5 important factors to consider when hiring a procurement manager

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Procurement managers are vital to the whole success of a company. On a basic level, they ensure that their companies are taking a strategic approach to purchasing goods and services. They must secure the best deals and develop good relationships with suppliers.

The role of procurement manager is vital to the growth of a company, so you must hire a qualified professional who will thrive in a high-pressured buying environment.

These are the 5 questions you need to ask yourself when recruiting for the role of procurement manager:

Can this candidate demonstrate strong relationship-building experience?

It could be argued that the most important skill a procurement manager can have is relationship-building. Negotiation and communication skills are essential for this role – procurement managers will have to depend on their networks and relationships to guarantee the best prices.

Basically, procurement managers have to be likeable and have the ability to influence a wide range of people. They will maintain regular contact with high-level senior staff like CEOs and MDs, and will have to forge relationships with manufacturers or designers from very small companies.

Work out in their interview if they’re a good communicator and ask for examples of strong relationship management. You could ask your employees who will be working directly under the procurement manager to have a part in the interview so that you can establish how they will communicate with them for further insight.

Do they have strong analytical skills?

Good financial knowledge and analytical skills are essential for a procurement manager, as they will be in charge of managing budgets and keeping costs down. There are also times when a procurement manager will have to manipulate data from different stock-management systems, as well as monitor many different product lines.

Have they streamlined processes before?

One of the best things about hiring a new manager is the chance to get a fresh pair of eyes on your processes. An experienced procurement manager should be the best type of person for this. Candidates should be able to prove to you during their interview that they have the ability to look at a process and find ways to streamline and improve it.

Have they had any experience of streamlining processes before? Can they highlight an instance in which their insight and experience helped them make things better for their past companies? Before their interview, as a pre-task, you could ask them how they would improve your systems and see if you are impressed with their answer(s).

Do they have good foresight and planning skills?

Procurement managers need to know what the business needs, and what it will need in the future. They need to be able to understand consumer behaviour, seasonality and to recognise trends.

A strong procurement manager will be able to take all this information and make educated estimates on what stock a business will require throughout the year. Foresight is an absolute must in this role, as procurement managers need to be able to continually look forward and predict upcoming behaviours.

The best way to do this is to have a clear understanding of the industry, and the history of the company. Planning skills are essential – ensure your candidate has a firm understanding or will be able to learn and adapt to the business.

Would you trust their judgement?

It’s vital when working with a procurement manager that you feel you can trust their judgment. This can be a hard thing to gauge instantly, or even after a long interview, but it’s worth trying.

Do you think this person has the potential to understand the needs of your business inside and out? Are they proactive, and willing to take risks, yet always with the success of your company in mind?

Your call

The procurement manager is such an important role that you must ensure your new hire will be able to quickly adapt to your industry, forge lasting connections and be forward thinking.

Ask the above questions to discover if your candidate is a good fit for your company, as well as the more traditional questions about experience and qualifications. Use your judgement to decide if they are right for the role, and then reap the rewards a brilliant procurement manager can bring.

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