Purchasing Manager, Buyer & Purchasing Agent Interview Questions & Answers

Buyers and purchasing agents buy products and services for organizations. Purchasing managers oversee the work of buyers and purchasing agents.

Interviewers look for candidates that demonstrate excellent skills such as:

  • Decision-making skills
  • Negotiating skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Math skills

In this blog, we discuss commonly asked interview questions during job interviews for buyers and purchasing agent positions. We also discuss the qualities that interviewers look for in successful candidates. In other words, we’re here to help you out!

Also, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.

Skills Interviewers Look For In Successful Candidates

Below we discuss the skills you can highlight in your answers to demonstrate that you’re qualified for the job.

Analytical skills

Why interviewers are interested in your analytical skills:

When evaluating suppliers, purchasing managers, and buyers and purchasing agents must analyze their options and choose a supplier with the best combination of price, quality, delivery, or service.

Decision-making skills

Why interviewers are interested in your decision-making skills:

Purchasing managers and buyers and purchasing agents must have the ability to make informed and timely decisions, choosing products that they think will sell.

Math skills

Why interviewers are interested in your math skills:

Purchasing managers and buyers and purchasing agents must possess math skills. They must be able to compare prices from different suppliers to ensure that their organization is getting the best deal.

Negotiating skills

Why interviewers are interested in your negotiating skills:

Purchasing managers and buyers and purchasing agents often must negotiate the terms of a contract with a supplier. Interpersonal skills and self-confidence, in addition to knowledge of the product, can help lead to successful negotiations.

(source: bls.gov)

Purchasing Manager, Buyer, and Purchasing Agent Job Interview Questions & Answers

During a job interview, the hiring manager wants to discuss several things. Think of your:

Below you find a list of commonly asked interview questions.

Examples Of General Purchasing Manager, Buyer, and Purchasing Agent Interview Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. How would you describe yourself?
  3. Why do you want to work here?
  4. What interests you about this position?
  5. Walk me through your resume.
  6. What motivates you?
  7. Why are you leaving your current job?
  8. Describe your work ethic.
  9. What is your greatest strength?
  10. How does your experience qualify you for this job?
  11. What is your greatest weakness?
  12. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  13. Tell me about a challenging work situation and how you overcame it.
  14. What are your expectations for this position?
  15. What are your career goals?
  16. Why should we hire you?
  17. What did you like most about your last position?
  18. What did you like least about your last position?
  19. How do you handle stress?
  20. What is your greatest accomplishment?

Learn how to answer these common job interview questions!

Examples Of Specific Purchasing Manager, Buyer, and Purchasing Agent Behavioral Interview Questions

Learn more about answering behavioral interview questions by using the STAR interview technique.

  1. Tell me about a time you had to deal with delayed or incomplete deliveries. How did you handle the situation?
  2. Which purchasing systems are you experienced in? Would you recommend any of these?
  3. Tell me how you evaluate suppliers and products.
  4. Describe a time you had to resolve a disagreement with a supplier.
  5. Walk me through your experience in managing purchasing teams.
  6. Give me an example of how you have improved purchasing activities and processes.
  7. How would you handle a situation in which there was a discrepancy between a purchase and its invoice?
  8. Describe a time you had to cancel a supplier contract. What happened?
  9. How do you ensure that all purchase records are up to date and accurate?
  10. Give me an example of a time you negotiated the best possible deal for your employer.
  11. What do you think are essential skills for a purchasing manager (or agent) to possess in order to be successful?
  12. Tell me what you would ask for when getting supplier references.
  13. How do you find new suppliers?
  14. Describe a time you successfully negotiated a significant discount.
  15. Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a supplier. How did you resolve the situation?
  16. What was the most unsuccessful purchase you have ever made as a purchase manager or agent? What did you learn from that situation?

Learn more about questions to ask the interviewer during your job interview.