Are you looking to find a supply chain job? There are several steps you can take prior to and following interviews for supply chain jobs that will help you make a great impression on an employer. To help you with the application process and interview preparation, we have compiled a guide to common supply chain interview questions and answers, along with supply chain interview tips. Check out the following information about how to prepare for a supply chain interview for step-by-step guidance on the process.
When it comes to interviewing for a job, there are some common supply chain interview preparation techniques that may actually be a waste of your time. The following are a few unnecessary things that you don’t need to do:
You can best focus your time on selling your skills to the right supply chain company by avoiding these time-wasters. You can also avoid annoying your interviewer or the receptionist by not checking in too often or showing up too early.
The first step of supply chain interview preparation is carefully analyzing the job description. The last thing you want to happen during the interview is to be given a question that makes you wish you had examined the job description more closely. The key to avoiding this and ensuring your interview success is to analyze the description of a supply chain job as carefully as you can.
Many of the questions you’re asked in the interview will likely be based on the job description. The interviewer wants to ensure you understand the requirements and expectations of this role and that you are a good fit. This means the better you can understand the description, the better prepared you will be to answer the interview questions.
Use the following tips to analyze the job description carefully and prove to the interviewer you know what is expected of the position:
After carefully analyzing the job description, the next step in preparing for a supply chain interview is doing your research. You may want to research both the company and the role you are applying for.
One of the best supply chain management interview tips is to research the company. To do so, you should visit the company’s website, read media coverage about the company and visit the company’s social media pages. This research will help you draw conclusions that can assist you during your interview.
On the company’s website, you may want to look at the About page and the Careers page. The About page will provide an overview of the company, its background and its mission or philosophies. The Careers page will list the positions that are open and the types of roles available.
During your company research, write down notes on the values and mission of the company. How does the company stand apart from competitors? Can you demonstrate how your experience aligns with the company’s values and goals?
You may also want to do a Google search for any press coverage on the company. Write down a note about anything interesting or concerning you may want to bring up during the interview. Next, you can extend your research to the company’s social media accounts. What are customers saying on a company’s social media page? Are customer questions answered quickly, or do most go ignored? Are complaints addressed productively, or are excuses made for the criticisms?
The following are questions about the company you should be prepared to answer in the interview:
If you know who will be interviewing you, you may also want to visit this person’s LinkedIn account for any information you can use as an icebreaker.
The next part of your research should be devoted to the role you are applying for. A supply chain operation offers positions in three different tiers — managers, directors and executives. To ensure everything runs smoothly, candidates in these positions must communicate efficiently. Each role comes with certain expectations and responsibilities.
The following responsibilities are required of a supply chain manager:
The following responsibilities are required of a supply chain director:
The role of a supply chain executive includes the following responsibilities:
You should be aware of the responsibilities of the position you are applying for to ensure you qualify for the position and can handle the responsibilities required.
While you’re preparing and interviewing, you’ll want to gain supply chain experience and make connections in the industry if possible. If you are a recent graduate or you have been working in an unrelated field, you may be wondering how you can break into supply chain management. The following are ways you can gain experience in the industry:
Internships, part-time jobs and courses are opportunities that allow you to develop key skills that are needed for a position in the supply chain industry. For example, helpful skills you can develop with these opportunities include negotiating, analyzing data, examining details and managing and building interpersonal relationships. You can also highlight these skills on your resume.
When you join a trade group, you can network with other professionals in the industry. These connections can prove valuable to you down the road and may help you get your foot in the door.
The next step to prepare for a supply chain job interview is to practice interviewing. You can prepare and practice your answers to common questions before the interview. Practicing your answers can make you feel more confident and comfortable before and during the interview.
Common supply chain analyst interview questions and procurement interview questions may cover your background, your technical knowledge about supply chain operations and how you would act in several different scenarios:
You may want to prepare questions you can ask the interviewer at the end of the interview. There is likely some information you want to know that you couldn’t find from the job description or through your research, and the end of the interview is the best time to ask. The following are examples of questions you may want to ask at the end of a supply chain job interview:
This is your opportunity to determine whether the job is a good fit for you, so ask the questions you need to know about the company and the position.
