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4 job search tips for sourcing and procurement professionals
Demand for procurement and sourcing professionals is increasing, as the main function for each of these roles is to help the organisation achieve cost saving objectives and boost revenue. Depending on the industry, different companies require different types of professionals and products and services.
Human resources department often face the dilemma of selecting the right candidates, and it’s important for sourcing and procurement professionals to do their best to stand out. This article outlines the four main criteria candidates can focus on to ensure they catch the attention of the hiring managers when it comes to their CV and experience.
1. Perfect your CV.
In order to even reach the interview stage, it is crucial for professionals to ensure that their profile stands out among others. This means ensuring your CV is both free of mistakes and errors, and your experience is easy to read. It’s very common for me to receive over 30 CVs for one job posting - what makes yours stand out amongst the others?
Sourcing and procurement professionals should highlight their achievements with quantified figures to draw attention to previous experience with an easy-to-read format. Things to include, for instance, are: the number of active vendors candidates have closely worked with, the number of new items/products the candidate has developed and cost saving projects candidates have helped the organisation to achieve.
2. Brush up on vendor sourcing/supplier management.
Sourcing and procurement professionals must have an understanding of sourcing criteria of each company in order to ensure the best benefits and interests. As such, most HR and line managers will ask during interviews about ways to source vendors and how to analyse return data.
To maximise the efficiency and achieve cost savings objectives, professionals need to understand the financial status of the potential and existing vendors, (at least checking the P&L and financial report of recent 2-3 years), productivity and agree on payment terms.
3. Focus on your cost saving experience.
Maximising cost saving is a common challenge that procurement specialists most often face. Procurement specialists are expected to maximise cost savings for any organisation, and tracking and measuring it on a P&L level. A successful procurement specialist would also be able to conduct spend analysis to understand various cost areas and functions i.e. cost effectiveness, cycle time, process efficiency and vendor productivity.
For example, the expense for sourcing new vendors, amount spent on NPD (new product development) projects, suppliers who incur large costs and also whether the suppliers meet the expectations of what the company is needed. Candidates should demonstrate how the spend analysis and cost saving approaches have helped the firm to modify the procurement process and selection criteria in order to save the procurement/ sourcing costs for previous employers.
4. Highlight negotiation skills and people facing ability
Strong interpersonal and intercultural communications skills are a must criteria for every procurement specialist. In an increasingly complex business landscape, strategic sourcing and people skills should remain at the center of every decision. As many of the vendors/ production plants have been relocated to different countries such as Bangladesh, Jordan, Vietnam and India to name a few, procurement specialist are usually required to travel frequently to different regions searching for new vendors with lower production prices and better quality.
During the interview, candidates should highlight the number of buying trips he/she attended yearly in previous positions, specifically what stakeholders they have been closely working with during the sourcing trips, how to deal with the vendor when they underperform and other issues that regularly come up when dealing with external vendors.
Results-driven and people-focused
The procurement function is definitely results driven and keeping the supplier at the center of the procurement process in an inevitable fact. If professionals wants to find success in the procurement sector, they need to gear up the above four core elements and get the mindset, technology, relationships and processes in place.