Securing Supply Chain Talent: Think Outside the Box

It happens to all of us at some point.

You get all of the way through your recruitment process – approval to hire, sourcing, interviews, assessments and offer – only to lose a hard-to-find candidate at the last hurdle.

The last minute loss could be due to one of a number of factors – a better offer, a counter-offer, career path (or lack thereof). Regardless of the reason, it's frustrating, disheartening – and can have real business impact.


As employers, we sometimes forget that recruitment is an audition – both for the prospective employee and for ourselves. And, we don't always hold all of the cards.

However, we can improve our chances of securing top talent – while minimising the dreaded last minute offer decline – by focusing on the following areas…

  • Salary and Benefits:

Even in tight economic conditions, competition for star talent drives up price.

An attractive cost to company package remains key to securing top skills.

And, while it's not always possible for smaller players to offer the kind of benefits that larger, international corporates can, it's still possible to compete.

It just requires careful thought and a bit of ingenuity.


As a start, look at how your 'cost to company' package is structured.

Could you offer a higher cash portion? Sometimes, corporate rules force employees to put a large percentage of their annual package into a pension or provident fund, resulting in lower take home pay. Smaller employers don't have the same restrictions.

How you structure contributions to retirement funding and group life/ risk benefits can also help, as can allowances for travel (refunds or reimbursements), car insurance, cell phone and canteen/ lunch.

Leave is another good option. Are you in a position to offer more generous annual leave, paid maternity leave or study leave? Could you offer flexible working hours – which are a big draw card, particularly for parents?

Offering to pay for studies has the added benefit – if you have a payback clause – of aiding retention of key skills. And, share options or bonus payments, based on performance, are always attractive.


  • Technology Trends:

Outdated technology can have a negative effect on hiring.

Employers who challenge how they do business and strive to remain up to date with the latest Supply Chain tech trends are more likely to attract star talent.

Also important is how your technology facilitates – rather than hinders – work. 

How much access do staff have to their laptops? Can they upload work apps easily? Does your technology support staff who need to work remotely?


  • Company Culture:

As David Cummings, co-founder of Pardot says 'corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur.'

Millennials don't want to be told that 'we've always done it this way'.

Instead, they want a stake in how things are done – and seek out forward-thinking, innovative and collaborative corporate cultures, with strong, ethical values and a professional and inclusive management style.

They want to understand strategy and vision, have the freedom to challenge your thinking and play a real part in your success.

If your culture doesn't allow this, you may lose them.


  • Training and Development:

Clearly mapped out development goals and growth opportunities are key.

As a minimum, paying professional membership fees, subscribing to industry publications, attendance at key industry conferences/ events and access to professional/ knowledge development short courses and workshops is essential.

However, to stand out, try to offer access to high-level, coveted study programmes, sought-after international conferences or provide study assistance (with work-back periods or pro-rata payback).

  • Recruitment Process:

If you've spent time to ensure that your salary packages are attractive and that your technology, culture and training are up to standard, but you're still losing or battling to attract talent, you could have an issue with your recruitment process.

Our research indicates that streamlined recruitment processes that are based on specific, detailed job requirements and focus on quick turnaround of CV's, upfront checking, panel interviews and speedy feedback make a significant difference.

Regardless of whether the vacancy is senior or entry level, if your recruitment process cannot be completed (first presentation of CV to acceptance of offer) within 2 to 4 weeks, you're likely to lose the candidate you're chasing.


Securing top talent isn't always easy. But, if you're creative and are willing to look outside the box, you'll stand a better chance.
Good luck!!

Tech-Pro is the unrivalled market leader in the placement of South Africa Supply Chain Professionals.
As specialist Recruiters with over 40 years of combined team knowledge, we differentiate ourselves through our strong technical understanding of Supply Chain. This expertise has allowed us to place 600 Supply Chain Professionals over the past 5 years alone and our database of 67 000 Supply Chain career seekers gives employers access to top Supply Chain talent that isn't necessarily on the market or easily available. Tech-Pro partners with SAPICS, is affiliated to SmartProcurement and is both an Association of Personnel Service Organisations (APSO) and Confederation of Associations in the Private Employment Sector (CAPES) member.