28 Procurement Interview Questions To Ask In 2021

Have you ever wondered what procurement interview questions are always asked by companies these days? If you’re aiming to get hired as a procurement manager, information such as these should be a big help. Not only will you be prepared for the interview, but you will also feel confident about doing so.

For this article, we are going to discuss the top 28 procurement interview questions that you’ll most likely encounter during your application process. We’ll discuss why each question is important and how to answer the questions properly.

After reading this article, you’ll be answering those procurement interview questions without problems!

Procurement Interview Questions – Why Do You Need to Know?

If you were given the answer keys to an exam that you were scheduled to take a few days from now, then what would you feel? You’d feel ecstatic, that’s what!

You’ll get the same feeling once you already have a clue as to what the interview questions are going to be a few days before the said meeting. You can also prepare how to answer those questions. Of course, you still need to prepare for the interview, since no amount of knowledge can match the confidence and wit of a person who can handle a good interview.

So if you’re feeling especially nervous about how to handle those interview questions, we have a special course for that. Our Negotiation Gamechanger course will not just teach you how to answer those questions, but will also teach you how to negotiate for a good salary rate!

Procurement Interview Questions – Are They All the Same?

The rule of thumb when it comes to expecting procurement analyst questions is that most companies will never use the same questions twice or thrice.

The hiring manager will always look to cycle these questions from time to time, depending on the level of experience of the applicant that they’re talking to. Most applicants who are new in the procurement scene, expect basic procurement specialist questions. But for the professional procurement managers, the questions are going to be more on the advanced or expert level side. 

Again, always expect that companies will be employing difficult but fair questions to assess if you can do the job.

A helpful tip would be to get yourself familiarized with the STAR method. If you’re not familiar with the STAR method, it’s the acronym that stands for the following:

Situation: Setting the scene and then give the details of your example

Task: Describing what you need to do during that situation

Action: This means your explanation on what were the steps you took to address the problem.

Result: Share what the outcome was for the actions you achieved

The STAR method is often employed by hiring managers and interviewers to gauge how the applicant can answer critical situations to the best of their abilities. The ticket to answering these questions effectively would be to know the scope of the position that you’re applying for and to give each answer as simple and concise as you can.

Editor's note:

The Negotiation Game Changer Certificate Program teaches you:

  • the skills needed to drive better, fact-based decisions that ultimately benefit both organizations and its employees.
  • a comprehensive analytics skill set that will enable you to achieve deals with results you have been dreaming of.

The 28 Procurement Interview Questions

So without further ado, here are 27 of the most popular procurement interview questions that you may encounter when applying for a procurement manager or specialist job:

1. “What are the qualities that a Procurement Manager Must Have?”

Scenario: The manager wants to check if you have the basic idea of what a procurement manager does and the qualities that he/she must have.

How to Answer: Make a list of the qualities of the procurement manager. Answer in a brief manner. Don’t beat around the bush; just answer the question directly.

The best qualities of a procurement manager are the following:

  • Must have good negotiation skills
  • Must have excellent problem-solving skills
  • Must know cost reduction tactics to ensure cost-efficiency
  • Must be good at planning and implementing correct procurement strategies
  • Must be transparent when dealing with vendors and suppliers.

2. “Did You Face any Major Challenges During Your Last Procurement Manager Role? How Did You Overcome Them?”

Scenario: The hiring manager wants to check on your problem-solving skills. He/she wants to know how you are going to handle issues professionally.

How to Answer: You can start by explaining the challenges that a procurement manager may face. Next, you can start explaining your approach to the challenge. Again, remember to explain very briefly. 

3. “How Do You Ensure Procurement Best Practices throughout the Project?”

Scenario: Depending on your answer, the interviewer wants to assess your knowledge on standard procurement practices for projects to stay on track. 

How to Answer: Describe some of the best procurement practices first and then briefly explain how you are going to execute those practices. 

4. “How Will You Determine the Organization’s Purchasing Patterns?”

Scenario: For this question, your interviewer will want to know if you are ready to follow the company’s procurement pattern or if you’ll readily use your procurement strategy. The best advice in this situation is to analyze the procurement pattern and then evaluate it to mark the areas that need improvement. 

