. Coordinate social ads, where recommended.”
-SparkReaction

 

“Creating and managing the Client Content Calendar”
-HubDo

 

“The Account Managers here just need to be a good gatekeeper between the client and the internal creative team.”
-Kapowza

 

  • “Building relationships
  • Managing expectations
  • Reaching campaign goals”

-Revenue River

 

“Managing ongoing client communications”
-Olive & Company

 

“Keeping client projects and client expectations within scope.”
-Market Veep

 

“Managing a team of Project Managers, Designers and Marketing Coordinators to execute the deliverables of any client engagement.”
-Penguin Strategies

 

“Bringing creative strategy to the table.”
-Story Collaborative

“Referral requests”
-First Five Eight Media

Frequently Asked Interview Questions

Here are the favored interview questions from agency owners and directors of client services. I separated them into buckets based on the type of question so you can learn how to answer categories of questions at once.

Culture Fit/Personality

Eric Pratt
Revenue River

Top Skill For Candidate: Humility

Question That Evaluates This Skill: Those are some pretty impressive results. What would you credit your success at that organization to?

Ideal Answer: A candidate with humility answers that question with ‘we’, not ‘I’.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We’ve developed a culture that allows individuals to flourish, to reach their true potential while contributing to the success of our agency in unique ways. We build great people into true industry experts within their ideal job role. Also, we have our own bathrooms.

 

Kristin Izumi
Bookmark Content

Top Skill For Candidate: Adaptability

Question That Evaluates This Skill: Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a client or colleague’s working style in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

Ideal Answer: This behavioral question enables us to evaluate a candidate’s interpersonal communication skills, as well as their cultural fit within our agency. A great candidate exemplifies passion and sincerity in their approach, and shares an example that is highly relevant to the work that we do.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: You work with incredibly talented people that will challenge and inspire you to grow both personally and professionally.

 

Donna Campbell
The Whole Brain Group

Top Skill For Candidate: Problem Solving

Question That Evaluates This Skill: Do you prefer well-established projects that run smoothly or ‘problem child’ projects that need to be turned around?

Ideal Answer: I prefer to take on the problem accounts and turn them around, make them more profitable by understanding what’s not working, and then developing a solution for it. Whether that’s new processes, or tech tools, or re-seating current team members to be in the right seats on that project.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: Flex work hours/work week

 

Sami Brenner
Spark Reaction

Top Skill For Candidate: DWYSYWD, an absurdly long acronym for a must-have skill with our account managers: “do what you say you will do.”

Question That Evaluates This Skill: We can synthesize a lot from a simple question: “How do you stay organized when juggling multiple deadlines, projects, and client expectations?”

Ideal Answer: A great recent candidate showed me their to-do list, organized by deadline, client, and time needed for the tasks. The right candidates for us usually seem unfazed by this question, which means organization, time management, and follow-through are a core part of their work habits. Candidates who struggle with showing us their management techniques are often not the best fit for proving DWYSYWD.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: Your voice will matter from day one. If we bring you onto our team, that means we trust your work experience and opinions. When you speak, we will listen––and you can make an impact on our processes and initiatives from the start. If this doesn’t scare you, we’re the right agency for you.

 

Sean Sutherland
Kapowza

Top Skill For Candidate: As a small agency, we want to make sure that not only are they professional in their candor but also can be a good personality fit for the culture we’ve developed so far.

Question That Evaluates This Skill: It’s usually less about what they say and how they respond to questions that give us a better impression of who they are and how they’d work best with the team we’ve put together so far.

Ideal Answer: We want to make sure that a candidate is comfortable in the interview process to be honest with us. Share the things your proud of, embarrassed of, disappointed in, give the sense that you’re a unique individual.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We’re a small team that’s responsible for some good work for companies within Baltimore and across the US. A person that wants to have impact on the agency’s future from day 1 is a good reason a candidate should want to work at our agency.

 

Ismail Aly
IDS Agency

Top Skill For Candidate: Project Management and Problem Solving

Question That Evaluates This Skill: How do you handle failure?

