Except of a current forklift license, you do not really need any higher education, or skills, to get a job in a warehouse. Production is booming in many countries, and companies struggle to find new warehouse workers. Some companies go as far as hiring people without forklift license, and paying them to get a one, before they will start the actual job.
However, though struggling with labor, they won’t employ just anyone. You will have to show some motivation in your interview, right attitude to work and to your colleagues, and also an ability to handle the job. Let’s have a look at some questions they will ask you, and how you should answer each question.
Why do you want to work here?
You should say something good about the company. The interviewers should not feel that this is your last option, or that you apply just because you need any kind of a job (and do not really care about your future place of work).
You can refer to a recommendation from a friend who works in the company (or directly in the warehouse), saying that they praised the working environment and conditions.
Or you can point out a good location of the place (good traffic connection for you), suitable working hours (no night shifts, or only night shifts, whatever you prefer), or something else (good reputation of the company, employee benefits, etc).
Tell us something about your previous working experience
Focus mostly on relevant experience–from the warehouse, or other positions you had in factories, logistics centers, etc. Explain your principal duties and responsibilities, what you did on a daily basis. Try to speak nicely about your former jobs. They should feel that you enjoy working (at least somehow), and do not wake up and go to work just because you have to pay bills.
If this is your first job application, say that you are a quick learner, and eager to start your professional career. Tell them that you are confident to handle the job, after initial training.
How do you imagine a typical day in work?
Jobs in warehouses are always similar, but be sure to read the job description carefully, and notice the principal duties you’ll respond for.
Show them that you did your homework, and that you like to be busy in work. Principally you’ll respond for receiving and processing incoming stock and materials, picking and filling orders from stock, or managing, organizing and retrieving stock.
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How long have you been driving forklifts? Did you have any accidents?
Be honest–they will find out about your accidents during a reference check with your past employer (something they may do, depending mostly on how well you do in your interview, and the standard company policies regarding new hires).
When you are just starting, or have just got your license, say that you did well in the course, and look forward to apply your skills in a real warehouse environment. If you have a car driving license and drive a lot, you can also mention it. In any case, say that you are a cautious driver, and always follow the safety rules when operating a forklift.
Special Tip: Download the full list of questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later (even offline):
How do you feel about working in the night?
When they ask this question it means that certainly some workers do the night shifts in the warehouse. You should say them that you can maintain your concentration in the night, and do not struggle with night shifts.
Of course you can also refuse to work in the night, but in such a case they won’t hire you (shift rotation is important and it would be impossible to manage the labor effectively if some workers accepted night shifts and some others did not).
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Are you a team player?
Unless employed in a very small warehouse, you will typically work with some colleagues on shift. The number can range from two to twenty, and it really depends on the size and organization of the place.
Nevertheless, you will always be a part of a team, and you should say that you enjoy teamwork, and will try your best to cooperate effectively with your colleagues.
Describe a conflict you had with one of your colleagues, in your last job.
Speak in a calm voice, and do not get carried away by your emotions. Conflicts belong to every workplace, and you should try to show the right attitude to them.
You can even describe a conflict situation when you were wrong, admitting your mistake, saying that your colleague was right. This attitude will impress most hiring managers. In any case, you should say that conflict did not have a negative impact on your relationship with that particular colleague, and that you ended it on good terms.
Do you have any experience with inventory software and databases?
Companies use various software packages to make their job easier, and if you worked for a bigger warehouse before, you probably have some experience with this or that software.
Most of these tools are very intuitive, and easy to use, and you will learn to work with them quickly. So even if you have no experience, you can simply say that you are a quick learner and are sure that you will learn to work with the software which they use.
Employers can not expect from you a proficiency with any computer program. What they can expect, however (and often do expect), is your willingness to learn to work with the computer programs, and use them in work.
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What are your salary expectations?
Try to be realistic. Most companies follow some salary tables, and they won’t offer you more money as they do offer to every other new hire in the warehouse. That’s just how it works, and the negotiation won’t help you.
I suggest you to say that you are ready to accept a standard starting salary, but hope to have a chance to get a raise, after working for them for a few months, and proving your abilities and skills…
Some other questions they may ask you in a warehouse interview
- What motivates you the most in work?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- Describe an ideal colleague/ideal boss.
- Describe a situation when you did not agree with the opinion (or decision) of your superior or supervisor, and knew that they were wrong. How did you handle that?
- When can you start?
- Do you have any questions?
Final thoughts, jobs in civil service
Interview for a job in a warehouse belongs to easier interviews. The questions the HR managers ask are always similar, and you can prepare for them, following the advice from this article.
What is more, companies struggle with labor nowadays. Unless you give them interview answers which are very bad, or refuse to accept the working conditions (such as night shifts), they will hire you.
The only exception is a job in a civil service. In that case you’ll have to pass the civil service Warehouse Worker exam, and we suggest you to prepare for it with the following practice kit.
That’s it, I wish you good luck!
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