General interview questions and answers are ten-a-penny – here’s the good stuff! If you’re a Logistics Manager, read on for the top 10 most common interview questions you’re likely to be asked (not your friend in finance) and what employers will be looking for in your answers.
First things first: Always provide specific examples (and figures, where possible)
Always provide scenario-based examples in a concise manner, making sure you answer the specific questions rather than going off on a tangent. If you are not asked for one, provide your general approach followed by an example that supports this.
The STAR framework is a tried-and-tested method of answering competency-based questions and stands for:
Situation: Set the scene and provide the necessary details.
Task: Describe what your responsibility and goals were.
Action: Describe exactly what steps you took to reach the goals.
Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.
The 10 most common Logistics Manager interview questions (and what to cover in your answers)
1. Have you dealt with performance management?
The employer will be looking for an example of where you have helped improve someone’s performance (they would rightfully be very surprised if you didn’t have an example of this kind!).
Discuss the process you took to help your team member from under-performing to meeting their targets e.g.
- What data and KPIs led to performance management?
- What methods did you use to help assist them? e.g. additional training, mentorship, motivational tools?
- How often did you analyse and catch up on their performance?
- How did you address the issues with your team member?
You may also be asked to provide an example of where somebody didn’t improve. Focus on the process you took and demonstrate awareness of why the performance management didn’t work on this occasion.
2. How have you dealt with disciplinaries?
Employers will want to understand how you managed the process from beginning to end and what the final outcome was i.e. performance management or dismissal. Try to provide an example that demonstrates a more difficult process/challenge involved e.g. a difficult personality or legal grey areas.
Many employers will want to know how you’ve dealt with unions and some may want to how you approached difficult team members or processes that stalled business-wide objectives.
Your interviewer will be looking for evidence that you have the gravitas to hold your own when dealing with disciplinaries. It’s therefore not just about what you say, but how you say it.
3. What TMS systems have you used?
There are many different Transport Management Systems that are commonly used out-of-the-box, as well as many customised or bespoke ones. Most of them have the same basic features and most employers will not insist that you have used the same TMS system.
The interviewer will look for evidence that you are able to work with their TMS quickly, so briefly describe the basic functionality of the system(s) you have worked with and any most commonly used functions. (You may be asked to elaborate on why you found particular features to be most helpful.)
4. Have you ever implemented a TMS system?
Some employers may be looking to implement a new TMS system and the job description should tell you this. The main issues you will need to cover are:
- The process – selection process, data collection/validation, testing, roll-out, training and bug-fixing
- Timescales you worked to (and if you met the go-live date)
- If you came in within budget
- If you managed to provide an ROI
5. How did you deal with difficult/challenging team members during the TMS roll-out?
This question is unlikely to be asked at tech-savvy companies. However, if you are interviewing at an organisation looking to drag its operations kicking and screaming into the 4th industrial revolution, then be prepared to answer this one.
A good answer will cover any initial challenges you met and how you got buy-in from employees to implement the roll-out.
6. Are you CPC qualified (transport)?
Most of the time, this will be a pre-qualification question as part of an early-stage video interviewing or telephone interviewing process. However, be prepared to talk about it at a face-to-face interview. It’s not always a pre-requisite, so don’t feel too much pressure.
They may be looking to obtain CPC qualifications for their drivers and be interested to hear your thoughts or you may be asked about anything you learned from the course that provided added benefit. You may also be asked whether you are willing to undertake the training (which obviously warrants a ‘yes’!)
7. Have you previously held an O’licence (Transport)
Similar to the above, this is not always a pre-requisite. If you don’t have it, be prepared to talk about any desire you have to undertake it.
8. Have you been a part of accident investigations?
Focus on what happened (i.e. the cause of the accident), any steps you took to produce evidence for insurance investigation purposes and any lessons (and therefore changes in procedures) you implemented following the accident e.g.:
- Driver behaviour telematics
- Amending shift patterns to reduce tiredness levels
- Tools to assist with driver vehicle checks/maintenance
Ideally, your answer would show that you have managed to reduce at-fault accident claims by a certain percentage.
9. Can you give an example of improving an operation?
Questions like these usually require answers that focus on costs savings or performance improvement. However, for logistics managers, the two are intrinsically linked.
Your answer could focus on:
- How you ensured full vehicle utilisation: how you identified possible problems within your operations and implemented appropriate solutions e.g. backloading/co-loading, dynamic routing, after-hours utilisation, monitoring the number of fleet vehicles being used and maximising load capacity.
- Driving behaviour improvements to improve fuel consumption and safety e.g. technology to improve speed limit adherence or reduce acceleration/braking.
- Improving SLA KPIs i.e. OTIF/improved visibility
- Safety improvements e.g. any enhanced tools for driver checks or maintenance
If you have used software tools to help implement these changes, it is a bonus. Be prepared to provide your thoughts on such software and how you implemented it (see Question 4 on TMS systems for guidance on this).
Ensure your answers provide specific savings e.g. I improved vehicle utilisation by X% or saved Y amount of miles travelled across the fleet each month.
10. Can you give an example of decreasing cost across an operation or network while still maintaining first-class delivery service?
Your answer should cover:
- How you identified which areas would reduce costs
- Which area you focused on and why: e.g. automation, different transport modes, consolidating shipments, route optimisation, etc.
- The tools and process you used to implement the change
- How you identified and mitigated potential impacts on service
- What was the overall outcome?
Make sure you include timeframes and figures – costs, KPIs & SLAs – and what the overall outcome was. If the outcome wasn’t successful, what learnings did you take from it?
Dealing with culture fit questions
You’re likely to be asked a number of culture-fit questions, such as:
- How do you perceive your management/leadership style?
- How do you like to be managed?
- How would your team describe you?
With these questions, remember that there is no right or wrong answer. The interview is to establish whether there is a culture fit (or culture add) for both parties. One piece of advice, though:
Avoid buzzwords! Phrases like ‘firm but fair’ (in answer to your management style) don’t tell the interviewer very much as what that means is very much open to interpretation. Always expand and always give a real-life example.