Ideal Answer: Failure is a blessing in disguise, and the best learning experience, and I believe agency work is about experimenting, pushing for change and challenging the status quo. This can not be done without failing.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: Growth

 

Jennifer Keul
Leighton Interactive

Top Skill For Candidate: Confidence

Question That Evaluates This Skill: Often this is not a question, but more so about presence.

Ideal Answer: They take a seat (and DO NOT ask where they should sit). They sit high in their chair and have an ease to them. They also DO NOT get flustered and lose track of the conversation with distractions.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We get to be apart of creating, measuring and celebrating success alongside amazing clients.

 

Giovanni Pollarolo
Eastside Co

Top Skill For Candidate: Communication skills

Question That Evaluates This Skill: I’d ask them to describe their greatest achievement in their work life and in their personal life and explain how this helped shape their personality.

Ideal Answer: Being honest and embracing both the wins and the losses, showing us that they can communicate their wins fantastically and their losses just as well.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We’re the most relevant. We’re the number 1 Shopify agency in the UK and among the world-leading agencies that are shaping the world of e-commerce. We have hundreds of international clients and we have also built 7 internationally acclaimed Shopify apps used by more than 20 thousand people.

 

Charles Elmer
Bayard Bradford

Top Skill For Candidate: Self-starter

Question That Evaluates This Skill: What’s your greatest asset?

Ideal Answer: Some iteration of being able to think on one’s feet.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We hit a niche in the industrial services market that fits our technology implementation and customer success programs perfectly: showing how Hubspot is being used to great effect for large B2B companies offering esoteric products/services to eclectic audiences with unique sales cycles.

 
Jennifer Ennesser
LaneTerralever

Top Skill For Candidate: Business-focused mind

Question That Evaluates This Skill: How do they measure their success with a client? Is it performance driven, do you really dig in to understand the client’s business goals?

Ideal Answer: They will typically explain how a bill becomes a law. The evolution of a campaign development. I listen to see if they are just focused on the production side (executing the assets) and getting things out the door, or are they really understanding the client’s business and working to suggest what is best. Not just taking marching orders from the client.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We are performance driven. We want to know how we can help our clients grow their business in order to create new opportunities for all.

 

Written Assessment

Chad Diller
Landscape Leadership

Top Skill For Candidate: We use a test called the Culture Index. We first created an ideal profile of an Account Manager, as a team. The CI test takes about 8 minutes for a candidate to complete. It scores people on a broad spectrum of 7 hard-wired, work-related behavior traits. Based on how they score, we are able to easily weed out people who have red flags.

Question That Evaluates This Skill: The test gives a candidate a list of a bunch of words in groupings, based on questions. The words they select drive the test results.

Ideal Answer: You would have to take the test to find out! It’s super cool and eerily accurate.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: Because they love helping our clients win.

 

Emily Paxton
Obility B2B

Top Skill For Candidate: Excellent communication skills and a commitment to detail and grammar in written form

Question That Evaluates This Skill: A written questionnaire is a must to determine an account manager’s knowledge and writing style. This should be customized to the role and specific to your agency’s offerings. One question I like to include is:

You get the email below from a client. Please write a response email that you would send to the client. (approx 15 mins)

We’ve got a first draft of our PPC landing page ready here: {insert a URL from one of your own client’s landing pages}

Do you have any feedback or suggestions for improving?

Thanks!
Client

Ideal Answer: A great candidate first off ensures there are no misspelled words or incoherent statements in their response. I will evaluate how a candidate integrates best practices into their response. I also look to see enthusiasm, support, and flexibility from an account manager candidate.

Hi Client,
Thanks for sending over the draft landing page! This draft is a great start.

Here are a few pieces of feedback to help improve the conversion rate of this landing page:

-Add a call to action in the top right and within the contact us form on the right side
-To entice a user to call or submit their information, let’s also add a bit more content regarding the benefit of this whitepaper to the reader
-Add a few quick stats or quotes from your current customers with logos below the fold as additional trust symbols

Do you have 15 minutes to review with me later today or tomorrow? I am available today from 1­-2 PDT or tomorrow 9-12 PDT. Let me know when you are free.

Talk soon.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: I know a lot of agencies preach work-life balance, but Obility actually delivers. Our company offers flexible, remote work days, allowing you to work from home (or from an extended vacation) if needed.

