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27 Supply Chain Interview Questions To Ask In 2024
Procurement teams are always seeking talented individuals to enhance their supply chain operations.
Supply chain interview questions vary based on an applicant’s experience level.
The article presents a diverse set of 27 supply chain interview questions, ranging from fundamental concepts to situational problem-solving.
Are you looking for supply chain interview questions so you can gain the edge during your next interview?
In this article, you will learn the top 27 chain interview questions asked by most procurement managers during actual job interviews.
At the end of this article, you should have already mastered these supply chain interview questions like a pro.
Procurement Teams are Always Looking for Talent
Managing the supply chain is an integral part of the procurement process. Not only does it guarantee that your company is going to get the materials it needs for its continued operation, but the supplies you get will also help in growing the company.
Being the case, procurement teams are always on the lookout for more talented applicants who can share their in-depth talents to further improve the procurement process of the company.
If you’re trying your luck on getting a job in any supply chain position, then you’re in luck. The year 2022 is a good year as ever to enroll in the Negotiation Course For Procurement Professionals.
We’ll teach you the fundamentals not just with procurement, but with negotiations too. And together with this article, you’ll definitely gain the edge against other applicants who are also trying their best to get a job in the procurement industry!
Supply Chain Interview Questions – Are They All the Same?
The rule of thumb when it comes to expecting supply chain 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 supply chain scene, expect basic questions. But for the professional supply chain 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.
The 27 Supply Chain Interview Questions
Without further ado, it’s time to look at the top 27 supply chain interview questions to ask prospective supply chain candidates or applicants:
1. What Is Supply Chain Management?
If the potential supplier can’t answer this question, then you have a problem. Then again, if the supplier is not really well versed in the affairs of supply chain management, then it’s not necessarily his fault. But as a procurement manager, you should also understand that a supplier who is able to answer this question is a real gem and should be kept around for as long as the company needs its supplies.
2. What Would You Do If Your Warehouse Unexpectedly Ran Out Of Stock?
Interviewers are interested in learning your process for situations where the business may run significantly low on its available products. Explain how you’ll calmly and logically handle the decrease in stock.
3. Which skills do you think an employee needs to be successful in supply chain management?
Funny enough, this question can be asked about prospect supply chain managers. Hiring managers often use this question to determine if the skills you mention align with what they believe a candidate needs to be successful in the role. Think about the skills you hold that make you a great candidate and how they’ll benefit the company.
4. Are you updated on current supply chain management trends?
Many employers want to hire supply chain management team members who stay updated on current technology trends in the industry to stay ahead of the competition and adopt innovative solutions. Share any supply chain technologies you’ve recently discovered and how they could benefit the company.
5. Do you have any experience collaborating with suppliers who work in firms overseas?
A procurement manager who has an idea of collaborating with suppliers working in overseas firms has an idea of how to procure materials easily from sources outside of the country. This is especially helpful right now when there’s a major shipping container crisis that’s plaguing procurement companies all over the world.
6. How do you prepare ahead of time for the upcoming holiday season?
This is a good question to ask suppliers whose products are seasonal. What we mean by this is that their materials are dependent on what months they are produced more or less. It’s good to know this information so you, as the procurement manager, can prepare in the future.
7. Which supply chain management software systems are you most familiar with?
Today, e-procurement programs are used by most supply chain management companies. A procurement manager must be familiar with these software systems in order to come up with an efficient procurement plan.
8. What do you believe are the key elements of inventory planning and management?
Inventory planning and management is a key skill that is needed for a sourcing manager. Without it, the procurement team will most likely encounter issues when they need to take into account the inventory for the materials procured.
9. Has a shipment to your warehouse ever been unexpectedly delayed? What was your process for handling this situation?
This question will show the capacity of the sourcing or procurement manager on how he/she will handle any delays that they may encounter during the procurement process. As a general rule, delays should always be expected and a plan is always needed to counter such issues.
10. How could your skills and experience add value to our business?
A typical question often asked for anyone planning to join the procurement or sourcing team. This will give the hiring manager a chance to view what the aspiring member can bring in for the team.
