The supply chain is the circulatory system of any business. It is the process through which time, labor, and materials are transformed into a finished and market-ready product. It’s complex, but when strategized and operated correctly, can yield lowered costs and a faster production cycle. The key to making your supply chain into a well-oiled machine is having the right staff in critical roles. Below you’ll find a list of interview questions to help you start building your dream supply chain team.
What are Supply Chain Jobs?
According to Supply Chain 24/7, these jobs tend to pay more than traditional service industry roles. These jobs tend to be heavily focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (high innovation areas). The volume of these jobs is rapidly growing in large companies, such as Dell, GE, IBM, and Intel, which are transitioning from manufacturing to traded services.
Supply Chain Interview Questions
The supply chain is a common entry point for many new employees and businesses can expect to hire many entry-level team members. Even so, hiring managers must be sure they’re recruiting the correct personnel for the role.
Here are general supply chain interview questions you can use:
- In your own words, what is the supply chain, and why is it important?
- How will you add value to our supply chain team with your experience and competencies?
- How would you deal with the situation if you ran out of stock?
- What specific skills do you have that qualify you to be a successful supply chain team member?
- What motivates you to work in product supply?
- If I were to give you a project involving a 100-piece product, how would you go about finding suppliers?
- What do you know about this company and our specific supply chain? Please describe both, to the best of your abilities.
Technical supply chain interview questions
Many roles involved in the supply chain require a higher degree of experience and technical understanding of supply chain operations. The following list of questions can help you learn more about technical applicants.
- Please describe the various steps and stages of the supply chain process, to the best of your abilities.
- What do you consider to be the most important aspects of the supply chain process? The most inefficient?
- There are a number of different ways to understand MRP. What technical skills are required to work in procurement and supply? Can you describe one approach for setting safety stock levels?
- Please describe your experience with both downstream and upstream supply chain roles.
- In your own words, explain why forecasting is important. Please describe the forecasting methods with which you are most familiar.
- Given the option, would you prefer to use a manufacturer in the U.S., or China? Please explain your answer in as much detail as you can.
- What costs more, glass or stainless steel?
Supply chain analyst interview questions
A supply chain analyst is a degree-holding specialist who leverages data to improve the supply chain for peak performance. Successful employees in this role are analytical, logical, and have extraordinary attention to detail. They must be able to review data sets and translate the information into intelligent, actionable recommendations which ultimately improve business operations.
The following questions can help you dig deeper when interviewing for these roles:
- Please describe a time when you noticed an inefficiency in a supply chain or other process. What did you do to address the problem? What impact did it leave?
- What is your preferred method for analyzing your team’s performance? The supply chain system as a whole?
- What specific experience in working as a supply chain analyst do you have? What to you is the most challenging part of this role? The most rewarding?
- Please list the ERP software with which you are the most familiar. What is your preferred platform? Why?
- Tell me about a time when your ability to analyze needs and product requirements helped you create an effective design to the ultimate benefit your company.
- Please describe a time when a solution offered by you was implemented and ultimately failed. What mistake was made? What did you learn from the experience? How have you since improved your process?
- As a supply chain analyst, what has been the most challenging project you have worked on in the past?
Supply chain management interview questions
Supply chain managers are the executive center of the supply chain network. It is their responsibility to coordinate, oversee, and manage the company’s overall supply chain and logistics strategy to maximize efficiency and productivity. Additionally, supply chain managers form and maintain relationships with vendors and distributors. They are the face, as well as the brain, of the supply chain system.
- In your own words, describe the role of a supply chain manager. What to you is the most important aspect of this position?
- Who are the key customers of this company, and what do they value? If you don’t know, how would you go about gathering this information?
- In your own words, explain what is the most important aspect of inventory and planning management.
- In your own words, please describe the difference between logistics and supply chain management.
- Please describe, in detail, your previous experience working as a supply chain manager. What to you is the most challenging aspect of this role? The most rewarding?
- How would you go about building relationships with vendors, both here and abroad?
- How are you staying up to date with trends and developments in supply chain management and operations?
Final thoughts: Supply chain interview questions
Supply chain team members keep businesses on their feet through hard work, expertise, and innovative thinking. Hiring managers can leverage the above interview questions to find best-fit supply chain employees who will help your company achieve peak productivity.