Our work hours are also flexible, meaning you can come in late or leave early as long as you are meeting our minimum hours for full-time employment. I enjoy not being micromanaged and welcome the flexibility to have the option to work where and when I want within reason.

 

Handling a Crisis

Spencer Powell
Builder Funnel

Top Skill For Candidate: Effective Communication

Question That Evaluates This Skill: How would you deal with an angry or irate customer? As an example, let’s say you’re waiting for a team member to complete something for you, but it isn’t done yet and the customer calls you.

Ideal Answer: A great candidate would answer this by stating that they listen and sympathize. They would then apologize and ask what the client thinks would make the situation “right”? If they have the authority, they would call the shot right there. If not, they’d communicate they need to discuss the situation with their supervisor.

I’m looking for someone to listen, learn, apologize, and resolve.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We’re a very flat organization – ideas from the team are not only heard, but they are implemented on a regular basis. We’re big believers in change, and we need ideas to come from everyone. See our open jobs here.

 

Erik Norsted
Olive & Company

Top Skill For Candidate: Exceptional problem-solving skills

Question That Evaluates This Skill: What are three mistakes you’ve made in the past while managing clients, how did you deal with those mistakes at the time, and how do you avoid making similar mistakes now?

Ideal Answer: The best candidates are always willing to own up to making mistakes, but it’s important to hear them articulate their problem-solving thought process, to get a feel for their attitude and poise, and, most importantly, to see if candidates have truly learned from their experiences.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: Candidates should want to work at Olive & Company because we have an amazing team of talented people that care deeply about our clients, about the work we do, and about one another.

 

Tracy Lewis
PR 20/20

Top Skill For Candidate: Continuous learner / self motivated

Question That Evaluates This Skill: Describe a time that you had to step out of your comfort zone to tackle a project in which you weren’t 100% prepared.

Ideal Answer: The best candidates are able to explain the scope of the project, while also detailing the action steps they took to better equip themselves for the task at hand — e.g. online research, soliciting advice from partners/peers/tech providers, reading books/case studies/articles, completing certifications, etc. The best candidates don’t shy away from something new, but they also don’t give blind recommendations based on gut feel. They take some time to pool the resources they have available to them to implement a strategic approach to the problem at hand that is rooted in research.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: PR 20/20 is a group of smart, yet fun, individuals. We are constantly pushing each other to achieve our highest potential, but we also take the time to enjoy one another in the process. Our team is our strongest asset.

 

Alex Jackmond
Obility

Top Skill For Candidate: The ability to manage multiple projects and workloads simultaneously

Question That Evaluates This Skill: How have you managed multiple workloads at one time? Can you give me an example of a time when you or your team wasn’t able to manage everything and how you dealt with it?

Ideal Answer: To me, the focal point of this answer should be about planning and teamwork. If a candidate is able to articulate how they planned ahead to accommodate team member workloads, as well as how they deal with times when planning didn’t workout, they have one of the integral characteristics needed to succeed in this role.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: There are a lot of agencies focused on SEM, but I feel like we go above and beyond to make sure we’re providing the most efficient, ethical, and company-specific SEM tactics possible.

 

Amy Alexander
Story Collaborative

Top Skill For Candidate: Our account managers must be highly communicative.

Question That Evaluates This Skill: What would you do if you had a task you couldn’t complete because you didn’t have all the answers, and you were on a deadline?

Ideal Answer: Their answer should help us see that they have enough emotional intelligence to interact with a team in a communicative way. Being highly verbal is not necessarily a sign of a good communicator. A good answer might be: “I would reach out to those I needed an answer from in the way that’s proven to be their best method of communication. If they always respond quickly to email, then I’ll email them. If they need a phone call, I’ll call.”

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: Story Collaborative is an amazing place to work because values are at the core of our mission. We choose to work with industries and clients that are mission-oriented. And, we make decisions for our employees because they are right, not because they will be most cost-effective. We truly believe that to be a successful marketing agency we have to uphold our values.

 

Casper Kraken
Bureau Kraken

Top Skill For Candidate: Leadership skills

Question That Evaluates This Skill: How would you handle delivering a message about bad results in a campaign?