Supplementary Supply Chain Interview Questions
The following questions below are designed to help the procurement team leader or supervisor on choosing the right members for the sourcing team. It’s important for every individual to understand how the supply chain works, which is why the following questions were tailor-made for the hiring manager or procurement manager to assess what the applicant understands in relation to procurement and sourcing.
11. What would you improve about our company’s supply chain management processes?
This is a question made to assess the candidate’s ability to assess different supply chain management processes. To be considered as a top candidate as a supply chain manager or procurement manager, your answer should be that of using an online tool that can help manage procurement processes or to discuss the processes with the team.
12. What would your process be for finding suppliers for a 100-piece product?
A tricky question asked by the interviewer in order to determine a candidate’s ability to find suppliers during the trickiest situations. Depending of course on the company where one is applying, the 100-piece product can be modified up to a thousand. The point in this question is to check whether one has the creativity to find ways to procure important raw materials!
13. Tell me about your most challenging moment in a supply chain role. How did you overcome this conflict?
Another tricky question! This is another test to help the interviewer gauge your ability to work your way into the most challenging supply chain problems.
14. Explain how you’d gather supplies and materials for this pen
Another excellent way for the interviewer to gauge your sourcing skills. Your answer will depend on how much you know about gathering potential suppliers and how to choose the right ones for the job.
15. What type of planning process do you use to manage and track products and materials?
This is obviously a trick question that is meant to test your procurement and sourcing skills.
16. Do you have experience with downstream and upstream production processes?
This is a question designed to help the interviewer assess your deep knowledge about procurement, procurement systems, and production processes.
17. What’s your process for handling cost efficiency through strong relationships with suppliers?
This is obviously a trick question that is meant to test your procurement and sourcing skills.
18. Tell me about your process for finding the best suppliers for your product
Another obvious trick question that will highlight your ability to source the best suppliers for your company’s product.
19. What type of forecasting method do you prefer?
This question will help the recruiter decide on your abilities regarding forecasting and its many processes.
20. Tell me about a recent supply chain management book or article you read and what you took away from it
It may look like just simple trivia, but the latest procurement book you read before going in for the interview can sometimes help you in landing the job. Sometimes, the interviewer may also be reading the same book and you can build rapport from there.
21. What is Dead Weight Tonnage? Do you have any idea what it is?
A question that is most likely aimed to check your deep knowledge about warehousing. Deadweight tonnage means the difference in a ship’s laden and unladen weight.
22. What do you mean by Blanket Way Bill?
Yet another trick question about sourcing and warehousing. Blanket Way Bill means a waybill that has two or more consignments on the freight.
23. What do you think are the main issues that transportation may face during warehousing?
A question that will test your intuition on solving warehousing issues. There is no right or wrong answer for this one, as it is always a challenge when it comes to transportation issues during warehousing.
24. What are the Safety Points that need to be taken care of during Warehousing?
Warehousing is a complex issue, so the more a prospect candidate knows about taking care of safety points during warehousing, then the more qualified he/she is for the supply chain position.
25. What are the Main Challenges Related to Supply Chain?
There are no right or wrong answers to this question. But it will test your knowledge on the latest issues surrounding the supply chain and procurement industry.
26. How Should Companies React to the Challenge? (In relation to question 25)
Just like with question 25, your answers to this particular inquiry will give the interviewer an initial impression of your knowledge of local procurement issues.
27. Do you have any idea what the Container Crisis Is? How are you going to fix it?
Mastering supply chain interview questions is essential for securing a position in the dynamic field of procurement. This article provides a comprehensive list of 27 questions commonly asked by procurement managers.
By understanding these questions and utilizing effective answering techniques, applicants can confidently navigate interviews and stand out in the competitive job market.
What are supply chain interview questions?
These are questions made to help the interviewer decide the best candidate for the supply chain position.
Are supply chain interview questions difficult?
The questions are more of a situational nature. This is because these questions will check a candidate’s ability to handle supply chain issues.
Are supply chain interview questions standardized across companies?
No, companies tend to cycle questions and adjust them based on an applicant’s experience. Newcomers face basic questions, while experienced professionals encounter more advanced queries.
About the author
My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.