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3 Questions You Should Ask all RMs at Interview

Relationship managers who possess three core competencies are much more likely to produce new loans and new fees than their counterparts who don't; these questions will help you find them

While it may seem unsurprising, it’s still worth noting that 80% of commercial banking executives believe that recruiting, holding onto, and developing bankers to bring in more revenue is “very” or “extremely” important to their bank in the next 6 to 12 months, according to CEB data.

What’s maybe more telling and less predictable, however, is that unfortunately only 63% feel confident in their bank’s ability to implement the right hiring and development strategies.

One part of this hiring strategy is undoubtedly to ask the right questions in interviews. There are three core competencies that make a great relationship manager (RM), and the three questions below will help interviewers determine if potential RMs have what it takes to be successful in commercial banking sales.

  1. Describe a time when a customer had a business problem or financial need that was outside of the scope of what you typically do or what your line of business provides.

    • The skill your RM should have: The ability to encourage two-way communication.

    • RMs that do this should be able to give examples of how they have:

      • Clearly articulated ideas and objectives and can engage a customer or prospect in jointly addressing priorities.

      • Argued for new positions or ideas rationally, accepted contrary points of view without frustration or rejection, and worked to test new ideas with others.

    • Red flags: The interviewee shows comfort with more long-standing, widely accepted ideas.

  2. Tell me about a time when you had to propose a new customer credit deal to an internal committee comprised of multiple stakeholders.

    • The skill your RM should have: Makes use of individual value drivers.

    • RMs that do this should be able to give examples of how they have:

      • Identified a group’s or individual’s background and desired outcomes.

      • Were comfortable talking to a wide range of individuals with varying priorities, interests, and levels of knowledge.

    • Red flags: The interviewee generalizes or dilutes an idea in order to make the idea broadly applicable.

  3. Tell me about a time when you had to convince an executive within a customer’s business to give something up in order to reach a key financial outcome within the business.

    • The skill your RM should have: Prioritizes long-term value over immediate gain.

    • RMs that do this should be able to give examples of how they have:

      • Keenly tracked activity and new information.

      • Consistently evaluated progress and knows when course correction needs to take place.

    • Red flags: The interviewee is focused more on downplaying immediate risks/trade-offs than emphasizing long-term benefits.

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