Discussions around Procurement talent almost always wind up at the millennial question. On the one hand, talent managers throughout Procurement are constantly looking for news ways to leverage this tech-savvy and collaborative generation. They're eager to stand out as employers of choice and keep their new hires engaged and productive once they've got them on-board. On the other, leaders from Supply Management and other industries are often grumbling about a generation they perceive as entitled and disloyal.
Few of these discussions look at recruitment and hiring from the millennial perspective. This is surprising. After all, the crowded and competitive market for Procurement talent creates as many headaches for the young applicant as it does for veteran hiring managers. Sourcing internships have become the norm and more than schools than ever are offering Supply Management programs. This means even a world-class applicant will face stiff competition as they search for a job in Procurement.
Source One's spend management team knows what it takes to stand out as a Procurement professional. Check out their tips for effectively making the transition from the classroom to the office.
1. Outshine the Competition
When you go in for a job interview, always come prepared. Conduct research into the organization beforehand so you understand what makes their approach to Procurement and Strategic Sourcing unique. Start by scouring their website and social media profiles. You'll gain a better sense of how they articulate their value proposition and begin to understand the specifics of their corporate culture. If something surprises or confuses you, you're in luck. That means you'll already have questions of your own ready for the interviewer.
Asking insightful and informed questions is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself as a potential asset to an organization's Procurement team. What's more, the insights gathered from these questions will make it easier to select a best-fit employer. Answers, however, are just as important as questions. Ensure you can speak to your strengths, accomplishments, and relevant experience in a concise manner. Don't just inform them of your Procurement internships or Supply Management studies. Any good hiring manager has already read your resume. Instead, offer a detailed narrative that presents your specific mix of experience and skills as a can't-miss opportunity. If you feel confident in your strategic value, Procurement's hiring managers will feel the same.
2. Become Adaptable
In Procurement, you'll encounter people who make it easy to collaborate and people who do not. When confronted with the latter, exercise patience, active listening, and flexibility. Try to understand why this individual's work style or attitude differs from your own It may help bridge any gaps that exist and provide for the open communication that Procurement teams require. Don't be afraid, however, to speak your mind. If a team member is a serious detriment to Procurement's culture and productivity, it's worth taking the initiative to provide constructive feedback. This conversation might be uncomfortable, but if it's characterized by honesty and fairness it should result in positive change.
For today's Procurement professionals, flexibility is an absolute necessity. From early on, you'll be expected to perform a multi-functional role and straddle the line between numerous business units. Accept new responsibilities with enthusiasm and actively look for opportunities to do more for the business. You'll distinguish yourself as an asset to Procurement and help contribute to a positive workplace culture.
3. Be Realistic
Millennial professionals are known for valuing a good work-life balance. Deloitte's most recent Millennial Survey found that around 17% of applicants consider it the most important factor in selecting an employer. This ranks above advancement opportunities, access to cutting-edge tools, and even monetary compensation.
These feelings are understandable. Knowing your boundaries and establishing a sustainable workload are important for anyone's health and well-being. That being said, Procurement's essential role means its practitioners can't always afford to drop everything at 5PM. Deadlines and responsibilities don't go away once your work day crosses the eight hour mark. Behaving as if they do will soon earn you the wrong kind of reputation. You might start to impress other team members as one of those entitled, self-serving millennials they've heard so much about.
If your workload is overwhelming, take a proactive approach to correcting the situation. Look for opportunities to delegate work, collaborate with a team member, or establish more realistic timelines. It's never easy to admit you're struggling, but doing so will remind your employer that you're invested in performing effectively. Let them know what's keeping you from performing to your abilities. Together, you can work toward building a more manageable workload and a stronger Procurement function.
Looking to take the first step toward an exciting career in Procurement and Supply Management? Read up on Source One's internship programs and reach out to the spend optimization team today.