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Purchasing manager interview questions and answers

This Purchasing manager interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions.

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purchasing manager interview questions

Purchasing Manager Interview Questions

Purchasing managers, or procurement managers, are responsible for buying goods for a company’s operations. In large businesses, they supervise a team of buyers, while in smaller companies they may have sole responsibility of procurement.

Experience and critical thinking are highly valued in this profession. In some industries (e.g. manufacturing) sector-specific experience is preferred. Certifications may also be helpful to determine how serious a candidate is about developing in this role. Feel free to ask questions about their technical knowledge or their approach to purchasing strategies.

A vital part of their role is evaluating suppliers and negotiating contracts. Questions about past experience can help you assess their abilities in this aspect. A great candidate will also show understanding of cost-saving tactics and quality standards. If you expect them to have subordinates, dedicate some time to discover their leadership skills as well.

Operational and Situational questions

  • Imagine a batch of products that was just delivered doesn’t meet specifications. How do you handle it?
  • If an order of raw materials is delayed, there may be a stop in production. How do you ensure this doesn’t happen?
  • If I asked you to achieve cost savings in a limited time, what would you consider?
  • Imagine one of the departments are asking for equipment that exceeds budget claiming they really need it. How do you resolve this?
  • If a buyer or purchasing agent was consistently underperforming, what would you do?

Role-specific questions

  • Walk me through the purchasing process
  • What criteria do you use to evaluate a supplier?
  • What is a QPL (Qualified Products List)?
  • How do you go about finding new suppliers?
  • What is your supervisory experience?
  • Have you used a vendor management software?
  • What is a purchase requisition and how would you process it?
  • What is your experience with contract management?
  • What are some questions you could ask when getting supplier references?
  • Are you familiar with UCC (Uniform Commercial Code)?

Behavioral questions

  • Have you ever had to cancel a supplier contract? What happened?
  • Were you ever faced with a disagreement with a supplier? How did you resolve it?
  • Describe a time you achieved a significant discount to a supply contract
  • Have you ever made an unsuccessful purchase? What did you learn?
  • Tell me about a time you had to lead a team of buyers for a project. Were you successful?

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