17 Import Export Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an import/export manager, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

An import export manager is responsible for the coordination and execution of import and export activities. They work with a variety of partners, including customs brokers, freight forwarders, and transportation companies. Import export managers also develop and maintain relationships with clients, suppliers, and government agencies.

If you’re looking for an import export manager job, you’ll need to be able to answer a variety of questions about your experience, skills, and qualifications. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of common import export manager interview questions and answers that you can use to prepare for your next interview.

Are you comfortable working with a team of people from different backgrounds and cultures?

This question can help the interviewer determine how adaptable you are to working with people from different backgrounds and cultures. Showcase your ability to work with a diverse group of people by explaining how you’ve done so in the past.

Example: “I have worked with a team of people from different backgrounds and cultures throughout my career, and I find it beneficial because it allows me to learn new things from others. In my last role as an import export manager, I had a team of five employees who were all from different countries. We communicated primarily through email and phone calls, but we also met once a week for a company meeting where we discussed our progress on projects and any questions or concerns we had.”

What are some of the most important qualities an import export manager should have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you possess the skills and abilities needed to succeed in this role. Use your answer to highlight your leadership, communication, problem-solving and organizational skills.

Example: “The most important qualities an import export manager should have are strong leadership skills, excellent communication skills and a high level of organization. These three skills allow me to effectively manage my team, communicate with clients and vendors and keep track of all necessary documentation for shipments. I also think it’s important that an import export manager is detail-oriented and has strong problem-solving skills. This allows them to solve any issues that may arise during shipping.”

How would you describe the relationship between an import export manager and a sales representative?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you view your role in a company and how it relates to other employees. Your answer should show that you value collaboration with sales representatives, as they are an important part of the import export process.

Example: “Import and export managers need to work closely with sales representatives because we rely on them for information about our clients’ needs. I believe that communication is key when working with sales representatives, so I make sure to keep my team members informed about any changes or challenges I encounter during the importing and exporting processes.”

What is your experience with using shipping services and logistics providers?

This question can help the interviewer learn more about your experience with shipping and logistics providers. Use examples from your previous job to highlight your skills in this area.

Example: “In my last role, I worked with a few different shipping services and logistics providers. One of our clients was looking for an international shipping service provider that could offer them competitive rates while also providing excellent customer service. I researched several companies and found one that met all of their needs. The client was very happy with the company we used, and they continued to use them after the project ended.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to deal with a shipment that arrived damaged.

This question can allow you to demonstrate your problem-solving skills and ability to work with clients. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the steps you took to resolve the issue.

Example: “In my previous role as an import export manager, I had a shipment arrive at its destination damaged. The client was very upset about the situation, but I assured them that we would do everything in our power to fix the issue. We contacted the shipping company and arranged for a replacement shipment to be sent out. Once the new shipment arrived, we inspected it thoroughly before releasing it to the client.”

If you could only choose one, which would you say is more important, importing or exporting? Why?

This question is a great way to test your knowledge of the industry and how you prioritize tasks. When answering this question, it can be helpful to explain why you chose one over the other so that the interviewer can understand your thought process.

Example: “I would say exporting is more important because without exports, there wouldn’t be any imports. Exporting is also typically where companies make their most money, which is why I am passionate about my career in import/export management.”

What would you do if you noticed a competitor was selling a similar product for a lower price?

This question can help interviewers understand how you would respond to a challenging situation. In your answer, try to explain what steps you would take to ensure the company’s products remain competitive and profitable.

Example: “If I noticed a competitor was selling a similar product for a lower price, I would first look at our pricing structure to see if there were any areas we could cut costs or reduce expenses. If that didn’t work, I would consider lowering our prices slightly to make them more competitive with our competitors. This strategy is often effective because it encourages customers to buy from us instead of waiting for us to lower our prices even further.”

How well do you understand the legal requirements for importing and exporting goods?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the legal requirements for importing and exporting goods. Use examples from past experience to show that you understand how to comply with regulations regarding import and export processes.

Example: “I have a thorough understanding of the legal requirements for importing and exporting goods because I’ve had to adhere to them in my previous role as an import export manager. In my last position, I was responsible for ensuring all shipments were properly documented and labeled according to international standards. This included knowing which documents needed to be filed before shipping and what information needed to be provided on those documents. It also meant knowing which countries required additional documentation.”

Do you have any experience working with customs agents?

This question can help the interviewer understand your experience with customs agents and how you handled any challenges that arose. Use examples from past experiences to highlight your ability to work with others, collaborate and solve problems.

