10 Places to Look for New Procurement Recruits

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Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Zelim Suleymanov, chief executive of PrECA.

In a previous article, we defined two methods for recruiting procurement professionals. But now that you know your method, where do you look for new recruits? Here a few tips on where and how to perform the search.

  1. Create a newsworthy event in social media so that prospective candidates can react to your request. Post ideas, questions, proposals and descriptions of the company's needs, not only on personal and corporate web pages but also in professional groups. Strong candidates, as a rule, are not very active in searching for a new employer, but are in contact with colleagues and discuss professional topics — you need to get into their circle.
  2. Appear at specialized conferences, and present your company and achievements. There may be a candidate for your vacancy among managers and experts attending these events. Useful conferences in Russia, for example, are regularly held in Moscow by the companies Quorum, RBC, Moscow Times and AH Conferences. Announcements can be found on their web pages in Events section.
  3. Tell about the procurement department on your company website: about employees, methodology, training, career. Post articles in a corporate blog on how you’ve completed cool projects, and illustrate what value your organization has brought to the company. Post pictures from corporate events and training sessions. Such PR works great in searching for the new employees.
  4. Look closely at the employees in other business functions. If a candidate has expertise in IT, HR or marketing, or is good with numbers, then it will be easy to train him for procurement.
  5. Major suppliers are the donors of first-rate buyers. For example, working for a brewing company, you can pick up a worthy candidate from the packaging manufacturer.
  6. Speak at universities. Tell future graduates about your company and about procurement in general. Students do not know much about modern approaches in the field of procurement, so everything that you tell, relying on your own experience, will be valuable for them. We regularly address students at "career days," holding workshops and seminars on the topic of procurement.
  7. Take interns for summer. Trainees are inexpensive, and among them there will probably be someone who could be a fit for a permanent job. Just don’t make them do humdrum operations like filling out spreadsheets. Be a mentor for them, and try to get them interested in the field.
  8. Take people from companies that operating in a competitive environment. The more competitive the company's environment is, the stronger its procurement function. Represent the vacancy requirements attractively. Avoid language of officialdom! Phrases like "introducing global standards, compliance techniques, developing suppliers” are not the most advantageous description. Young people are not fond of formal language and terms. And it’s better to make job announcements in your native language: it’s more difficult to pick up emotions and characterize a candidate with a CV and cover letter in a foreign language.
  9. Use real-life business cases to test candidates. We use several cases to check the knowledge of procurement skills. Answers to recruiter's questions can be rehearsed, but with cases, it is more complicated.
  10. The world of procurement is a small place. Get feedback about the candidate from colleagues in professional groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.

And most important: do not try to lure a person with a recognizable brand, opportunities for trips abroad, an extensive social package and a modern office with coffee machines, comfortable furniture and cookies. The joy of having all this fades away quickly.

In the long term, it is important for people to understand the meaning of their work and its impact on the end-result, to be able to learn and develop their professional skills. Share interesting cases, stories of success in purchases, tools that you use. Show how you differ from other companies. Focus on the content, not on the cover. Then you will attract those who will stay with you for a long time.

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