Warehouse operations managers have the important and often difficult job of hiring new employees. Finding and retaining qualified workers was the biggest warehouse management challenge cited by respondents in a report from Logistics Management, a logistics and transportation magazine.
Asking the right warehouse job interview questions can help you qualify a candidate’s experience, soft skills and ability to contribute to your company’s culture. In addition to asking the right questions, we’ve provided some tips on how to analyze answers to broaden your applicant pool.
10 Warehouse Interview Questions
Why do you want to work in a warehouse?
Ask this question to gauge a job candidate’s interest in your warehouse position. Are they eager to start a warehouse career, or do they mainly seem interested in the position’s pay and benefits? While someone interested in a warehouse career may be a better long-term fit for the company, there are many great candidates who are simply seeking to start work.
You’ll need to identify the traits that are most important for the warehouse role, be it problem-solving skills, speed, collaboration, attitude, or attention to detail. The candidate’s answer to this question could indicate whether they’re looking for a job or a career, along with other signs they’ll be a good fit. Leading with this question gives you a broad overview of the candidate’s work philosophy, and may lead to follow-up questions to gauge alignment with the warehouse role.
What made you interested in our company?
This is a great question to see which applicants did research beforehand and which ones did not. If an applicant specifically mentions company values or something on the website, they likely took the time to learn about your company. If someone fumbles through this question with a generic answer, they probably didn’t do any research about your company before the interview.
Though this isn’t necessarily a disqualifying question, it shows how serious the candidate is about the role. One-click job applications have streamlined the job-search process, and the candidate may have applied to dozens of jobs without much additional research. An answer that reveals knowledge about your company’s mission is a good indication of a serious candidate. This is also a good opportunity to ensure the candidate’s values align with that of the company.
Can you perform the essential requirements of this job with or without accommodation?
You’ll need to be careful when asking questions about the essential responsibilities of a role because many qualifying questions are illegal. Questions that appear to be discriminatory could get you into legal trouble. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), discriminatory questions generally involve:
- Equal pay/compensation
- National origin
Warehouse work often has physical requirements, but employers should make accommodations to ensure they’re hiring inclusively. Each role has different physical and skill requirements, so you’ll have to decide which parts of a job can be accommodated and which are crucial. For example, if a job requires a worker to lift 75 pounds once or twice a week, that part of the job could be accommodated without impacting the employee’s overall job function.
Can you tell me about your experience working in warehouses or similar environments?
Use this question to learn if an applicant has relevant experience. While past warehouse experience is ideal, some applicants may have worked in a similar environment or at least have transferable skills. For example, have they operated heavy machinery? Have they worked in logistics or transportation? Experience in these areas may be relevant.
Depending on the demands of the position, a lack of experience in warehouse work may not be a deal breaker, as many warehouse skills are trainable onsite. If a candidate lacks a required certificate or skill, consider giving your new employee a window of time to learn and gain certifications.
How have you ensured warehouse safety in past positions?
Warehouse safety is critical. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists multiple warehousing hazards and accompanying solutions. Some of the hazards OSHA lists have to do with forklifts, docks, conveyors, materials storage and handling, communication, and poor ergonomics. You can use this warehouse job interview question to see if a candidate has been mindful of these hazards. Also encourage the candidate to share any awards or recognition for safe work practice they’ve received in past positions.
If the candidate doesn’t have warehouse experience, ask the candidate, “Why do you think safety is important in a warehouse environment?” This will be a good opportunity to gauge the candidate’s judgment and set expectations for the role.
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Can you tell me about your experience with inventory management software or data entry?
This is a great warehouse interview question to ask if you need to fill a position that requires inventory management software or data entry experience. If you don’t need someone with this experience, tailor the question to ask about a candidate’s experience in another area, such as forklift operation or conveyor inspections.
As with question 4 above, lacking experience here isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. Keep an open mind with candidates that haven’t used inventory management software or data entry, since these are trainable skills.
How do you stay organized?
Jobs in the warehousing and storage industry often involve logistics such as inventory management, order entry and fulfillment, labeling, price marking, and arranging transportation, the BLS reports. Organization is essential to performing these duties. Use this warehouse interview question to learn how an applicant stays organized. If you want more detail, follow up by asking what specific strategies they’ve used in past jobs, or their personal life, to stay organized. Additionally, organization is a strong indicator of their potential ability to manage their time.
Time management is beneficial when balancing warehouse duties such as completing orders for delivery and tracking shipment departure and arrival times. While someone is unlikely to admit they’re late to everything or struggle to meet a deadline, listen for specific strategies or tactics the candidate uses to manage their time. If they don’t mention any, feel free to follow up by asking them to give specific examples of how they’ve managed their time in past jobs.
Can you tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem and how you approached the situation?
Use this warehouse job interview question to learn about a job candidate’s problem-solving skills. Their example may be about a misunderstanding, an issue at a past job or a mistake they made. The main thing to evaluate is how they assessed and addressed the problem. Did they exhibit creativity and resourcefulness in solving the problem? Were they able to pivot and make the most out of the situation?
This also applies to interpersonal conflict management, as well. If the candidate’s problem example involves a conflict with another employee, be sure to follow up with some questions about their philosophy on teamwork and conflict resolution. Conflicts and disagreements are inevitable, but how they’re dealt with says a lot about a candidate’s judgment and ability to work with a team. Do you feel like they dealt with the situation properly? Were they professional about explaining the disagreement, or did they have a negative tone?
What are your long-term career goals?
Learning about a candidate’s long-term goals may help you gauge how long they’d stay in the position or with the company. For example, if a candidate has warehousing and logistics leadership aspirations, they’re likely to stick around longer than someone without these long-term goals. This warehouse interview question will also help you understand a candidate’s career motivations. Understanding what motivates your employees can help reduce turnover.
Why do you think we should hire you for this position?
This question enables the candidate to directly speak to their strengths and qualifications. It also gives them an opportunity to mention any relevant skills or experience that didn’t surface during the interview. Pay attention to the candidate’s confidence and passion when they answer this question.
Like the first question mentioned above, this question is broad and open-ended, which gives the candidate an opportunity to show what sets them apart.
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Need help with warehouse staffing? At TERRA Staffing Group, we don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to warehouse recruitment. Find one our branches today to let us know what staffing needs we can assist you with.