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 typically content in their current roles and rarely surfing the job boards, so if you think you’re going to find strong procurement 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 you explore in efforts to improve your ability to attract and hire strategic sourcing & procurement talent:
Utilize Procurement & Supply Chain Associations
Procurement and supply chain associations, such as ISM, ASCM, and CIPS, can be a goldmine for procurement talent. Networking with procurement 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 employees, and sending them to chapter meetings as well as national or global conferences to scout talent. Most associations have online membership directories, providing another channel you can tap into to find sourcing and procurement talent.
Put Together 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 sourcing & procurement organization, the referral program should be driven by your procurement recruiter and HR partner, and sponsored by your most senior procurement executive e.g. CPO or XVP of Procurement.
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 results as well.
Partner with Procurement & Supply Chain Universities
Partner with universities that have the type of procurement & 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.
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 students that are concentrating in procurement & supply chain degree programs. Other relevant degree programs that you should consider are international business, finance and economics.
In addition, have your procurement 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 procurement students year after year into their organizations.
Use Your Internal Database
When we post our procurement and 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 procurement 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 Senior Buyers in a certain city, such as Seattle, WA, add these applicants into a list or tag them. This way, with your next Senior Buyer opening, you already have a list of local candidates you can quickly contact and engage with.
Use Paid Recruiting Tools
Consider paying for additional tools, like LinkedIn Recruiter, to help expand your network for sourcing procurement 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 and engage with 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 as well as Chrome extensions and other sourcing & recruitment apps.
Consider Candidates Outside of Your Ideal Candidate Profile
In a tightening labor market with procurement and supply chain talent shortages, it’s important to maintain a degree of flexibility and open mindedness with your job requirements versus being overly rigid. Too many employers make the mistake of trying to hire the perfect candidate with all the bells and whistles, and end up ignoring top performers that are very capable of excelling in the role.
Aim to remove common hiring biases such as assuming that all candidates with employment gaps or a few short job stints are bad candidates. When in doubt, invest the time to vet candidates who may be of concern.
Post on Specialized vs Generalist Job Boards
Job boards typically rank low on most companies list of sources for attracting and hiring procurement 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 procurement and supply chain professionals such as the Supply Chain Careers Job Board versus the generalist job boards where your job listing can drown in an ocean of job listings. Job boards that focus within the procurement discipline drive more relevant applicants that have experience in your focus areas. versus the generalist job boards where your job listing can drown in an ocean of job listings.
Engage with a Procurement / Supply Chain Recruiting Firm
If you’re struggling to fill a key position and it’s causing pain in your business, you should engage a procurement & supply chain recruiting firm. Sure, there’s a fee to pay but if you land a strong procurement talent, he or she will most likely pay for the fee several times over in year one, along with the full compensation costs, resulting in a strong ROI.
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 some firms, like ours, recruit across the end-to-end supply chain discipline and most major industries.
These are just a few of the different ways to source procurement talent for your organization. If you find your organization struggles with finding procurement talent and you’re looking for help, grab our eBook below full of tips and tactics to source, hire and retain top sourcing and procurement talent.