Warehouse Managers play a key role in the overall operations of your company. They are responsible for receiving, storing, and distributing your goods in an efficient and timely manner. Any breakdown in warehouse functions can result in order returns or cancellations, missed sales targets by your account team, and damage to your company’s reputation among your customers and suppliers.
A qualified candidate will bring a deep knowledge of all warehouse management functions as well as strong leadership skills to maximize warehouse team productivity. Look for a Warehouse Manager who possesses the good judgment to evaluate current warehouse systems and make valuable recommendations for improvement. Technical skills to operate and maintain equipment, ensure premises security, and run all warehouse management software are essential.
General interview questions (such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” and “Why are you looking for another job?”) are a great way to get to know your candidate’s personal history, interests and goals. However, be sure to add inquiries specific to the role they’re interviewing for, so you can gain valuable insights into their likelihood of success in that position.
Below are Warehouse Manager interview questions to help you get started:
What is your management style?
What you want to hear: A Warehouse Manager is responsible for ensuring maximum productivity from the warehouse team. Listen for a candidate who can outline specific ways they work with team members on an individual and group basis. For example, a strong candidate might say, “As a manager, I maintain an open door policy. I ask my team to communicate freely about how I can help them do their job better. I want to know if they have a grievance with a coworker, need additional resources, are unhappy with their compensation, or any other issue that could affect their morale or performance. I listen attentively and then take all steps within my authority to address problems or concerns.”
How do you utilize technology in the management of a warehouse?
What you want to hear: A qualified candidate will provide an enthusiastic response to this question. Listen for a candidate who will discuss the importance of technology for automation of basic warehouse functions such as order processing and inventory control. What warehouse management systems are they familiar with? They should name software like TECSYS, Robocom, or 4SIGHT. You also want to know how your candidate stays up to date on new advancements in technology that will further bolster their team’s productivity.
Red flag: A Warehouse Manager who lacks experience with warehouse management systems, or shows little interest in staying abreast of technology advancements, is waving a red flag. You can expect less than optimal individual and team productivity, higher error rates in inventory management and order fulfillment, and greater customer dissatisfaction.
Tell me about an initiative you designed and implemented to improve efficiency or productivity in a warehouse.
What you want to hear: An excellent Warehouse Manager is constantly evaluating current processes and systems for areas of improvement. They may look at floor space layouts, warehouse management systems, employee performance goals, warehouse equipment and vehicles, order fulfillment procedures, and the like. Listen for a candidate who reveals the capacity and judgment to identify issues and design a solution for improvement. What initiative did they take to present their plan to management for approval, and how did they handle implementation? What was the measurable outcome of their efforts?
Red flag: A candidate who appears to be content to operate with the status quo is not bringing optimal value to the role of Warehouse Manager. Failure to challenge processes and systems can result in your company falling behind competitors when it comes to speed, accuracy, and cost of operations.
How do you manage staffing needs during periods of heavier-than-normal activity?
What you want to hear: Experienced Warehouse Managers understand that warehouse activity can fluctuate based on a number of factors such as holiday season, special sales, or new products. These fluctuations require a well-thought-out plan for increasing or decreasing warehouse staff depending on the volume of activity. A strong candidate will discuss specific techniques they use to meet this challenge, such as reviewing calendars for upcoming holidays, meeting with executive teams to learn about new product release schedules, noting major product sale dates, and maintaining relationships with part-time staffing agencies.
Red flag: A Warehouse Manager who lacks a staffing plan is a high risk for major productivity failures. In periods of high activity you can expect incorrect or late shipments, an increase in overtime for current workers, damaging customer dissatisfaction, and loss of company reputation.
How do you work under pressure and tight deadlines?
What you want to hear: Warehouse management is all about meeting deadlines. Goods must be received on a schedule, inventoried on time, and shipped according to order commitments. It is the Warehouse Manager’s responsibility to ensure that all functions in the warehouse are optimized to meet every deadline in the process. Listen for a candidate who can readily explain the steps they take to ensure compliance such as proper role assignment, effective task delegation, accurate staffing plans, stellar team communication, and utilization of technology for time and process management.
What interests you about working for our company?
What you want to hear: Not all warehouses are created equal. There are different types of warehouses requiring different warehouse management skill sets. The question is an opportunity for you to assess how well your candidate prepared for the interview by reviewing all public information about your company. Are they interested in your company because of the products you sell? Are they looking to manage a high or low volume warehouse? Does their background match your type of warehouse? For example, is your candidate coming from a private warehouse and looking for another private warehouse, or did they work in the same type of bonded storage as your company?
Every interview question can help get you closer to the right fit for your Warehouse Manager position.
Be sure to keep an eye out for candidates who:
- Understand all aspects of warehouse management
- Are confident and effective leaders
- Thrive in operating under pressure and tight deadlines