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Sourcing Procurement Talent

Sourcing Procurement Talent

Special thanks to longtime BMP friend Charles Dominick, SPSM3 of theNext Level Purchasing Association for this guest post.

As a procurement professional, you need to be good at finding suppliers who work out as good or better than you predict.  As a procurement leader, you need to be good at finding employees who work out as good or better than you predict.  In this post, I’ll share some traditional and not so-traditional ways to find high-potential procurement talent.



For the purposes of this post, I’m going to assume that you are recruiting for a strategic procurement position.  So, chances are, you want someone who really, really wants to be in procurement.

In those cases, you probably want to be careful not to have to sift through a boatload of “general” candidates.  By general candidates, I mean those people who would be happy to take a procurement position.  Or an accounting position.  Or an HR position.  Or…

Job posting outlets that serve the general public often result in such an overwhelming response from inappropriate candidates.  In response, some hiring managers have swung the talent sourcing pendulum in the exact opposite direction, only hiring someone with whom they have crossed paths with previously.  This has led many job seekers to lament that “it’s not how good you are, it’s who you know.”

But, with the right strategy, you can still cast a wide net for people who may be better than “who you know.”  You just need your recruiting to reflect a corresponding emphasis on procurement.  For public postings, target resources that specialize in procurement, such as the Next Level Purchasing Association’s “Jobs For SPSM’s” page or even procurement-specific LinkedIn Groups.

While a LinkedIn Group may still attract a certain percentage of underqualified candidates, at least they’ll have a higher chance of at least having an interest in procurement.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to also explore “who you know.”  There is a certain amount of risk in hiring.  Hiring someone you’re connected with – even if via a degree of separation – helps to reduce the risk.

In addition to the people you know, seek referrals.  There are two constituencies who can make pretty good recommendations:  existing employees and trusted advisors in procurement.

Existing employees are a great source of referrals.  They don’t want to embarrass themselves, or even jeopardize their own careers, by referring a deadbeat.  So, they have some skin in the game.

Trusted advisors like procurement consultants you work with or procurement trainers often have large networks.  And they tend to interact with some of the most ambitious procurement professionals on the planet.  They value their respected stature in the profession and wouldn’t want to diminish that through a referral of an underqualified candidate.  So, utilize your trusted advisors, too!

Hopefully, the procurement talent sourcing methods described in this post will land you more than enough people to vet further.  And that vetting process is exactly what we will talk about in my next post in this series.  Stay tuned!

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