Is HR Stopping Procurement Recruiting The Right People?

Through August, we’re going to be running some of our “greatest hits” from what is almost seven years of Spend Matters UK/Europe.  We’ll keep bringing you the latest important news and opinion that you need to know during this month, but frankly less happens for us to comment on – and yes, Nancy and I will be taking some holiday (no, not together). My summer holiday is pretty much Reading Festival to be honest as my wife and I hate the sun and sand thing, preferring loud music or skiing.

This short article was first published in late 2010 but is still relevant. Talk to recruiting specialists and you will find they are often frustrated with the behavior of firms and people who apparently want to recruit – but then just manage the process really badly, either ruling out perfectly good candidates or annoying them so much through the process that they withdraw.


Procurement has worked for years, with some success, to get more influence over a range of indirect spend areas. We try and stop 'maverick spend', and we may try to control the access that our internal stakeholders and budget holders have to suppliers. But in one area, are we getting a taste of our own medicine in a manner that is harming the ability of procurement functions to perform?

One of the most experienced people in procurement recruitment told me of increasing frustration when excellent cvs (for permanent or interim staff) are rejected without getting in front of the procurement client. The person doing the rejecting is either a junior HR manager, or someone working for an outsourced recruitment / contingent labour provider, which often brings questions of conflict of interest to the fore.

My friend's firm is often 'banned' by HR from speaking directly to the procurement client, with the threat of dire consequences if they disobey.

The end result is that the CPO (or whoever is recruiting) does not get to see the best candidates; in fact, doesn't even know they exist. Is this the revenge of HR for procurement insisting on getting involved when they appoint a recruitment provider? Perhaps they're being Machiavellian; by  making sure you don't recruit the best people, they might wrest power back from procurement. Now that's a thought – I wouldn't put anything past these cunning HR people...!

Anyway, there's a simple answer. Just insist on seeing all the cvs submitted, even if HR want to do the first sift. Not an unreasonable request for the budget holder or line manager to make; and hard to refuse I would have thought.

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