If your primary recruiting strategy for S&OP talent is “posting and praying”, you have already committed your first mistake. There’s a sea of top performers that are content in their current roles and are rarely surfing the job boards, so if you think you’re going to find top sales & operations planning talent through a job advertisement, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

To generate a strong candidate slate, you’ll need to expand your sourcing tactics beyond job postings in order to discover and land the most qualified individuals.

Here are a few candidate sourcing channels we recommend to improve your ability to attract and find S&OP talent:

Tap into Professional Associations

Supply chain and related professional associations, such as the Institute for Business Forecasting & Planning (IBF) and Association for Supply Chain Management Professionals (ASCM, formerly APICS), can be a goldmine for recruiting S&OP talent. Networking with professional association members can help build awareness of your company while providing excellent learning opportunities.

Consider sponsoring local chapter meetings, paying membership dues for your S&OP employees, and sending them to chapter meetings as well as national or global conferences to scout talent. Most associations have online membership directories to help facilitate networking amongst members, providing another channel for sourcing S&OP talent. 

Develop an Employee Referral Program

Candidate referrals are typically the top source for hires in most companies. A proven way to improve the quality and quantity of your applicant flow is to create an employee referral program.

To ensure participation across the enterprise, the referral program should be driven by the recruiter and/or HR partner that supports the S&OP or planning teams, and sponsored by the executive overseeing your S&OP or IBP program.

While you can get by with a manual process to run your employee referral program, it’s best to implement an automated system to drive better results and track the source of referrals and hires, such as JobVite or Jobcast. Providing incentives such as cash or a vacation package can help drive better results as well.

Mine Your Internal Database to Develop an S&OP Talent Pipeline

When we post our S&OP job openings, not every applicant is the right fit for that opening at the time. However, it’s very common that we recruit and place candidates that aren’t a fit for the role they initially apply to with future searches that we work on.

A best practice is to have your recruiter proactively data mine your resume database and segment candidates into a list or perhaps tag them by keywords, assuming your applicant tracking system (ATS) has these types of features. That way, when you have your next S&OP vacancy, you already have a solid talent pipeline that you can quickly reach out to.

For example, we have more than 20,000 candidates with S&OP experience in our resume database, organized by location, industry and other tags, enabling us to quickly build qualified candidate slates for our clients.

Use Paid Recruiting Tools

Consider paying for additional tools, like LinkedIn Recruiter, to help expand your network for sourcing S&OP talent. This tool isn’t cheap, but it provides access to all LinkedIn members, comes with a ton of candidate search filters that enable you to quickly identify candidates that align with your job criteria, and allows for direct messaging via InMail to help connect with the passive candidate market. Consider using other tools with rich databases of contacts such as Zoominfo.com, Seamless.ai, and Swordfish.ai, for example.

A good search term that you could use within LinkedIn and other sourcing tools may look something like this:  S&OP OR “sales & operations planning” OR “sales and operations planning” OR IBP OR “integrated business planning”.

Post on Specialized Niche Job Boards vs Generalist Job Boards

Job boards typically rank low on most companies list of sources for attracting and hiring S&OP talent. With that said, we still encourage you to post your positions as sometimes you can get lucky, plus you’re building your resume database with candidates that you may be able to hire in the future.

If you do decide to post, we recommend posting on niche job boards that cater to S&OP and planning professionals such as the Supply Chain Careers Job BoardIBF’s job board and ASCM’s job board, versus the generalist job boards where your posting can drown in an ocean of job listings. IBF also has a LinkedIn Group that is dedicated to sharing job opportunities that span all aspects of inventory planning and forecasting.

Bottom line, job boards that focus within the inventory planning and S&OP / IBP disciplines tend to drive more relevant applicants compared to the generalist, jack-of-all-trades job boards.

Engage with a Specialized Search Firm with S&OP Recruiting Experience

If you’re struggling to fill a key S&OP position and it’s causing pain to your business, you should consider engaging a specialized recruiting firm to find S&OP talent. 

Be sure to conduct proper research and due diligence, both through your network and online, to identify the right recruiting firm, as not all recruiters are equal.

Many specialize by industry, function, job level and geographic area while some firms, like ours, have a dedicated S&OP Recruiting Practice

Check out our infographic below that summarizes six creative ways to find S&OP talent.

Happy Hunting!