Ideal Answer: By being open, honest and accountable even if its the fault is not theirs.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We believe in motivation and continuous challenge of our skills

 

Scott Baradell
Idea Grove

Top Skill For Candidate: Personal accountability

Question That Evaluates This Skill: Tell me about a time it was necessary to admit you had made a mistake. How did you handle it?

Ideal Answer: They own up to their mistake quickly and learn from it for the future.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We are fully integrated with no silos across PR, content, design and digital. It makes it a great working environment and a great learning environment.

 

Creating Marketing Campaigns

Jonathan Franchell
Ironpaper

Top Skill For Candidate: Decision-making skills using marketing data and analytics

Question That Evaluates This Skill: We discuss analytics and marketing scenarios to assess their level of skill with lead generation.

Ideal Answer: They should provide answers that are based on the data or analytics we share while demonstrating clear experience and comfort with B2B inbound marketing.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We have worked hard to build a fantastic team of very inspired individuals that are passionate about our mission. This combo of great people with a great mission is one of many reasons a candidate should join Ironpaper.

For context, It took time and hard work to get to the place we are today. We made mistakes along the way and learned from our mistakes. We are better for it.

The team: I’m truly proud of our team, and I love working with them. The Ironpaper team today is a source of personal inspiration and motivation for me. I am committed to helping the team at Ironpaper grow and feel happy with their work.

The mission: Likewise, I feel that we have a strong mission with our clients. We are a growth agency, and our mission is to drive growth and sustainability for clients. The Ironpaper team is committed and driven by this mission. Having a clear and resounding mission helps us bond as a team, provide clear value to clients, and speak the same language. Also, being mission-driven makes our work more fun (which is important)!

 

Ryan Malone
SmartBug Media

Top Skill For Candidate: Multichannel marketing

Question That Evaluates This Skill: We ask them to present in detail about campaigns they have run, KPIs, drivers, etc. This is usually a 30-min presentation on no more than two campaigns followed by a pretty detailed Q&A.

Ideal Answer: We think of our strategists as the CEO of their accounts, so the should have an extremely detailed grasp of the campaigns they present during their interview. This includes communicating clearly and succinctly why they were executed, what the components were and were not, how the campaigns performed, and most importantly, what the ROI was. We would never put a marketing strategist is front of a client unless they could make it through this presentation. You can’t be a marketing advisor if you aren’t a good marketer.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: My commitment to our team — one that I have made personally to everyone at SmartBug — is that we will provide a challenging opportunity to work and grow alongside people who are trusted and respected while having the space to create the life memories that matter. SmartBug is free from drama, respected by our clients, and provide the opportunity for great marketers to shine.

 

Sample Scenarios

Matthew Cook
SalesHub

Top Skill For Candidate: Communication skills

Question That Evaluates This Skill: walk me through how you onboard a new client

Ideal Answer: They walk step by step in a very well thought out manner, the exact steps they take. It should sound like they have answered this question a thousand times before.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We are at the forefront of sales enablement

 

Brittany Balog
Bluleadz

Top Skill For Candidate: The ability to problem solve and communicate effectively.

Question That Evaluates This Skill: When faced with a question on a client call that you do not know the answer to, how would you respond to the client?

Ideal Answer: That is a great question that is beneficial to your campaign success. I have a few resources I want to reference before giving you a definitive answer, let me review those and I will respond to you by the end of the day with the best answer to this question.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We are fully invested in our employees creating their dream career path. We want them to continuously grow and learn and work their way up in the agency for their personal success & happiness.

 

Deepa Venkataraman
Vajra Global Consulting Services LLP

Top Skill For Candidate: Learnability

Question That Evaluates This Skill: How will you approach a new task/technology if your client demands so?

Ideal Answer: Firstly, I’d learn the technology or key aspects necessary to deliver the task at hand. I’d get acquainted with all allied parameters and get to know the client requirements before taking up the task. Post this, I’d execute the job with my knowledge along with my team’s inputs and deliver the same to the client.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We are a passionate bunch of people who love to learn and apply new things to our daily tasks. We are result-driven and enjoy each day at work with complete satisfaction that we’ve learnt something new today!

