Do purchasers need to change the way they recruit staff?

Gurjit Degun
3 April 2014

Gurjit Degun © Akin Falope3 April 2014 | Gurjit Degun

The ProcureCon Indirect conference in London yesterday brought up some interesting points about collaboration being crucial for success in procurement. The most common question from delegates was around how to recruit, and retain, the right people.

Simona Pavelescu, head of Ericsson’s global sourcing services office said she always looks for leadership skills. This not only helps with change management but also to retain staff, she explained.

“The key to retaining people is leadership, because if people find someone who they can share their expectations and problems with, that communication is really important,” she said. “Another factor when I interview someone is I would like to see if that person is really willing to take the role – attitude is more important than competence.”

Nick Jenkinson, head of indirect procurement at Aryzta, echoed these views. He believes it's important to make sure a potential employee has the right attitude because you can then “mould” them into a successful procurement professional.

Bill Vevers, head of group finance at Standard Life, advised purchasers to make sure employees feel integrated in the business by giving them bigger projects to work on and and the chance to deal with more senior people. “It’s about giving people the opportunity to grow in what they do,” he said.

But Richard Beaumont, chief procurement officer at Co-Op Bank, questioned what purchasers look out for when recruiting, especially if the key to success is collaboration. He said procurement leaders should be looking for a sense of collaboration and community on CVs, instead of what the potential employee has worked on and how much spend they have managed. “If we’re serious about driving [collaboration], then shouldn’t we be recruiting on that matrix?” he said.

Is Beaumont right? What do you look for when recruiting? And do you think you should change the way you think when looking for new talent?

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