How To Hire your company’s Supply Chain/Procurement Talent – BETTER, FASTER, SMARTER

May 31, 2012

YES – There are Vendor Managers, Procurement Leads, Strategic Sourcing Managers, and Purchasing Sole Contributors ready to hire – really!!! Jobs certainly need not go unfilled as clearly they are right now.

There is an on-going big complaint amongst companies seeking to hire Supply Chain Management Professionals (which includes Strategic Sourcing, Vendor Management, Logistics, Contract Management and such) that they just can’t seem to find the right skill base, category experience, basic education requirements or compensation match for the open roles they have. In a nutshell – ‘companies want their new SCM hires to be an exact match, yes do 100% of the job the day they start. That’s it hit the ground running Day 1. 

This expectation is usually the reason why so many of roles are being left unfilled across North America for months. These are positions that could easily be filled in a matter of weeks.

This expectation of getting a perfect fit in Supply Chain is completely unrealistic…

So as an expert in Talent Acquisition, let’s get real – maybe it’s time to look candidly at how we’re all approaching the whole process of screening for talent in a niche that is under siege. And what I mean by that is the fight for talent in this very narrow field of professionals is growing and it’s fierce and getting fiercer.

Here’s an example. In my home market (and I do work across Canada and the US) of Toronto – a large cosmopolitan city and a good barometre for other urban areas, just this week we had four offers on two candidates – can you believe it. Who would believe there is an unemployment problem. And this kind of thing happens every month – Yikes, two losers and two winners, all great companies. But there are so many other great candidates still getting passed up because they don’t meet the full 100% of the criteria – but I’ll speak to that in a minute

So just to put that into perspective. As employers (companies that is) and their Recruiting Partners in this niche, we need to get really good at understanding the psychology of the Supply Chain/Procurement professional. Employers and Recruiters need to stop seeing the SCM hire from the company/client perspective and start getting into these peoples’ heads and figure out really quickly what turns these peoples’ cranks and motivates them to consider a career move and whether they will take or reject a courtship of one employer over another. It’s really quite complex starting with the fact that SCM types are highly analytical and are less turned on by warm fuzzies and more about the size and scope and spend of projects and the change they can make and what they can learn to add to their bucket of skills. And its always about the money.

But the real point I want to make here is that we need to stop approaching the Procurement/Supply Chain market like it isn’t hot, hot, hot. Because it is. The conditions for hiring are tough, the competition is tight and companies have to come a long way to court potential employees and sell them on why they should come to their organisation vs. another.

Instead, what continues to happen is this overbearing approach when screening these highly sought after, high demand employees. There are so many roles that remain open for so long it’s time to take a page out of how European companies do it. Given a candidate is great, fits the culture with 80% or 90% of the skills which are the core requirements – the balance can be trained. If this model were applied, North American companies would highly benefit from this approach with SCM hiring because their open roles would get filled faster with better candidates who would stay longer because they would have a longer learning curve and retention is important too. SCM Stakeholders would look to those who support them to find their talent as lifesavers because of their creativity.

Argentus has certainly been for some months supporting and encouraging this model when representing candidates to clients because we know too well how competitive the market is for talent. The smart ones are listening to our experiences and working with us to get the job done. A major hurdle for example is still the issue of limited higher education. There are many really outstanding procurement professionals especially at the Senior Manager and Director/VP level who have worked their way up through the ranks of Supply Chain Management and do not have that requisite degree. We know full well why companies are setting the bar higher to get the better quality talent. But the realities are that much of the accomplished talent in the tight market especially at those senior management levels do not have that requirement. With Baby Boomers leaving the workforce en masse especially in Supply Chain Management, Stakeholders need to work creatively with their in house Talent Acquisition partners as well as their outside Recruiters to find a way to ‘stick handle’ their way around this roadblock and find a way to allow that flexibility to attract that talent. It’s just too easy to slam the door and say NO and also so shortsighted.

Certainly much more to come on this topic.

Please contact us to learn how Argentus can provide you with very specialized Contingency & Permanent Talent Acquisition in Supply Chain Management 416-364-9919 or

Over and Out



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