Top 20 Purchasing Agent Interview Questions & Answers 2024

Editorial Team

Purchasing Agent Interview Questions & Answers

Imagine if we lived in a world where we were given a playbook to refer to whenever we encounter any difficulty. Life would have been easier, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, we do not have the cheat codes to life. But we can make use of some guidelines to help succeed. 

One area that folks delight in receiving some guidelines is during interviews. It is pretty normal to feel anxious when going for an interview. But what if you’d get a guideline on questions the interviewer might ask. Wouldn’t it help you ace the interview?

In this article, we will be discussing interview questions and answers asked during a purchasing agent interview. Congratulations on being called in for the interview! Before we dive into the questions, let’s ask ourselves who a purchasing agent is?

A purchasing agent helps procure supplies, services, and equipment for a company needed to perform business operations. Their role is to purchase orders, assess requisitions requests and solicit bids for services or goods.

Now that you have a brief understanding of who a purchasing agent, let’s get into the questions

1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?

The minute you get cozy in your seat, the interview is likely to start off with this question. While answering this question, it is best that you address two particular things. They include why you chose to apply with them and why you chose the position. 

Sample Answer

I enjoy doing the responsibilities of a purchasing agent; it offers me the chance to make use of my abilities, such as my understanding of the market and communication skills

These skills come in handy while negotiating with the suppliers and comparing the cost and quality ratio. The other reason why I did not want to miss out on this opportunity is that I love the final product your company delivers. 

What enticed me the most to want to be part of this company is your values and working environment.

2. What Are The Roles Of a Purchasing Agent? 

This question helps the hiring manager assess if you understand to know the responsibility of your position. 

Sample Answer 

I understand that my role as a purchasing agent will be to research and compare suppliers, services, and goods. I’ll be required to prepare and purchase orders while also scheduling and verifying purchase delivery. 

My role as a purchasing agent will also require me to assess the suppliers by their reliability, cost efficiency, and product quality. I’ll also need to monitor inventory levels and assess the purchasing needs. 

3. What Are Qualities That a Purchasing Agent Needs To Be Successful?

Whenever you are asked this question, it is best that you take this chance to portray your strengths. What the interviewer wants to assess how well you are going to help the company. 

Sample Answer

As a purchasing agent, there is an importance in having a degree and having a great experience. But what I noticed helped me be successful in my position is the use of great communication skills.

My position requires me to communicate with several suppliers and also answer to my bosses on a daily. Without great communication, it is challenging to be successful. You’ll find that you may frustrate your boss for not updating them.

This is why I took it upon myself to take up a course in communication, as I have seen it do wonders. 

4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess if you are resilient when you face challenges. This question also helps them assess your problem-solving skills. It will be of help if you incorporate your answer with an experience you encountered.

Sample Answer 

While I was working at company X, I interacted with a supplier who got angry at me because I did not agree to their terms. I remained calm because I valued every relationship I had with our suppliers. 

I allowed him to talk without interrupting. This allowed me to know which areas to address. I calmly told him that I would not accept his terms as I share the best interest of my employers. 

I explained to him that our company values quality for a good price. While explaining this, I came up with a negotiation plan that would favor both parties. Which eventually calmed him down as he was satisfied. 

5. Describe Your Daily Routine As a Purchasing Agent?

This is a behavioral interview question. What the interviewer wants to assess is how well you prioritize your work. Be careful while answering this question, as it will set you aside from other candidates. 

Sample Answer

Once I clock in the office, the first thing I start by checking my email and voicemail to see if any suppliers might have reached out. If there are not, I’ll prepare the purchase order. Later on, I’ll head to check if there are any purchased items.

If the purchased items are there, I’ll verify the receipts by comparing if we received all the purchased items. Once I confirm that we received all the products, I’ll authorize the payment by forwarding receiving documentation. 

In the early evening, if I’m free, I’ll take the chance to update my knowledge by precipitating educational opportunities. 

6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience

The hiring manager may ask this question to assess if you have done anything to help you succeed in your position.

Sample Answer 

I have five years of work experience. My experience has allowed me to familiarize myself with product lists. My knowledge in the industry will help me assess the market and identify the best product or service that will be of value to the company.

I excel in market research, and I believe that my abilities will help your company grow even more. 

7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?

The question may help the interviewer identify how efficient you are when it comes to your role. 

Sample Answer 

A strategy I often use is I make sure that all parties involved are made aware of any decisions made. My position allows me to interact with different suppliers, so I have to communicate to them anytime we need to purchase. Before I make this decision, I need to pass it through with my bosses. 

I can attest that ensuring that the communication needs are met helps in the smooth running of the company. A mindset I often use is being calm at all times. It is normal for the supplier to get angry. However, if we end up arguing, I might burn the relationship bridge.

8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee?

Every role usually has its own challenges. When the interviewer asks this question, they understand that you will face several challenges. What they are looking for is how well you will deal with them. 

Sample Answer 

I believe a challenge that I foresee in this role is negotiating with the suppliers. I’m not the best bargainer. I understand this is an essential aspect of this job. This is why I took up a course in negotiation. I can surely see that it has been helping me to improve on my bargaining skills. 

9. How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?

This is a broad question; therefore, most candidates tend to misinterpret it. You need to back your answer with a real-life experience. The interviewer may ask this to assess if you’ll fit well in the role. 

Sample Answer 

As purchasing agents, we often work on deadlines. What usually motivates me to work is meeting the deadline. There is usually a sense of accomplishment that comes with successfully meeting the deadline. 

Once we tick out a project, it motivates me to want to tick out more. 

10. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learnt?

While answering this question, you should make use of a real-life example. 

