Top 20 Procurement/Purchasing Manager Interview Questions & Answers


Preparing for your interview is important, no matter what kind. If this interview can be a major milestone in your career, you need to make sure that you have read all the relevant questions and can give plausible answers.

Here we have 20 procurement manager interview questions with tips and sample answers to help you prepare well. Make sure that your answers are not too long and comprehensive. These purchasing interview questions will help employers to assess whether each candidate has the required knowledge and experience in procurement.

1.    What are the Qualities that a Procurement/Purchasing Manager Must Have?

Here, the interviewer wants to judge if you know about a procurement manager’s significant qualities and if you possess them.

Tip 1: Give a brief answer.

Tip 2: List down the qualities that can help become a good procurement manager.

Sample Answer

“A procurement manager should be exceptionally good at negotiations and problem-solving. He should know crucial cost reduction tactics to ensure cost-efficiency. He should be good at planning and implementing the right procurement strategy. Also, he should be transparent in his dealings with suppliers and vendors.”

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

Your answer will let the interviewer analyze your problem-solving skills and know-how professionally you will handle an unforeseen challenge.

Tip 1: Start by explaining the challenges that the procurement manager can face.

Tip 2: Briefly put your approach to overcome the challenges.

Sample Answer

“A procurement manager can face several challenges, such as low budget, unreliable suppliers, and late deliveries. During my last procurement manager role, I came across a project where we faced delays in the supplies, which could lead to an overall delay in the product release. Thankfully, I already had alternative vendors listed in the procurement management plan.”

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

By your answer, the interviewer will know if you are well aware of the standard procurement practices for the project to stay on track.

Tip 1: Describe some procurement best practices.

Tip 2: Briefly explain how you will execute those practices.

Sample Answer

“When it comes to best practices, procurement is all about pre and post planning. So, having a procurement plan, assigning roles, and responsibilities in a way that the project reflects teamwork and assessing the risks beforehand are some great practices to follow throughout the project.”

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

Here, the interviewer wants to know if you will follow the organization’s purchasing pattern or will readily jump to your own. The best thing to do is to analyze the purchasing pattern and evaluate it to mark the areas that need changes.

Tip 1: Start your answer by explaining the spend analysis.

Tip 2: Include some tools and techniques for determining the purchasing pattern to sound like an expert.

Sample Answer

“Determining the organization’s purchasing pattern can be done by conducting a spend analysis. It helps analyze valuable information like the amount of money allocated for certain equipment and resources; the cost spent with each vendor and changes in spending. The best tool for spend analysis is PivotTables in MS Excel spreadsheets.”

5.    How Do You Know if the Price is Fair if we Buy from a Single Vendor?

By what you answer, the interviewer will try to assess if you are capable enough to decide whether it is profitable to buy from a single vendor.

Tip 1: Explain the circumstance in which you will have a single vendor option only.

Tip 2: Enlist some healthy techniques you can follow.

Sample Answer

“Sometimes, there’s only a single reliable vendor with a customized product we need for our project. In this case, we do not have multiple options, and it is important to ensure a fair price point. Some techniques, such as a ‘should cost model,’ can be really helpful.”

6.    How Will You Handle Day-to-Day Procurement Activities?

Here, the interview tries to judge how capable you are at handling day-to-day procurement activities efficiently and effectively.

Tip 1: Start your answer by explaining the importance of day-to-day activities.

Tip 2: Emphasize teamwork, management plan, and performance analysis.

Sample Answer

”Day-to-day procurement activities are essentially important in keeping the project on track. Handling procurement activities can be made efficient by following the procurement management plan, encouraging teamwork and regular analysis of the performance.”

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

Everyone has something they like the most and least, even about their favorite job. The interviewer will want to know your strong and weak points here.

Tip 1: Do not be very blunt.

Tip 2: Answer professionally. 

Sample Answer

”The best thing about procurement is how it goes hand-in-hand with other project management activities. However, the worst thing is how difficult it can be to monitor contracts and ensure timely supplies at times.”

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

Here, the interviewer is trying to analyze your ethical and technical understanding of procurement and supplier management.

Tip 1: Your answer should reflect your ethos.

Tip 2: Briefly explain technical techniques for a good relationship with suppliers.

Sample Answer

“Maintaining a good relationship with suppliers is important for timely deliveries and the company’s reputation. However, the relationship should be balanced and professional. There must be no personal preferences.”

9.    State an Example for How Will You Entertain a Cost Reduction Programme?

A cost reduction program comes handy when resources are out of budget. The interviewer wants to know if you are capable enough to manage purchases within a low budget.

Tip 1: Explain what a cost reduction program is.

Tip 2: List down some tools and techniques to reduce costs.

Sample Answer

“A cost reduction program means bringing purchases in-line with the budget. To reduce the costs, several techniques can be used, such as choosing the priority resources first, leasing the resources, etc.”

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

Market strategy is all about the market information that you have. The interviewer will try to know if you have enough knowhow of how to move in the market.

