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Why employers should recruit for team dynamics and candidates should apply for cultural fit

Published: 2 years, 2 months ago

By Marisa Menezes


When you’re on the hunt for a new employee, it’s easy to get caught up in the tactical skills, capabilities and level of experience you’re looking for in the ideal recruit before even thinking about how that recruit will fit into the dynamic of your team. Likewise, many candidates focus the majority of their time searching for a specific job description that best suits their experience and growth ambitions, without considering the work environment and team culture they are walking into.


It doesn’t make sense to take a cookie-cutter approach to recruitment. People’s working styles and personalities vary so incredibly, even in a technical skills focused profession like procurement, that it’s vital to place just as much weight on behavioral character traits as you do qualifications.


From an employer’s perspective, creating a well-balanced team is the key. You want a group of people that bring different views and perspectives to the table, yet work cohesively and efficiently together. In the end it’s important to have versatility of output. If you have all of the same types of behavioral styles working within your team, you're only going to get one spectrum of output. To create an adaptable team you need people that think differently to each other, that challenge each other and that can develop and execute different skills to each other.


Workplace culture has also become increasingly important for candidates, particularly Gen Y who want to find a role that suits their style and passions. We find candidates are placing greater emphasis on careers that match their personal values too. For example some candidates with strong social and sustainability beliefs may look for roles where ethical and environmentally friendly sourcing are a focus.


Because the procurement function operates across a wide range of industries and organisations big and small, there is also a huge difference in the workplace cultures and team dynamics a procurement candidate can find themselves walking in to. Of course there is no right or wrong culture. Its horses for courses, and different cultures will attract and suit different people’s working styles and personality traits.


At The Source, we place a big emphasis on team dynamics and matching personality styles when we’re recruiting for a role. To make these assessments we use a mix of both proven psychometric tests and personality questionnaires to identify traits and leadership styles. Throughout the interview process we’re also able to make judgements about how a candidate likes to work based on their responses and reference checks.


When identifying an employer’s team culture, we find a thorough face-to-face briefing process is the most important step to help us understand what the leader’s personality traits are. It also allows us to get an idea of the culture of the organisation, what its values are and strategic goals. Personally I find visiting a client’s office, walking through the building and meeting their team gives me a great insight into their culture and working style.


For candidates at the senior level it’s a little different. Senior leaders have the ability to set or change team culture so the key consideration for CPOs is generally what level of engagement they have with the senior board and what the dynamic of those relationships is. It also depends what mandate the CPO has been given for the procurement function because that’s what will determine the level of negotiation and engagement skills they require.


So if you want to make sure your next career move is into a role that gives you the best chance for success, here’s a few of my top tips for candidates – CPO through to entry level – that can help you find the right cultural fit for you:


  1. Research the company resources – Most organisations will freely share lots of information on their website providing a good background on the company’s history, its mission, vision and corporate values. Many now also have dedicated pages that showcase their workplace culture and may include testimonials or even videos of employees sharing their views on what it's like to work for the organisation.


  1. Do some social media stalking - Social media is another great way to get a broader (often unfiltered) view about a company and its management. Jump on the potential employer’s Twitter and LinkedIn channels and see the types of things they are sharing and the level of interaction with other companies and their own employees. It can provide some good insights in to their supplier relationships and how they treat their staff.


  1. Do a reverse reference check - One CPO I spoke with last year actually said he would contact a potential employer’s suppliers directly to get their perspective on the organisation and what they were like to deal with. This is a great way to get another view on a company culture and a smart way to identify the value a procurement team places on its supplier relationships.


If you’ve got any questions about how to recruit for team dynamics or finding a job with the ideal cultural fit, please contact Marisa or call the Melbourne office of The Source on 03 9650 6665.