Every enterprise in this world operates with the intention to earn business profits. And, we all know how it is calculated. Expenses reduce profit margins and materials or purchases made by a business organization are considered as the significant elements, which form a major part of the cash outflows or these expenditures. Thus, there is a greater need to manage as well as optimize the overall expenses of the company, by hiring specialized professionals for different elements of the cost. One such professional is a Materials manager, whose primary duty is to procure, supervise and manage the material needs of the body corporate.
Since material purchase directly contributes towards the expenses of the company, a Materials Manager is an important designation in a business organization and fetches a high salary and lucrative incentives. There is tough competition for places, and thus a candidate must seriously prepare by reading some of the best interview questions, as mentioned below:
21 Best Interview Questions To Study
1. What Is Your Understanding Of The Inventory Holding Cost and How Do You Reduce It?
This question checks your knowledge and understanding of the various concepts related to the management of inventory, which in your specific case is the raw materials.
Sir, whenever an organization purchases some materials, there are several costs associated with it, such as ordering costs, carrying costs. holding costs and transportation costs. When all these costs are accumulated and combined, their total is known as inventory holding cost. It is an expense which the company has to incur, and makes the purchases expensive, which ultimately adds up to the production costs. By ordering an economic order quantity of the goods, an organization can minimize its inventory holding cost.
2. What Is The Relevance Of Preparing A Materials Budget?
This question checks whether or not you are aware of the preparation of materials budget and understand its importance in a business organization.
Sir, like every budget, a materials budget, also sets benchmarks and standards, which acts as a guiding force while making business purchases. A materials budget holds a huge relevance, as by using it, standard deviations can be calculated and responsibilities can be assigned to the managers. This makes them more accountable and enables them to adopt a measure in which they become cost-efficient.
3. Bifurcate and Name The Various Types Of Warehousing Costs.
This question checks your knowledge and understanding of the various types of warehousing costs incurred when materials are purchased and stored.
Sure, sir, These are:
- Salaries paid to the regular employees working in the warehouse, such as janitors, supervisors, security guards, etc.
- Rent of the warehousing facility
- Electricity bill
- Overhauling cost of operating machines, used inside the warehouse
4. What Is Your Understanding Of The Tendering Process?
Materials are mostly acquired by floating tenders in the open market. The participants, majorly suppliers of the materials, apply to these tenders and place bids. Usually, the supplier who has quoted the lowest bid, claims the tender and the contract.
Sir, tendering is an effective process, in which several suppliers of materials, compete and place their aggressive bids. These bids are then evaluated on several parameters, post which, the contract is assigned to the winning participant. This is referred to as the best technique for procuring large quantities of raw materials from the open market.
5. Explain The Situation In Which You Denied The Contract, Even After Obtaining The Lowest Bid.
Tendring is an effective process, but not every time, the lowest bidder claims the contract. An interviewer through this question wants to know the reasons behind such denial.
Sir, the lowest bid is not a guarantee, that the specific bidder would win the contract. There are several non-serious suppliers, who just for the sake of entering into the process, place bids that are quite low and are simply not feasible. Further, there is also a chance, that the lowest bidder, lacks the requisite work experience, or just does not have the ability to supply the quantity required. In all such cases, the bid would be rejected and the next lowest bid would be considered.
6. How Do You Deal With Inferior Quality Of Materials Supplied?
There have been instances when the materials manager is simply bribed to accept the sub-standard materials and goods. Through this question, an interviewer wants to know, about your strategy to deal with such inferior material.
Sir, there are always some parameters and checks, on the basis of which, the materials supplied are examined and evaluated. In case, any of those parameters are defeated or compromised, I straight away red flag that quantity of goods, and forthwith send a notice to the supplier, to either re-supply the goods or correct the defects contained in those materials. In case, the supplier fails to oblige, I write a letter to the senior management, to debar the supplier from taking any further part in the process.
7. When Do You Use An Item-Rate Tender?
Tenders are of two types, which are Item rate and Composite rate. Through this question, an interviewer wants to check your understanding in this regard.
Sir, unlike a composite tender, wherein the bidder has to submit a single overall bid for all the items mentioned in the tender, an item rate tender requires the bidder to enter different bids against each individual item. This type of tender is floated when the organization wants to have a quote for every single item and expects significant deviations in the items of the tender.
8. Name Any Three Best Software To Manage The Procurement Of Materials.
Technology is an important part of business organizations, and you will certainly be required to learn as well as have proficiency in some major software pertaining to your industry.
Sure, sir, these are:
- Torqus POS
- Astral Inventory Management System
- EAMbrace Inventory Management
9. How Do You Forecast The Material Needs?
This question checks your ability as well as your understanding of making effective material forecasts.
