By Zoe Wilson, Procurement Recruitment Specialist and Business Manager, Capita Specialist Recruitment

For many SME owners, hiring a procurement professional might be something that is considered a necessity for a larger business, rather than a growing company. But these individuals are rapidly proving popular in smaller organisations.

Procurement professionals can play a huge role in an SME’s growth strategy and, in particular, the need to drive cost-efficiencies. So, what should a company without previous experience recruiting for such an individual, look for in an expert?

1. A highly commercial individual
Without the recognition of wider industry financial expectations, market influencers and a high level of business acumen, a procurement professional will be unable to quantify company performance in the required manner. The best candidate will be able to provide examples of how they have used their commercial awareness to deliver value in the past.

2. Results focused
Procurement professionals must be able to deliver tangible, bottom line savings. A good candidate will not only be able to demonstrate how they have previously delivered results, but also what impact they can have on your P&L specifically.

3. Good communications skills
Given the nature of the role, these individuals will need to deal with a variety of stakeholders in the business. As such, they need to be able to communicate with staff at all levels of seniority and any external influencers. Consider how they handle themselves at all stages of the recruitment process and how much credibility they can bring.

4. A relevant background
An understanding or experience of smaller organisations is crucial if these individuals are to deliver results that really make a difference to the business. If their background is purely in huge blue chip organisations they are unlikely to be the right fit for an SME.

5. Passionate about their role
As with any employee, it is important to hire someone with a real drive to achieve the best results. Given that these professionals can deliver significant cost-saving solutions to an SME, it is vital that they are a true ambassador for procurement and are passionate about what can be achieved through intelligent strategy.

For those SME owners and directors who want to invest in procurement experts with these key attributes, it is highly likely that the business will soon see impressive cost savings and increased operational efficiency that are synonymous with good procurement, and ultimately will help drive company growth.