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Procurement Competency Based Questions

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More and more employers are now using competency or behavioural interview techniques which attempts to predict future behaviour based on your past behaviour in a similar situation.


If you are unfamiliar with this questioning technique you can be easily thrown in an interview situation and not perform to the best of your ability so here we aim to break down the procurement function into the types of competencies you may be asked to demonstrate and we have included some typical questions you might face.

Best Practice Procurement

  • Understand procurement processes and strategic sourcing methodology and how they ensure the effectiveness and harmonisation of procurement working methods

  • Apply methodology and procurement processes in his/her activities, understanding the formal steps of the best practice procurement

  • Identify areas for improvement related to the methodology and procurement processes

  • Pass on and exchange historical deliverables between team members and work together with experts on cross-functional and cross-departmental solutions and processes

  • Re-engineer processes using procurement processes and methodology knowledge

Supporting questions

Describe what steps you have taken to ensure your organisation follows best practice procurement.

- What Impact has this had on the business?

- How do you measure these results?

- What plans do you have in place for further development?

Tell me about a time when you have had to implement a new corporate-wide procurement change programme in the organisation.

- What were the concerns that you had to address?

- What steps did you take when developing the programme?

- What has been the result?

Cost Reduction Delivery

  • Demonstrate multiple cost reduction examples (not just unit price reduction)

  • Understand the principles of TCO and use them as part of cost management contributions

  • Establish meaningful metrics to measure sourcing cost management contributions

  • Ability to utilise or develop cost savings tracking tools and pipeline opportunities

  • Establish cost reduction verification approvals

Supporting questions

Who in your business sets the cost reduction strategies and what metrics do you use to measure sourcing cost management contributions? Tell me about a recent cost reduction initiative you have been through and how you delivered it?

What do you understand by TCO?

Tell me about a time when you have factored it in as part of a cost reduction exercise.

- What was the result?

Category / Commodity Management

  • Gain an in-depth knowledge of specialist supply category(s)

  • Possess a broad understanding of the supply market and key market players within each category(s)

  • Provides subject matter expertise to the business

  • Able to appropriately prioritise category/commodity management relevant to key business drivers

Supporting questions

How do you stay abreast of the supply market?

How do you ensure you are seen as an expert in the commodity / category that has been outside of your day-to-day activities?

What steps did you go through?

How did you measure the success of this work?

For more career advice on competency based questions related to the following Procurement areas, view our PDF:

  • Stakeholder management
  • Strategic sourcing
  • Supplier selection
  • Bids and tenders
  • Negotiation
  • Contract management
  • Supplier relationship management
  • Process/systems awareness
  • International procurement
  • Managing the procurement function

Read more here

Online career skills for CIPS members

Hays Journal - Issue 11

Hays Global Skills Index 2016

Hays Procurement & Supply Chain Salary Guide 2015