How to Answer: Start by explaining the second analysis. Include some techniques and tools that you can use for checking the purchasing pattern so that you’ll sound like an expert during the interview.

5. “How Will You Handle Day-to-Day Procurement Activities?”

Scenario: This question will check on how you handle the day-to-day procurement activities effectively and efficiently. 

How to Answer: Start your answer by explaining how important the day-to-day activities are and then emphasize teamwork, performance analysis, and management plan.

6. “How Do You Know if the Price is Fair if We Buy from a Single Vendor?”

Scenario: This is a question that will determine if you are capable enough to decide whether it is profitable to buy from one vendor.

How to Answer: Explain the reason why you will have a single vendor only and then list down the best procurement techniques that you can follow for such circumstances.

7. “What is the Best and the Worst Thing about Procurement?”

Scenario: When it comes to work, everyone has their best and worst moments. This question highlights that, with the interviewer checking what your strong and weak points are.

How to Answer: Always answer professionally. Don’t be blunt with your answers, as it will most likely give your interviewer a wrong impression of you.

8. “What Kind of Relationship Do You Prefer with the Suppliers?”

Scenario: With this question, the interviewer wants to analyze your ethical and technical understanding of supplier management and procurement.

How to Answer: Briefly answer technical steps for a good relationship with the suppliers. Remember, your answer should also reflect your ethos.

9. “State an Example for How Will You Entertain a Cost Reduction Program?”

Scenario: A cost reduction program is a lifesaver when supplies are out of budget. This question will gauge how capable you are of managing purchases within a low budget.

How to Answer: Explain what a cost reduction program is and list down some techniques and tools that can help in reducing costs.

10. “What is Your Market Strategy and How Will You Shape it?”

Scenario: The interviewer will use this question to check if you have enough knowledge on how to move in the market. Market strategy is all about your market information.

How to Answer: You can start by describing what a market strategy is. Then follow-up with an explanation on how it depends on internal and external circumstances. 

11. “What Will be Your Procurement Risk Management Strategy against New Suppliers?”

Scenario: Depending on your answer, the interviewer will assess your supply chain risk management skills against new suppliers that can be unreliable.

How to Answer: Again, always give a brief answer. Explain the importance of risk management tools.

12. “How Do You Decide if there Needs to be a Contract or not?”

Scenario: This question will give the interviewer an idea of how much you prefer contracts and what their importance is in procurement management.

How to Answer: Answer by first explaining the importance of contracts. Then cite examples of when you might not need a contract.

13. “Which Tools Do You Prefer to Track the Progress of Your Project?”

Scenario: Tools vary from company to company. This question will help the interviewer check your knowledge of the many different procurement management tools.

How to Answer: Your answer should reflect on how good you are at handling different procurement management tools. You can expound this by sharing a brief experience with any of the tools you mentioned.

14. “Which Process Do You Follow When Conducting a Sourcing Initiative?”

Scenario: This question will help the interviewer is assessing your knowledge regarding sourcing initiatives and how good you are with them.

How to Answer: Your answer should show your understanding of the sourcing initiative. Afterward, explain the process that you prefer to follow.  

15. “What Strategy Will You Adapt to Accelerate the Progress?”

Scenario: Depending on your answer, the interviewer wants to know your approach to progress acceleration if the project is not on track.

How to Answer: Explain your strategy comprehensively. Highlight important factors and remember, be brief when giving your answers.

16. “What Do You Know about UCC (Uniform Commercial Code)?”

Scenario: The hiring manager wants to know if you have any idea about UCC or Uniform Commercial Code.

How to Answer: Explain what you know about the topic. Keep your answer short and sweet.

17. “If there’s a Need to Buy Equipment that’s Beyond Company’s Budget, What Will be Your Take?”

Scenario: For this question, the interviewer is trying to check on how good you are at managing a critical situation while ensuring that the project receives everything that it needs.

How to Answer: First, explain the importance of proper resource planning. Make sure to list down the techniques needed to handle the requests.

18. “Explain the Purchasing Process?”

