Supply Chain Manager Job Interview Tips

Supply chain manager job interviews can be pretty complex. This is mainly because of the complexity and range of the types of job involved. There are some primary issues requiring considerations in this type of interview which can affect your chances of getting the job.

The major issues in supply chain manager job interview are:

  • Communications skills: Clear answers, sticking strictly to the topic. Don’t use up time on any digressions off topic, because it can lead the interviewers off topic.
  • Information quality: Answers should be factual, contain all relevant information and be based on clear premises and outcomes.
  • Clear narrative answers to interview questions involving supply chain stages: This approach is extremely important. The nature of supply chain work involves a clear step by step approach to each progression through the chain.

Supply Chain Manager Job Interview Questions

How do you define, and how do you manage, risk in procurement? Procurement must manage a range of risks including non-delivery, theft, liability to customers, and supply chain breakdowns. The normal management process is to indemnify the business against loss through insurance and backup supply methods, usually specified in contracts with suppliers.

Give an example of solving a problem with a supplier. Problems with suppliers relate to:

  • Service quality
  • Delivery times
  • Meeting contract terms
  • Issues which relate to specific incidents

This is a standard problem solving question, but with supply chain manager job interview questions, you’re also dealing with the effect on the supply chain. The answer needs to deal with:

  • Define the problem.
  • Explain the effect of the problem up and down the supply chain.
  • Explain your solution.
  • Describe the outcome as it affects the supplier, the business and the customer.

Give an example of negotiation with a supplier. Negotiations with a supplier are likely to involve a scenario where:

  • The supplier has to balance their schedules and supply process with your needs.
  • The supplier is disputing an element of service requirements.

These negotiations require both a fix to the supply chain issues and a clear solution to the disputed issues. The standard negotiation process is to clarify the needs of both parties and work on viable fixes to these issues by working through the situations to rectify defects in the supply chain. Give an example which clearly illustrates the negotiation process in relation to the supply chain. Use a “narrative”, from the start to the finish, so the interviewers can follow the logic of the negotiations.

How do you deal with a situation where you’re out of stock? This question involves the built in implication that you shouldn’t be out of stock in the first place. That must be addressed in the answer. Your answer should be based on a situational response:

  • Detecting the stock situation: Describe procedures used to identify the shortage.
  • Check orders for demand: Identify any outstanding or pending orders.
  • Steps taken to rectify: Describe sourcing of materials, time management for restocking, and covering any outstanding orders.
  • Supply chain issues: Describe your response to the supply chain implications, including methods of preventing future situations.

Note: Check out Fleet Helper, a big US transport industry site, for supply chain manager jobs.