 

Brittany Balog
Bluleadz

Top Skill For Candidate: Communication Skills

Question That Evaluates This Skill: When hiring what has been most beneficial to me in making a final decision is how a candidate answers ‘role play’ like questions. Questions that they would commonly be asked by clients should they be hired for the account management position. We ask questions specific to our industry because we’re hiring for experienced account management positions, not entry level so they need to have a deep understanding of inbound marketing.

Questions such as, “If your client’s leads are down 10% but traffic is up 30% what initiatives would you put in place to hit their leads goal? The way they answer shows a few things:

1. How they handle answering questions quickly and on the spot under pressure.
2. Their communication skills which reflect how well they would do on a call with a client.
3. Their level of knowledge on certain areas of expertise relevant to the account management position they’re applying for.
4. A look into their personality, did they answer with enthusiasm or annoyance? Did they go in depth or provide a short quick answer? Were their facial expressions and body language positive or negative?

Since implementing these types of questions in our hiring process we have been able to find stand out candidates that are now top performers for our agency.

Ideal Answer: A great candidate would answer this question with excitement and a well thought out answer with multiple options to increase the number of leads for a client backed up with the WHY they would do these things. Excellent candidates ask questions to us before answering so that they have more information such as, what industry, business or person are we talking about in this situation so that I can provide the best recommendations.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: Based on actual employee feedback, candidates want to work here because of the culture and sense of belonging. We’re all very supportive of each other and collaborative. Everyone feels a part of the overall success of the agency and continues to work and help one another for everyone’s success not just their personal goals. There is also a ton of creative freedom, we encourage new ideas and trying to new things to help our clients (and employees) grow.

 

Emil Jimenez
Passion Communications s.r.o.

Top Skill For Candidate: adaptability

Question That Evaluates This Skill: If you were to open an agency today, what would be the first two positions you would hire and why?

Ideal Answer: A great candidate would showcase their strengths and weaknesses within this question. Ideally they would answer it honestly with regards to what skills they already have and which they need to hire for.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: The candidate would want to be part of our vision to build an empire. We build brands for our clients as well as for ourselves and with a limited sized team it requires everyone to roll up their sleeves and do a bit of everything.

 

Eric Pratt
Revenue River

Top Skill For Candidate: Organizational Skills

Question That Evaluates This Skill: How do you plan your day/week/month and what tools have you used to do so?

Ideal Answer: They demonstrate the use of a system and process for detailed planning, in advance.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We invest in our people to help them become their best versions of themselves. We employ a structure and roadmap for personal and professional development. Our agency is built to inspire trust by clarifying purpose, aligning systems, and unleash your unique talents.

 

Robert Johns
UNINCORPORATED

Top Skill For Candidate: Goal setting and executing

Question That Evaluates This Skill: When was the last time you lead a project from inception to completion? Describe your process.

Ideal Answer: As a hiring manager, I’m looking for someone who knows how to set goals and actively work towards them without a lot of oversight and hand-holding. A great candidate will have lead projects in the recent past and understand how to produce great work by setting the tone, delegating tasks, and leading people.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: UNINCORPORATED’s culture encourages growth and learning. We understand that intricate problems cannot be worked out with any one skill set or discipline, so we’ve constructed a team of marketers, developers, and designers that solve complex problems by asking tough questions and being flexible, interdisciplinary thinkers.

 

Paolo Sordelli
Ofg

Top Skill For Candidate: Project management

Question That Evaluates This Skill: We use role plays. E.g. how would plan a 3 months project? How do you manage deadline? How would you manage a customer escalation? What if your team doesn’t respect a deadline? How would you manage internal conflicts?

Ideal Answer: The candidate has to show a sense of responsibility (like a coach) and the capability to organize many people and tasks. He or she has to be deductive and see the context from high level.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We deal with many industries and processes.

