supply chain talent

7 Creative Ways to Find Supply Chain Talent (INFOGRAPHIC)

By Published On: February 1, 2023

Struggling to hire and retain supply chain talent? Be sure to check out SCM Talent Group’s 10 part blog series that covers the top strategies employers can implement to improve their ability to hire and retain supply chain talent.

If your primary recruiting strategy is “posting and praying”, you are basically fishing from a freshwater pond versus the ocean. 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 supply chain talent through a job advertisement, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

To keep up with hiring demands in a tightening labor market, you’ll need to expand your candidate sourcing tactics beyond job postings in order to discover and land the strongest, most qualified individuals.

Here are a few candidate sourcing channels we recommend that can improve your ability to attract and find supply chain talent:

Hiring and Retaining Supply Chain Talent in a Pandemic Era

The COVID-19 Pandemic changed everything. Employers across the globe immediately responded to the massive disruptions by working to advance and protect their supply chains. Faced with the drain of institutional knowledge from an aging workforce, supply chain leaders confronted a knowledge loss with rapidly advancing technologies. In order to stay competitive, changes needed to be made in an almost immediate fashion. 

  • Implementing more technology to streamline inventory control, transportation efficiencies, automation controls, and real time communications with producers and manufacturers.
  • Upskilling to ensure redundancies are available to key employees that deploy this technology.
  • Near shoring and reshoring manufacturing and production to shorten supply chains and reduce variable transportation disruptions.
  • Emphasize strategic over tactical skills. This includes a shift from “just in time” goods to “just in case” inventory planning.
  • Consider fractional consulting or interim executives as a solution to help build out processes and optimize networks.

Tap into Supply Chain Associations

Supply chain associations, such as APICS or CSCMP, can be a goldmine for recruiting supply chain talent. Networking with supply chain association members can help build awareness of your company while providing excellent learning opportunities.

Consider sponsoring your local chapter meetings, paying membership dues for your supply chain 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 you can explore to find supply chain 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 your supply chain organization, the referral program should be driven by your supply chain recruiter and HR partner, and sponsored by your most senior supply chain executive. 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.

Create Partnerships with the Right Supply Chain Universities

Start ’em early, they always say! Going straight to the source helps you develop a qualified pipeline of new supply chain talent.

Partner with universities that have the type of supply chain degree programs that align best with your entry-level job requirements, company values and culture. Establish rapport with potential new hires by having members of your team attend university job fairs. Develop relationships beyond the staff working in the university’s career center, such as with professors that teach supply chain management courses, as they will know who the top students are in each class.

Be sure to post your jobs with each university and outline the benefits of working for your organization. Once you start hiring entry-level candidates from your targeted universities, have these employees go back to their alma mater to help recruit supply chain students.

In addition, have your supply chain recruiter and employees proactively connect with students at your target universities early on versus waiting until they’re close to graduation. Nurture these relationships so when students start thinking about employers to target, your company is at or towards the top of their wish list. These are proven tactics smart employers use to recruit top supply chain students year after year into their organizations.

Mine Your Internal Database

When we post our supply chain 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 supply chain recruiter proactively data mine your resume database and segment candidates into a list or perhaps tag them by keyword, assuming your applicant tracking system (ATS) has these types of features. For example, if you’re commonly recruiting for Warehouse Supervisors in a certain city, such as Raleigh, NC, add these applicants into a list or tag them. That way, when you have your next Warehouse Supervisor vacancy, you already have a list of local candidates you can reach out to quickly.

Use Paid Recruiting Tools

Consider paying for additional tools, like LinkedIn Recruiter, to help expand your network for sourcing supply chain 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 and

Engage with a Supply Chain Recruiting Firm

If you’re a small or mid sized company that doesn’t have the hiring volume to support hiring a full-time supply chain recruiter, or if you’re struggling to fill a key position and it’s causing pain in your business, you should consider engaging a supply chain recruiting firm to find supply chain talent.

Be sure to conduct research, both through your network and online, to identify the right supply chain recruiting firm, as not all recruiters are equal. Many specialize by industry, function, job level and geographic area while our supply chain recruiters support all aspects of the end-to-end supply chain discipline, and for most major industries.

Check out our infographic below that summarizes seven creative ways to find supply chain talent.

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 supply chain 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.

We recommend that you post on niche job boards that cater to supply chain professionals versus the generalist, jack-of-all-trades job boards where your job listing can drown in an ocean of job listings. Job boards that focus within the supply chain discipline drive more relevant applicants who have experience or interest in your specific focus areas.

Part 1: 6 Tips for Establishing a Supply Chain Mentorship Program

Part 2: 7 Creative Ways to Find Supply Chain Talent

Part 3: Streamline Your Supply Chain Hiring Process

Part 4: Right-size Your Supply Chain Recruiting Team

Part 5: Forecast Your Supply Chain Talent Needs Through a Workforce Planning Study

Part 6: Turn Your Supply Chain Organization into Talent Scouts

Part 7: Advance Your Top Talent Through a Supply Chain Leadership Development Program

Part 8: Key Steps for Developing a Supply Chain Employer Branding Strategy

Part 9: Six Steps to Build an Employee Referral Program For Your Supply Chain Organization

Part 10: Improve Supply Chain Hiring Through Creative Sourcing Strategies & Recruitment Tools