How To Avoid The Ten Most Common Hiring Mistakes

How To Avoid The Ten Most Common Hiring Mistakes

With increasing competition for the best staff an effective recruitment strategy is vital. Here we look at the ten most common obstacles to attracting the talent required for your business.

1. Understand your internal recruitment processes from the start. A lack of awareness of standard recruitment procedure in your company leads to additional steps and delays. Typically this can be anything from an additional round of interviews or psychometric testing to a medical. Introducing these stages haphazardly part way through the recruitment process is very off putting to potentially strong candidates often leading them to lose interest or accept a job elsewhere. If you aren’t absolutely sure of the procedure speak to HR before you get started and be clear with candidates about the next stage throughout the hiring process.

2. Be realistic about candidates attitudes towards salary when moving jobs. Unless there is a huge improvement in non monetary terms such as a much shorter commute, candidates are looking for an absolute minimum of a 10% increase in basic salary, often more. Your company may well be a desirable employer but you still need to budget for a reasonable salary increase for your chosen candidate.

3. Be precise about the salary budget. A recruiting company states that the basic salary for a particular vacancy will be £50k to £55k and then when the offer is made to the successful candidate it is £50k which, it transpires, was always the absolute maximum. The extra £5k mentioned initially to the candidate could be crucial in creating an incentive for the candidate to be interested. So be clear from the start and therefore ensure that the candidates you see fall within salary budget.

4. Don’t cast the net too wide. Consider the following scenario: you’ve posted your vacancy on your company website and linkedin, you have an advert in a trade journal and on several of the online job boards and you have instructed six recruitment agencies. You have covered all the bases and are expecting some great candidates to interview. However, adverts on or offline have always been an unreliable source of quality candidates so you are probably hoping your recruitment agencies will produce the goods. But each agency knows that there is five other agencies and a slew of advertising to compete against. They are on a no placement no fee model and their chances are slim. So they spend their time working on other assignments where their chances of making a fee are greater and leave you without the quality shortlist you were hoping for. Be more strategic in your selection of recruitment methods and agencies rather than going for the catch all approach.

5. Develop a full understanding of the experience and the other clients of the recruiter working on your behalf. You create a PSL panel of recruiters and agreed terms. The successful companies impressed you with their slick presentation, powerful brand and big office networks. But did you meet the person who will be responsible for selling your senior level vacancies to the best candidates in your industry? Recruitment consultancies are typically high staff turnover businesses and you may have an inexperienced consultant placed on your account. Ask your recruiters which of your direct competitors they work with as this may limit their ability to approach and attract candidates who could be an ideal fit for your needs.

6. Don’t negotiate too hard on recruitment fees. If you have multiple vacancies in your department you can use this leverage to get your chosen recruitment consultancy down to a low percentage of basic salary as a placement fee. You may have got a great deal, but only if the recruiter fills all the vacancies. Remember they are working on a no placement no fee model and almost all of their other assignments will be more lucrative than your work if you have pushed too hard on their fee level. Given your multiple vacancy assignment you would expect to be near the top of their priority list. The fee deal you struck probably means you are a lot lower than you think so strike a balance whereby the terms are attractive for both parties to ensure you get the best results from your recruiter.

7. Don’t make the recruitment process too one sided. You want to make sure you put the shortlist of candidates through their paces and so you set up a half day assessment centre for stage one whereby there is a group interview and some psychometric testing. The problem is that the best candidates are probably only tentatively interested at this stage and unwilling to attend the assessment centre until they know more about the job. Maybe they are not entirely unhappy with their current employer or maybe they have multiple vacancies they are pursuing. Either way, you need to offer a little courtship before sending them to a formal assessment. Set up an initial interview which is as much about you selling the job opportunity and your company as it is assessing the candidate. Only when you have them excited about what you have to offer can you expect them to take half a days holiday and go through rigorous testing.

8. Communicate promptly with candidates following interview. Candidates assume no news is bad news. A delay of more than 48 hours will mean positive momentum will begin to drain away as will the candidates interest in the job. Going back to the strongest candidate quickly maintains the impetus and increases your chances of a job offer being accepted.

