How to attract and identify great candidates in procurement and supply

During the recruitment process, two of the most difficult stages are attracting the right people and identifying the most suitable candidates. The challenge in the procurement and supply chain sector is that we are currently operating in a candidate short market. While there is a whole array of professionals that have worked in the sector, many have not been working at a strategic level, or have been working in a business that doesn’t truly value the procurement function. This challenge is amplified by the fact that candidates, in London particularly, are able to command much higher salaries than what they would have traditionally.

Attracting great talent

Many procurement and supply chain professionals are looking to join a company where the procurement function is really valued at the senior level. Talented candidates want to join companies where they can make an impact on the day-to-day running of the business. Procurement professionals strive to be seen as valued commercial business partners rather than a back office function processing payment orders. It is important for them to be able to engage with stakeholders and shape strategies, rather than stay behind the scenes.

Standing out in a competitive market

To appeal to top talent in today’s market, it is important for businesses to tell a story. Employers must move past the traditional process of simply talking about the job - you need to sell your long-term strategy.
Professionals want to know: 
  • Where is your procurement function on this journey? 
  • What do you want to achieve and how are you going to achieve it? 
  • How does the role fit into this journey?
There are so many different career opportunities for procurement professionals today, which means that you need to differentiate yourself from your competition and sell your opportunity to candidates, just as much as they need to sell themselves to you. A clear story and vision that shows how procurement is aligned to the business and impacts on day-to-day operations are key to attract this audience. Rather than the typical job posting highlighting what the role is and the amount of spend that will be allocated. 

The key challenges 

Each industry has its own challenges. For example, in retail, due to the level of uncertainty in the market surrounding the future of the high street, many candidates are hesitant to move into this sector as it is unclear what it might mean for them. In financial services, there is a perception that the function would be very process and risk-focused, rather than innovative or open to pushing boundaries.
However, it is always possible to overcome these and there are many examples of businesses that have bucked the trend by providing a full view of the procurement function and their vision. This is where a strong story for your business and procurement function plays an especially important role.

Hiring in the procurement and supply chain sector

Partner with a trusted recruiter

When hiring for the more difficult to fill positions, partner with agencies that you are willing to work closely with. It is important that you trust your agency and listen to their advice on the market. If you have a strong relationship with your recruiter, then you should only be seeing the professionals who meet the needs of your business. 

Have a clearly defined role

It is crucial that you have a clear idea of what the role is, signed off by key stakeholder, and that you understand where that role fits in your journey.

Discuss career progression

Be sure that you are prepared to provide professionals with insight into the career progression within your business. What is their development going to look like? What is the role after this one? 

Offer the right salary

If you have the budget to pay for top talent, then pay it. Be open to paying what is fair and needed in today’s market.

Keep the candidate engaged

Move at speed and make them feel valued. Do an office tour to introduce your preferred candidate to the team. This positive first impression of your business will mean that they will be more likely to share their experience with their wider network.

Building the right partnership

At Michael Page, we speak to candidates and employers on daily basis, so we can provide in-depth market insight. We know what your competitors are doing, can provide market maps and salary surveys as well as share our experience of working on similar roles or processes in the past.
By truly partnering with us, you will have a stronger cut through in the market supported by unified messaging on your brand and aligned conversations about your procurement journey. We take the time to get to know the needs and unique hiring requirements of each of our clients which means we truly understand what you are trying to achieve and can ultimately gain an increased buy-in from the right candidates. Our consultants are specialists in the sector they recruit and understand the challenges of hiring in the procurement market. We pride ourselves on finding the best talent and forming lasting partnerships to add real value to our clients’ businesses.
To explore how we can help streamline your process and source the right talent for your business, get in touch with your local Michael Page office today. Alternatively, submit a job spec and one of our expert consultants will get back to you.
Ross Mingotti
Managing Consultant, Michael Page Procurement & Supply Chain
T: +44 207 269 2543