Prepare for your Head of Procurement interview. Understand the required skills and qualifications, anticipate the questions you may be asked, and study well-prepared answers using our sample responses.
The interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to work with others and collaborate on projects. Use examples from past experiences where you worked well with a team or group of people, regardless of whether you were the leader of the group.
Answer Example: “Yes, I am comfortable working with a team of people to manage procurements. In my current role as head of procurement for XYZ Company, I work closely with the finance team to ensure all purchases are made within budget. I also collaborate with other departments to ensure we are getting the best value for our dollars. For example, if we are looking to purchase new software, I will consult with the IT team to make sure it’s compatible with our current system.”
This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills and abilities they’re looking for in a leader. Use your answer to highlight some of your strongest skills, such as communication, problem-solving and teamwork.
Answer Example: “Leadership is a complex role that requires many different skills. I believe communication is one of the most important skills for a leader because they need to be able to communicate clearly with their team members. They also need to be able to listen carefully to understand what their team needs from them. Another important skill is problem-solving because leaders often need to find solutions to challenges or problems. Finally, I think teamwork is essential for leaders because they need to work with others to achieve goals.”
Employers ask this question to learn more about your leadership style and how you would interact with their team. When answering, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation where you used your leadership skills to help others accomplish a goal or complete an important project.
Answer Example: “I believe in being a supportive leader who encourages collaboration among my team members. In my last role, we had a deadline to complete a major project for our client, but one of my employees was sick and unable to work. Instead of forcing him to come into the office, I allowed him to work from home so he could stay healthy. This allowed us to meet our deadline without sacrificing quality.”
The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience with financial management. This can be an important skill for a head of procurement to have, as they are responsible for managing the department’s budget and making sure it stays within certain limits. In your answer, explain how you manage budgets in your current role or how you have done so in previous roles.
Answer Example: “In my last role as head of procurement for a small business, I was responsible for creating the annual procurement budget each year. I would start by looking at our sales figures from the previous year and then add 10% to that number to account for any growth we might see. Then, I would break down the budget by category so I knew how much we were spending on each item. This helped me stay within the budget while still providing enough supplies to meet our needs.”
Interviewers may ask this question to assess your communication skills and how you handle conflict. When answering, it can be helpful to focus on the steps you took to ensure a positive outcome after providing the feedback.
Answer Example: “In my last role as head of procurement for a small business, I had to provide negative feedback to one of our suppliers who was consistently delivering products that did not meet our quality standards. The supplier was a small business owner who relied on our business for revenue, so I wanted to be sensitive to their needs while also ensuring that we maintained our standards.”
This question helps the interviewer understand how you plan to use your time as soon as you start the job. It’s important to show that you have a clear vision for your priorities and what you plan to accomplish during your first few weeks on the job.
Answer Example: “My top priority would be to get to know the team I’ll be working with. I believe it’s important to build relationships with my coworkers so we can all work together more effectively. In my previous role, I started a networking group for procurement professionals where we could share tips and advice. This helped me build relationships with other professionals in the industry.”
This question can help the interviewer assess your problem-solving skills and how you might use them to improve processes within the company. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to ensure that all departments were getting the best value from their purchases from that supplier.
Answer Example: “I would first talk to each department about their reasons for making separate purchases from the same supplier. If there were valid reasons for each purchase, such as different quantities or delivery dates, I would work with the supplier to find ways to accommodate these requests. For example, if one department needed immediate delivery while another could wait a few weeks, I would ask the supplier if they could offer two separate delivery dates.”
The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the sourcing process and how you apply it to your work. Use examples from your experience that show your understanding of the process, including its steps and objectives.
Answer Example: “Yes, I am familiar with the sourcing process. In my current role as head of procurement for XYZ Company, I oversee all sourcing activities for our organization. I am well-versed in the different types of sourcing strategies available, such as competitive bidding, contract negotiation and direct sourcing. I also understand the importance of creating a well-defined sourcing strategy that meets our organization’s needs while maintaining cost efficiency.”
This question can help the interviewer understand your experience with sourcing and how you’ve used it in your past roles. Use examples from your experience to highlight your skills, such as communication, organization and problem-solving abilities.
Answer Example: “In my last role as head of procurement for ABC Company, I used both external and internal sourcing methods to find vendors who could provide us with the best prices on our products. First, I looked at existing vendor lists to see if there were any potential suppliers who could provide us with lower prices. Then, I reached out to new vendors to see if they were interested in becoming suppliers for our company. This helped us save money while also expanding our vendor network.”
This question can help the interviewer understand how you would use your leadership skills to solve a problem. Use examples from your experience to show that you can make decisions, communicate with others and manage a situation effectively.
Answer Example: “In my previous role as head of procurement for a small business, we had a supplier who was not meeting our quality standards. I met with the supplier’s manager to discuss the issue and find out why it was happening. After some research, I discovered that the supplier had hired new employees who were not trained properly. The supplier agreed to hire more employees to meet demand and train them properly.”
This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the qualities they’re looking for in a successful head of procurement. Use your answer to highlight some of your most important qualities, such as communication skills, problem-solving ability and leadership skills.
Answer Example: “I think the most important quality for a successful head of procurement is the ability to think creatively when it comes to finding the best suppliers for the company’s needs. I’ve worked with many different types of companies in my career, so I know how important it is to find the right supplier for each one. Another quality I think is important is being able to delegate tasks effectively. As a head of procurement, I would need to rely on my team to help me with various projects.”
This question can help the interviewer understand your experience with negotiating contracts and establishing relationships with vendors. Use examples from past roles where you successfully negotiated deals or established new vendor relationships.
Answer Example: “In my previous role as head of procurement for a large manufacturing company, I was responsible for negotiating contracts with all our vendors. This included negotiating prices on supplies, equipment and services as well as ensuring that our contracts met all industry standards. It was important to me that we got the best deals possible while still maintaining quality service from our vendors.”
This question can help the interviewer understand how you handle difficult situations and whether you have experience dealing with challenging procurement situations. Use your answer to highlight your problem-solving skills, communication abilities and leadership abilities.
Answer Example: “I recently had to manage a challenging procurement situation when I was working as the head of procurement for a large company. The company was in the process of launching a new product line, and we needed to find suppliers who could provide us with the materials we needed at an affordable price. However, finding suppliers who could meet our requirements while also providing us with a competitive price was difficult.”