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Retail Buyer interview questions and answers

This Retail Buyer 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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retail buyer interview questions

Retail Buyer Interview Questions

Retail buyers can shape the quality of your merchandise and brand. Formal qualifications may vary by industry and some experience is usually required. So you may want education and experience to define your initial screening process.

During the interview, you will look for skills that apply directly to the job. Their responsibilities are mainly selecting the right products and closing advantageous deals. These require math and research skills, a critical mind and strong negotiation abilities. A quick assignment with real merchandising mathematics may be very helpful to see how they apply knowledge to practice. Other desirable attributes can be assessed with behavioral and situational questions.

Generally, the ideal candidate will demonstrate a solid knowledge of your industry and purchasing strategies. The best among them will be a great communicator and team player with a sharp eye for opportunities.

Operational and Situational questions

  • If I asked you to eliminate one line of our products, how would you decide which one?
  • Imagine you discover that one line of products has lower consumption rates than forecasted. What do you need to consider and how does it affect your strategy?
  • Envisage that the same product in our stores is selling less than in the stores of our competitors. What do you need to do?
  • Imagine that sales of our best-selling product begin to plummet. How do you approach the issue?

Role-specific questions

  • How has your education/experience prepared you for this role?
  • What is TCO (total cost of ownership?)
  • What do you need to consider when buying a product?
  • What are your strategies for discovering the best products?
  • What factors would you consider when closing a deal with a supplier?
  • How do you forecast consumer behavior?
  • What is your experience in creating reports?
  • Have you used ERP systems in the past?
  • Can you name a product of our industry that you think is currently popular?
  • What do we do differently from our competitors?

Behavioral questions

  • Describe a time when your creativity resulted in sales growth
  • Tell me about a time you managed to negotiate a decrease in price for a product
  • Have you ever disagreed with your boss about a purchase? What happened?
  • Have you ever experienced conflict with another buyer? How did you handle it?
  • Describe a time you made an unsuccessful purchase. What did that teach you?

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