Despite procurement recruitment consultants understanding the importance of assessing candidates for procurement jobs beyond the polished CVs that they submit and their performance in well-rehearsed interviews, a recent survey by CareerBuilder found that 75% of the employers polled reported hiring the wrong candidate – an error that cost their companies $17,000 (£13,500) on average.

Procurious, the business network for procurement professionals, suggests three adjustments to the recruitment process, leading to better hiring decisions:

Pinpoint the non-negotiable skills needed to advance in specific procurement jobs

These are the essential character traits which candidates must have to excel in coveted procurement jobs. For example, identify adaptability, agility, respectfulness, ambition, passion, curiosity, non-verbal communication skills, empathy, and flexibility. They are essential in helping the team perform better. Recruiters should develop a list of which of these traits is needed for the role, devise a questionnaire to test candidates on them, and only then progress the successful contenders to a skills-based ‘talent trial’ that explores behavioural questions as well as performance on tasks in Excel, and in writing exercises.

Pinpoint and test for the soft skills necessary for advancement in the company

Leaving discussion of company culture to the first day on the job is leaving it too late. Recruiters should initiate this conversation during the hiring process by clearly identifying the skills required of candidates if they’re to progress in the firm. Underperformance often results not from a lack of necessary skills to do the job but from incompatible soft skills. New software solutions, such as AI-powered ranking and skills tests can help here.

Watch for warning signs

Referral hires often get an easy ride during the interview process. But be vigilant: candidates who name-drop may sound impressive, but if they can’t back up their connections with authentic examples of genuine relationship-building and previous collaborative working, they may be more show than substance. Character assessments exploring qualities such as grit, curiosity, collaboration, tenacity, and dexterity can be invaluable here.