How to write a better procurement job description

Written by: CIPS Procurement & Supply Jobs
Published on: 4 Oct 2023

Procurement and supply chain management is a career that requires a certain set of skills, so our job descriptions often follow the same job overview, responsibilities and personal qualities format. But is that the best way to attract top procurement talent?

How to write a better procurement job description

Job boards are the most popular channel for finding new jobs, according to the Employer Brand Research 2023 report published by Randstad, with almost half (48%) of job-seekers saying they used job boards to look for jobs.

But in such a highly competitive market, this means that a good job description is key when it comes to standing out from the crowd and attracting the best procurement candidates.

But what makes for a good procurement job description? We explore some of the latest insights below.

Highlight your employer value proposition

Many traditional job descriptions discuss what the employer wants from a potential employee. They list the key tasks they want this person to be able to fulfil as well as some vague personal qualities, which in some way dictate whether you are a good fit for the role.

But it often doesn’t tell the candidate what they can get in return. A standard list of 25 days holiday plus bank holidays and offering an attractive pension doesn’t cut it. Candidates want to know what you’re really offering them – and the same is true of procurement professionals.

A Wonderful Workplaces’ report found that, when it comes to passive candidates, 71% said ‘a unique opportunity’ and 68% said ‘a better work-life balance’ would persuade them to apply for a job.

Therefore, it’s important that as a recruiter you convey the key benefits that differentiate your company from its competitors and make it a ‘unique opportunity’. What is it that makes your culture unique? What policies do you have in place that might be more attractive to your potential procurement employees?

For example, you might see yourself as leading the way when it comes to maternity and paternity policies, which will be very attractive to anyone thinking of starting a family in the next couple of years.

Or you could see your fun-loving culture with regular social events as a key selling point to the people you want to attract to the role. Whatever it is, direct your job description at what your potential candidate might be looking for in their new role, not just the position you’re trying to fill.

Put your culture first

If you’re looking to speak to what the candidate wants, you will also want to look at the structure of your job descriptions.

A job description that starts with all the standard rhetoric at the beginning could lose the interest of procurement candidates who want to know who you are as an employer above the responsibilities of the role. Therefore, a structure that mixes both is a good strategy.

Begin with your job overview – people still want to know what the role is – but then talk about your culture. Include a section on what it’s like to work in procurement at your organisation and incorporate the words ‘you’, ‘us’ and ‘we’ to make it seem personalised to the individual.

Then you can talk about the key responsibilities and personal qualities required of a procurement professional, but ensure you keep the same tone of voice throughout and avoid jargon.

You need to really think about the type of person you want to see in this role, not just their skill set.

Lastly, list the benefits that you think make you stand out from the competition. Highlight the policies that will make the biggest impression on who you want to fill the role.

For entry-level procurement roles, that might be your training opportunities and chance for progression, whereas a mid to senior-level employee might be more interested in your childcare or maternity/paternity policies.

This is also a good place to highlight some of the fantastic work you’ve been doing to make your company a great place to work, such as charity initiatives, diversity and inclusion initiatives, or well-being initiatives.

Ultimately, you need to ensure that the candidate feels that your organisation is a great place to work for them.

Shorten your job descriptions

This may seem counterintuitive given the above advice, but the key message here is that you want to convey these points as succinctly as possible.

Candidates will lose interest if your job description is too length, especially if the responsibilities list on for page after page.

Not only does a long list of tasks overwhelm the candidate, it also runs the risk of people rejecting the job if they find too many tasks they can’t do.

It’s a well-known statistic that women will only apply for a job if they meet 100% of the criteria, whereas men will apply for much less. Therefore, a lengthy responsibilities list could mean you’re unwittingly putting off female procurement candidates.

Only list the key responsibilities of the job with an ideal length of 8-10 short bullet points. Do the same for personal qualities and ensure they’re tailored to the role – everyone knows you need to be proactive, have good communication skills and be a team player.

A shorter job description that speaks more to what you can do for the candidate will help achieve more applications from better quality candidates.

Ultimately, there are many ways to improve your job descriptions – some have tried video job adverts that are more engaging for candidates, while others have removed responsibilities and personal qualities altogether, simply including a short description with emphasis on the company culture and benefits.

For recruiters seeking procurement or supply chain management talent, it's important to test what works best for your business, as different techniques will offer better results depending on the role and the organisation.

Talk to us about how you can improve your procurement job descriptions and use employer branding to your advantage.