Recruiting into procurement gives me an odd sense of control
Procurement departments are responsible for how money in a company gets spent; everything from pens and paper to new buildings and IT systems. For engineering it could be rivets or airplane engines, for manufacturing it could be thread or chemicals, for retail it could be receipt paper or food, for banking it could be computers or HR services. The remit is pretty much all encompassing.
Most of the work I do is recruiting for procurement and contracts staff in the NHS and Local Authorities, or as I like to call them, the people who decide where your taxes go.
So by extension, I become responsible for which person it is that gets to determine where the money is spent. If I can do all of my recruitment consultation right and get the best person for the job into the role then it has the potential to create value with a Council or CCG. Some professionals achieve real savings worth millions of pounds in taxpayer money each year, without sacrificing quality of service. The very best can achieve these savings long-term whilst even improving the resources and services that are procured.
These people are unsung heroes who, when everyone is talking about cutting costs by cutting services, are actually designing and achieving savings without having to sacrifice the number of beds in A&E or the number of bin collections that pick up your rubbish. They work to achieve what really is in the best interests of everybody, despite internal struggles against integration of services and tightening budgets.
If, however, the wrong candidate goes into a role, they can make mistakes that cost millions or even hundreds of millions of pounds. When the procurement team that chose the company who would decommission our nuclear power plants made a mistake, it cost the government £122m. When the contract selection process for care services was botched, Virgin Care sued the NHS and achieved an undisclosed settlement. Lots of public money can be lost due to simple and unnoticed mistakes that might not have been made by a different employee.
I influence those decisions, from which candidates I submit through to how I pitch them through to the consultancy advice that I give the client. Control is something we talk about a lot in recruitment, and all of those things contribute to it; the control that I have over the decision and, by extension, all of its consequences.
Or maybe I’m just a recruiter with a complex.