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?
- 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)?
- 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?