Tip 1: Describe what a market strategy is.

Tip 2: Explain how it depends on internal and external circumstances.

Sample Answer

“Market strategy is about using the right information to make certain decisions. This largely determines your position in the industry as compared to your competitors. It needs to be shaped according to customer demands as well as the emerging industry trends.”

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

From your answer, the interviewer will judge your supply chain risk management skills against new suppliers who can be unreliable.

Tip 1: Give a brief answer.

Tip 2: Explain the significance of risk management tools.

Sample Answer

“New suppliers always pose risks due to a lesser degree of reliability. However, certain tools such as contracts, professional agreements, timely assessments, and having a backup can be of significant help.”

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

Here, the interviewer will want to know how much you prefer contracts and what significance do you think they possess in procurement management.

Tip 1: Explain the significance of contracts. 

Tip 2: State an example of when you might not need a contract.

Sample Answer

“Contracts are always important to establish a professional and legal relationship with suppliers. They are a highly significant component of every procurement management plan. However, when there is a small-scale purchase from a regular vendor, it might go well without the contract as well.”

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

The tools vary from organization to organization; however, the interviewer wants to assess your knowledge regarding procurement management tools.

Tip 1: Your answer should reflect that you are good at handling procurement management tools.

Tip 2: Share a brief experience with different tools.

Sample Answer

Tracking the progress of the project is what keeps a project on track. I prefer using versatile tools that help have a look into different aspects at the same time. While there are several tools such as ASANA, MS Excel, etc. I usually go for ASANA as it helps create multiple lists, allow regular progress check, and gives notification alerts upon updates.”

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

Here, the interviewer will try to assess your knowledge regarding sourcing initiative and how proficient you are at it.

Tip 1: Your answer should demonstrate your sourcing initiative understanding.

Tip 2: Explain the process you prefer to follow.

Sample Answer

“There are different processes that can help conduct sourcing initiatives. However, recently, the 10 Phase Approach to World-Class Sourcing is a great practice being used worldwide by procurement managers.”

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

By what you answer, the interviewer wants to learn your approach regarding progress acceleration if the project is not on track.

Tip 1: Make sure you give a brief answer.

Tip 2: Explain your strategy comprehensively and highlight significant factors.

Sample Answer

“Even after expert planning, a project might lose track. In such a situation, reassigning roles and responsibilities, adding resources, evaluating supplier chain, and changing work hours can act as a sound strategy.”

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

The interviewer wants to know if you are familiar with UCC.

Tip 1: Explain what you know about it.

Tip 2: Keep the answer brief.

Sample Answer

“UCC is a body of law regulating sale and purchase of resources within the United States over a certain money threshold and so, makes an important part of the procurement management plan.”

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

Here, the interviewer is trying to assess how good you are at managing a crisis situation and ensuring that a project receives everything it requires.

Tip 1: Explain the significance of proper resource planning. 

Tip 2: List down techniques to handle the requests.

Sample Answer

“Well, it is not essential that you purchase every equipment you need. If there’s any one-time equipment but is beyond the budget, it can be leased instead of purchased.”

18. Explain the Purchasing Process.

The interviewer wants to know if you are familiar with the general purchasing process.

Tip 1: Do not start explaining each step unless required.

Tip 2: Enlist each and every step.

Sample Answer

“The purchasing process includes assessing the need, communicating the required resources, getting the approval, finding the right vendors/suppliers, negotiating with suppliers, choosing the supplier, signing a contract, following up and closing the transaction.”

19. What Negotiation Skills and Tactics Do You Possess?

Questioning about negotiation skills and tactics helps the interviewer know how good you are at having a formal discussion with the suppliers and executing the right metrics to choose the best supplier.

Tip 1: Explain the factors that negotiation depends upon.

Tip 2: List down some important skills and tactics to exhibit your expertise.

Sample Answer

“The negotiation skills and tactics depend on the resources you need and the history with the supplier. Conducting a bid or using a win-win tactic can help go through the negotiation smoothly. When it comes to difficult suppliers, they must be approached carefully. It is good to prepare a negotiation before dealing with such suppliers. Implementing hardball negotiation tactics or selling-style, persuasion tactics come handy.”

20. What are Some Important Procurement Metrics? 

Here, the interviewer wants to know if you have an idea of key procurement metrics and how you will use them. 

Tip 1: Explain the factors that performance metrics depend upon.

Tip 2: List down some standard procurement metrics.

Sample Answer

“Procurement metrics largely depend on the goals and objectives of the project as well as the organizational preferences. However, some standard procurement metrics include cost savings, return on investment, cost-benefit analysis, procurement cycle time, percentage/frequency of on-time deliveries, the ratio of managed spend to total spend, the ratio of cost savings to managed spend, etc.

Conclusion

These are but a few procurement interview questions that you need to prepare yourself before attending an interview. Hopefully these interview questions on procurement will help you land your next dream job.

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