It may be the time of year for purchasing professionals to concentrate on the procurement of Christmas (buying Christmas items), but the perennial issue of the ‘procurement of procurement talent’ never goes away. The Strategic Sourceror highlights three ‘must-have’ factors to attract the best candidates.

The first is purpose, defined in 2015 by the Harvard Business Review and Ernst & Young as “an aspirational reason for being which provides a call to action for an organization… and provides benefit to local and global society.” Recruiters specialising in procurement jobs increasingly see this as a key asset for attracting world-class candidates throughout the recruiting and hiring process. Applicants want to know that they will have an impact within and beyond the organisation and seek employers who define that purpose not only financially but in other ways as well. Young professionals are increasingly dedicated to social issues and wish to work for organisations that not only act ethically but also set the bar for other businesses to emulate. As a result, procurement recruitment agencies and hiring managers find they must emphasise their company’s purpose through every stage of the staffing process.

Secondly, millennial candidates who are used to engaging in continual digitally-enabled feedback loops with their peer network, see frequent communication with managers not as an intrusion but as a positive benefit, especially in an era where procurement pros are increasingly required to work remotely. During the hiring process, they appreciate consistent communication and are inclined to feel more attracted to jobs where it is practised.

Last but not least is flexibility. Millennial candidates above all see the nine-to-five model as outdated. Young parents see it as the single most important factor in choosing procurement jobs, according to a 2016 FlexJobs survey. The offering should feature early in the hiring process. Many candidates will want it but few will ask upfront, so seeing it practised is reassuring.

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