Dan is Head of Practice – Industrial and joined Procurement Heads in 2021.
Why did you choose procurement recruitment as a career?
I didn’t really. I was previously a cocktail barman and was told that recruitment might suit me by a patron.
I was then contacted by my first employer for a construction recruitment role, but this changed to work within the professional services recruitment team.
I initially worked within major defence projects procurement and supply chain functions for some of the largest defence contractors and this provided me with my first foray into procurement recruitment.
I’ve spent 10 of the 17 years of my career in procurement recruitment and returned last year as it is the one area of recruitment where soft skills are more important than hard skills.
This allows me to really get to know the person behind the CV.
What sort of procurement roles do you recruit and where?
I recruit middle to senior management procurement and supply chain roles.
I have split the Industrial practice into three distinct pillars; Make (manufacturing), Build (construction and infrastructure) and Move (transport and utilities).
I cover the whole of the UK, but most of our work is south of the M4 due to our extensive candidate network in this area.
What qualities do you believe are integral to being a successful procurement recruiter?
It is vital to be empathetic and understand the needs of your candidates and clients.
Those who have the desire to know the why in everything that they are told and do will experience a greater success curve.
Unless you truly know what, your clients and candidates need, you will end up with a lot of broken paths.
Being humble and inquisitive and tenacious will stand you in good stead for a career in recruitment at large.
What do Procurement Heads’ values mean to you?
If you were to read my bio on LinkedIn prior to my time at Procurement Heads you will have seen a very similar value set.
One of the main reasons I moved here was that the values emulated my own and so I wasn’t compromising myself.
I think it is vital in life to be true to who you are and working at Procurement Heads allows me to be able to do that.
And our purpose is to deliver recruitment as a professional service, what does that mean to you?
I started in a very heavy KPI, bums-on-seats recruitment environment where all jobs were taken on and delivery was key on every assignment.
The world has changed.
Unemployment is still exceptionally low and talent availability is scarce.
Clients must soon discover that partnering with a specific recruitment specialist is the best way to operate.
Yes, recruiting is something that many spend money on and the solutions that have been developed until now are becoming dated.
Partnering and paying for a service is key to successfully securing the best (not the most available) talent.
With forethought, clients can get ahead of their competitors and secure the best people and thus improve their business.
How has procurement changed during your time recruiting into the sector?
I have seen a real journey in procurement within the Industrial sectors.
It was a purchasing and progress-chasing environment previously and it was about spending the allocated budget to get the best product quickly.
Now it is a lot more strategic overall.
Admittedly there are pockets where the old ways still live, but most organisations have really invested in their procurement functions allowing them to truly understand their suppliers and work with them to generate better outcomes, improve relationships and increase performance.
What inspires you?
Tales of overcoming adversity for triumph are my biggest source of inspiration.
Mostly I see this through movies – Coach Carter, Remember the Titans, Invincible, Freedom Writers, The Pursuit of Happiness etc.
I’m always more inspired by those who rise from a fall than those who don’t fall at all.
What 3 words would you use to describe your professional self?
Honest, conscientious and driven.
What do you enjoy most about procurement recruitment?
I like that procurement people are very similar to salespeople.
You can have reasonable and comfortable discussions because you are both looking for a happy medium (in most cases).
Many of the qualities of people in sales and procurement are similar and therefore you can truly build long-lasting relationships.
What are some of the biggest highlights since you joined Procurement Heads?
Personally, I’ve had a great first year at Procurement Heads.
I was the top biller for two months this year and being able to bring the Industrial practice forward since my arrival.
I’m very pleased that I made the move as it was a tough decision which I didn’t make lightly.