Six Qualities Procurement Candidates Must Possess

We recently addressed attributes that hiring managers should probably steer clear of when looking to hire procurement professionals. Now, we’d like to flip that around and touch upon the qualities you should embrace in hopeful candidates. The list of top-mark traits is long, but let’s tackle some of the most important, and sometimes most challenging to find.

You want candidates with a taste for tech. As with many industries, procurement is heavily dependent on technology and information systems that evolve rapidly and constantly. To that end, your company should be on the prowl for hopeful hires with a demonstrated record of tackling technology. This means they know much more than how to use the internet and social media, and how to whip up a spreadsheet on Microsoft Excel. If you ask about which P2P software and systems they’re proficient in, and they can’t rattle off any, or they ask, “What’s P2P?” you might want to move onto another candidate.

Seek people who grasp market dynamics. Thanks to ever-changing political structures, climate conditions, severe weather events, economic upheaval, and myriad other factors, procurement professionals need to be current on just about everything in order to do their job proficiently. The ability to understand, even anticipate, all of these factors that impact the industry you’re focused on and the conditions you’re facing day to day, is a vital skill any candidate you consider should have.

Flexibility, adaptability and innovation are key qualities. It’s not enough to understand, as mentioned above, that economic and market conditions are constantly changing. A supply chain procurement professional needs to react nimbly to shifting situations, adapt processes to best suit these new conditions, and come up with creative solutions to new and emerging challenges. A candidate should demonstrate a record of creative thinking, willingness to grow and a history of embracing changes to provide your company with the best advantage.

Career advancement is crucial. Consistency isn’t always a bad thing, but that isn’t the same thing as stagnancy, which rarely benefits a company. If you’re looking at a procurement professional’s resume and you don’t discern evidence of steady advancement, that could indicate the candidate is lacking in a few areas, including innovation, ambition, curiosity, and ability to perform at a level that would motivate their employer to reward them with promotions.

Follow the leaders. People talk a lot about leadership being an important quality to have at most levels, but in procurement, the ability to forge and sustain professional relationships, inspire coworkers and colleagues, and manage people as well as they manage projects are especially important. The field is built on relationships, so when it comes to supply chain staff, it’s wise to seek out candidates that aren’t just personable but that are passionate about collaboration and encouraging others to give it their all—those are the people your other staff and your industry partners want to work with.

They answer questions thoughtfully and thoroughly. You’ve determined a candidate looks good on paper and is worth extending an interview invitation to. Next comes the opportunity to find out how they operate under pressure and interact with other professionals. Come up with a list of appropriate questions regarding their experience, talents, strengths, weaknesses and more (read here for some inspiration on what to ask). It’s important that you listen not just to the answers, but how they answer them. If they hem and haw, appear to be dodging, or spout out rambling responses that don’t address what you asked, that could be cause for concern.

Again, the list of good attributes for a procurement candidate to have is long, and can vary depending on the company and specific position. That’s one reason why it’s good to have a specialized recruiter like MRA Global on your side—contact us and find out how our staff can harness our expertise and help connect you with the ideal candidates.