22 Purchasing Interview Questions & Answers

How to Pass YOUR interview at the first attempt!

Here’s the FULL LIST of PURCHASING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Q1. Tell me about yourself?

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

“Over the years, I have built up a diverse set of skills and qualities that have enabled me to become a highly productive and competent purchaser. Having read and studied the job description, I believe I have what it takes to excel in the role. I have strong communication skills that are adaptable to a variety of situations; I will always collaborate effectively and build long term commercially beneficial relationships with suppliers and contractors, and I am a solid influencer and negotiator. In previous purchasing roles, I had a reputation for being able to quickly find the right products and goods at the right price with suppliers that could be trusted to deliver on time and to the necessary standards. If you hire me in this purchasing role, I believe you will quickly see a positive return on your investment due to my strong work ethics, my core values and my ability to apply the purchasing model and process to your strategic and commercial aims.”

Q2. Why do you want to work for our company in this purchasing role?

SUGGESTED ANSWER

“I have been waiting for a purchasing position to come up with your company for quite some time now, so as soon as I saw the job advertised, I knew I was going to apply. I want to work for your company because you have a solid reputation for being a good employer, and you clearly support your employees to enable them to work to the standards needed to constantly deliver in their roles. Having also briefly looked into the products and services you offer, I believe my expertise is suited to this sector and I will be able to get up and running in the role quickly due to my previous experience in purchasing and my ability to source relevant products and goods that meet your commercial needs. Finally, I want to work for your organization because I am seeking long-term employment with the same company and this is somewhere that suits my own standards, my experience, and my ambitions.”

Q3. Talk me through the purchasing process.
Interview Questions And Answers Example 01

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Q4. What do you need to consider when buying a product?
Interview Questions And Answers Example 02

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Q5. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using overseas product suppliers?
Interview Questions And Answers Example 03

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Q6. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
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Q7. What strategies do you use for discovering the best products?
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Q8. How do you prioritize your workload?
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Q9. Tell me about a time when you had to communicate a complex piece of information to someone who did not understand.
Interview Questions And Answers Example 03

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Q10. What do you look for in a supplier?
Interview Questions And Answers Example 03

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Q11. Tell me a time where you had to get your point across when you knew you were correct, and the other person was wrong.
Interview Questions And Answers Example 02

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Q12. What are the risks to a business in purchasing?
Interview Questions And Answers Example 03

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Q13. What skills and qualities do you possess that are a match for this purchasing role?
Interview Questions And Answers Example 04

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Q14. What’s the most challenging part of working in purchasing?
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Q15. What’s been the toughest purchasing project you’ve ever been involved in?
Interview Questions And Answers Example 01

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Q16. Tell me about a purchasing project you’ve been involved in that did not go to plan. What happened and what did you learn from the experience?
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Q17. What’s your style of communication?
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Q18. Tell me a time when you used outstanding negotiation skills.
Interview Questions And Answers Example 02

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Q19. Why do you want to work in purchasing?
Interview Questions And Answers Example 03

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Q20. Tell me about a time when you resolved a difficult situation or problem at work.
Interview Questions And Answers Example 01

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Q21. Where do you see yourself in five years?
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Q22. That’s the end of your purchasing interview. Do you have any questions for the panel?
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Purchasing Job Description – The Skills and Qualities Needed to Work in Purchasing


The following is a list of the different skills and qualities needed to work in purchasing. Be sure to provide evidence of where you have demonstrated these important skills and qualities in previous roles at your purchasing job interview!

  • The ability to source the best possible products and goods for your employer;
  • Being able to negotiate effectively and communicate with suppliers both domestically overseas;
  • The ability to work collaboratively with internal members of staff and external stakeholders;
  • A thorough understanding of the purchasing management process;
  • Being a proven problem solver and capable of using your initiative to solve complex and challenging issues;
  • Able to work under pressure and to hold people within the purchasing team accountable for their actions.

THE PURCHASING PROCESS EXPLAINED

The following purchasing process is a generic one that can be applied to the majority of situations regardless of the size of the organization.

STEP ONE: Step one of the purchasing process is IDENTIFYING THE NEED for specific goods or products. This is where you will discuss with others in the company the organization’s purchasing requirements, the quality and order quantities, a timeframe for completion and the anticipated return on investment from the goods purchased.

STEP TWO: This is where the purchasing manager or officer will create the PURCHASE REQUISITION before getting it approved by senior management.

STEP THREE: This is where the purchaser will COMMUNICATE WITH RELEVANT SUPPLIERS to discuss their purchasing requirements. During this stage you should expect to see samples of the goods you are potentially purchasing, evidence of guaranteed lead times, what their quality control processes involve and the minimum order quantities.

STEP FOUR: This is the NEGOTIATING & AGREEING TERMS element of the process before finally SIGNING THE CONTRACTS and awaiting the distribution of the goods.

PURCHASING INTERVIEW TIPS – HOW TO PASS A PURCHASING OFFICER OR MANAGER JOB INTERVIEW!

Whether you are applying to become a Purchasing Officer, a Purchasing Manager, a Purchasing Assistant or you want to enrol on a purchasing graduate scheme, the following four tips will help you to prepare thoroughly for your interview. 

PURCHASING INTERVIEW TIP #1

It is essential you have a thorough understanding of the purchasing management process before you attend your job interview. Consider how the purchasing model you normally use is applicable to their organization or sector. The hiring manager will want to know you have a good working knowledge of the purchasing process and how it applies to their industry.

PURCHASING INTERVIEW TIP #2

Before you attend your purchasing interview, take the time to read the job description very carefully for the role you are applying for. The job description is a good indicator as to the type of questions you will get asked at your interview.  You should then be prepared to provide evidence of where you have previously demonstrated the different aspects of the job description.

PURCHASING INTERVIEW TIP #3

Be sure to spend time researching their organization before you attend your purchasing interview. They will ask you the interview question, why do you want to work or us? It is essential that you demonstrate in your answer that you have taken the time to find out about how they operate and the different products, goods or services they specialize in.

PURCHASING INTERVIEW TIP #4

Have three or four smart questions ready to ask at the end of your purchasing interview. Here are four great questions to consider asking when the interviewer says to you, do you have any questions for us? 

  1. What’s the most important aspect of the purchasing process to you? Is it lead-times, MOQs or budget?
  2. If I am successful, what would be the first thing you would want me to focus on as your Purchasing Officer/Manager?
  3. I noticed on your website you have recently launched a new product – has this been successful and how did you find the purchasing process?
  4. What has frustrated you about previous people who have worked for you in this purchasing role?

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Question 1,
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Interview Question 01

Question 2,
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Interview Question 02

Question 3,
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Interview Question 03

Question 4,
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Interview Question 04

Question 5,
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Interview Question 05

Question 6,
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Interview Question 06

Question 7,
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Interview Question 07

Question 8,
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Interview Question 08

Question 9,
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Interview Question 09

Question 10,
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Interview Question 10

Question 11,
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Interview Question 11

Question 12,
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Interview Question 12

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