If you’re in charge of recruitment for your company’s procurement team, you probably already have a “dream candidate” for every job description. But actually finding and hiring qualified candidates can sometimes feel more like a nightmare than a dream in today’s crowded, social media-savvy job market.
Filling procurement jobs with the best candidates is a lot easier if you follow the right procurement recruiting tips. Investing in preparation and moving beyond old-school sourcing strategy can help you identify, engage, and acquire great candidates who are an ideal fit for your procurement organization.
Essential Procurement Recruiting Tips
A successful recruiting strategy is about more than tapping into resume databases or blasting LinkedIn Mails to the masses and hoping for the best. Hiring managers looking to fill job openings with the best talent need a game plan that starts with careful preparation, puts a new spin on the recruitment process, and connects their company with their industry’s talent pool in real and compelling ways.
Know What You Need—and Who You Need to Do It
Famed inventor and futurist Thomas Edison once said, “We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.” Rather than trusting too much to the luck of the draw, spend a little time examining your internal standards and job descriptions before you turn your attention to potential candidates.
Set aside half an hour to an hour, and build your search strategy by:
- Thoroughly understanding the education, experience, and optimal skill set required to properly fill each job opening.
- Based on your knowledge of the position and its role in your industry, build a list of search criteria using Boolean (and Extended Boolean) operators covering titles, technologies, roles, terminology, and skills related to the position (e.g., “supply chain,” “procurement manager,” “procurement solutions,” etc.). Boolean operators can also be used to exclude unwanted terms and refine your search considerably.
- Use your newly created search criteria to launch a search on LinkedIn, resume databases, and whatever other recruiting tools you currently use. Don’t overlook the value of social media sites like Twitter, which can be a goldmine for identifying passive candidates.
- Evaluate your initial search results and incorporate related information that might not have been included in your initial search, including alternative spellings or names for titles and terminology, as well as additional relevant companies. Modify your search to include this additional information and search again.
- Repeat as necessary, continuing to modify and refine your master search variables until you’ve built up an adequate candidate pool of targeted, relevant results.
Don’t rely too heavily on title searches or even specific terms related to job-specific skill sets. The best candidate for the job may not include an exact match on their LinkedIn profile or resume, and remain invisible unless they hit another match on your list.
Remember: even a refined search strategy isn’t set in stone. Tweaking your search criteria for maximum relevance doesn’t guarantee you’ll see every qualified candidate. But it does ensure your results are more relevant from the start, making it easy to incorporate new information as you go along to narrow your search and make sure you’re consistently targeting the right people.
“Because it’s global, public, and unregulated, the Internet is a massive but often low-yield recruiting resource, because you have to engage in very detailed and nuanced Boolean searches to weed out the oceans of irrelevant information and home in on the results that actually matter to you.”
Take Recruitment Outside the Comfort Zone
Whether you’re a dedicated LinkedIn recruiter or draw from a broad and deep well of candidate sourcing, you can enhance your efficacy and bring more great candidates into your organization by expanding your search strategy to include a few non-traditional sourcing tips.
Get More out of LinkedIn
Leveraging one of the Internet’s most popular job sites in a few novel ways can help you source candidates who are not only interested, but ideal for your available positions. Make LinkedIn work for you with:
- Brief and Pithy LinkedIn InMails. Pique a candidate’s interest and encourage a response by keeping your message to 500 characters or fewer.
- LinkedIn Group Memberships. Joining one of the many groups related to your industry can let you connect socially and professionally with candidates, and have more in-depth conversations.
- Upgraded LinkedIn Memberships for Key Staff Members. With elevated accounts, managers and supervisors on your recruiting team can reach out and build their network as well as share information with candidates directly.
- Deeper Searches. Instead of adding yet another email to the no-doubt overflowing inboxes of the candidates at the top of your search results, consider reaching out to candidates four or five pages in. If you’ve taken the time to build and refine your search, you’ll likely come across outstanding candidates who simply may not have optimized their profiles as thoroughly as their peers higher in the results.
Don’t Limit Yourself to the Internet
Social media and job sites might be some of the most popular ways for job seekers to put themselves out there, but the recruitment process requires a more robust approach. If you have access to an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or Candidate Resource Management (CRM) tool, you’ve got what’s known as a high-yield recruiting resource.
Because it’s global, public, and unregulated, the Internet is a massive but often low-yield recruiting resource, because you have to engage in very detailed and nuanced Boolean searches to weed out the oceans of irrelevant information and home in on the results that actually matter to you. Some sites, such as LinkedIn, Monster.com, or Indeed, can be considered high-yield, because they’re focused on recruitment, and even with a free account, you can find some great candidates.
But with an internal resource like an ATS or a CRM, you have a database that’s already packed with information on local, qualified candidates who are actively interested in the job openings you have to offer. These pre-qualified job seekers have already made it clear they’d like to work with your company, whether they’re active candidates or passive ones.
Don’t forget about job fairs and networking opportunities in the real world, too. Make time for industry events, casual networking get-togethers, and industry conferences. You never know when you might bump into your next great hire.
Don’t Just Reach Out—Connect
How you contact a potential candidate can be as important to landing them as what you say. Consider these strategies when you’re ready to connect:
- Tweak your outreach to fit your target. Posting ads and listings on social media, along with job fair kiosks and general job site postings, are great for drawing in active candidates. But for passive candidates, you may find a more direct approach on the phone, through your personal network, and tailored emails to be more effective—especially for professional, rather than entry-level, candidates.
- It’s not me, it’s you. When you’re contacting candidates, make sure your message is focused on them, their current status, and their potential interest in your company. Save the hard sell for later in the conversation, once you’ve made it clear you’re there to help them make a career move, and not simply offering a job.
- Tap into Twitter. Everyone’s favorite sounding board has a free advanced search tool that’ll let you target specific search terms and find the people who are talking about, and looking for work in, your industry. The folks you follow today could be interested in joining your team tomorrow.
Power Up Your Search with Tech Tools
Chrome extensions (and similar extensions for other browsers such as IE, Firefox, and Opera) can add valuable context, relevance, and color to your search results in real time. A few to consider include:
- MailTester: Tired of sending emails to the wrong address? This tool scans email addresses to make sure both the domain and prefix are valid.
- MightySourcer: This tool from the recruiting pros at MightyRecruiter lets hiring managers identify, scan, and condense the resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and other online data for potential candidates. It connects seamlessly with MightyRecruiter’s software, if you use it, and allows you to email candidates directly from the extension.
- RiteTag: Do hashtags have you feeling #clueless? Use this tool to include the right hashtags in your social media posts and improve response rates while you garner interest from the best of the talent pool.
Tip the Recruitment Scales in Your Favor
Just like the supply chain, procurement jobs don’t fill themselves. Finding the best talent and matching it with the right job takes careful preparation, thorough searching, and constant dedication to improving your talent acquisition skill set. Don’t settle for good enough. Put your favorite procurement recruiting tips to work, and build a procurement dream team.
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