 

Pete Nicholls
HubDo

Top Skill For Candidate: Agility

Question That Evaluates This Skill: Tell me about a situation where you had to change the direction of a project to meet the project goals

Ideal Answer: I identifed that continuing as were would not get us to the planned goals, so I drew on the skills of the team to identify the new path, we pivoted to that, and delivered on time, budget and quality to meet the goals.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: To learn best practices

 
Richard Owens
First Five Eight Media

Top Skill For Candidate: Overall understanding of digital marketing, and communication skills both verbally and written

Question That Evaluates This Skill: Tell me about an issue you had with a digital marketing project, where the client was not happy, and what you did

Ideal Answer: They illustrate the situation well, providing a brief overview of the project, the client and the issue. Additional points if they remember the metrics being tracked for the project. They then demonstrate ability to manage a relationship through good communication and problem solving by presenting a solution. This will also show how they handle pressure.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: Opportunity for growth. We’re a small agency looking to grow and will reward our team with the role they want, the training they need and the monetary reward deserving of good performance

 

Other

Resa Gooding
Penguin Strategies

Top Skill For Candidate: Self-learner

Question That Evaluates This Skill: Name 2 blogs that you follow and why.

Ideal Answer: They will be able to list at least 2 industry blogs and give us sound reasons why they choose to follow them and what lessons, tips or strategies they were able to pick up from reading these blogs in order to improve their work.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: One reason to work for us is that we give you the tools and support needed to be successful with your client. We do not believe in putting the pressure on just one person to build and execute the strategy so each AM gets at least 2 other people, a Project Manager and a Marketing Coordinator, to work with them on a Client’s project.

 

Cindy Penchina
Hudson Fusion LLC

Top Skill For Candidate: Communication

Question That Evaluates This Skill: This isn’t evaluated with a particular question but rather by how the candidate communicates during the overall interview.

Ideal Answer: They are articulate and confident in their responses to interview questions.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: Opportunity to grow in their professional role.

 

Devin Kelley
Method Savvy

Top Skill For Candidate: People skills. Agencies get hired for two reasons: They do good work and people like working with them. AM’s can really only impact one of those things.

Question That Evaluates This Skill: We have a large conference room we use for interviewing with about 16 chairs and one large table. I let the interview sit down first, and mid-interview will ask why they chose the seat they currently find themselves sitting.

Ideal Answer: There is no one right answer. But the way that a candidate responds and if they realize their seat selection was an important decision in fostering a relationship is enlightening to their self-awareness.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: You will have a 200lb concrete T-Rex named Chadwick as a coworker.

 

Michael Rand
Market Veep

Top Skill For Candidate: Leadership

Question That Evaluates This Skill: If you were a character on a TV show, who would you be and why?

Ideal Answer: This might seem like a silly question, but you’d be surprised at how much it reveals about a person. How people identify with fictional characters can give you insight into the kinds of people they admire and who they aspire to be.

First, a great candidate wouldn’t just brush this question off because it seems irrelevant or “just for fun.” At the same time, we don’t expect anyone to take it too seriously.

For an account manager position, we’d be looking for someone who identifies with a leadership character who is a good moderator and communicator but is also self-aware. We’d hope they give us a good explanation of why they chose their character. How candidates answer this question really does affect our hiring process.

In Game of Thrones terms, a good example might be Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen.

Best Reason To Work At Our Agency: We’re obsessed with company culture. We want to build our company in such a way that our team loves coming into work every day.

The Challenges of Agency Account Management

There is a pretty open secret among marketing agencies: it is really hard to retain top talent and avoid employee churn. Hours tend to be long, and pay can be a little less than what an account manager might expect in a comparable role in another industry.

So, as the candidate, it is your job to evaluate whether an agency’s account management role will be a rewarding position, or if it will burn you out. As you can see from some of the responses, agency leaders go out of their way to create a fair working environment. Since account managers are the top determinant of future growth (according to the SoDA report), they know that they need to retain their employees. So you have some power in the interview process as well.

If you want to see a case study of an agency that was not doing a great job but turned it around, check out the story of IMPACT’s growth. They had constant retention problems for their first 5 years until they finally learned how to create an excellent working environment, and have scaled up to 40+ employees since then.

About the author
Kevin Kononenko Growth Marketer @ Databox. Making it easy for marketers to tell the story of their success. Everton FC supporter. Startup guy.
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