But don’t forget the candidates who you are discounting from the process. Dealing with them professionally creates good PR for your company as an employer and you may want to go back to them for a different position at a later date.

9. Take in to account the detail of fringe benefits when making a job offer. Generally both hiring manager and candidate will focus on basic salary when pitching their expectations on package but a failure to dig in to the detail of the benefits package may come back to haunt you. Corporate employment benefits include some or all of the following: car allowance, bonus, private medical insurance, life assurance, pension, discounts, vouchers, share options and signing on bonuses. You might be improving the candidates basic salary with your job offer but lowering their overall package. You need to gather this information early on to understand if you can make them a compelling financial offer.

10. Manage expectations on timing of the offer letter. If you have verbally offered the position and got a verbal acceptance in return you need to sort out the paperwork. Often someone else needs to sign the authority to recruit and may not be immediately available. Then the authority needs to go to HR to put together a benefits pack and then post out the contract and offer. If this is the case make sure you tell the candidate that the offer letter wouldn’t be with them for ten days and stay in touch until they have the contract in their hand.

Specialists in Procurement & Supply Chain Consultancy

Specialists in Procurement & Supply Chain Consultancy

We have a long established reputation and an extensive network across the Procurement and Supply Chain Consulting arena.

Our track record dates back to the late 90’s when we first recruited for what was Andersen Consulting’s fledging procurement consultancy business.

Since then we’ve seen the procurement outsourcing companies establish themselves, the rise of the niche procurement consultancy as genuine competitors to the big multi disciplinary practices and more recently the changes to the marketplace due to the emergence of a range of spend management solutions which are of course central to the digital transformation journey that so many target clients are embarking on.

Throughout all these developments in the market we’ve been working with the best emerging talent and established Senior Managers, Directors and Partners.

Our consulting clients us us because:

  • We have in-depth knowledge of the big four and major players through to small niche operators
  • Our reputation – we consistently deliver and our contacts vouch for our service

  • Our experience in the sector means we are able to advise on nuances other recruiters miss.

  • We are able to give real advice on what talent is available and bespoke salary research to back this up

  • Deep market knowledge – we provide quarterly reports on supply and demand market conditions for procurement skills helping people to make informed decisions on the market – link to QMU’s

  • We understand the distinct skills required for client facing roles in consulting and can find people with the transferable skills to succeed.

  • They know we command the respect and confidence of proven consultants who prefer our approach to the more aggressive and transactional approach of many other recruiters.

What we focus on
Predominantly our focus is on Procurement and supply chain and we have a proven track record sourcing candidates from Analyst to Partner level in the following specialisms

  • Procurement and supply chain consulting

  • Digital Procurement transformation – P2P, S2C, Contract Lifecycle Management, eSourcing

  • Spend  Analytics – link to SM page

What distinguishes us
Our experience and understanding of the sector. This gives us the knowledge of style and cultural fit as well as the kind of work firms typically undertake. We are able to see behind generic words and phrases to ensure a real match for client and candidates

  • We act as advisors to several leading players in the market

  • We have hands on Director level input to every project and assignment ensuring that extra insight really does make a difference

  • We recommend candidates that meet the specific brief – we would rather send a shortlist of one candidate than several vaguely matching CV’s

  • We don’t spam the market. We know who to approach in our network first. If we go outside our network we fully screen and qualify people beforehand.

  • Our mix of traditional search techniques allied to active networking and social media attraction means we can identify and target the best people others can’t. We engage and interest people who would not normally respond to an approach.

Why the top performing consulting  candidates come to us

  • Candidates tell us that our pragmatic, genuine and open approach makes us different

  • The knowledge /and the advice we bring to help people understand their options

  • We advise and help rather than sell

  • They know we have a network of genuine connections – a broad network from small niche firms to the large players

  • Our reputation. People regularly recommend us.

  • We have a genuine passion and involvement in the sector

  • We take pride in our approachable style.

The edburydaley Indirect Spend Index 2013

The edburydaley Indirect Spend Index 2013

Data For Q1 2013

As regular followers of our Procurement Quarterly Market Update will know, we take great interest in the trends we observe in the employment market for procurement professionals.

