How to recruit new talent in procurement

April 13th, 2021
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Recruiting new talent is never easy in any profession. For procurement in particular, which is increasingly moving towards digitisation and consulting, recruiting new talent can often be difficult.

To help refine their recruitment process, procurement departments can undoubtedly draw on experts' experience in finding, recruiting and retaining new talent. More specifically, these experts recommend four best practices to attract and keep hold of junior buyers:   

  • Offer attractive pay and working conditions
  • Set clear expectations regarding the candidate's qualities
  • Keep the recruitment process simple
  • Maximise the candidate pool

Offer prospective procurement candidates attractive benefits

While pay is obviously an important factor in attracting new talent, junior buyers are also looking for other HR-related benefits.

Development prospects, training policies and well-being at work are also important for those taking their first steps into the labour market. To attract the talent they need, particularly in the context of the global pandemic, procurement departments must also think in terms of cohesion, how the team works and the job role itself.

Candidates are also looking at values. Consider promoting the company's contribution to the circular economy, its ethics regarding customer-supplier relationships, and its collaboration with its most committed partners. 

Be clear about the essential qualities that prospective candidates need

Procurement is rapidly evolving, which, in turn, has a significant impact on new recruits. They must:

  • Fit in with your current way of working.
  • Be prepared to continue adapting the role of procurement in the face of new challenges.

Depending on the direction the company is moving in, emphasis could be placed on mastering the latest digital tools, interpreting procurement data or automating the procurement value chain.

Furthermore, the effect of the global pandemic on procurement is significant. Interpersonal skills and good intuition proved key when it came to quickly rebuilding a solid supply chain and relocating strategic sectors.

Keep the recruitment process for prospective candidates simple

New procurement recruits belong to generation shaped by social media.

This, along with constraints resulting from social-distancing requirements, means the recruitment process for junior buyers must be adapted in favour of simplicity.

Email exchanges and interviews via Zoom or Teams are the norm for prospective procurement employees. This approach comes at a good time, as virtual forms of communication will be used more and more by the company's future partners and internal customers of the procurement team.

Be in contact with as many potential candidates as possible

Talent shortages and the distance created by the current situation have made recruitment processes increasingly unpredictable. Statistically, a high number of candidates, who are often progressing through several recruitment processes at once, are likely to drop out, even if you would have liked to see them continue their journey.

This is why experts recommend preselecting plenty of candidates, to ensure that a potential candidate reaches the final stage of the process.

Another good reason for expanding the pool of candidates is to promote the company's employer brand. Even if a candidate doesn't reach the end of the process, they will have had the opportunity to experience the full force of the company's values. Its reputation will be boosted even if the procurement department does not find a promising junior buyer.              

In conclusion, the recruitment of new talent in procurement is strongly shaped by digital transformation and new practices brought about by the pandemic. Recruitment is also an opportunity to bring some fresh personalities into the team, while ensuring a diverse range of perspectives.

Nevertheless, recruitment is always a gamble, with intuition and trust playing an important role. Furthermore, trust has become a new managerial credo in the procurement world. If you need further convincing, take a look at the latest article on this topic by Julie Dang Tran, Managing Director of Manutan France.