September 19th is Buyer’s Day. We from Mercado Eletrônico couldn’t miss this opportunity, and we then planned a week plenty of unique materials, to help procurement professionals stay updated and achieve their career goals.
The procurement area’s function has matured over the years. In fact, it was seen once as an area that generated costs, and used only to defuse crises. Now it can be considered one of the most strategic areas for businesses.
Therefore, we conducted an exclusive interview with Adriana Oliveira, our HR Director, to discuss market evolution, explore some tips on how to empower the buyers of the future, and even how to stand out in application interviews, to get back on the market.
Don’t miss any details of this chat. We’re sure that it will bring valuable insights to your daily life.
Keep on reading!
Adriana Oliveira, ME’s HR Director, provides some tips to empower the buyer of the future
ME: You have been working at ME for 19 years now. In your opinion, what has changed most in the procurement area during this period? How do you see the evolution of this area?
Adriana Oliveira: The procurement area has changed over the years. The buyers’ profile was very focused on negotiation back then; they liked a lot to receive the supplier, get to know the product and keep always on the move. With modernization, the B2B market has been updated and, consequently, the buyers’ profile had to change too. Currently, it isn’t enough knowing how to negotiate; these professionals must be also equipped with information and know how to relate with others, and to create value for their business partners. With digitization and direct contact among companies in the B2B market, the organizations are streamlining their processes, and extending the range of opportunities for buyers.
ME: What about the recruitment and selection process? What is no longer required by companies and what has now become indispensable?
Adriana Oliveira: When the process is focused on finding someone with a buyer profile, you must pay attention to the attitude (including in on-line interviews). That is, the professionals must tell a little about their lives and daily chores. In this way, the interviewer will be able to grasp their essence and understand whether it’s in accordance with the company’s profile and culture. If these points aren’t made clear, they won’t fit the profile sought for the job, in spite of being very qualified professionals.
Nowadays, it’s vital for buyers to have attitude, honesty, agility and technology skills. Such factors show a qualification far beyond what is expected. If before these professionals had to be only good negotiators, this is no longer enough today. They must also understand the business and the company’s needs, and choose partners who can meet the demands in a win-win relationship.
ME: With the development of new technologies, used on a daily basis, the procurement area is now becoming strategic for businesses. What do you think professionals must do to keep up with this fast evolution?
Adriana Oliveira: If I were a procurement professional, I would focus on businesses that work with B2B solutions and use e-commerce and e-Procurement platforms. I would study a lot on the subject, because it isn’t only a matter of knowing, but also mastering the subject to sell it internally, and add value to the procurement area. Today, it isn’t just the sales area that adds value to the company. Procurement equally manages to add such value, to the point of becoming a strategic area for organizations. In short, professionals must know their businesses very well, analyze their competitors and conduct some benchmarking, in order to have insights and improve the area’s daily chores; they shall also keep the pace with technological advances and market trends.
ME: In your opinion, what is the profile of a successful buyer?
Adriana Oliveira: Patience is the first skill that successful buyers must have. These professionals must seek information quickly and still meet the demands of procurement’s daily chores. So patience is a crucial virtue. Another important one is knowing how to manage time. Be organized is vital to carry out all activities and participate in meetings – and still spare time to innovate, think about things that can add value to the routine, and prepare for any new demands that may arise, to do a really good job.
ME: Soft, hard and metaskills: which of these skills do you think are most important in the current market?
Adriana Oliveira: These professionals must be properly organized, to meet all demands and be truly strategic; have an analytical look and so be able to anticipate possible mistakes and opportunities; and have a sense of urgency and commitment to carry out their activities. But this will be possible only if such professionals have good communication skills. It’s vital to communicate well with others, as they need to communicate with teams and relate to external partners at all times. Another aspect is how to handle technology, as many businesses are digitizing their areas. If professionals don’t have this specific skill, or even the disposition to overcome the technology challenge, they probably won’t be able to meet the needs for the job.
ME: And emotional intelligence? Is it possible to succeed in the job market without developing it?
Adriana Oliveira: No. These professionals must know themselves and know how to deal with their emotions. It’s only natural that some situations can shake our mood and take us from our comfort zone. However, it’s important that they understand their own limits and engage in a constant dialogue, in order to keep mental and emotional balance. It’s also essential to have a sense of resilience, to better adapt to difficulties and know how to get the best out of them.
ME: What are the right attitudes for a professional, to stand out in job interviews?
Adriana Oliveira: The first thing I always think and see is that professionals must show attitude, and be dedicated and disciplined. As interviews are occurring on-line, it’s sometimes difficult to perceive such qualities in an applicant. But I use some strategic questions, in order to better know the professionals, and see if they fit the required profiles. I always ask what their behaviors are in their daily life at home, how they harmonize family relationships with domestic activities, if they created a routine during the pandemic, and so on.
With such questions, you can slightly perceive applicants’ qualities, as well as find out if they are proactive, organized and collaborative, and then understand their way of thinking. In my case, for instance, the personal aspect is taken very much into account, considering that these professionals can be developed and trained on the technical aspect over time. Personal qualities are their true essence. Of course, it’s interesting also for these professionals to have all other qualities already mentioned during this interview.
ME: And in the midst of such pandemic, is there any specific tip to stand out from other applicants?
Adriana Oliveira: The first tip is: exercise your self-knowledge and understand what you really like. If you are looking for a career in some field with which you identify yourself, you will certainly demonstrate passion, knowledge and a desire to learn more and more. If you’re applying for a job for which you don’t have any passion, you probably won’t to stand out from others easily. We are going through an era of self-knowledge, reflection and changes. You shall analyze if, in fact, that is the area in which you want to work; if not, keep on looking for your happy place.
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See also our LP on Buyer’s Day celebration, with unique materials.
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See you next time!