We are pleased to welcome a guest post by Adam Maidment from Portfolio Procurement, a market-leading procurement recruitment specialist. Discussing the unique challenges to recruitment in the procurement industry.
How to find top procurement talent
Genuine procurement talent can be hard to find. To succeed in the industry, procurement professionals need to be good negotiators, forward thinking and have a keen eye for detail.
Working in the procurement industry has a lot of advantages, yet is still an extremely challenging career choice. New employees have to prove their worth by taking charge of their own projects from start to finish. They also have to deal with senior members of staff including MDs and CEOs, difficult suppliers, manage through drastic company changes and work in an industry that is constantly evolving with the development in sectors such as eSourcing.
For such a vital and challenging role, do you know what you should be looking for in procurement staff? How do you know if you are hiring the right people?
Look out for non-learned skills
Learned skills, such as financial management, contract management, and cost reduction are all vital to anyone working in the procurement industry, but these can largely be learned on the job. When hiring talented procurement staff, a candidate's personality is just as important.
Procurement staff deals with almost every department across the business. They regularly speak to suppliers to negotiate good deals and work closely with customers to ensure they get what they want. Good staff know the type of skills that help them thrive in this environment are not taught in a classroom; skills that include listening, understanding, empathy and communication.
Ask your candidates about times they have had to use these skills and try and discover if they have developed them throughout their course of their working life so far. They tend to be easy to spot - interviews are all about communication, so ensure you test their listening and understanding skills.
Have they been relationship managed before?
Relationship management is arguably the most important skill for procurement professionals. Even if a candidate has no background in procurement, there are many roles where they would have been able to develop this skill. Project managers, account managers and candidates with experience in customer service will have experienced relationship management in some form. Relationship management as a skill can be used in any sector of procurement, such as eSourcing.
Ensure anyone you hire understands the importance of good communication and can demonstrate times they have had to use relationship management in their previous experience.
Do they keep updated on changes in technology?
Do they have a forward thinking attitude?
Other departments spend a lot of their time looking backwards; finance, legal and HR have to analyse and interpret what has already happened.
Procurement professionals spend their time looking forward; it’s their job to help shape the future of the company. Whether it's choosing next season's stock or designing more effective supply chains, you need to ensure your procurement staff has a forward thinking attitude, always with the end game in mind.
How to pick the right person
Procurement can be a great career choice for people looking for a varied and exciting role with good career prospects. You need to ensure you hire suitable candidates as the role can be largely independent and high pressured.
During interviews, ensure candidates demonstrate the soft skills required to succeed in the role, evidence of being able to manage relationships and their ambitions for the future. This way, you can be confident that you have found capable and talented employees, who will be able to handle the senior staff, various departments, and suppliers.