Our readers appreciate the insight we offer whether they be job seekers or hiring managers.

Much of our work is focussed on the services sector where indirect spend dominates the agenda, and this gives us a unique insight into this area of the market.

Given the interest now generated by the update, we felt that it would be beneficial to measure and track demand for the key indirect spend categories where our network and expertise are strongest. If you are a hiring manager this information will indicate the degree of competition you will face for the skills you require.  For job seekers the data will help you assess current demand for your category expertise.

Since the beginning of 2013 we have measured the number of vacancies in each key area of indirect spend by collating data from three key sources: our own assignments, competitor analysis and software which analyses online advertising which gives an accurate snapshot of the current market trends.

To view the data please download the full edburydaley Indirect Spend Index pdf.


Bringing Unmanaged Categories Of Spend Under Control – Data & Analysis

Bringing Unmanaged Categories Of Spend Under Control – Data & Analysis

Procurian and Procurement Leaders recently combined to publish some interesting research into a variety of issues facing the profession.  We took particular interest in the results of one question which addressed an area which is a significant issue for many of our clients, that of addressing new areas of spend.  The specific question was “What would you need to bring unmanaged categories of spend under procurement’s control?”

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The data is as follows:

More recruitment resources/capacity                              61%

Great executive support/backing                                     53%

Deeper category expertise/market intelligence              51%

Greater visibility of spend levels                                     33%

Specialised tools and technology                                     14%

From a recruiters perspective, and bearing in mind that we regularly work with clients seeking to extend procurements influence across the business, this makes very interesting reading. Based on the anecdotal evidence we have from our conversations with CPO’s and other functional leaders, we offer the following comments:

Restrictions on head count have been a significant handicap for many organisations in the last 4 years and we believe they will have contributed greatly to thinking of the 61% of CPO’s that voted for this option.  We believe this problem showed clear signs of being alleviated in 2012 and anticipate that this improvement will be sustained for the foreseeable future.  It is also worth noting from our own research published during the initial recession that procurement functions were being asked to get involved in more areas of spend but in some cases lacked the resources to cope with the growing workload.  CPO’s have found it difficult to overcome company wide hiring freezes even when making strong cases for roles to be approved.

The biggest single factor in the success of emerging procurement functions within our clients is the importance of executive level support.  Without the backing of influential senior figures in any organisation procurements’ attempts to increase its influence and deliver suitable results is severely limited.  Further down the chain, the importance of stakeholder engagement skills for Category Managers and the like is stressed in virtually every job brief we take and this only serves to reinforce the importance of engaging effectively with business decision makers to develop a mandate for change.

The majority of clients seeking to recruit in Category focused roles prefer to hire someone with specific market knowledge of the relevant spend area and this has been the case for some time.  This is exacerbated when you consider “green field” roles focusing on a area of spend. The common perception is that existing category expertise combined with detailed supplier market knowledge is especially valuable when engaging with stakeholders for the first time, and there is clear evidence to support this. However what do you do if you can’t find or afford that particular expertise?  In some areas like professional services and logistics category expertise is rare, whereas others command salaries typically ahead of normal market rate e.g. marketing, software, telecoms.  Both these issues can be major hurdles in hiring the talent required.  Considering candidates with strong transferable skills is one option, an internal move for a rising star is another that has been used.  We also have some additional methods which have helped our clients in the past with these problems and we are happy to discuss them with you if this is a challenge you are facing within your business.

Visibility of spend is an interesting subject in itself and our experience tells us that some leading organisations are really benefiting from using the best available tools in this area whilst others are still struggling to understand how and where the business spends some of its money.  What we can say with certainty is that the emergence of technology has been a major benefit to those who have harnessed its power effectively.  With the almost constant improvements in technological capability in areas like big data, the potential to improve on this area is developing all the time.

Only 14% registered specialised tools and technology as a major factor, its clear that this is not top of the survey respondents agenda just yet.  However many of our contacts in the Spend Management and Big Data sectors are convinced that it is only a matter of time before their respective markets grow significantly and the emerging trends they see should gather pace.

