How to Answer Procurement Interview Questions

When you are going to the procurement interview you can except that interviewer will ask some questions about you so he/she can get insight into your personality, and to decide whether you’re a fit for the job and for the company as well.

So you need to prepared to a job interview and to consider the skills, the strengths, the qualities that you have that you need to highlight.

You have to determine what is the energy and emotion you want to bring about and put it in you answer. It’s all about how it is you want to show off in that moment.

Job seekers often struggle with finding right answers to these difficult questions. I wanted to help them and that’s why I put together a list of ten most typical procurement interview questions. Here you can find a detailed analysis of every question. Also, I’ll give you an explanation of why employers use those questions, suggested answers and some other stuff.

1. Tell me about yourself

Interviewers almost always want to break the ice and start an interview with an open-ended question like this. The point of this question is to make you feel more comfortable through the interview process.

Besides that, it’s a great tool for the hiring manager to get the idea about your personality and to help determine if you’re a good fit for the position you applied for.

How to Answer:

If you want to give good answer to this question, there is no need to share everything about you, but when you reveal too little information the interviewer can wonder why you aren’t more open.

Try to start with talking about some personal interests that are not related directly to your work.

Hobbies like golf, tennis, or yoga are good to start with because they represent you as a healthy and energetic person.

It’s even better if (for example) you like to solve crossword puzzles and Sudoku or reading because it will reveal intellectual side.

Now is time to transition from personal to the professional field.

Share some key professional skills that highlight values they can get if they hire you.Use phrases like “Besides those interests and passions, my professional life is a large part of who I am, so I’d like to talk a bit about some of the skills which I would bring to this job.”

Make a list of your strengths before you go into the interview, match them with the job description and share the top 3–4 skills which make you an ideal candidate for the position you applied for.

Later in the interview, you need to be more specific and detailed in talking about situations, interventions and results flowing from your strengths.

2. What is your greatest weakness?

This can be a very challenging question because it’s all about how you perceive and evaluate yourself.

Also, your interviewer didn’t want to know about your personal failures or to reveal your dark secrets.

He/she just need to know should they worry about not helping the company and making a lousy hire which isn’t worth wasting money or time. Every HR team just wants to reduce their risk.

How to Answer:

Many people will answer this question using a positive attribute disguised as a fault such as “I’m a perfectionist” or “I always expect others to be as committed as I am.”

That isn’t the best answer to this question because interviewer can conclude that you are not honest and that you can not bring anything good.

You should always be honest and list a true small work-related weakness. It’s very important to emphasize what you will do to overcome it and improve yourself.

Also, you need to choose a weakness that is not significant for the position you are applying for. This can be pretty easy and you should be able to do it right.

Check out the good examples:

“I am not a very patient person. That’s obviously a bad characteristic. But I am trying to be more tolerant to the other people and to control myself. It’s not easy, but I am working on it every day and I think that have made good progress over the last few years.“

3. What is your greatest strength?

This question is one of most frequently asked and many interviewers use it as the opening question.

It may seem like one of the easiest interview questions they can ask you, but it’s also one of the most important ones.

Every interviewer wants to know if your strengths match the criteria of the company and do your qualifications for the particular position.

How to Answer:

When we are talking about question “What is your greatest strength?”, it’s important to mention characteristics that will mark you for the specific position.

So you may start with giving a very brief resume including your education and previous job titles.

Make sure that education and working experience you are talking about are relevant and useful for the job you’re applying for.

Samples of excellent response:

“I am a person with very strong work ethic. When I’m working on a project, It’s not important to me just to be right on schedule so I rather prefer to complete the project way before the deadline. I even earned a bonus for completing my three most recent reports five days ahead of time last year .”

4. What categories have you managed?

When we are talking about procurement interviews this is a very common question. Almost every interviewer wants to know about the categories you have handled in the past and match it with the position you are applying for.

How to Answer

If you want to give good answer to this question, you should focus on the past categories, the size of RFP’s you have handled for example. And what’s more important, explain the process you are following when researching any category to the interviewer.

If you are applying for a job that request dealing with raw materials or direct spend, your past performance will matter a lot. But, if you want the job that is dealing with indirect spend categories, your method or technique is more important than the classifications you were handling.

Because the indirect spend has a bigger category spread than direct spend, it’s almost impossible that you have handled all the categories under indirect spend in your past.

How to Answer

“I have learned to manage multiple categories through my previous work experience . I started with commodity buying and then switched into services purchasing. I now follow a 3 step process to research any category (add your own process here.).”

5. Why did you (or planning to ) leave your last job?

Life is full of changes. That is the fact. However, employers just need to understand the reasons why you want to make that move, to change employment.

In that circumstances, it’s important to stay positive and not to talk about negative things about your previous colleagues or employer. So you shouldn’t be locked in the past and just focus on the future.

