3 Critical Procurement Skillsets And How To Assess in 60 Minutes

There are many skills which hiring manager needs to assess during an interview. An ideal candidate should have right technical skills, should be a strong cultural fit and much more.

Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do in a 60- 90 minutes interview. If you conduct interviews in various rounds then this might not be a challenge. Otherwise, an interview should be well structured, so that you can assess all the critical skills for the next hire.

We analyzed 100's of jobs to find skills required for a procurement hire. Following are top 10 skill sets employers are looking for procurement hires

Source: Procurement Job Market Report, Compiled By Hireo

The focus of this blog post is on technical skills required for strategic sourcing role. This blog post doesn’t address assessment of softer skills like cultural fit.

Also, this might work well for individual contributors, but for managers, add extra criteria. Let’s get started, we will focus on three main categories

1. Sourcing Knowledge

This is an assessment of candidate’s knowledge about strategic sourcing processes. The specific focus is to assess the skills required to perform the daily functions of the job. Some of the things to assess in this category are as following

  1. Knowledge of strategic sourcing process:

It’s not important what version of strategic sourcing process they have used in the past. What is important is that they have knowledge of some version of a strategic sourcing process.

Every sourcing organization is different and you might have a specific version, which the new hire can adopt fast.

Some of the specific sub -categories to consider under "sourcing knowledge"

  • Basics of sourcing, for example difference between cost savings and cost avoidance, and how it impacts the bottom line of the company.

  • Knowledge of key strategies for identifying savings, beyond basics like supplier consolidation and volume discounts.

  • Ask them about strategies they have used in the past 6 months, what worked and what didn’t work.

  • Understanding of commercial contracts and reasonable knowledge of key commercial, legal and operational clauses.

  • Their biggest RFP in the last 6 months and savings numbers achieved.

2. Collaboration

Collaboration is a critical skill for any successful procurement & sourcing professionals. Whether it is collaborating with internal stakeholders on a large RFP or collaborating with suppliers.

Things to ask

  1. What is their view on the importance of collaboration in procurement & sourcing.

  2. Ask then about their experience dealing with stakeholders. Encourage them to share their experiences, especially the bad ones and how they overcome those situations.

  3. Do they have any tips about increasing collaboration with internal stakeholders and suppliers.

  4. What is their view on collaboration with suppliers.

3.Analytical skills

  I can’t emphasize enough on the importance of strong analytical skills in procurement & sourcing. Depending upon the specific category requirement, your questions may vary but few basics to check

  1. Do they know the basics of spend analysis, vendor score-carding and supplier evaluation techniques.

  2. What is their expertise level in using Microsoft excel, if someone say high or medium , ask for specific examples and what is the reasoning behind their rating.

  3. Experience with procurement tools helps a lot with analytics because it automates the analytics process. Ask for their previous experience with tools like spend analysis,e-sourcing etc.

Now let’s look at a rating model so that you can score applicants.

A good idea would be to assign a score and weightage to each of the categories, so that it is easy to compare various candidates. A sample scorecard is as follows




Max Score

Sourcing Knowledge



Collaboration Skills



Analytical Skills




You might assign different weightages to each of these categories based on your requirements. If a candidate lacks in any of the above categories, it can be augmented with the help of training. Consider investing in on-boarding training to augment any of the above mentioned categories.

Good luck! and feel free to share your hiring story. Feel free to check how Hireo can help in automating the assessment process.