Build your brand through continuous development, buyers told

13 October 2015

Procurement professionals who have done nothing for 30 years to enhance their career since achieving MCIPS should be struck off, said David Loseby, group procurement director at Arriva.

Emphasising the importance of continuous professional development, he said it was imperative for individuals to decide whether they wanted a career or a job. “Only the best will do,” he said.

Loseby said working in procurement for the public transport company required much more than the key supply chain competencies. “Meeting those is just an entry ticket,” he said.

Discussing smart recruitment at last week’s CIPS Annual Conference the CPO said candidates should be able to recognise, understand and engage with different regional approaches and how doing business differed according to geography.

“Attitude counts for a lot. Being professionally qualified is important but I can’t change a person’s attitude and behaviour – that is part and parcel of them,” he said.

He said candidates needed talent, an "ethical" approach and should be able to articulate and illustrate their understanding of the need to engage with different stakeholders with the right attitude. “I must understand how that person ticks. That is fundamental. How will they fit into the organisation and its different sectors and businesses,” he said.

While Arriva looked at references and answers to structured questions and a candidate’s professional skills, “the real test is this stuff”. 

Loseby said candidates must also consider "what is my brand as an individual" and "how does that link to the organisation that I want to work for?".

"You must protect and preserve your brand and if you enhance it you become more marketable and more attractive to the business,” he said.

Candidates must also realise how their brand is portrayed, for instance on social media and within the profession. “It is important to enhance it over the years to set yourself apart”, he said.

He said those interested in a career would need enhanced communication skills, psychological understanding and cultural knowledge.

“You decide whether you want to be passive or passionate and work to develop yourself and your career… and we will need to sell our brand to you too,” he said.

Lewis Douglas, senior regional manager at Reed Specialist Recruitment, said a recent study had shown that of 20,000 new staff members over 46 per cent failed to achieve their expected potential within the first 18 months of being hired. He added a single bad hire can cost between £15,000 to £30,000.

Citing Alan Hall’s book The 7 C’s of Hiring he said candidates should be judged on competence, capability, compatibility with the team or company, commitment, character, culture – for example would they fit into the company culture and its mission, and compensation, which included openly discussing their bottom line. He said research had found it took up to six months for each senior hire to add value to the company.

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