We are pleased to share a very useful article written by one of our long standing partners Iain Stewart.
A client recently asked me how to approach the process of re-applying for her job, as a consequence of a major re-organisation, with a new boss who she does not know.
She told me that although she hires people quite regularly, she has no template for interview preparation, and has not herself been through an interview for many years.
Here is what we defined as her approach, which, as a generic preparation tool, I want to share with anyone who needs to sharpen up their process, either as an interviewer or a candidate.
First of all, as a candidate, consider the interview as a competition you intend to win – only when you have a job offer do you need to make a final decision about accepting the role or not, a decision which should by then be informed by your due diligence, and the quality of the offer.
Prepare for the prospect that a good competent interviewer should be testing the candidate on three critical, go/no-go questions.
- Could this person do the job?
- Could this person be an effective member of my team?
- Could I work with this person?
Subordinate areas of the interview will focus, in more detail, on the candidate’s competence in the three areas of:-
- a) Content Knowledge relevant to the job;
- b) Leadership;
- c) Behaviours,
and, in addition to having credible answers ready for the interview, the candidate should always be prepared to provide evidence, to support their initial answers – make sure that your answers have precision and conciseness.
Content Knowledge is reasonably self-explanatory, but be sure to have a clear definition of the role, and an excellent understanding of what would be required to satisfactorily undertake the job, from the perspectives of resources, processes, tools, and governance, striking the right balance between theory and practice.
Leadership is often mistakenly considered to be synonymous with Management.
Everyone has had an attempt to define Leadership, but let’s simplify it here.
Management is about the organisation and deployment of resources in order to create outcomes which meet organisational goals, for example achieving production outputs, or customer service levels.
Leadership, on the other hand, involves knowing what good management looks like, but additionally organising resources and people to make the enterprise achieve its strategic goals, and to be competitive and durable; for example identifying the need for additional capacity, or new products and services, and facilitating the successful implementation of these developments.
Not all leaders are great managers, and not all great managers are wonderful leaders!
Knowledge and leadership ability need to be augmented by, and deployed through the application of appropriate Behaviours.
Some of these are innate, others are learned, and everyone has a subtly different make-up from the next person.
However, in the interview setting, some behaviours, which could almost be classed as values, will always be important.
These include integrity, honesty, decisiveness, relational skills, energy, ambition, cultural sensitivity, political awareness, attitude to risk, reasoning ability, and many other ‘soft’ attributes.
In all of the behavioural areas, the interviewee is just as responsible as the interviewer for assessing the level of fit between their personal style and the environment of the recruiting employer.
There is also a school of thought that interviewers are seeking their potential successors – that may be true, although in some cases, organisations are looking for content specialists or experts, who may never have the breadth to succeed their boss.
A decent interviewer is however likely to be studying a good candidate, and wondering if the candidate is:-
…their potential successor, or;
…someone they need in their team as a specialist, but not their potential successor, or;
…someone they should not hire!
In any event, do not appear in the interview as though you want the interviewer’s job…yet!
There, then, is some generic structure for the preparation for interviews, and engaging in them.
Of course, do the preparation and the research, on the organisation, and the individuals who you will be meeting.
Of course listen carefully and observe body language, and tailor your responses to questions and situations in a considered and appropriate way.
As a crude rule of thumb, if it feels right, then it probably is, and if it doesn’t feel right, back your instincts – it probably isn’t!
Director – Medinrun Limited
Edbury Daley is considered by many to be the leading specialist recruiter in the Spend Management sector. We have a long established presence in the UK market along with significant experience of recruiting on behalf of our clients across Europe, the US and Asia.
Our new website is designed to offer everything you need to know about the sector, whether it be as a hiring manager or with the emphasis on your own future career options.
We cover the latest industry news and jobs along with helpful advice on recruiting and looking for new career opportunities.
You can take a look at the new site here – http://www.spendmanagement.co.uk/
Andrew Daley was recently interviewed by one of the leading procurement and supply chain job boards www.supplychainonline.co.uk
The interview covers Andrew’s opinions on specialist job boards, the use of social media in recruitment and his concerns about the future of Linked In. He also talks about the benefits of forming effective working relationships with recruiters and the qualities to look for in a potential new boss.
You can read the full interview here:
Here’s an excerpt from our Procurement Quarterly Market Update for the second quarter of 2015 which addresses recruitment market trends and the availability of skills in the consulting sector.
The picture in the consultancy space is not as bullish as in quarter one. It is somewhat mixed as some niche areas (spend management) are doing well but many others are either static or struggling to win new deals and hence we have seen a number of examples of organisations pulling back on previous expansion plans.
Most consultancies are still recruiting but not at the rate anticipated or merely to cover leavers or to backfill promotions. The picture varies according to each organisation’s project pipeline and this can change week by week currently. This is impacting on recruitment as candidates become nervous when recruitment drives are delayed or even cancelled.