Conducting mock interviews will give you a chance to practice interviewing. By conducting mock interviews, you may feel calmer and better prepared. Conduct the mock interview in the same format as your actual interview. If you will have a phone interview, for example, practice answering interview questions on the phone.
Practice your answers alone, and if possible, with the help of a family member or friend. A friend can ask you questions over the phone or seated at a table. If the interview will be conducted virtually, you may want to practice with the technology and have a friend ask you some of the common supply chain interview questions.
Your next step includes the final preparation before your interview, including getting directions, preparing your resume and arriving early for the interview.
If you will be interviewing in person, you should know exactly where you are headed beforehand so you can avoid running late. If you are unsure where you are going, use GPS or Google Maps to guide you. Put in the address and determine the best route for you to get to the location. You may also want to check on parking if you believe it may be an issue.
If you have time, you may want to drive to the location the day before your interview. This way, you will become familiar with the route and find out how long it will take you to arrive. You can then add a few minutes to your travel time so you will be able to arrive early on the day of the interview.
Additionally, you may want to confirm the location and time of the interview so you can be absolutely sure that you are heading to the right place.
Fortunately, you won’t need to do much preparation for your resume. In fact, it’s best to keep your resume simple. The following are tips to keep in mind when compiling your resume:
Your resume is a chance to show an employer that you qualify for a job and would be a good fit for the position, so make sure your supply chain resume showcases your relevant experience and skills.
You may want to plan to arrive 10 to 15 minutes before your interview. This will give you enough time to find the office or lobby, freshen up if needed, read your notes and take a few deep breaths.
Call as soon as possible if you know you will be late because of unavoidable circumstances, such as traffic from a car accident. On the call, apologize and ask if you can still attend your interview. If you’re unable to keep the interview, ask how you may be able to reschedule.
The next step on the checklist is following up after the interview. Following up gives you the opportunity to ask additional questions, to be remembered by the hiring manager and to demonstrate your professionalism. Following up after a supply chain interview can show your interest in the position. Below are tips to keep in mind when following up after your interview:
Even if you believe the interview went poorly, send a thank you note. The interviewer may believe the interview went well and the email may set you up for positive interactions with this person in the future.
If you recieve a job offer after your interviews, the final step in the process is evaluating the offer before you accept it. There are more jobs available in the supply chain discipline than there are qualified candidates who can fill them, which means you are a sought-after candidate. Knowing how to evaluate a job offer is crucial in determining whether accepting an offer is the right professional move for you.
Consider the following before you accept a supply chain job offer:
Will this position allow you to develop new skills and help you grow professionally? Will this position allow you to maintain or improve your current work-life balance? Will you need to relocate? Only you can examine the full picture and determine if a supply chain position is right for you.
Alternatively, if you are rejected for a job, you may want to ask for feedback. This feedback is not intended to address the exact reasons you were rejected for a job. It is instead meant to help you better yourself. Asking for feedback following a rejection can allow you to:
A few of the questions you may want to ask after being rejected for a job position include:
You can request feedback via phone or email. If you receive the rejection during a phone call, this may be the best time to ask for feedback. If you receive the rejection in a voicemail, you may want to request feedback no later than a day after you received the voicemail.
If you choose to ask for feedback via email, you should send the email within a day. If you wait longer than a day, the recruiter or interviewer is less likely to be able to provide you with detailed feedback. Requesting feedback in person is not recommended unless you already have a relationship with the person from whom you are seeking feedback.
If you have decided to ask for feedback, consider who you should seek this feedback from. For example, if you received your rejection from the hiring manager, you can respond to the manager. If you are unsure how to request feedback following a rejection email, you can contact the last recruiter you spoke to.
At Optimum Supply Chain Recruiters, we can help you kickstart the career you’re seeking in the supply chain discipline. We can provide you with the opportunities you may not be able to find elsewhere. We work with businesses in the supply chain discipline that are in need of qualified candidates for job positions, many of which are not advertised publicly.
Want more information on supply chain manager positions and other opportunities? For access to these opportunities, submit your resume to us online at Optimum Supply Chain Recruiters today.