Howย  to attract and contract the best candidate for your procurement vacancy? Succesfactors

A specific approach to successful recruitment

Employers with vacancies experience significant challenges to recruit good candidates. Specifically in the market for procurement professionals there are more vacancies than candidates. In addition, candidates typically only want to accept if they really make progress; a more attractive employer, a better role, a better fit with the new line manager and a better remuneration package.

What are the doโ€™s and don’ts for successful recruitment? In my experience as a line manager in procurement and additionally as an executive search consultant specialising in procurement roles, I see four major successfactors, being:

  • Do not start with your own recruitment efforts first
  • Give candidates the opportunity to get to know you
  • Put yourself in the candidateโ€™s shoes
  • Allow the candidate to have the last voice in the negotiations

Whether you like it or not, in the current market for buyers there are more vacancies than candidates. This does require a different approach and more important, a procurement specific approach to successfully recruit and fill your vacancies. In this series of 5 blogs I will explore these 4 success factors with you.

Successfactor 1:ย  Do not start with your own recruitment efforts first

Mid sized companies typically employ a recruiter. These recruiters mostly have an HR background and knowledge and experience with recruiting. But they do not have content knowledge of the procurement function. I typically detect this in the job profiles they write and the questions they ask. Sometimes they even have a detailed checklist to check whether the candidate is a good buyer. This effort is rarely successful and typically means losing 2-3 months worth of time before professional help is called in.

As an experienced procurement director and procurement headhunter, I only need 3 minutes to find out if a candidate is a good buyer. That gives me the other 57 minutes to find out whether the candidate fits with the organisation. And that fit is the most important driver of longer term success of recruitment. And it allows the organisation to recover its investment in executive search.

Large companies typically contract the generic headhunters for all their management positions. Not very wise. During my procurement career I worked as procurement director for companies such as Mars, Heinz, Heineken and Ahold. Every change of company was facilitated by a headhunter. I have noticed myself that their knowledge about procurement is non-existent. This typically resulted in recruiters asking 1.0 level questions about my procurement expertise. Which I found annoying. I have declined many of these calls because of this approach.

Therefore you better select a recruiter who understands the procurement function, knows what makes a buyer a good buyer and has a sharp and fast eye for this. Doing so, most attention can go to investigating the personal fit with the organisation.

Succesfactor 2: Offer the candidate 50% of the time for questions

Frequently I notice recruiters taking most of the air time with asking questions to the candidate. With the result that the candidate leaves with lots of unanswered questions. That is the point you may have lost your candidate already. Candidates do not just want to hear how well your company is doing, but want to get a feel it is worth quitting their current job for. That is a big decision. To make that decision they have a number of important questions. So, give the candidate 50% (!) of the air time to ask these questions and jointly explore and clarify your answers. Please give detailed answers and support these with tangible examples. Do not make reality nicer than it really is.

Also, you can give candidates the opportunity to meet future colleagues, management and peers. Even better, involve some of them in the recruitment process.

Also, take your candidate for a tour around the premises, have lunch in the company restaurant or spend some time in the coffee corner. Let them absorb the atmosphere, also outside of the meeting room.

Only when the candidate feels he or she can really know you and trust you, will the candidate take the decision to quit his/her current role and join. For your own benefit, help them with this decision.

Successfactor 3: Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and understand why he or she chooses you

Managers who recruit candidates typically like to tell how great their company is or how well their function is performing or how interesting and challenging the role is. Mostly without investigating what is important for the candidate and what specifically drives their decision to choose you over other offers.

Invest time to get to know your candidate really well. And that starts long before the interview. Explore their CV and specifically focus on the changes in role and employer. What were the changes in functional area, responsibility (including geographical scope) and industry sector? Ask about these during the interview. And ask their drivers for these decisions. Explore their current context and form your judgement on how these drivers fit in this current context. Also, get your recruiter to write a profile of the candidate including both relevant professional information as well as personal situation, motivation, personality, values and talents. Only when you understand why a candidate made certain changes in the past, can you pitch your vacancy really well.

And finally, throw your own weight into the equation. Present yourself in an honest and sincere way. Do not just talk about goals, results and strategies. Express your human side, share what makes you happy in life and in the workplace. Express empathy, put yourself in their shoes and demonstrate you understand their considerations. Doing so you will win over the candidate.

Hanne Goebel
Senior Consultant HIP Select

Talent in het vinden van Inkooptalent
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