7 recruitment tips for building your procurement team

As a specialist procurement recruiter, with many years of experience, I’ve seen all sorts of approaches to building procurement and supply chain teams.

I’ve witnessed great practices and, unfortunately, disjointed approaches to hiring.

With continued competition for the best procurement and supply chain talent, a slick and well-defined recruitment process can prove to be the marginal gain that leads to a successful recruitment campaign.

And while there isn’t a specific formula as to what excellent looks like when it comes to building a team, there are definitely areas hiring companies can focus on to achieve their recruitment goals.

Before I share my seven tips on how to build your procurement team, it goes without saying that before you go out to market, make sure the roles are signed off internally.

Reputationally, it is highly damaging to a brand’s reputation in the market if a job gets pulled because internal sign-off hasn’t taken place.

  1. Exhaust all of your internal options

Now, there are clearly pros and cons to recruiting internally. Obviously, hiring someone from within your procurement team can limit your candidate pool and simply lead to another vacancy being created, which might just be a case of kicking your original hiring challenge into the long grass.

However, it is crucial that before you go out to market with a job opportunity you weigh up all of the pros and cons and exhaust your internal options.

If you don’t exhaust your internal options, it can be damaging to the team dynamics and organisational culture.

Once you have exhausted any internal options, commit to hiring externally before you utilise the services of a procurement recruitment partner.

  1. Benchmark salaries

It’s crucial when looking to entice candidates to your opportunity that your salary and value proposition are competitive, especially when there is a war for talent and a high frequency of counter offers for the best procurement talent.

Analyse your offering against competitors, is it comparable to other companies recruiting in your region and sector? 

Be specific about what the package on offer is, and, if you are offering hybrid or flexible what does that look like? 

Crystallise your Employee Value Proposition in the briefing with your recruiter so you are selling the “what’s in it for me” to the candidate. It’s crucial that you get this right before your go to market so that you are sending a clear message to top procurement talent.

If you are unsure about what your remuneration should look like, reach out to one of the team at Procurement Heads for a no-obligation conversation about benchmarking.

  1. Retain your procurement recruitment agency

Over the past two years, one of the biggest shifts I’ve seen in the procurement recruitment market is how many more organisations are retaining their recruitment agency.

Rupert Gaster in his blog on the benefits of retained recruitment campaigns said of retained campaigns, “At a time when standing out to candidates is challenging, partnering with a professional recruitment agency with the deep market knowledge and a stellar network that can represent your brand and sell your organisation’s culture is imperative.”

A retained approach to procurement recruitment, where the agency works on an exclusive basis and is paid upfront or a scheduled fee, shows the candidate pool your organisation is serious about hiring.

The financial commitment from the hiring company enables the recruiter to go deep on a talent headhunt and really sell the organisational culture, for Procurement Heads that could include our innovative Head2Head series.

  1. Commit to clear timescales and what good looks like 

There is nothing more off-putting for a candidate than uncertainty over timescales.

A contracted interview process filled with uncertainty can show candidates your business isn’t able to make decisions.

Commit to delivering feedback on CVs that have been submitted and giving constructive feedback so the recruiter can let each candidate know whether they are being taken forward or not.

You can create advocates for your brand even if you are rejecting a candidate if you stick to timescales and provide feedback.

  1. Make sure key stakeholders’ diaries align

No matter what time of year you are hiring, stakeholders are going to have leave booked.

Candidates are giving up their time to attend interviews, so before bringing people into an interview, make sure calendars align so that all of the key stakeholders are able to take part in the hiring process.

  1. Make sure your hiring process is inclusive

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are high on many organisations’ agendas.

And rightly so.

At Procurement Heads, ED&I is one of our key pillars and something we are passionate about.

It is why we have signed the Race Fairness Commitment Pledge which ensures fairness at work for people of all ethnic backgrounds and the Change the Race Ratio, which aims to accelerate racial diversity in business we have pioneered a mentoring scheme tackling gender diversity.

If ED&I is high on your company’s strategic plan, make sure this is embedded in your hiring process too.

Again, if you are unsure how to make your recruitment process inclusive, discuss it with your recruitment agency and take their steer on the best practices. 

  1. Streamline your application process

New research from Bullhorn shows that three-quarters of Gen Z candidates have dropped out of a job application they were interested in because of poor hiring processes.

A streamlined application process is a key to landing talent.

Tailor your application process for each procurement role and make sure it is appropriate for the level you are hiring.

About the author

James Dobbin is a Director at Procurement Heads and leads our Financial & Professional Services sector offering.

James partners with leading FTSE100 businesses to recruit permanent Category Leads, Heads of Procurement, Procurement Directors and Chief Procurement Officers.

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