Recruiting the right person for a procurement or supply chain role is a challenge. You might think you’ve found the perfect candidate based on their skills and experience, but they could turn out to be a disaster in terms of cultural fit. To mitigate this, many businesses are adopting tests and processes to assess a candidate’s emotional intelligence.
We explore why emotional intelligence in procurement recruitment matters and suggest simple ways to gauge these attributes during the selection process.
What is emotional intelligence?
Put simply, emotional intelligence is the ability to effectively perceive, manage and evaluate emotions. Individuals who display good emotional intelligence will generally have strong empathy, leadership, negotiation and relationship building skills. All attributes that are highly sought after in the procurement and supply chain sector.
Procurement professionals need to be adaptable
Regardless of their level of seniority, procurement and supply chain professionals must have a highly flexible approach to their role. Situations can change in an instant and it is the individual’s responsibility to navigate these smoothly, avoid procrastination, remain composed and often assist others to do the same.
During the recruitment process pay attention to how the candidate has responded to instances in the past that required this skill and how they have approached any situations that presented unforeseen challenges. It doesn't necessarily matter if they were initially bowled over by the problem. It is more important that showed a willingness to adapt and confront the problem with the appropriate attitude and tactics.
Procurement professionals need to be collaborative
Procurement and supply chain professionals need robust relationship building skills. They must be able to communicate effectively with different levels of seniority, both internally and externally. They must be willing to work with parties that often have highly disparate goals and requirements and arrive at the best possible outcome - preferably for all parties. They need to work well with a wide range of clients and suppliers, comfortably managing their expectations and temperaments and encouraging others to contribute to solving problems and overcoming obstacles.
Collaboration requires creativity and the ability to work as part of a team - and hopefully enjoy it. It also requires empathy. When assessing a candidate’s empathy skills, pay attention to the questions that they ask. Emotionally intelligent candidates will usually ask
questions about how the team dynamic works and how they will fit into the group. They will demonstrate that they have the ability to put themselves in others’ shoes, understand others’ points of view and appreciate and accept their feelings and reactions.
Procurement professionals need to remain calm in high-pressure environments
As an integral part of the company, one that deals with multiple agencies and can have considerable control of budgets, it is imperative that procurement and supply chain professionals can keep calm even in the most high-pressure situations. Try asking the candidate how they responded to a stressful or frustrating situation at work. If they are able to explain their reaction objectively, accept responsibility for their role in the situation, demonstrate self-awareness and an appreciation of others’ situations they can be considered a candidate with strong emotional intelligence.
Procurement professionals need to be strong negotiators
Procurement and supply professionals with strong negotiation and relationship building skills are gold dust. Naturally, a good head for figures and an eye for detail are vital. But being able to demonstrate patience is also hugely important. Most people like to think they are patient and understanding, particularly in their professional life, but emotional intelligence tests can reveal hidden qualities in a candidate that might hinder their success in diplomatic or transactional situations.
To test for emotional intelligence relating to this skill base, try asking a candidate to explain, and re-explain a situation on a number of occasions. An emotionally intelligent candidate will continue to approach their response in a calm manner, making efforts to re-frame their answer so that you understand what they are trying to say.
When recruiting for a new team member using tests to assess a candidate’s emotional intelligence you help ensure you find the right person for the role, and for your team. This helps reduce staff churn and creates a happier, more collaborative and productive workforce. For the candidate, finding a role where your approach, temperament and way of working reflect that of the company and the projects you are tasked will almost certainly mean greater job satisfaction and security.
Get in touch to speak to our team and find out more about how Bramwith screen candidates for emotional intelligence and how we can help you understand what to look for.
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