Scenario: This question is often asked to assess if you are familiar with the general purchasing process.

How to Answer: Enlist every step. However, do not start explaining each step unless it is required by the interviewer.

19. “What Negotiation Skills and Tactics Do You Possess?”

Scenario: This is often asked by most interviewers. Negotiation is always an important aspect of becoming a procurement manager, so your skills and negotiation tactics will be required once you are chosen for the role.

How to Answer: Explain the factors that negotiation depends on. Remember to list down the important skills and negotiation tactics to show your expertise.

20. “What are Some Important Procurement Metrics?”

Scenario: This is a question that will test your understanding of key procurement metrics and how you intend to use them,

How to Answer: Explain the factors that performance metrics depend on. List down some of the standard procurement metrics that you know and follow.

21. “What is supply chain management?”

Scenario: A common question during a procurement manager interview, supply chain management includes an integrated approach of planning, implementing, and controlling the flow of information, materials, and service from raw material to the finished good for the ultimate distribution to the customer. Getting this question means the interviewer expects you to know this by heart.

How to Answer: Give your best explanation in the briefest form possible.

22. “What is TEU?” 

Scenario: TEU stands for Twenty-foot Equivalent Units. It is a method of calculating vessel load or capacity, in units of containers that are twenty feet long. An important sourcing question that can be asked during interviews.

How to Answer: Remember to answer briefly but concisely. 

23. “What is cross-docking?” 

Scenario: Cross-docking is the process of unloading materials from an incoming semi-truck and loading them directly into out-bounds trucks or trailers. This is an important sourcing question that is sometimes asked during interviews.

How to Answer: Remember to answer briefly but concisely.

24. “What is deadweight tonnage?”

Scenario: Deadweight tonnage is the difference between the laden and unladen weight of the ship. In other words, it is the weight of everything that ship carries except the ship itself.

How to Answer: Remember to answer briefly but concisely.

25. “What is LTL?” 

Scenario: LTL (Less than Truckload) shipment is a contract between the shipper and the transport owner. According to the contract, instead of the entire truck, the shipment is priced according to the weight of the freight and mileage within designated lanes.

How to Answer: Remember to answer briefly but concisely.

26. “What is ASN?”

Scenario: ASN means Advanced Shipping Notice. It is a notice that is sent to the customer about the detailed shipment information in advance of delivery.

How to Answer: Remember to answer briefly but concisely.

 27. “What are documents against acceptance?”

Scenario: Documents against acceptance are an arrangement or provision, where the exporter instructs a bank to hand over shipping and title documents to the importer only if the importer agrees on the accompanying bill of exchange or draft by signing it. This question is commonly asked to measure your knowledge of important sourcing terms.

How to Answer: Give your best explanation in the briefest form possible.

28. “What is the difference between procurement and sourcing?”

Scenario: For this question, the hiring manager wants to learn if you know what these two terms mean. Both procurement and sourcing are terms that may sound alike, but they are also different from one another. We even have a dedicated article for that here

Being able to answer this question means you know exactly what position you are trying to apply to and will give the hiring manager confidence in picking you for the position.

How to Answer: Give a simple but concise answer. Procurement is the process of purchasing supplies for the company’s growth and/or operations. Sourcing is the procurement process of looking for the best suppliers to get the supplies or services from. 

FAQ

What are good procurement interview questions?

Good procurement interview questions often reflect the knowledge of the applicant. The questions are used to assess if the applicant is a good fit for the role.

How to create good interview questions?

To create good interview questions, the interviewer must check on what qualities do they want for a procurement manager. The questions must come in a form where they can be answered briefly in order to save time. 

Finally, pass your procurement interview questions like a pro!

Don’t be left out!

Our Negotiation Gamechanger course is on a limited slot only. Get yours today and become the ultimate game-changing negotiator that you were born to be!

For more information, check out our website at www.procurementtactics.com.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
"Very useful course, many actionable strategies"

Want to close better deals? Prepare faster and achieve deal results you have been dreaming of?   This course is a perfect fit for ambitious procurement & sourcing professionals. Enroll  now and equip yourself with the full range of skills needed to master the deal.