Hiring CONTRACTORS in SCM/Sourcing that’s a ‘Bird of a Different Feather’

June 8, 2012

Over the last year or two, we have seen how companies have been starting to hire differently in Procurement, Supply Chain Management, Strategic Sourcing, Logistics & Transportation as well as Retail Management and Change Management. So, here’s what’s been happening. Staffing needs have been shifting from a primarily permanent dominated landscape to a split between permanent and Contingent/Contract hiring. This change in complexion of hiring has pushed Third Party and in-house Recruiters into new ways of capturing that talent.. But companies – that is, Hiring Managers and their Internal Talent groups haven’t necessarily realised how the market is shifting and have been a bit slow to respond.

The major change would be related to time and timing. The whole concept of professional “super-temps” is all about being nimble – being able to plug-in and work as high level knowledge professionals for companies when they need them. SCM and particularly Strategic Sourcing/Procurement are in very tight demand. Many companies continue to let the interview process DRAG for many of these roles and so are asking for disappointment. These very, very hirable candidates are being heavily pursued by multiple companies for both Contingent and Permanent positions which are very strategic in nature – it’s very much like being a multiple dater for candidates in SCM these days. How companies play the dating/courting game at the outset with those HOT COMMODITY candidates will determine whether they win or they will lose this TOP talent. As a specialist firm in this Supply Chain Management Recruitment vertical, we bring the vital business and market intelligence to the table for companies – Supply Chain Management professionals are in very, very high demand across North America.

Why you ask? Simple – SCM experts at all levels, Replenishment & Supply Analysts, Supply & Demand Planners, Materials Managers, Logistics and Distribution experts & Directors of Supply Chain & Strategic Initiatives, are all part of the overall equation to get and keep companies competitive and on track to get those bottom lines where they need to be in a less than buoyant economy.

These amazingly valuable skills as part of a larger strategic initiative where companies are finding a talent deficit and feeling the angst. Organisations are working hard to get themselves fit through their SCM by very leading bleeding edge innovation, change management and streamlining. Because they strategically hunt out quality improvement opportunities and cost efficiencies within their organisations they continue to be of tremendous value and on the radar of key management all the time.

Those tasked with the job of finding tough talent have to be very quick off the mark in responding to needs from their business units for both Permanent &Contract/Contingent needs  in this space. Assessing resumes and moving candidates through the screening process almost like lightening in definitely in order to catch the prize talent as the shelf life is extremely short. This is especially true for hiring for permanent staff for the sole contributor and manager level and very, very critical when hiring for Contract/Contingent talent.

The market for contract staff in SCM is still something quite new in a field that is small and close knit. Working with a limited pool (albeit increasing fast) the challenge is on to grab that talent who is open to Contingent roles before someone else does. On any given week, someone up for grabs for contract will be looking at upwards of four or five roles at once. And their life expectancy on the market is only about 5 to 10 days. In the last 24 to 36 months, our own business model has changed to 40% Contingent/Contract in Supply Chain Management – Strategic Sourcing and 60% Permanent Staffing. That in itself is quite a departure and for that we have redefined our business model to accommodate.

So a couple of simple but different rules to follow when hiring Contingent. Be fast and fastidious. Take one or at the most two interviews to hire and keep the process tight -one to three days, otherwise you will find other companies have the BEST candidates wrapped up and you are starting from scratch again.

Ask the right questions…

The number one mistake which hiring managers make when interviewing Contractors is that they interviews them as if they were screening for a permanent role. WRONG! When bringing in someone to fulfill a contract, you’re hiring a skill set to do a fixed term defined job/task usually to complete a project so really understand the skills required for that role. You are NOT hiring an employee. That’s why the process should be quick and relatively simple to hire a Contractor – do they have the skills, are they someone we can work with, when can they start? Will they complete the assignment? Quick, easy – get the result get them on board. That’s also why you have to be quick, because Contract staff come and go quickly. This is NOT a 6 – 8 week cycle of full time hiring, contract needs to get done in 1 to 2 weeks maximum!

Follow these guidelines and work with the right external Niche Talent Acquisition group to support you in the right vertical and you will find your company will start to achieve better results and capture better talent.

Over and Out



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