Much of the new project work being awarded centres around technology led procurement transformation and many of these organisations are successfully ‘on-selling’ other services. In our view organisations not offering access to a technology solution seem to be at a disadvantage in the current market
The larger outsourcing deals appear to be less in number as many CPO’s or senior Procurement Leaders have indicated to us that they are focusing on ‘targeted help or consultancy on specific areas of spend or to speed up specific projects’ This implies they want to retain full control and don’t want to commit to the costs or risks of a long term outsource unless there is a long standing relationship or a specific business problem beyond the in-house capabilities.
Some organisations are in effect running transformation projects internally by carefully utilising interims directly instead of ‘outsourcing’. However there remains a shortage of experienced consultants with the requisite skill set to deliver major transformation projects in procurement and supply chain at senior levels.
An increasing trend that we have reported before is the shortage of junior level consultancy candidates with 2-3 years experience. Many consultancies are increasingly delivering projects via a tiered delivery model with good junior people increasingly being used to support senior people on-site from day one. Therefore they can only consider those with existing client facing skills and experience as they cannot risk putting those without this straight into this environment. This increasing demand means salary rates for these levels are becoming increasingly inflated as competition for good candidates becomes more intense.
As an example we are finding that good junior people with 2-4 years experience can command a base salary of £45-50k for a move to another consultancy. There are examples of individuals with only 3 years experience being offered £55k to move to some of the smaller niche consultancies. This we think will cause increasing problems for the bigger players or those organisations with strictly controlled salary and career bands who are unable to flex.
If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this article, please contact Peter Brophy.
Here’s an excerpt from our Procurement Quarterly Market Update for the second quarter of 2015.
This market is the one that bucks the trend this quarter as the growth in the use of procurement technology continues unabated. Several industry reports offer impressive growth predictions for this market over the rest of this decade and this is supported by anecdotal evidence from our clients in the sector.
The second quarter of 2015 has seen strong demand for people with proven skills in systems implementation, transformation consultancy, project leadership and business development.
The core areas that we see most activity in relate to P2P, e Sourcing, analytics and contract management technology with the first two leading the way.
Experienced professionals who can point to an impressive track record selling or implementing these systems are in strong demand. Furthermore, with a finite talent pool in the UK to satisfy this demand, the skills shortage that we have observed in our last five regular quarterly reports is becoming more acute. Salaries continue to rise as a result.
What’s more, we have now collated hard evidence of these salary trends in the sector over the past year to support some of our clients recruitment activities and they make for fascinating, if slightly worrying reading.
Those companies that are consistently successful in hiring the skills they need in these market conditions are the ones that adapt best to the challenges they face. We’ve helped design several innovative solutions to enable our clients overcome these challenges in a market we know intimately and this has given them a valuable source of competitive advantage.
If you wish to discuss our sector specific salary data or our innovations in talent sourcing please contact Andrew Daley.
The market for “in house” roles requiring these skills hasn’t been as bouyant as the provider market largely because of the trend to use technology platform providers and associated consultancies. However there have still been some interesting opportunities in major corporates for both P2P and e Sourcing specialists.
The interim market place for these specific skills has been steady throughout 2015 following a solid period in 2014 but there is still usually resource available when our clients need short term support to address spikes in their work load.
We anticipate that this particular interim market will get busier towards the end of Q3 of 2015 as a direct result of the talent shortage in the permanent market.
Here’s a case study explaining how our range of services has enabled one of our clients in the sector to hire the people they need despite the challenging market conditions.
The UK Spend Management sector is enjoying strong market conditions with several key players experiencing significant growth.
In terms of human resource, there are a finite pool of people with experience in a rapidly growing sector. This equation means there is a shortage of suitable talent that is only going to become more acute as the market continues to grow.
At Edbury Daley we have had a clear focus on the sector for several years now dating back to our first work with an established market leader in 2007. Our network of contacts spans all the key players in the sector and we know where the best people are.
We also know which people might consider new roles, and which organisations are at risk of losing some of their best people due to market factors like salary increases, under investment in the product etc.
In a marketplace which is characterised by this skills shortage, growing organisations need a recruitment strategy that can help give them competitive advantage.
We strongly believe that our portfolio of services can be a major factor in delivering that competitive advantage to the companies that we work closely with.
We offer several different recruitment services for both interim and full time roles, a bespoke salary benchmarking service for the procurement technology market and an advisory service which focuses on improving talent attraction strategies.
If your business needs to address how they hire the best available people, we have the experience and market knowledge to make a difference.
Here are some examples of the appointments we’ve made so far this year in competitive market conditions:
Senior Sales Manager – e marketplace & analytics provider
Managing Consultant, Coupa/Ariba implementations – big four Consultancy
Senior Consultant, SAP Implementation – big four Consultancy
Senior Consultant, P2P Transformation – niche consultancy
Senior Consultant – e Sourcing suite provider
If you would like a more in depth view of the market, whether it be for a discussion about recruiting into your team or with regard to your own personal career choices, please contact Andrew Daley on 0161 924 2385.