6 Definitive Category Manager Interview Tips


Once you are done writing your resume and cover letter, it is not yet time to put your feet up and relax. Instead, it is time to start practicing for your first face-to-face meeting with a potential employer. This meeting can either make or break your chances to get hired. The way you answer questions and conduct yourself can make you seem like a clear candidate or someone the hiring manager never wants to see again.

How can you ensure you make a good impression when it comes time for this question-and-answer meeting? Start by looking at basic best practices to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs. You can look at common inquiries and superb replies, and you may even be able to get tips on picking out your clothes. To get more in depth knowledge about what you need to do for a human resources position, it’s best to study specific category manager interview tips.

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Category Manager Interview Tips

Look at Possible Certifications: Having certifications related to category management can make you a more appealing applicant, but not all companies require any certifications. In fact, some companies only ask that you have a high school education. If you want to impress the interviewer, you should look at the certifications you could get in the future. Some possible certifications include Certified Purchasing Professional, Certified Supply Chain Professional, Senior Professional in Supply Management or Certified Professional Public Buyer. Discussing your goals to earn these certifications may show unique ambition.

Ask About Advancement Opportunities: Many companies have opportunities for internal growth. It is okay to ask about advancement opportunities during your initial meeting. This can make you an appealing candidate because it shows you are interested in working with the organization for a long period of time. A position as a category manager could lead to supply manager or director of materials management.

Be Decisive: According to many category manager interview tips, decision making skills are an important part of this career. Category managers may be tasked with choosing products that sell. You can showcase your decisiveness by telling stories of past decisions you have made. Quickly and accurately answering questions could also highlight this skill for hiring managers. Giving firm responses rather than wishy-washy replies can make you seem like a decisive and standout candidate.

Emphasize Analytical Abilities: Before a category manager will be able to choose a product, some analyzation will have to be done. You will likely have to be able to compare different products, set the price, choose a smart quantity and analyze how this will all work together successfully. Most employers will request some sort of proof of your analytical prowess. Consider telling a story about past experience related to this ability. You may even be able to ask your old boss or supervisor for a letter of recommendation highlighting this ability.

Explore Your Negotiating Skills: Making contracts is another big part of being a category manager. You may have to negotiate a contract between your business and a supplier. You can explore your negotiating skills by showcasing interpersonal and communication skills. You may also want to show off your self-confidence. You can exude confidence in the answers you give and the way you sit at an interview. Tell direct stories about negotiations you have had to make. Even if these are unrelated to making contracts, any experience negotiating may be seen as an advantage.

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Consider the Career Outlook: Finally, you need to consider the potential growth this type of career may have. Are you going to be learning skills that will help you succeed in related fields? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the similar occupation of buyers and purchasing agents is expected to grow slightly and slowly over the next decade. This slow growth indicates there will be a few new opportunities. As you search for jobs now, it is important you find someplace with internal growth opportunities. You may at least want to find a company that will help you with your professional development.

You need to make a good first impression during the initial meeting with the potential employer. The only way you can do that is by emphasizing the right skills and giving well-thought out responses to common questions. Review the definitive category manager interview tips to ensure you are ready for the job interview.