What do you think of our comments on this data?  Do you agree with our theories or can you offer a different perspective?  Please feel free to comment below or contact me at or on 0161 776 4603.


Data: Procurement Leaders & Procurian

Analysis: Andrew Daley, Director Edbury Daley

Q4 2012 Procurement Market Update

Q4 2012 Procurement Market Update

Here are our latest observations on the recruitment market for Procurement and Supply Chain professionals.

Comments On Industry Sectors

The Leisure market is busier than at any stage in the last 2-3 years with several organisations seeking new talent, particularly at Category Manager level.

The Banking & Finance sectors are still quite variable but there is some activity in both interim and permanent markets.

There are encouraging signs in the Pharmaceuticals sector with several major players having made or are in the process of making middle and senior level procurement appointments. Demand for international experience in either Global or EMEA Category Lead roles is common.

Hannah Jackson reports that the FMCG market is solid, with direct spend roles still available but there isn’t as much competition for the best talent as there is in indirect spend areas.

The Procurement Consulting and Outsourcing markets are particularly busy. More on this below.

The IT Services sector is particularly interesting with several key players in the market for the best procurement talent, whilst others continue to have challenges around head count and salaries. Overall we believe that demand is up 10-15% on the first half of this year.

Category Trends

Indirect spend roles are certainly more prevalent that direct spend continuing a trend we have observed for some time.

Travel expertise is in greater demand as major organisations increase spend in this area after restrictions in recent years.  Furthermore there are improved opportunities for savings, particularly through process improvements and better use of technology and experience in this area is certainly valuable.

HR category expertise is in strong demand at present with organisations reviewing hiring costs as head count becomes a less sensitive issue.

The recovery in the Technology spending continues with software and telecom’s expertise in greatest demand.

The Interim Market

The Interim market is quiet in terms of the availability of new assignments which is causing some concern for regular contractors seeking projects for 2013.

We believe the better market for permanent staff is closely related to this trend with less organisations suffering permanent head count restrictions.  Clearly it is less expensive to employ people on salaries rather than  interim day rates.

The Procurement Leaders website has also recently commented on CPO’s reducing the amount of temporary staff.

Senior Appointments

There is evidence that there are more roles available at “Head of” and “Procurement Director” level than was the case as recently as earlier this year.  They are typically in the £90k-£140k salary range rather than the higher salaries paid for CPO roles.

There have been a small number of high profile CPO appointments but there are simply not enough roles available at this level to satisfy the career goals of the many people who aspire to this level.

The Procurement Services Market 

This is an area of great interest to us that has seen significant growth in the last two years with demand increased by nearly 45% in our network. It has intensified recently with companies planning for strong market conditions in 2013. The principal experience in demand here is:

Project Leadership in Consultancy and/or Outsourcing

Business Development experience in Consultancy and/or Outsourcing

Client/Stakeholder management excellence

Category expertise in key indirect spend areas e.g. HR, Marketing, IT, Facilities

We have commented on this particular subject in recent articles about client facing procurement consulting skills and the growth of the procurement services market in general.

Supplier Relationship Management

Whilst Vendor Management experience is valued in many procurement roles, pure SRM positions remain relatively rare in the current market.

Despite the widely recognised potential for competitive advantage through sound Vendor Management, few organisations have large dedicated teams.

Skills In Demand

Besides specific category expertise, the number one requirement for the vast majority of hiring managers we work with is undoubtedly stakeholder engagement skills.  Of course this is a vital area, particularly for those organisations seeking to effect change in how procurement influences spend.

As previously mentioned indirect spend expertise, particularly in IT, Marketing, Travel or HR is particularly sought after at present.   There are also some excellent generalist roles available covering the classic range of indirect spend areas.

Category Management remains a valuable core skill with the trend increasingly towards international experience whether it be european, EMEA or global.

P2P, e sourcing & procurement related technology experts are seeing the long awaited increase in opportunities in their specialist areas as more organisations invest in new solutions that enable process improvements, provide better data analytics and improve compliance.

If you are looking for the skills and experience we refer to above for your organisation, or want to discuss your own career options please contact Andrew Daley on 0161 776 4603 or via