More on our new search4 procurement Jobs Board and a sample from our e-Guide

We sent out our e-Guide to “Great Procurement Interview Questions – and how to answer them” at the weekend to people who registered last week on our new Spend Matters search4 procurement website. So you should  have received that - if not, check your “spam” in-box etc!

And if you have previously registered on the “old” search4 procurement site, and would like a copy, just drop me an email at psmith@spendmatters.com and we’ll send you one.

We’ve got some great jobs on the site now, so please do take a look, and remember, a simple registration gets you a free copy of the Guide... And If your organisation is recruiting procurement people, it’s totally free to register and place a job advert too. Please take a look if you’re in that situation.

Here’s a taster excerpt from the e-guide as well - an interview question - and our suggested answer.

Why do you think procurement can help an organisation?

This is a typical introductory question – it may seem a little simplistic, and it may well be just what the interviewer perceives as an easy lead in to get the conversation flowing.

But that doesn’t mean you should take it lightly. For a reasonably junior role, it is an opportunity to show you have a good general understanding of procurement, and that you don’t just see it as a transaction processing activity. Talking about making sure staff get their stationery delivered on time is probably not going to win you many points.

At a more senior level, it is a chance to demonstrate a strategic perspective, and that you “get it” in terms of the need for procurement to support and contribute to the wider organisational objectives.

And whatever the role or your personal level of seniority, it is also a chance to move from the general to the specific and personal. Any answer will be more powerful – and position you better – if you can give an example of how you’ve actually achieved this.

Answer:

“I think procurement is important for pretty much all organisations. Most will spend around half their revenues on bought in goods and services, so if you don’t get that right you’re in trouble! But it’s not just cost saving, procurement has to make sure the organisation gets what it needs in the right time, place and quality, and now we have to look at things like corporate social responsibility as well. For example, in my current role, I’ve had to deliver some tough saving targets, but we’ve also introduced a CSR policy and in my area I’ve led the project to move to 100% sustainable paper products over the last two years”

And for a top level role:

“Procurement obviously plays a huge role in the cost management side of the organisation – and that’s a fundamental of strategic positioning of course for many organisations – Porters’ Five Forces and so on. But procurement has to align with the wider strategy of the organisation, so the function should play a key role but it will be different in different organisations. So in my current job, we’ve had a strong focus on using procurement to drive innovation in the supply chain to drive our own top line growth. But in my previous role in a much more mature, cost conscious industry, it was about not just savings but the contribution procurement can make to other financial areas – such as working capital management.”  

Voices (2)

  1. Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2:

    Peter,
    I really like the “top level” sample answer. I’ve noticed a trend that certain procurement consultants are trying to make procurement all about “delivering value” and not-at-all about “cost management.” This, I feel, is short-sighted. Effective procurement does BOTH – they are not mutually exclusive. If one was interviewing for a top level position and was asked about cost management and downplayed the importance of reducing costs, it could be a catastrophic mistake – there are plenty of organizations at a mature point in their business cycles where cost management is an extremely high priority and CEO’s count on their CPO’s to help them be the best in their industry at cost management.

    So, kudos for illustrating that these can both co-exist and be balanced depending on the strategic priorities of the enterprise.

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