Sir, forecasting is an important need for business organizations as it not only prepares financially but also gives an extended ability to handle unexpected situations in a better way. Effective forecasting depends upon the following parameters:
- The expected growth rate of the organization
- The historical data
- The sales figures of the company
- The production values
- The missions and visions of the business organizations
10. Rate Your Communication and Drafting Skills On A Scale Of One To Five.
Material managers are required to communicate and draft business correspondences on a regular basis. Thus this is a common expectation and you must share a positive response.
Sir, I am an industry veteran and working as a materials manager for the past 4 years with a reputed business organization. Further, I have done two short-term courses in respect of business drafting, besides undertaking regular communication improvement classes online. Thus, I could assure you that I am proficient in these aspects and would like to rate myself a 4.8.
11. We All Get Inspired. What Motivates You To Work?
This is a common interview question using which an interviewer wants to know about the various motivational factors that prompt as well as stimulate you to achieve your goals and objectives while working at your workplace. These factors are inspired from your own personal financial conditions, circumstances and living situations. Try to be genuine and original.
12. Procurement Is A Hectic Process. How Do You Handle Stress?
Materials manager has to perform a variety of duties such as, identifying material needs on a consistent basis, compiling those needs and floating a tender, analysing the bids and than auperviging the selected vendor. It is a hectic process, and when done on a daily basis, leads to stress and work pressure. Thus, it is a common expectation of the every organization that you are aware of all the strategies using which you are able to manage your stress levels.
13. What Is Your Major Weakness That Could Hamper Your Working As A Materials Manager?
This is a common interview question and you would certainly witness it in almost all the interview sessions held across the world. As an ideal response, you must share a weakness, which might exist in your personality and could possibly affect your working. It is advised that you properly analyze the job description issued and try to avoid all those weaknesses that conflict with the requisite requirements.
14. How Do You Handle Project Failures?
The ability to manage failure, using some effective strategies and not let it seep through the mind, is a common expectation of the interviewers. As an ideal response, just share your strategy to handle failures in life.
15. What Is An Ideal Company Culture For You?
Through this question an interviewer wants to know, what are the qualities or attrbutes that you would like your team members to have.
16. “Quality” Is Something That We Expect From Our Employees. What Do You Infer From This Term?
This is a word-based interview question in which you are given a specific word and you requested to interpret it. :”Quality” could be interpreted in several different ways, and you are requested to share your own version with the interviewer.
17. If You Were An Animal, What Would You Choose?
This question is a master personality evaluator, and has the ability to judge your approach and attitude completely. As an ideal response to this question, you are requested to share some corporate-friendly animals with your interviewer and align some of their major attributes with the requirements of the job. This is an important interview question, and you are requested to give a perfect reply.
18. Describe Your Best Boss and Worst Boss?
Employees simply work at several business organizations and migrate in quest of better earning opportunities and a higher designation. In this professional journey, employees encounter and deal with several seniors and bosses, which guide them and supervise them. It is an established fact that not all are good and some are simply haughty, incompetent, high-handed, or dominating. Through this question, an interviewer wants to know about your best and worst bosses, which you must explain with logical reasons. This question evaluates your personality to the core and must be attended to seriously.
19. What Are Your Salary Expectations?
Through his question, an interviewer wants to know about the salary that you are expecting from the organization. As an ideal response to this question, always conduct deep scrutiny of the market or the industry to which you belong and note down all the salaries that are being paid to the professionals working in a similar capacity. This will give you a fair idea of the amount to be quoted. Protect yourself from quoting any random salary figure, as that would seriously deplete your selection chances.
20. When Can You Start Working With Us?
There is nothing technical in this question as simply a date of start is expected from you. As an ideal response always share a genuine date on or after which, you will be available to work with the company. Further, this question in no way guarantees your selection, and thus, you are advised to manage your emotions and maintain focus.
21. Please Ask Any Questions, Which You Might Have For Us?
This is the last question of every interview session and in case you have encountered it, be assured that your opportunity has now ended. Always attempt this interview question and ask a few relevant counter-questions which might be based upon your doubts and apprehensions in relation to the company. For a better understanding, you can always refer to the model questions mentioned below:
- What are the various insurances, especially related to health and life, offered by the company to its employees?
- Please share a list of all the paid leaves, offered by the company to its employees in a calendar year.
- What are the employee development programs and schemes run by the organization, for enhancing the performance of the employees?
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Sandeep Bhandari is the founder of PrepMyCareer.com website.
I am a full-time professional blogger, a digital marketer, and a trainer. I love anything related to the Web, and I try to learn new technologies every day.
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