Sample Answer 

As a purchasing manager, I consider it a failure when I allow my feelings to get the best of me. As I was working at company X, I had the chance to interact with a particular supplier who got angry because I did not agree to her terms. I allowed my emotions to take control and started arguing with her.

The encounter made the company lose a great supplier. From this, I learned the importance of remaining calm in challenging situations. I have had similar encounters, but I’ve always remained calm while interacting with a frustrated supplier now that I learned my lesson.

11. Why Do You Feel You Are Most Suited For This Role?

The hiring manager may ask this for you to help them see why they would rather have you in the team instead of appointing another candidate. Take this chance to sell yourself. 

Sample Answer 

I’m confident that I’ll succeed in this position because I possess all the skills you’ve listed. Having worked as a purchasing agent, I’m well versed in this industry. 

Apart from the great results I deliver, I believe my impeccable communication and interpersonal skills will be of value to your company. I’ll bring not only my experience and skills but also the supplier database that I have managed to nature over the years.

12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement

The interviewer may ask this question as they want to assess what you might have done in the past to improve a company. 

Sample Answer 

My biggest achievement would be while I was working at company X they really did not have a permanent relationship with any of the suppliers. I understand the importance of the relationship. And overtime I helped to build that loyalty between the suppliers and the company.

It really helped our team as we could easily rely on them and they would always deliver the best. This is something I’ll always be proud of!

13. What Do You Know About Our Company?

It is common for candidates to apply for more than one job. Interviewers know this, and this is why they tend to ask this question in order to see if the candidate knows anything about their company. 

Sample Answer

When I think about a production company, your company always comes to mind. Your great customer service is unparalleled. And while I was going through your site, I noticed that you highlighted you had won an award.

This award is proof that your company has excellent team members. I look forward to being part of the winning team. 

14. Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years? 

This is a common question asked in most interviews. While answering, it is best that you ensure you highlight that you will still be working with the company. Where people go wrong is by answering that they will have started their own company. 

Such answers will reduce the chances of you getting the job. 

Sample Answer 

In five years, I’d like to have finished the internal training that your company is offering which I must say the program you are offering is fabulous. I also want to take up a course on customer service skills.

I understand I’ll interact with many people in my career, and having excellent customer service skills will help better my productivity. 

15. What Are Your Salary Expectations?

It is often advisable that you research the amount the purchasing agent makes before you walk in the interview. Doing the research will help ensure that you do not give out a relatively high or exceptionally low figure.

Sample Answer 

I’m open to discussing the salary as I’m pretty flexible. I’m looking to earn 65000$ to 47000$. I believe my experience and skills are ideal for this range. 

16. Would You Detail Out Which Part Of Sales Systems You’ve Encountered? 

The interviewer may ask this to assess if the candidate is well aware of different sales points of sales systems. While answering the question, it is best that you include the level of experience and your literacy in computers.

Sample Answer 

While working with company X, I have had the chance to work with Epicor and Eagle systems. I used the systems to help me with designing purchasing orders. It was relatively easy to perform a maintenance routine inventory. 

The systems also helped handle customer transactions.

17. Would You Describe Your Negotiation Skills And Tactics

A major rule of a purchasing agent is negotiating with the suppliers. Whenever an interviewer asks this question, is to assess the abilities of the candidate. While answering the question, it is best that you highlight some of your preferred techniques. 

It will be of help if you use an example to highlight how you use the technique. 

Sample Answer 

While negotiating with the supplier, the approach I use is having a fair mind. I make sure that the negotiation will benefit both parties. I always keep in mind that the negotiation is not always about getting a low price. 

This might be hard trying to get cheap prices from the supplier. By using this fair-mind approach, it helps the supplier feel that I respect them. 

I always try to have a backup plan in case the supplier fails to agree with my initial negotiations. This helps me feel more confident while walking in the negotiation room. I take time to communicate what our company needs while also actively listening to the supplier.

By doing this, it helps ensure that we are both on the same page. 

18. Would You Tell Us What Matters To You The Most, The Price Or The Quality Of The Product?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess the candidate’s decision-making skills. When presented with this question, it is best that you think it through. 

Sample Answer

This often depends on the kind of product we need. My primary goal is always to find a price that fits the organization’s budget. I’m usually unwilling to compromise on the quality of the product. 

Earlier in my career, I had the chance to work at a high-end restaurant as a purchasing agent. We aimed to ensure that we offer excellent service. We knew our customers were willing to pay just for them to receive a quality dining experience.

 In this, I chose to prioritize on the quality over the price. 

19. Describe How You Evaluate Products And Suppliers?

When the interviewer asks the question, what they are trying to assess is your ability to research on the product and supplier before using them. 

Sample Answer 

While evaluating the supplier, the first thing I usually assess is their reputation. Their reputation will guide me to know if I can use them or not. Also, I’ll check on the kind of products they supply. If they do not have the products I want, I’ll choose not to use them.

If they have a warehouse, I’ll take the time to visit it and assess if their products are of quality. While evaluating on the products, I ensure that it is of quality. I’ll ask the supplier if I can do a test on the product’s quality. 

Also, I’ll check on the price to ensure that our organization can afford it. 

20. How Do You Deal With An unreliable Supplier?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to negotiate through a difficult situation. 

Sample Answer 

A sure way to help while dealing with an unreliable supplier is to keep everything in writing. This will help create boundaries. However, if this strategy does not help, it is best that you pull out. Having an unreliable supplier can cost the company a huge deal. 


Finally, while answering the questions, it is best that you showcase enthusiasm and hard work. This will help the interviewer see that you understand your role. All the best in your interview!