Procurement Recruitment Advice: Interview Skills

Continuing a timely series of recruitment advisory posts from Edbury Daley, specialist procurement recruiter.

The Christmas holidays and early January are traditionally times when people reflect on the previous year and begin to think about a potential job move. Recent research indicates that many people will use their new electronic devices to start looking for a job from Boxing Day onwards. If this applies to you then our series of articles in association with Spend Matters will be invaluable.

It’s going to be a competitive market, whether you are hiring the best available talent or trying to find an exciting new role.  We hope our advice will help you achieve your goals in 2015.

Interview skills

There are many books that have been written on this subject and it takes practice to become really proficient. However even if you haven’t attended an interview for many years there are a few things you can do to help, but the key thing is being fully prepared.

It is often the case that the best prepared candidates are the ones who are successful at interview rather than those who arrive unprepared thinking that they can 'wing It'.

If you are nervous remember that the interviewer is probably nervous too - very rarely is someone trying to catch you out - they merely want you to show that you can do the job and solve their problem. They want you to succeed so bear this in mind.

It is impossible to prepare for every possible question, however your preparation should include the following:

  • Doing your homework on the job and the company
  • Research the people you are meeting on LinkedIn
  • From the above think of what you can talk about in the opening ‘meet and greet’
  • Be ready to give detailed examples of your experience and  skills (competency-based interviewing)
  • Think about cultural fit and why you want the job
  • If you know somebody in the organisation ask them for hints or tips on the process or the people you will meet

If you don’t know something or haven’t faced a specific situation before it is much better to be honest about it as it is generally obvious when someone doesn’t know as they either start to waffle or quotes best practice rather than giving a specific example.

There are also some typical topics or themes that will be explored in procurement interviews which you can prepare for such as:

  • Relationship & stakeholder management
  • Procurement best practice
  • Role-specific expertise - i.e. leadership, management, strategic sourcing, category management & expertise, etc.

So being prepared and having detailed examples is key.

Also recognise that trained interviewers (often from HR or Resourcing) will be much more formal and less likely to engage in small talk and you need to be prepared for this. They need to ensure they cover the questions and ensure the process is the same for all candidates making this a more formal scenario.

However, no matter how rigorous the process there is still a very strong element of personal chemistry involved in any interview situation. It is true that first impressions count, so do arrive on time, do smile and prepare something to say for the 1st few minutes such as a common connection or a common company or interest.

 

You may also find Edbury Daley's recent analysis of the job market helpful in your decision making -- you can find it here

And if you have a few seconds to answer a short multiple-choice survey, you could help Edbury Daley  in its timely new research on recruitment choice and selection methods.

You can take part here 

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