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Andrew's Top 5 Tips

Published: 3 years, 10 months ago

LinkedIn recently ran a fantastic series of articles whereby they asked over 80 business leaders, CEO’s, entrepreneurs and Not- for- profit gurus about their approach to hiring.

Having critically reviewed all of the articles and individual perspectives I have abstracted our top 5 tips and takeaways from this research for CPO’s below:

Tip 1 – Hire people with a winning personality

The great Richard Branson states: “The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture. Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner’.  Branson prioritises this over qualifications going on to say “Some managers get hung up on qualifications.  Great grades count for nothing if they aren’t partnered with broad-ranging experience and a winning personality”. 
At The Source we think there is a very important message here about hiring procurement professionals who are going to positively contribute to your business culturally.  Get this right and your stakeholders will turn into huge advocates and very happy customers.

Tip 2 – Use role play/simulation during the hiring process

Steve Tappin, CEO of WorldofCEO’ applies a “Money Ball” approach to uncovering great talent that may be overlooked by other employers.  One of the techniques he uses to uncover this talent is to set up case study tests: “I like the “impossible job simulation test”. For example, to test his magic ability to take apart a company and his character. Pick a random company, hand him PC or an iPad with internet access, and give him 90 minutes to do as much research as he can on the company, before giving you a 15 minute presentation on where the company is and where it should go. Here, you’re looking for resilience, determination and creativity more than the “right”. The Source have long been advocates of making candidates walk the talk at the end of interview processes and have developed a number of procurement specific case studies to help ensure your hiring decisions are correct.  So often those who excel at face to face interviews falter at this stage of the process and that’s why Daniel Shapero of LinkedIn also advocates this approach as his top tip for hiring superstars whilst explaining how to set up one as an appropriate test.

Tip 3 – Be open and authentic about the challenges

Michael Fertik CEO at really hammers home the point about giving a clear picture on how challenging your environment is, “ isn’t the easiest place to work. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s a huge challenge. But it’s hard. And that’s ok. Building something worthwhile is hard and, I think, should be hard.” He goes on to explain that how candidates react to this openness will go some way to showing whether they are a “negative Eyore” or someone who will embrace the challenge and go on to deliver success.  With the talent shortage in procurement it is very easy for CPO’s to oversell their opportunity and environment to candidates.  However, as we uncovered in our research paper “Onboard – how to successfully navigate the first 100 days” motivation and retention can be severely challenged early into tenure if new starters are not joining an organisation with their eyes wide open.  Liz Ryan, CEO and Founder of Human workplace also talks in some depth on this topic in her post “Recruiting with a Human Voice”.

Tip 4 – It’s not about getting the answers 100% right

A constant theme throughout all of the 80+ influencers interviewed on LinkedIn was that often the way candidates answer questions and engage is more important than the answers themselves. Witnessing this cognitive process will give you a far greater hit rate than purely asking competency question that illicit well-rehearsed answers. I particularly liked the approach of DJ Patil, Vice President of Product at RelateIQ, who asks two deceptively similar questions and makes a judgment not just on the answer, but the speed of the response and its tone. 

Tip 5 – Hire diverse teams and not just individuals!

One of the UK’s top entrepreneurs (and Investor on TV’s Dragon Den) James Caan advocates actually auditioning new potential employees by having them sit with his team to see how they fit. I can certainly see how onboarding and employee integration would be smoother using this approach and think that procurement candidates should also spend time sitting with key internal stakeholders. We have a general diversity issue in procurement and yet former President of Merrill Lynch, Sallie Krawcheck explains that you “can’t have a team full of point guards”. “Greater diversity of thought, perspective and background has been shown to lead to greater innovation and superior financial results” explains Krawcheck. This should be a priority for CPO’s in transformation who have the ability to cherry pick a new procurement group.