Making the right choice; a procurement job seekers tale

You’ve heard the saying ‘I really wasn’t looking’ but if truth be told, I suppose I had a quiet eye on the procurement jobs market. What I didn’t expect was for my role of passive job seeker to switch so quickly or tumultuously to that of man tasked with deciding between two new, fantastic career opportunities.

It all began with an email from a recruiter saying he was keen to discuss a new opportunity with me.  Interest piqued, I wrote back to suggest a conversation that evening. The recruiter in question had a role with a direct competitor, an organisation with a great reputation but positioned slightly further away from my home town in Hampshire than I had ever thought of commuting. The role itself was a golden opportunity. As Procurement Manager for an internationally recognised brand I would have an opportunity to prove my category knowledge across indirect spend whilst managing a small but growing team. It was a position that had genuine visibility to the wider business and the salary range and benefits package were generous; enough to make a longer commute more than worthwhile.

Unsure of the next steps I asked the recruiter how best to pursue the opportunity. Luckily he was both knowledgeable and professional and we arranged to meet over coffee so that he could fully brief me, help me get my CV up to date and prepare me for the steps ahead.

So far so good. What I didn’t expect was for my new found status as active job seeker to be picked up on by another recruiter. This time the approach came through LinkedIn. I had recently updated my profile having been advised by my recruiter that many employers’ use social media as part of their screening process, an action which seemed to put me well and truly on the recruitment radar.

This time my experience was very different. I accepted the invitation to link in and said I would be interested to hear about the opportunity but this time the recruiter in question had little interest in talking things through. Instead, she sent me a job specification and said if I wanted to pursue the role could I please send over my CV as a matter of urgency. My initial instinct was to walk away but curiosity, yet again got the better of me. This time the position in question was far closer to home and even more generous in terms of remuneration. It was also with a globally renowned organisation and I would be part of the senior management team.

To back away from such a wonderful opportunity seemed churlish so I duly sent her my CV and waited for an update. And I waited. And I waited…

In the meantime things were progressing well with the first role. I had met with the recruiting manager for the business and then the senior leadership team. We had built strong rapport and I knew without doubt that this was an organisation I could flourish in. I had also built up an excellent relationship with the recruiter to the point where I had mentioned my application to the other position. He was sympathetic but also honest. We had reached a point where I could be offered a role with his client. What would I do if the other business came back and asked to see me?

His concerns were a catalyst for action. I called the second recruiter to chase up my application and she confirmed that ‘yes’ the business would like to see me but they could only do so in the morning at 10am. I expressed some surprise at the inflexibility and suddenness of their request but the short timing suited me; I could explore the opportunity and gauge it’s suitability without ruining my prospects of an offer with the other company.

This interview also went well. I explained that I might have another offer on the table and the recruiting manager promised to feedback to my recruiter within 24 hours to let him know if I had been successful.

It may not surprise you to hear that 24 hours came and went with no communication from the recruiter.  You could safely say that I had reached the point where I would have been happy to walk away from the whole fiasco.  It was at this point that I received a call from the first recruiter saying he had a job offer for me. He talked me through the interview feedback and really inspired my engagement by telling me about the management teams’ vision for my role. I was being offered the top end of the salary range and the company had revised a more generous bonus structure which they felt better matched my capabilities. Everything about it felt right but I asked if I could have the evening to think the move through before officially accepting.

Suffice to say that this is when the other recruiter finally deigned to get in touch. She too had an offer for me. The remuneration was better, the travelling distance considerably less and I felt comfortable that it would be a sound career move. So what should I do?

As any procurement professional reading this will know, bad relationships are the downfall of supply chains no matter how successful an organisation seems on the outside.  As an experienced procurement leader could I really accept a role where the offer had evolved from a relationship based on such mistrust and frustration? There is also the old adage that you are only as good as the company you keep and in this case the organisations’ choice of recruitment partner did nothing to reassure me of their credibility.

Needless to say I went with the first offer and the experience has really opened my eyes to the cut and thrust of today’s job market where a positive relationship really can make the difference between a good and a bad career move.

With that in mind I wanted to share my positive recruitment experience with other procurement job seekers: www.procurementheads.com

About the Author

Helen Harling

Office and Marketing Manager for both Procurement Heads and sister brand HR Heads. Graduating with a marketing degree, Helen has continued her passion by leading our marketing function forward. You will see her blogging, tweeting, posting, videoing about Procurement Heads. You can see this on our LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram page.

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