Procurement Interview: Questions & Stories

How Will You Ace Your Next Procurement Interview?

PurchTips Edition #262 Click here for the printer-friendly version

Picture of Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3, author of this article on procurement interview questions.By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

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When you get an interview for a procurement job, what you say to the hiring manager determines whether you will get the job or not. Therefore, you should prepare to align your dialogue with what you want to accomplish in the interview.

What you want to accomplish includes demonstrating: (a) that you can handle the challenges of the workplace, (b) that you are smart enough for the job, and (c) that you will care about making a positive difference if you are hired. Two of the most effective ways to demonstrate these things are to tell real-life success stories of yours and to ask thoughtful questions.

For your success stories, prepare them in advance and use them in the context of the conversation. For example, if the hiring manager says “Tell me about a time when you succeeded in bringing a difficult negotiation to a positive conclusion,” you can tell a true success story of yours on that topic. The keys are to anticipate what topics will come up and, if and when they do, to have several stories ready in your mind.

Other topics for success stories can include examples of:

  • How you dealt with a supplier who said a critical shipment would be late
  • How you satisfied an irate internal customer
  • How you took initiative to improve your skills

Questions you may want to consider asking the hiring manager include:

  • How would my performance be measured?
  • What skills do you need the successful candidate to have?
  • What are your biggest challenges in the department?
  • By hiring the right person for this position, what results would really make you happy?
  • How do you think that members of the department describe the work environment here?
  • What type of person would fit in best with the culture of the department?

By using success stories and good questions, you can increase your chances of acing your interview and getting a better procurement job!


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Copyright 2012. This article is the property of the Next Level Purchasing Association and may not be copied or republished in any form without the express written consent of the Next Level Purchasing Association. Click here to request republishing permission.

By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3