No more reading CVs – The Database of Procurement Professionals

Enjoy reading CVs? If you do, you’re pretty unique. The problem with CVs, apart from the fact that everyone’s layout and approach is different, is that a CV tells you what the candidate wants you to hear. Ever seen a CV that said “I don’t have a clue how to determine the TCO of an LHD machine”? And you won’t either, because a CV is prepared with a view to boost the candidate’s chances of being considered suitable for a position on offer. Fact is, if you are looking for procurement staff, you do not have to read a CV ever again, unless you really want to, and then it should only be the two or three that made it to the short list.

After a 30-year career in procurement, Andre Basson began a project to change the way procurement people are recruited. The outcome is the Database of Procurement Professionals©. Andre spoke to SmartProcurement about how he hopes the database will change Procurement recruitment.

The Database consists of answers provided by procurement practitioners (through www or Excel) to questions that are designed to draw enough data on the candidate to enable the preparation of a professional profile. The least number of data fields required to constitute a completed form is in the order of 100. However, the number of data fields is a function of the person’s educational qualifications and experience and can, therefore, be significantly more than 100 entries. The average number of data fields in a fully completed form is 191, with some having completed in excess of 300 fields. “It is this depth of the questionnaire that provides the richness of the database,” says Basson.

In addition to the answers to the questions, the candidates are also asked to submit an essay of no more than 1000 words to describe their career highlights, outside the rigidity of the questionnaire. Candidates can update their data sets or essays at any time.

Practitioners from diverse industries have registered. Based on careers, rather than just current position, top industrial sectors represented are mining (16%), banking and finance (15%), manufacturing (other than automotive) (12%), automotive (7%) construction (5%) and healthcare/pharmaceutical (5%).

The average age of those registered is 37. Average current salary is just over R437 000 per annum (median R361 000 per annum) and, on average, a 9% increase is expected for a change (to another employer). 33% of those who registered are graduates. 83% are actively looking for alternative positions, the balance have joined the database for the exposure it will give them to positions that may become available.

The other part of the equation is the importance the recruiting organisation places on aspects of a procurement practitioner’s profile, and the relative weighting of the various sections.

A standard value and weight set is available and can be used, or a unique set, based on the client’s view and requirements, can be compiled and applied. Basson recommends the latter approach.

AndreBasson1.jpgOnce the multiple candidate sets and the employer value / weight sets are loaded (see 1 & 2 on the image alongside), electronic matching is done, followed by a manual moderation to ensure that all candidates receive credit where appropriate. The system now produces a summary showing the level of matching per candidate.

Those candidates whose remuneration is sufficiently below the package on offer (the average “ask” for a job change is 9% above current), and which best fit the client’s requirements are immediately visible on a scatter chart, and have been framed in red in the example chart below. Basson notes that at this stage no CVs have been touched.

AndreBasson2.jpgTwo-hour interviews (5) are now scheduled with short-listed candidates. He will read the CVs and essays of these candidates in preparation for the interview, during which he will also probe their answers to the questions in order to determine the level of objectivity and accuracy of their self-assessments.

“However, the process before the interview does not in any way substitute the interview – in fact it provides fodder for the interview,” says Basson.

If the candidate is considered suitable for the position a detailed report on the candidate is finalised, in which ‘impressions’ and ‘assessment’ sections are added, and forwarded to the client. “This report resembles a CV, but with quantitative assessments and a recommendation,” notes Basson.

From here on the normal final selection process as dictated by the client is followed.

Meanwhile, interaction with employers has revealed that management positions (junior, middle and senior) remain open for extended periods as no suitable candidates are being identified.

The difficulty in filling procurement management positions may point to another broader problem – the absence of strong middle management talent in South Africa, says Basson.

Although the data gathered thus far cannot be used to draw any firm conclusions, a scatter graph (skills and remuneration) of the registered members to date seem to be confirming this. It will be interesting to see how the picture develops over time.
For now, practitioners with management experience and skills, and in particular graduates in this category, are encouraged to join the Database – there is clearly a demand for your particular skill set.

Should you wish to receive more information on this service please contact Andre Basson at

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