Hiring Supply Chain Talent: What to Look For


Seek out candidates with these skills and experiences when hiring new supply chain talent.

Your business is growing, and it is time to hire. That means facing the challenge and overcoming the fact that there is a dearth of supply chain talent. Growth is very common right now, as job titles evolve and shift due to the rapid changes in supply chain management and new technological requirements. So more talent is in demand as many businesses try to remain competitive.

According to Supply Chain Brain, managing how you seek and acquire supply chain talent can either make or break your company’s success. One study revealed that only half of organizations surveyed had a talent-management program, and 80% thought that the program was a priority for their business. But, that leaves a large segment of companies that are not managing talent like it is a priority, and that can be a critical issue when business is growing.

There are, of course, specific things your talent management program should be looking for as it reviews new candidates. Here are some attributes that top the list:

Soft skills

Recruiters typically have a list of about 30 job skills that they look at when reviewing job candidates within the supply chain industry, but soft skills take top priority to produce the most successful new hires. These include: knowledge of basic business ethics, problem-solving skills, and solid communication skills. These can be identified through the talent’s past job experience, references, and responses to key questions during the interview process.

Supplier and inventory management experience

Look for previous experience and direct knowledge of supplier management and inventory management. These are typically a critical component to a hire’s skill set.

Financial management proficiency

Financial management training is a huge plus. Maybe the talent didn’t crunch numbers daily in their prior position, but there should be indications that he or she definitely has a good understanding of how to utilize data to make solid business decisions.

Demonstrated interest

Seek talent that demonstrates interest, enthusiasm, energy, and passion for the position they are hoping to fill. For example, they have researched and show knowledge about your specific company and how their skills will benefit the organization.


Try to find candidates that possesses university training or certifications. Specific things to look for include participation in projects involving problem-solving and a basic understanding of financial management.


Look for applicants that have been mentored by supply chain professionals or took part in an internship for career development.

Data and technology knowledge

A candidate with training in supply chain data-driven technology should catch your eye.


Look at talent that aligns with your organization’s objectives. According to SCM Talent Group’s founder and talent recruiter, Rodney Apple, every supply chain is different, especially in size, scope, and complexity, so the talent you hire should be a good match for your specific organization.

Varied experience

Seeks someone with knowledge and/or experience spanning multiple functions within the supply chain.

Results-oriented track record

Ask candidates to not only list their previous job responsibilities, but to quantify their results. Look for someone who can produce a few examples of projects in their resume, with results, where they have had to work with other supply chain departments, suppliers, and/or service providers.

Female candidates

Also, look for female talent for traditionally male-dominanted roles. Women tend to be strong in many of the soft skills needed for the future of SCM. According to  Shanton J. Wilcox, vice president, North America, and lead for logistics and fulfillment at Capgemini, “Many so-called tactical jobs will be replaced by positions requiring more interpersonal and relationship management skills.”

Transferable experience

Also, be open-minded when it comes to considering top talent from other fields/industries. Many candidates in other professions have very transferable skill sets for careers within supply chain.

With the present challenges in securing supply chain talent to fill required positions, it may be time to shift your approach. Examine your staffing forecast, know your company’s specific trends/needs from historical data, create a talent management program, and then look at candidate pipelines that can fulfill your frequent hiring needs. Companies that perform the best are the ones that treat the recruiting department like a strategic, value-added program.

Related posts: