How to perform at a procurement interview

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Most companies want to see that you have a genuine interest in working for their business. You need to show you know about their business and the markets they operate in. This information is easy to find, so there is no excuse to not research the business and a lack of knowledge can immediately rule you out of the process.

The company website, investor website and LinkedIn are all good sources of information. You won’t be expected to remember everything but remembering the key information shows you have done your homework. 
 

Prepare

In addition to researching the company, look over the job specification and job advert. What exactly is the business looking for and how does your CV match these needs? For example, be prepared to highlight your language skills if the role has an international remit or if you are asked about your procurement qualifications look to discuss the expertise. Although you won’t know exactly what is going to be asked, there are some typical standard questions that are likely to be covered. You should prepare to talk around your career history, your strengths and weaknesses and why you want the job. 

Good preparation also includes making sure you get to the interview in time and dress smartly – it all helps to demonstrate you really want the job. If your interview has come through a job agency, use their knowledge and relationship with the business to your advantage to see how you can best prepare.

Demonstrate examples of success

Good preparation also includes making sure you get to the interview in time and dress smartly – it all helps to demonstrate you really want the job.

Your CV is a concise document, so there are relevant skills and experience you will want to elaborate on face-to-face. Before going into the interview, think about your key skills and how they match up to the job specification. During the interview, try not to waffle and use too many buzz words and instead discuss your experiences and how they demonstrate relevant skills for the roles.

Businesses are looking for someone they are confident can be a success in the role - what better way of showing this then by giving precise examples? So think about your biggest achievements, maybe you implemented a green procurement strategy which achieved long-term cost benefits or reduced the supply chain costs by 20% through supplier negotiation.

Be positive 

Though lots of people get nervous at interviews, it’s important to be positive - remember the business already sees something in you. Try to develop a good rapport with the interviewer and be polite to everyone you meet. Remember your interviewer is trying to see if you could fit into their organisation so they don’t want to hear you talking about your current boss or colleagues in a negative way. Finally clarify anything you are unsure of - if there’s a question you are not entirely sure what the interviewer means its better to ask than to waffle on or even give the wrong answer. 

If you remember all these points when preparing for an interview then you can feel confident you will perform as best as you can on the day. If you don’t get the job, don’t be too disappointed – sometimes there is just someone that is a better fit than you. Remember each interview gives you experience and better prepares you for next time.

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