Author Archives: Rebecca Karp

When HR is in Charge of Your Recruiting, or Why a Hands-Off Approach Doesn’t Work

Meet Jane. Jane is the generalist HR business partner who supports procurement in your organization. Her management has decided that, in order to save money, Jane and her colleagues will now act as recruiters, reducing the need to pay external firms. As a procurement professional, you understand the concept and support an effort to save the company money. As a manager with open positions to fill, you sigh deeply and hope Jane knows the first thing about procurement. Internal recruiting is the new normal in many organizations looking to lower costs in the HR space. I’ve worked in and around indirect procurement long enough to recognize that this is one of those things where you can argue the merits, but you can’t argue the math. Cutting external recruiting all together equals 100% cost savings. High five! Except this approach can be a terrible idea.

Trust No One: Is Independence a Solution to the X-Files?

Like the X-Files, the reality of a work environment can often defy explanation. Today’s procurement leaders talk about waging a “war” for talent. If the positions are out there and the inducements are so great, why are some of the best people opting out of corporate roles and into independent careers? I have cycled through both types of roles. For me, my choice to be independent comes down to one factor that happens over and over in corporate environments: people not keeping their word. Why is it so hard for leaders to say what they mean, then do what they say? With Fox Mulder-level skepticism, I don’t trust anyone when they tell me what I can expect in a job.

The truth is out there. But here are three areas where leaders frequently don’t walk the talk.

‘Come Over to the Dark Side, We Have Cookies’: On Blending Corporate and Freelance Work

After I wrote passionately about making the change from corporate employee to free agent, a friend asked how I could write that when I had just taken a corporate job. I was going back over to the “Dark Side.” Or was it the going back to the “Light Side”? It hadn’t occurred to me that my perspectives and actions might seem contradictory. Let me correct that. It occurred to me, but I didn’t care. And neither should you.

Digital Procurement: Unintended Consequences Can Be Golden Opportunities

Editor’s note: This is the final post in a three-part series on digital disruption from a procurement professional’s perspective. Also check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Unintended consequences are mostly thought of negatively, but sometimes unexpected things open the door of opportunity. When you undertake a digital project, you often are dealing with the new and untried — and the chance of some pleasant unintended consequences. That’s when things get fun.

“What’s the Best Procurement System?” That’s the Wrong Question

Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series on digital disruption from a procurement professional’s perspectives. Read Part 1 here.

This morning I heard someone utter the question that elicits an almost primal response for anyone who works at the intersection of business process and technology: “What’s the best procurement system on the market?” Every time I hear it, my brain immediately flashes — That’s the wrong question. Someone who tries to tell you what solution to buy without first trying to understand your goals and certain factors about your environment deserves a solid side-eye.

All Smoke, No Fire: A Procurement Practitioner’s Thoughts on Digital Procurement (Part 1)

Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part series on digital disruption from a procurement professional’s perspective.

“Digital” is smoking hot for CPOs right now. “Disrupt” is the newest square on Corporate Buzzword Bingo. Really? As someone with a front-row seat to the inner workings of procurement teams, I don’t see it. I was dismayed at the lack of content on this topic on the agenda of the most recent ISM conference in Orlando. All is way too quiet on the digital front in procurement. In the business environment today, the “why” of this inertia doesn’t matter. The need to do something, on the other hand, does.

So You Want to Go Into Procurement Consulting: 3 Areas to Consider


As curious human beings with varying levels of self-doubt, we’re all a bit taken with “expert” advice. If I see an article about losing weight or getting rich, I’m reading it. Now, I may not qualify as an expert, but fellow procurement and sourcing professionals often ask me for advice on moving from the corporate world to freelancing. Looking back, I can admit that my thought process was probably not as thorough as it could have been. So, in the same vein as lists of what doctors tell their own friends about common ailments, here are three things to know as you determine whether freelancing is for you.

4 Habits That Can Sink a Procurement Consultant’s Career


So you told the corporate world that you’re going to go do it your way. (Congratulations, and cue inspirational theme song.) And for the purpose of discussion, let’s assume that you have taken care of the basics in going freelance: building an emergency fund, buying healthcare insurance, setting up retirement contributions, getting the right business insurance and so on. I have been on all sides of the client-consultant relationship. I have engaged and managed consultants as a corporate client, I have engaged consultants for my own clients and I am also a consultant myself. So, I’ve seen where the landmines are and learned how to avoid them. Here are the top temptations that can send you straight back to a corporate role — the “fateful four” — definitely in order of importance.

How I Left the Corporate Office to Run My Own Consultancy

At that point I decided that I wanted to work for myself as a career. I had a network of consultants that I had met during my time in corporate roles and I leaned on them for advice, contacts and my first couple of gigs. I also kept my options open for permanent corporate roles. I had recruiters tell me that I needed to make sure I was putting “real” work on my resume or I would not be taken seriously. I interviewed with companies that felt that “consulting” was a resume filler in between real jobs. Screw it. I’ll show them all.