The rise of e-commerce and online shopping is leading to more companies needing warehouse employees, whether they move their own goods or are helping a lot of smaller companies get products to customers.
If you’re like most people, you love it when you order something online and the right product arrives at the right time. You’re also probably annoyed when things are wrong or late. Warehouse workers are the teams that ensure those orders arrive as intended, making all of our lives better.
So, if you’re seeking new opportunities in the space and want to get involved in a growing career field, you’ll want to prepare for interviews. While the exact questions you get will be slightly different, here are six of the more likely things you’ll ask about, a little bit on why people ask these, and some tips to help you answer more effectively.
Q1. What are some examples from your life or past work experience where you had to use your people skills?
This might come as a surprise, but some of the most valuable skills you can have in a warehouse are those related to other people. In a warehouse, you’ll be interacting with a diverse group of people who have their own sets of skills, backgrounds, preferences, and habits.
Everyone needs to get along, and this includes times when someone’s work may be incorrect, and this has to be discussed in a constructive way.
Tell the interviewer about your experiences in a work setting with different groups, especially if you were on teams with different jobs and skill levels or a mix of managers and regular staff. Talk about how you deal with problems or how you respond to criticism. Keep things positive but always be honest because you want to land a job where you’re happy.
Q2. Tell us about a time you were involved in a safety-related situation
No employer wants an accident to happen in their warehouse, but something will likely occur during your career. When there’s an accident, the most important thing to note is how people respond.
Talk about any safety situation and your response. Discuss what you did at the time and why — it’s especially important if you were following specific procedures. You’ll also want to discuss what the situation taught you and how you responded. Even if someone else caused the incident, you likely learned something valuable. This might be how to avoid them in that situation or how to keep it from happening to you.
Q3. Do you consider details important? Why?
Warehouses thrive on the accuracy of the tasks you perform. When you pick up objects and products for orders, pack them, or when you unload a truck and put things away, everything needs to be accounted for and properly stored. Accuracy — which often means scanning every single item but may also include noticing when a product or something else doesn’t look quite right — is always important to your employer.
For you, accuracy in your warehouse activities is also often tied to your performance evaluations and the bonuses you can receive.
Talk about something that you enjoy doing and are able to execute accurately, whether or not it’s work-related. You might’ve managed inventory counting at your last job or you could have a hobby that requires intense concentration to make things “just right.” Lead with examples like these.
Q4. Tell me about any certifications or training you’ve received
Many warehouses use a variety of equipment and technology to run their daily operations. These range from forklifts and trucks to smartphones, databases, spreadsheets, and barcode scanners. A potential employer will want to see if you have the necessary qualifications to do the jobs they need.
Discuss formal education as well as any skills and certifications that you have. If you don’t have this kind of training, let the interviewer know about a time you learned something new on-the-job. Willingness to learn is a big boost in a warehouse as well as almost any other job you may have in your life.
Q5. We receive a lot of goods, quickly. Can you handle long hours and a fast-paced environment?
Working in a warehouse can be demanding. You’ve got to keep up with the flow of product because that’s how you’ll be evaluated. The best thing to do is discuss physically demanding work you’ve done in the past or areas where you had to think quickly on your feet.
If you have warehouse experience, you can also tell the interviewer about how you were able to work within your past environment or improve it. This can touch on things like having learned how to drive a forklift, working with management to change how products were positioned, or your general stocking and inventory experience.
You don’t need to have made specific changes to a warehouse to have a good answer. Learning and adapting to recent technology or strategies is great here too. It’s unlikely you’ll change how your new warehouse does things, but a willingness to learn those practices is great.
Q6. Why do you want to work here?
When employers ask you questions like this, they want to see what you know about the position and the company. You should understand that a warehouse job can be long hours, on your feet, and involves repetitive tasks where accuracy is important. They also want to know why you chose that specific company.
Look for resources that the warehouse owner has on their website or on sites like TheJobNetwork. Tie your preferences and the things you like back specifically to the company in question.
For example, at Red Stag Fulfillment, we have a specific commitment to accuracy for our customers. Our warehouse workers make that promise possible, so we reward for accuracy through our bonus structure.
Before every interview, visit the company’s career page. You’ll learn about their values and general attitude as well as the position. Your next employer wants you to be a good fit and to be happy at work — follow these guidelines, and we’re sure you’ll find the perfect career.
About The Author:
Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an e-commerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of e-commerce. He has years of experience in e-commerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.