Buyers: the new recruiters?

28 February 2008
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28 February 2008 | Paul Snell

Purchasers should take a bigger role in helping their organisation to recruit the best new talent from around the world, according to Chris Sawchuk, procurement practice leader at research firm the Hackett Group.

Speaking at the eWorld conference in London earlier this month, he said procurement needed to think of new ways to ensureits long-term relevance to business.

He argued that the "war on talent" could be another area where buyers could apply their skills: "Other functions are trying to work out how to source talent. Why can't procurement take a leadership role in that? It is the business process of sourcing. It is a huge opportunity to drive more value in an organisation."

Christina Langley, managing director of purchasing recruitment firm Langley Search and Selection and a former buyer, agreed with his view.

"The best purchasers are good at building relationships. They often make good recruiters in today's tight market for staff as it is important that companies build strong relationships with potential 'best-in-class' candidates," she said. "At Langley, 50 per cent of our recruiters are ex-practitioners. Buyers are able to make the jump from sourcing goods and services to sourcing people."

She added that buyers who manage HR spend are able to influence HR policy significantly, and said that getting this policy right is the best method of finding the top candidates.

Victoria Winkler, adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said the method of recruitment would depend on the firm. "Although it largely falls to HR in setting up processes, specialists will also have a role to play. Employers are looking to recruit people who fit in with their organisation. There is a variety of methods that can be used."

Sawchuk also warned buyers of an approaching "STORM": savings declining; technology and talent elusive; operational challenges diverting attention; risk and regulation increasing; and the "more, more, more" attitude of senior executives.


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