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Why this matters:

Warehouse management practices vary from company to company, so knowing what expertise candidates have coming in can help you plan training for your new hire. Past experience using specific tools or software may not be necessary, though you’ll want to hear about experiences indicating the candidate is capable of following standard procedures and willing to learn.

What to listen for:

  • Understanding of the importance of strong inventory recordkeeping practices
  • Training and experience with warehouse management software
  • Use of inventory management processes like cycle counting or ABC analysis

Why this matters:

Making trade-offs between space and material handling is a constant balancing act for warehouse managers. This question assesses how a candidate thinks about organizing floor space and vertical areas to maximize labor, provide sufficient space for equipment like forklifts, ensure accessibility to all items, and maintain security.

What to listen for:

  • Strategies like setting aside a designated picking area or creating large unloading zones
  • Knowledge of common I, L, and U shaped warehouse layouts
  • Adherence to layout optimization processes like mapping, measuring, and testing

Why this matters:

Proactive thinking and problem-solving are two standout qualities for warehouse managers. Optimizing the picking process is done on a regular basis to keep workers happy, productivity up, and costs low. Candidates with knowledge of system-directed pick and putaway technology can help modernize your processes with automated routing, reduced wear and tear on your equipment, and decreased labor costs.

What to listen for:

  • Experience initiating, coordinating, and enforcing optimal operational procedures
  • Knowledge of batch, wave, cluster, piece, zone, and sortation picking strategies
  • Critical thinking skills and a strong desire to contribute to problem-solving

Why this matters:

As warehouse inventory theft most commonly stems from internal team members, you’ll need a warehouse manager you can trust to minimize unnecessary shrinkage. Lack of supervision, financial stress, and perceived lack of respect or reward are common reasons for warehouse employee theft. Ideal candidates are not only vigilant, but also approachable and committed to team-building that fosters goodwill.

What to listen for:

  • Experience implementing background checks or surveillance security solutions
  • Past use of communication and leadership skills to watch over and mentor employees
  • History of organizing inventory and layout to minimize ways of hiding fraudulent activity

Why this matters:

In recruiting for a management role, you’re looking for a leader who can help the company meet key metrics for efficiency and growth. While electronic data interchange has long been a standard, automated programming interface integration is an emerging trend that can have a great impact on warehouse operations. Candidates should be able to discuss steps they’ve taken to improve efficiency through automation.

What to listen for:

  • Analytical skills with curiosity about warehouse operations bottlenecks
  • Experience proposing and implementing automation upgrades to improve operations
  • Processes to keep up to date with the latest industry advances and technologies

Why this matters:

Top-notch warehouse managers know how to leverage all the resources at their disposal to run operations as efficiently as possible. They also have a keen sense for how to best manage people and processes to achieve high levels of productivity. This requires a high-level outlook with a laser-focus on the details. While there’s no right or wrong answer, you’ll get a sense of the candidate’s self-perception and values.

What to listen for:

  • Experiences that reflect process analysis and streamlining
  • Specific examples of working with leadership to gauge business goals
  • Use of independent thinking and teamwork to accomplish tasks

Why this matters:

Warehouse managers oversee teams of highly specialized employees, making it difficult to replace gaps in the workforce at a moment’s notice. Candidates should not only have a positive attitude that is pleasant to work with, but they should also have contingency plans such as training employees in more than one job. Team players with excellent communication skills and a safety-minded approach can keep business moving.

What to listen for:

  • Thoughtful ideas about hiring, cross-training, and recruiting
  • Safety focus to prevent overuse injuries, workplace accidents, and long absences
  • Commitment to team communication to maintain project momentum

Why this matters:

Handling sensitive issues is all in a day’s work for a warehouse manager overseeing a large team of employees. Candidates should feel comfortable asking questions to determine why a worker’s productivity has gone down. Empathy and compassion are vital to the role, as is good judgment to determine a productive course of action.

What to listen for:

  • Experience overseeing employee performance improvement plans
  • Active listening skills, empathy, and compassion to get to the bottom of the situation
  • Solutions such as mentoring, training, reskilling, or offering leave of absence

Why this matters:

This question tests your candidate’s values, objectives, and inherent talents. Are they intrinsically motivated? Was there something in warehousing that spoke to a natural gift, like a talent for leading people, organizing goods, or taking inventory? Knowing more about your candidates’ motivations can help you determine whether the open role would be a good fit.

What to listen for:

  • Genuine interest in logistics, data, supply chain management, and customer satisfaction
  • Desire to contribute value to an employer by helping achieve fulfillment and growth goals
  • Personal experiences or skills that complement role requirements
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