Warehouse Manager Interview Questions
A warehouse manager supervises warehouse staff as well as oversees ingoing and outgoing inventory. They typically handle all personnel matters in the warehouse, including hiring new workers and firing those who do not meet company standards.
Employee shift scheduling is also handled by the warehouse manager. In addition, they ensure workplace safety standards are known and maintained by all personnel employed at the warehouse.
A warehouse manager’s responsibilities include:
- Managing personnel on a shift-to-shift basis
- Keeping detailed records of incoming and outgoing inventory
- Handling the hiring process for new employees
- Scheduling shifts and employees to man them
- Ensuring workplace safety standards are adhered to
A warehouse manager’s skills include:
- Knowledge of current industry software systems
- The ability to delegate tasks and manage employees
- Experience with record keeping and tracking inventory
- Appropriate IT and technical skill to maintain records and troubleshoot inventory issues
A high school diploma or GED is required for a job as a warehouse manager. Several years of warehouse experience is required, particularly in a supervisory role. Applicants are also required to have good communication and mediation skills as well as problem-solving skills to deal with issues as they come up.
Salaries for warehouse managers range between $64K and $85K with the median being $115K.
Factors impacting the salary you receive as a warehouse manager include:
- Degrees (associate's, bachelor's, master's)
- Size and Type of the Organization
- Reporting Structure (seniority of the manager or supervisor you report to)
- Type of Materials Managed
- Level of Performance - exceeding expectations, etc.
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Warehouse Manager Interview Questions
Question: Of all the places you could work, why did you choose to apply to our company?
Explanation: This is a general question which the interviewer will ask early in the interview to begin the conversation, collect some information about you, and learn more about your background. This provides you the opportunity to drive the interview toward an area you are comfortable with and are able to answer the questions you will likely be asked.
Example: “I chose to interview with this company because of the materials you manage, the operations you conduct, and your general logistics align well with my previous experience. I’ve also heard many good things about the organization from both current and former employees. Finally, I did a great deal of research, and I learned you are a leader in the industry and an innovator. This is exactly the type of organization I’m interested in working with, using my skills and experience to contribute to your continued success.”
Question: Can you provide an overview of your general responsibilities in your previous warehouse position?
Explanation: This question may seem redundant since you provided this information in your resume, which was why you were invited to the interview. During an interview, you will be expected to review your resume and expand on the information in it. It is a good idea to carry several copies of your resume to the interview for both the people interviewing you and so you can use it as a reference when answering this type of question.
Example: “In my previous positions, I’ve had several different responsibilities which include managing the overall operations of the warehouse, recruiting, hiring, and developing the employees, reviewing and selecting warehouse equipment and technologies, and providing timely and accurate updates about the warehouse operations to senior management. I also performed ad-hoc duties, including representing the company at industry conferences, being part of the management team which reviewed the entire company’s operations, and meeting with customers to discuss the services we provide.”
Question: What steps do you take to keep your professional knowledge about warehouse logistics updated?
Explanation: The warehouse and logistics industry is continually evolving and developing new techniques. Much of this is due to the rapid expansion of online shopping and the growth of international trade. Staying current with these developments is the responsibility of the warehouse manager. You should have a specific plan for achieving this and be able to describe it to the interviewer.
Example: “It is hard to imagine how much the warehouse management industry has changed over the last 20 years. Not only have the volumes grown, but the technology used in warehouses has evolved rapidly. Another change is related to the new products and materials we manage. Staying up to date on this is a challenging task. I do so by reading logistics publications and online information, attending industry events and meeting with vendors to exhibit there, and networking with my peers to understand what developments they are incorporating into their operations.”
Question: Can you discuss what unique methods you would use to manage the kinds of materials we handle?
Explanation: This is a follow-up to the previous question. During an interview, you can anticipate follow-up questions whenever you provide an answer. This indicates the interviewer has a specific interest in this topic or wants to explore it in more detail. By keeping your answers brief and to the point, you encourage follow-up questions.
Example: “Fortunately, I have a great deal of experience managing the type of materials your organization deals with. I would take advantage of custom racks and storage bins which make handling the materials easier. I would also use standard forklifts, carts, dollies, and other equipment to move the materials safely and efficiently. Finally, I would use logistics software to manage the inventory and understand where each piece of material was at any given time.”
Question: Do you have direct experience maintaining warehouse equipment and the overall condition of a warehouse?
Explanation: This is another question which may surprise you since your resume details the experience you have had. However, interviewers will ask these types of questions throughout the interview to calibrate the information you have provided and ensure your answers are consistent. Try not to be frustrated by this, but rather continue to answer the questions calmly and professionally throughout the interview.
