‘Super-Temps’, highly skilled Contingent knowledge workers for Strat Sourcing/SCM will help bridge the need for 80000 NEW jobs annually

January 23, 2013

Professionally,I am extremely happy to have chosen Supply Chain Management over the last few years as my area to become an intense specialist in. It amazes me how exciting it is and how it continues to be a growth area at the nucleus of competitive globalisation in organisations and also a tremendous area for ongoing maximum cost control. In my role as a very specialized Talent Acquisition Recruitment Expert in Supply Chain, Change Management, Logistics, Strategic Sourcing/Procurement, there is certainly sustainable business in this particular Sector to keep narrow boutique companies (mind you only for those who really know their stuff) like Argentus which is busily engaged with companies seeking very specialised knowledge professionals. Here’s why.

The demand for Supply Chain Talent is (and that includes Strategic Sourcing/Procurement) is at an incredible all time high. Statistics Canada tells us that there is absolutely no sign of this easing up – the Supply Chain Sector is expanding. More than 700,000 people are employed in supply chain management in Canada today. I make a point of being well read on my field of expertise and the information I know from The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council says that annually, 80,000 Supply Chain Management positions will be needed for newly created or vacated roles. That’s huge, and as baby boomers hit their retirement peak over the next seven to thirteen years, the demand is going to get higher especially for high level professional and managerial level roles in strategic business and supply chain and transportation.

Interestingly enough, much of this demand will be addressed by the rise of the “super temp”. What I mean by this is the availability of highly, highly skilled Contingent workers which augment and compliment companies professional workforces. With the great advances in technology, they can be easily plugged-in and pulled out as the need arises for very senior level Strategic Sourcing and Change Management Project requirements as an example. The concept of a nimble workforce is very attractive to companies seeking cost efficient staffing solutions in Supply Chain Management without losing skill, knowledge or productivity. It’s a win-win and more and more senior level executives and professionals are getting on board with this better work-life balance lifestyle.

Having said that, there is still no getting away from the fact that SCM candidates will continue to be in very high demand. So the importance of retaining the interest of engaged candidates longer through companies recruiting processes is crucial – How an active candidate in Supply Chain and Procurement feels about a company courting them is so critical. The goodwill (or lack thereof) that those potentially looking for a career shift take away with them about you as a company is HUGE and can and will affect how their peers perceive your organization as a future employer. Negative news travels fast I’m afraid.

So, this point certainly bears repeating, even if you don’t hire a candidate because, let’s say – they are too junior today or didn’t have the right technical skill fit, or the right number of years experience isn’t for this role, statistics have proven that very possibly your company will want to revisit that candidate sometime in the not so distant future.

And we know from experience, that disgruntled candidate who felt they were roughly handled through the process the first time around will be hard to bring back to the table when theyare NO LONGER JUNIOR or are a better fit for another job.

Communicate clearly and consistently – it will pay off in spades. Nothing disappoints and frustrates job applicants in SCM more than not knowing what’s going on, or where they are in the process – or if they are even still part of the process. Staying in touch from the get-go should be a religion from acknowledging receipt of the initial application to regular follow up throughout the process. It might seem counter-intuitive with all the technology at our fingertips and with the many demands on our time but for high demand pockets of talent where the competition is fierce, nothing pays back in spades better than going back to the good old fashioned basics to get the job done and keep the goodwill strong. Keep the interviews tight, keep the feedback frequent and if someone doesn’t make the cut to the next round, make sure the feedback is immediate because closure is better than uncertainty.

Simplify, and speed things up. Recruiting to fill an open position is a process that can take a few days, or several months. Too many steps, or too much time spent waiting for the next step – increases the risk of losing candidates. A lengthy or complicated process raises doubts in the candidate’s mind that the employer could be confused about what they want, is bureaucratic, or perhaps that they aren’t particularly serious about filling the position on an urgent basis. Consider carefully how you can reduce the number of steps in your process, perhaps by combining them. Try at all costs to avoid keeping candidates waiting longer than is absolutely necessary. Skype and video Conferencing are fantastic tools to shorten the process which should take no more than two to three weeks from start to finish to keep it fresh.

Keep things “candidate friendly.” There is a school of thought that the interview should be a sort of “stress-test” – an opportunity to see how the candidate performs under pressure. Overdo this, however, and you risk alienating your interviewee. Making candidates feel as though they are “jumping through hoops” will do nothing to increase their desire to work for you. Ideally, an interview is a dialogue, a two-way conversation in which both parties seek to establish rapport, and explore ways they can help each other. Rather than looking for ways to trip the candidate up, look for ways to allow the candidate to demonstrate judgment, capability, and expertise. In other words, make the interview as positive an experience for the candidate as possible. You can still ask the tough questions, but do so in a way that demonstrates respect.

Sell your company and the position to the candidate. Employers are looking for people who can sell themselves, who can communicate clearly why they are an asset. But this is a two way street. Strong candidates in SCM are usually entertaining three or more roles at a time and they are actively assessing you, forming judgments about your organization, and about whether the job meets their needs and helps them move towards their goals. And it’s not just about the job: give potential employees as much of a “feel” for where they can go in the organization and what their career trajectory will be. Allow them to walk away from the process feeling and seeing themselves working there. So that if you make an offer there will be a better chance of acceptance which is really what it’s all about.

So in Canada, hiring for  Supply Chain, Change Management, Strategic Sourcing & Procurement in Business, Manufacturing & Retail/Consumer Services continue to grow. Consider the options available – Contingent (it’s the NEW permanent workforce) Staffing for professionals is inching up to 30% of the workforce. Be sure to protect your organisation’s interviewing and hiring reputation with the SCM candidate pool. It’s a small industry and people talk…they talk alot and you want the goodwill in your corner. And lastly, it’s really good to have a great Third Party Consultative Partner in Talent Acquisition in this vertical who can reach those tougher gems of the really hidden candidate market.

To reach me to talk about how we can walk you through how we can help as your Contingent Staffing Partner call me at 416-364-9919 or email me at bhann@argentus.com

Over and Out

Bronwen

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