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Purchasing Interviews
Director of Purchasing

Description:  A Director of Purchasing plans, organizes, directs or assists in organizing and directing the activities of a group of employees in a major purchasing organization whose primary function is to obtain large quantities of materials, supplies and equipment through public contract procedures, negotiations, or agreements; may also direct activities involved in obtaining services through contract and may arrange for salvage sales; applies sound supervisory principles and techniques in building and maintaining an effective work force; and fulfills affirmative action responsibilities.


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Practice Interview
  1. How does your experience and education qualify you for the position of Director of Purchasing?
    Focus on the aspects of your experience that apply to this position.
  2. What are a supervisor's responsibilities under affirmative action?
    Set an example, communicate policy, personnel actions based on job-related criteria, promotion, and training.
  3. What tools/techniques do you use in motivating employees?
    Two of the steps that you can take are to establish expectations, get employees involved by making them part of the improvement process.
  4. How would you go about establishing a strategic plan for the organization?
    Make the distinction between strategy and tactics.  Align your plan with the objectives for the overall organization.
  5. Let's assume you've been hired.  Your assignment is to maintain or improve current service levels while reducing the budget by 10%.  What steps will you take?
    Be sure to include maintain support for mandatory activities, eliminating unnecessary processes, and prioritizing.
  6. What aspect of supervision do you find most difficult?
    Be careful.  If you have a number of choices to choose from, try not to choose one of the essential tasks of supervision.
  7. Tell us about your experience in negotiations.
    Use an example that provided a tangible benefit to the organization.  Tell the interview board about the tangible benefit.
  8. If you could change one aspect of the purchasing process, what would you change?
    Try to pick an aspect that is easily understood.  Provide a constructive means of changing or improving the process.
  9. Do you have anything to add?

Recommended Readings

The Executive's Guide to Supply Management Strategies: Building Supply Chain Thinking into All Business Processes, David A. Riggs, 1998

Introduction to Supply Chain Management, Robert B. Handfield, 1998

Transform Your Supply Chain : Releasing Value in Business (Smart Strategies Series), Jon Hughes, 1998