Example: “In my last role as an import export manager, I worked closely with a customs agent who was new to his job. He had questions about our company’s processes and procedures for importing goods into the country. I helped him learn more about our company by providing him with documents and information he needed. Eventually, he became comfortable with his job and no longer required my assistance.”

When planning a shipment, what is your process for estimating the total cost?

This question can help the interviewer understand your experience with shipping costs and how you plan for them. Use examples from past projects to explain how you estimate costs, including any tools or software you use to calculate estimates.

Example: “I start by determining what type of shipment I’m planning. For example, if it’s a full container load, then I’ll need to consider the cost of ocean freight, inland transportation and customs clearance. If it’s less than a full container load, then I’ll also need to factor in the cost of rail transport and customs clearance. After that, I’ll determine the total weight of the shipment and convert it into cubic meters. Then, I’ll multiply the number of cubic meters by the cost per cubic meter to get an accurate estimate.”

We want to expand into new markets. What strategies would you use to identify potential target markets?

This question can help the interviewer understand your decision-making process and how you apply it to a company’s goals. Use examples from previous experience or explain what steps you would take to identify potential markets for expansion.

Example: “I would first look at our current customer base to see if there are any opportunities to expand into their geographic locations. I would also consider which countries we have already established relationships with, as this could be an opportunity to grow our business by selling more products in those areas. Finally, I would research other companies that sell similar products to ours to find out where they’re currently doing business.”

Describe your process for monitoring the performance of each of your shipments.

The interviewer may ask you this question to understand how you use your company’s shipment monitoring software. Use your answer to highlight your technical skills and ability to learn new systems quickly.

Example: “I have a process for monitoring the performance of each shipment I send out. First, I check the status of shipments every morning before starting my workday. If there are any issues with a shipment, I contact the client immediately to discuss solutions. For example, if a shipment is delayed or lost in transit, I will call the client to let them know what we’re doing to resolve the issue. I also monitor the performance of shipments throughout the day as needed.”

What makes you stand out from other import export managers?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your skills and experience. They want to know what makes you unique from other candidates. When answering this question, think of a skill or quality that sets you apart from others. You can also mention something that you are passionate about.

Example: “I am passionate about helping my clients find the best shipping rates. I have spent years researching different companies and learning how to negotiate lower prices. This has helped me save my company thousands of dollars on shipping costs each year. It is one of my favorite parts of being an import export manager.”

Which computer programs or systems have you used to manage inventory or shipments?

This question can help the interviewer understand your experience with specific computer programs or systems that are used in import and export management. Use examples from your previous job to highlight your skills, knowledge and abilities.

Example: “At my current company, we use a system called TradeGecko for inventory management and shipment tracking. I’ve also worked with ShipStation for shipping automation and integration with other software like for sales reporting. These tools have helped me manage shipments more efficiently and effectively.”

What do you think is the most important thing to remember when shipping internationally?

This question can help the interviewer determine how much experience you have shipping internationally and whether you know what to look out for. Use your answer to highlight any specific details that are important when shipping internationally, such as knowing which documents to bring with you or understanding local laws.

Example: “I think it’s most important to remember that international shipping is a lot different than domestic shipping. You need to be aware of all the regulations in each country you’re shipping to and make sure you’re following them exactly. For example, I once shipped a package to Germany where I didn’t include the proper paperwork. The shipment was delayed because of this, costing my company money.”

How often do you update your company’s inventory records?

This question can help the interviewer determine how often you update your company’s records and whether you have experience with inventory management software. Use examples from your previous job to explain how you keep up-to-date records of all your company’s inventory, including any challenges you may have faced while doing so.

Example: “At my current position, I am responsible for updating our inventory records every time we receive a shipment or make a sale. This is important because it helps me ensure that we are accurately tracking our sales and shipments. However, this process can be challenging at times because there are many different types of products in our warehouse, which means I must spend extra time ensuring that each product has been accounted for.”

There is a chance that you will lose a shipment in transit. How would you react?

This question is an opportunity to show your problem-solving skills and how you would react in a challenging situation. Your answer should include steps you would take to solve the issue, as well as what you learned from it.

Example: “I have had this happen before, and I know that there are many factors that can lead to lost shipments. In my previous position, we were shipping electronics to our client when one of the trucks transporting them was involved in an accident. The shipment was delayed for two weeks while we waited for another truck to arrive. We communicated with our client about the delay and offered a discount on their next order. They appreciated our transparency and understanding.”


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