Example: “I have a great deal of experience maintaining warehouse equipment and keeping the overall condition of the warehouse up to standards. My career began as a materials handler which included not only operating equipment but maintaining it as well. As I progressed to supervisory and then management roles, I continued to be hands-on to maintain my knowledge of how the equipment functioned. I take great pride in maintaining a safe, clean, and functional warehouse. The time my staff puts into accomplishing this pays dividends when it comes to moving the materials around the warehouse safely and efficiently.”
Question: How would you go about hiring additional temporary staff to handle an upsurge in shipments?
Explanation: Warehouse operations have ebbs and flows. As a warehouse manager, it is your job to plan for them and be able to have the resources necessary to react to both increases and decreases in activity. By asking this question, the interviewer seeks to understand how you go about accomplishing this and reacting to changes that may occur.
Example: “While I try to maintain an operation as consistant as possible, there are inevitably unexpected increases in activity due to seasonal shifts, new clients, and other events. I accommodate them by maintaining a small surplus of material-moving equipment and supplies and by being able to hire temporary workers when needed. I develop and nurture relationships with temp agencies so that when I need workers, they are ready and have a portfolio of individuals I can choose from. I even go as far as giving tours of our facility to temp agency personnel so they can understand our operations and better qualify the people they recommend to us.”
Question: What methods do you use to schedule employee shifts?
Explanation: Scheduling employee shifts is a critical role for any warehouse manager. While this may seem simple, there are some complexities involved which are based on how well the employees relate to each other, the talents each employee has and can bring to the job, and ensuring employees have enough work but are not overtaxed.
Example: “When scheduling employee work shifts, the first consideration is the skills of each employee. I make sure every shift has the right team of employees with the necessary supervisory, logistics, and material-moving skills. I also make sure each employee’s schedule is on the shift they are comfortable with and aligns with their personal life. Finally, I look at the entire schedule to make sure the employees are compatible with each other and there are no known conflicts between them.”
Question: How do you communicate both achievements and issues to the organization’s management?
Explanation: This is another follow-up question. It refers back to an answer you gave at the beginning of the interview about your general roles and responsibilities as a warehouse manager. Follow-up questions can occur at any time during the interview. They help the interviewer explore the topic in more detail and also serve to ensure your answers are consistent throughout the interview. Telling the truth and answering questions consistently will help you be successful during an interview.
Example: “I have learned that keeping management apprised of the warehouse operations is a critical function of this role. The information I share with them includes our achievements, the status of the operations, and any issues we have encountered which may impede our operations. I generally do this in writing with regular reports. However, when necessary, I will contact a member of the management team by phone or in-person to alert them of an impending issue and request their assistance in resolving it.”
Question: What warehouse management systems and other technologies are you experienced working with?
Explanation: This is an operational question. Operational questions seek to understand how you go about doing your job. As a warehouse manager, you should anticipate that the majority of questions you will be asked will be operational. The best way to respond to them is brief and to the point. The interviewer will ask a follow-up question if they need more information or want to explore the topic in more detail.
Example: “Throughout my career, I have used several different warehouse management systems. Early on, they were mostly manual and involved spreadsheets such as Excel. However, as the industry has developed, more specific tools have been made available. The ones I’ve worked with and am most familiar with include Shipwell, GroundCloud, Rose Rocket, and FreightPOP. Each of these does a good job and has unique features and benefits. I prefer Shipwell, which I believe is the one you are currently using. It’s real-time data and machine-learning capabilities help reduce waste and identify areas for improvement in our system.”
Question: Based on your experience and studies of the logistics industry, what changes are you anticipating in the warehouse industry in the next few years?
Explanation: This is another follow-up question to your answer about how you keep up to date on the warehouse and logistics industry. The best way to prepare for an interview and anticipate the questions you will be asked is to do a thorough job researching the company you are interviewing with before the interview. Knowing about their operations, the technology they use, and their position in the industry will help you align your answers and better qualify you for the position for which you are interviewing. You can answer this question by identifying developments you may have learned the organization is considering implementing in their operations.
Example: “One of the reasons I enjoy this job is the challenges it presents from changes in the industry. These are based on developments in technology, international trade, regulations, and other issues impacting supply chains. The developments I am most excited about include virtual warehousing, artificial intelligence, alternative shipping methods, and developments in material packaging and handling equipment.”
Additional Warehouse Manager Interview Questions
What methods do you use to motivate your employees?
Describe your managerial style.
How do you brief new employees on safety standards?
How do you ensure employees are trained properly in the use of warehouse equipment and machinery?
What is the largest number of employees you’ve had to manage? Was this a considerable challenge for you?
How do you handle conflict between two or more employees?
How do you handle conflict between yourself and an employee?
How would you positively motivate an underperforming employee?
How would you handle discrepancies in your inventory?
What would you do to increase efficiency in a warehouse setting?
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