Special thanks to Charles Dominick, SPSM3 of the Next Level Purchasing Association for this guest post.
In the my previous post, I talked about ways to structure a job description to help find a rock star of a procurement employee by focusing on the qualifications you need and the qualifications you want. However, let me caution you now that qualifications alone may not be enough. You may deserve a candidate who not just knows procurement, but loves procurement.
How do you know if a candidate loves procurement? Three pieces of evidence that suggest it: contributions to the profession, intra-profession mobility, and certification. We’ll explore each of these in this post.
Contributions To The Profession
Lots of people have occupied procurement positions. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly a half-a-million people in the US who are buyers and purchasing agents.
Some of those half-million people are making a difference in their roles. Others are pretty much taking up space.
Those who are making a difference also recognize the need to make a name for themselves, both internally within their organizations and externally within the procurement community. After all, if a cost savings tree falls in the procurement forest and no one is around to hear it, did it make a sound on the bottom line?
Those difference-makers speak at procurement conferences. They author articles in trade publications. They post questions and answers on the many LinkedIn Groups aimed at procurement professionals.
In other words, they don’t succeed in isolation. They contribute to the profession. And those contributions provide excellent evidence that a candidate is serious about procurement and likely to stick to it for the long-term.
Personally, I took a purchasing course in college. I loved it. I sought out – and found – a procurement position as my first job after graduation. I haven’t left the procurement profession in the 20+ years since!
But it’s no secret that cases like mine have been the exception moreso than the rule. Even with many colleges now offering degrees in supply chain management, millennials aren’t necessarily seeking out procurement roles as universities tend to consider disciplines like production control and logistics to be at least as important pieces of supply chain as they consider procurement to be.
So, again, just because someone has been in procurement doesn’t mean that they targeted that role and got exactly what they were shooting for. But, if a candidate has a track record of staying in procurement even when they get new jobs, they may just love procurement.
A final indicator of a candidate’s seriousness about procurement is whether or not he or she has a procurement certification. Unlike a college degree, which is likely to be highly generalized – “business administration” is a bit broad, isn’t it? – a certification in a profession shows that a candidate is truly interested in being a specialist. A procurement certification demonstrates that a candidate:
- Has learned some of the most strategic procurement practices
- Has met third party standards for excellence in the profession
- Is serious about procurement as his or her lifelong profession
Make “Seriousness” About The Profession A Qualification
Now that you understand the importance of a demonstrated seriousness about procurement, you need to institutionalize it as a qualification on your job descriptions. Phrases like “Visibility as a thought leader highly desirable,” “Progressive experience in procurement a plus,” and “SPSM Certification preferred” can help you attract higher-level talent.