A sample of good answers to this question:

“My previous company was cutting down employees. So most of the people from my department (including me) didn’t get the chance to extend the contract. Anyway, it’s in the past now and it will stay there. Now I’m ready to use all the knowledge, skills, and experience I get there to start my new career, possibly in your company.”

6. What attracted you to this company and role?

You should find out what are organization’s strong points, and highlight them in your answer.

For example, if the company’s accent is on integrity with their customers, you must mention that you would like to be part of such a team because you personally believe in integrity.

Be honest with yourself, and with the interviewer when you are talking about which company’s values motivates you.

Let me tell you what characteristics you should talk about and where you can find them.

Follow these three easy research tips:

1) Visit the company website (“about us” section and “careers” sections).

2) Go to the company’s LinkedIn page (information about the company).

3) Google for a press releases where the company name was mentioned or for the most recent news stories that the company shared.

Remember, you don’t need to share all the organization’s strong points during the interview!

Don’t be the nerds and reciting every single fact you’ve learned about the company. Employers don’t like “I know it all“ type of candidates.

You need to include the following in your answer:

1) Type of product/service the company has to offer

2) How long the company has been in business

3) As I said before, what the company mission statement is, and how the culture and mission match to your values or personality.

7. How do you deal with a difficult stakeholder?

Interviewers know that stakeholders come in different shape and sizes — from the people who doesn’t commit to any decision, the roisterers in the room who are sure that they know it all, those unprofessional employees who always run late for meetings or don’t bother to show up at all, to the ones who find it difficult to agree with anything that is said.

That is the reason why the answer to this question can be directly relevant to any procurement position. So you must convince your potential employer that you know that managing stakeholder can be a challenging thing but not impossible task for you.

You should give few examples on how did you help to resolve the difficult situations with

stakeholders. Think about these examples ready while you are preparing for the interview.

Here are good examples:

- On or few team members are not pulling their weight, have a problem with authority of

their superiors.

- A customer is unhappy with a product or a supplier.

Make sure you talk about the steps you took to resolve the difficult situation like that. This way you will show the interviewer that you have the skills to deal with conflict. Also, telling these anecdotes can help you answer other questions, as well.

8. Why should we hire you?

This can be the most difficult interview questions, because you should match your personality, education, skills, and experience to the position you want to get.

You need to prepare yourself before you come to the interview.

Remember: You should mention few of yours best qualities and match them with actual examples.

Try to focus on something special, one thing other candidates don’t have to offer and convince the employer to hire you.

If you don’t have many skills, experience or qualifications like the other candidates. Don’t worry, you can still set yourself apart from the rest of the competition.

Features such as energy and passion might help you now. You will attract the interviewer if he/she thinks that you are charismatic, emit the immense amount of energy when you speak, and love your work.

Explain your compatibility with the position and company, so make sure to mention that you are highly motivated, confident and energetic person, who is more than ready to commit to the cause of the company.

Following example answer will help you with your inspiration.

“I fulfill all the job requirements as many of other applicants. But I am always trying to create a good atmosphere at the workplace. I think that this is very important, especially nowadays, when people are stressed and think negative about everything.”

9. What are your salary expectations?

Don’t let liars fool you, salary is very important!

You should be prepared for this question, to negotiate the best possible salary. This can be very tricky because you must answer it in a right way and make sure you don’t lose chances of getting the job.

I think this is a nasty little game that you can easy lose if you answer first.

Try not to answer it.

Instead, you should say that it’s a tough question and ask if recruiters can tell you the range for the position you are applying for. That will make the interviewer take their guard down and tell you. If this does not happen you can say that your salary expectations depend on the details of the job. If the interviewer insists on your answer, give him/her a wide range.

10 .What are your goals?

Every responsible person has it own goals and employers know that. When an interviewer asks you about your goals, they simply want to know that you have some.

However, the answer to this question is not easy as it may seem. You can easy make a mistake that will cost you the job. So be careful when you talk about your dreams and goals.

You maybe love to dream about running your own business.That is great, but you should never tell that on the job interview.

Naturally, companies never hire people who will leave after year or two and start their own

business. You should think about it before you go to the interview. So make a list of appropriate desires for your answer and use one or two in an interview.

Talk about your personal goals, or connect your professional goals with the company you are applying for the job.

Let me tell you some good answers to this tricky interview question.

“I would really like to have a steady job with good salary in five years period. I understand that I need to learn a lot and work hard to accomplish that. I am determined to succeed in achieving my goal and I believe that this position is a perfect place to start.”

Conclusion

You had the opportunity to read a list of ten most typical procurement interview questions. It is always a good to be prepared before you go on an interview and to have some ideas how to give the best answers and get the job you want.

I am sure that you won’t remember every single answer from this article. You can prepare upfront and it will help you feel more confident in an interview.

This post was originally posted on Hireo’s Blog , a marketplace for procurement jobs.

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