Is It Really Hard To Hire A Procurement Caliber?
<p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>M</strong>any people do not know what exactly Procurement people do?! Some connect it to marketing, sales or business development, while it could sound hard to explain to senior people that procurement is not about finding goods and services for the firms, I even find it also hard for fresh graduates to understand what procurement is exactly about. The challenge we have is that, it is very rare to find a college or academy that provides a four year study of procurement. Procurement is usually connected with other studies like Supply Chain, Logistics, Business or Finance. Considering these challenges, a question for HR would be; how can I select a qualified procurement candidate? Whether for junior or senior level. Is it the experience, the certificates or personal skills that would decide if the candidate is qualified or not?</p><p style="text-align: justify;">To answer all these questions, first we need to understand what are the personal characteristics that describes a good procurement candidate? The first thing that could come to the mind is negotiation, persuasion, analytical skills however, I believe there are other overlooked skills that HR or Hiring Manager should consider while hiring a buyer such as, resistance to drive change and pushing forward ideas. For example, it could happen that stakeholder could reject a potential supplier just because he is happy with the current one or afraid to take a risk, a confident and well prepared buyer should have enough patience and resistance to drive this change. Imagine if supplier consolidation is one of the organizational targets and buyer is not able to convince stakeholder of consolidating business with strategic vendor, what would the outcome looks like in this case?!</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In the job interview for a buyer, I recommend to include asking the candidate to provide real examples of business or even personal situations which show that he has enough patience to reach goals. The onboarding process for a primary packaging or chemical material in a pharma company could take more than one year. In some cases a contract discussion might take more than half a year, Patience and goal orientation are among the essential skills for a professional buyer.</p><p style="text-align: justify;"> Conflict and stakeholder management are essential skills that should be assessed during the recruitment process. While the buyer focuses on his goals he should be keen to keep a good relationship with his requestors and stakeholders otherwise, his saving projects will be alwayschallenged with many justifications which in some cases would seem rational for the top management. The buyer should be confident, friendly, positive, strategic thinker, target and customer oriented as well. </p><p style="text-align: justify;">Now we come to the experience part, many HR professional believe that hiring a buyer from within the same industry makes the onboarding process safer and selection process easier. While we have to admit that this is partially right, we have also to mentioned that in some cases coming from the same industry would close the gate for thinking out of the box and coming with creative solutions. Procurement is a standard manual that with agility and industry specifics understanding would apply to the supply process of goods and services. I believe that the focus should be more on the category experience more than the industry experience, while at the same time the overall understanding of the procurement vital role plus the personal skills should play the major role in the selection process. </p><p style="text-align: justify;">Unfortunately, many buyers lack the exact understanding of procurement in their organization, in the 21st century you still meet buyers who believe that they work in bureaucratic department that is neglected by the top management and only follows the supply chain or the finance objectives. You need to hire a buyer who not only believe in himself but also believe in his job and its importance, select a buyer who choose to work in procurement not who was chosen to work in procurement. The initial screening which in many cases is left to junior recruiters is very important, some recruiters escape very good calibers just because they do not have the industry experience or enough certificates, the skills that might hide among those rejected resumes might be the one needed for the organization, accordingly, not only job requirements <br />but also personal skills should be clearly communicated to the preliminary recruiters to make the initial application checks. </p><p style="text-align: justify;">I came across many buyers who were stacked on the same level for many years just because they did not write a good resume or perform well in their job interviews, while I believe it is not an excuse, I still think the leaders motivation in many cases would make a magical change to personalities. </p><p style="text-align: justify;">It will always be a challenge to first the right buyer for the right category until procurement experts elaborate more of their stories and experiences with HR using these practical experiences as the benchmark for selecting buyers. I tried to give in this article few tactics that might help while I still believe that a book might be needed to cover this topic.</p>