• Hugo Britt 11/05/2016 12:44AM

    In 2016

    No procurement professional should have less than 500 connections on social media - do you agree?

    Procurious Founder Tania Seary made the provocative statement recently that if you’re in procurement and you have less than 500 connections on social media, you don't make the cut.

    What do you think? Do you see a future where stakeholders, suppliers and recruiters will take into account the number (and quality) of your connections on social media?

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  • Answers (19)

  • Jennifer Albright

    11/05/2016 03:44AM

    Like anything else in business and supply chain, I think it's more about meaningful conmections than quantity.

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    Justin Plokhooy I totally agree with Jennifer. This is about having the "right" connections not having a certain amount of connections.

    11/05/2016 02:20PM

    Breelyn Lancaster Agreed! Quality over quantity. Plus if something like social media connections becomes too much of a point of emphasis priorities can easily become skewed. Let's not revert back to high school popularity contests, please!

    11/05/2016 03:35PM

    Tania Seary I totally agree! You should have 500 QUALITY connections.

    11/05/2016 05:56PM

  • Brendan OConnell

    11/05/2016 02:16PM

    No. If someone is evaluating your role in procurement based on the number of your social connections on social media then run away.

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  • Breelyn Lancaster

    12/05/2016 09:41PM

    It's interesting to note that even those of us who disagree with this statement are doing so on a social media platform that only exists and operates because we all chose to 'connect'. ;)

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  • Tania Seary

    11/05/2016 05:58PM

    Most global procurement teams have hundreds of team members, if not thousands, wouldn't you want to be at least connected with all the procurement professionals within your own organisation? See what they're thinking/saying/doing??? That's at least a starting point.

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    Brian W Bowdish This is just my own position, but typically, I do not communicate with people in my own organization via social media channels - unless they are also my friends - in which case I am more likely to be connected and communicating with them on Facebook instead of "professional" social media sites. I use company email, company IM, and other internal channels to communicate with my internal colleagues. In addition, in my experience there are still a huge number of people who have either not yet established a presence on professional social media sites, or who have established a profile because someone said they should, but then they never use the system. I just don't see a lot of value in being connected to all of the people in my current organization. I see far more value being connected to my suppliers and to fellow professionals outside of my own company.

    11/05/2016 06:12PM

    Jozef Mikula I Keep 0 Connections with my colleagues after i leave the Office ;) since I have around 1000 other contacts that I interact with additional "professional" contacts would not be a benefit to me .. also because after work I do my own Business so I have to have those People in my social media .. while the others I communicate with daily in my work so no Need to add them on FB for example .. they would only be shocked from what everything I do :D

    12/05/2016 03:51PM

  • Jennifer Albright

    12/05/2016 01:11AM

    I agree with Matthieu in that I absolutely check out applicants on social media to get a broader view of their insights and how they interact with others. In terms of numbers, every situation is different (companies, industries, geographical norms, and so on) so that wouldn't likely be much of a factor for me.

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    Jozef Mikula I always felt like being stalked by countless Headhunters :D I somehow strongly defferenciate between Business and personal life .. in work noone would ever guess what I do in personal time and oposite .. to look on my perosnal account and judge if I am a good fit could really be very misleading. What exactly do you aim for becasue I can easily imagine that People get the wrong idea from my Profile about my career and oposite. Only those who know me personally know :)

    12/05/2016 03:47PM

    Jozef Mikula I always felt like being stalked by countless Headhunters :D I somehow strongly defferenciate between Business and personal life .. in work noone would ever guess what I do in personal time and oposite .. to look on my perosnal account and judge if I am a good fit could really be very misleading. What exactly do you aim for becasue I can easily imagine that People get the wrong idea from my Profile about my career and oposite. Only those who know me personally know :)

    12/05/2016 03:47PM

  • Matthieu Baril

    11/05/2016 09:26PM

    I think that widening our horizons and creating an environment where we can have conversations with a broad range of people is very valuable in today's business environment. It goes without saying that engagement is more important than any number of connections/followers/fans we may have, but being connected to more people creates more opportunities for engagement, particularly the serendipitous type of engagement that may only happen when you notice one of your connections having a conversation about a topic that you can contribute to, which could potentially be the starting point to something more interesting in the context of the relationship that you have with that person.

    And I do find it valuable to connect with everyone in my own organisation. Not only does it allow me to leverage their own networks, as it would be easy to ask a colleague for an introduction, it also gives me greater insight into the personalities of those that I may not interact with on a day-to-day basis, which helps me to engage with them when I need to. Interaction on social media with colleagues can actually enrich that relationship and gives me a better appreciation of who that person is beyond their work personality.

    I suppose that the 500 connections is in reference to LinkedIn's cut-off point regarding what appears on a person's profile. Given what I have just said, I would expect someone who is ambitious and who wants to leverage other people's knowledge to be better able to perform at their job to have over 500 LinkedIn connections, but I wouldn't disqualify someone who hasn't reached that number (at least not consciously).

    Number of followers/connections is also a reflection on one's own personal brand: does this person have things to say that people want to listen to? In leadership roles where the ability to influence and to be listened to is important, I expect recruiters to be checking social media profiles to see what the candidate's online standing is.

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  • Brian W Bowdish

    11/05/2016 05:56PM

    Although I personally have in excess of 500 Connections on social media that I have gathered over a number of years, I agree with Jennifer Albright that the quality of the connections is far more important than the quantity of connections. I don't believe that the absolute number of connections one has should be used as a primary criteria for determining whether to hire a candidate, or not. I would be more interested in knowing how the candidate could leverage the network that he/she has (however large/small it is) to bring benefit to my organization. In addition, not every country has yet moved into common usage of social media tools like LinkedIn and Procurious, so, for example, many of my contacts in China will not be found in my social media contact lists. They will only be found in my "address book" in my email and/or my SKYPE. BTW, what is so special about 500 as the target number of contacts?

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  • Stuart Brocklehurst

    11/05/2016 08:33AM

    Certainly agree with Jennifer that quality is more important than quantity - buying a load of meaningless followers is actively negative. I would say that having very few LinkedIn connections can put me off a candidate for a role in which one would expect they would have built up an extensive set of working relationships, although I wouldn't set the bar as high as 500 myself - at least not yet.

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  • Simon Thornton-James

    16/05/2016 11:08AM

    I guess it depends whether you're a slave to social media. If I was being judged on suitability for a role that used this as criteria then I would be seriously worried.

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  • Vince Fenlon

    13/05/2016 06:32AM

    What will 500 contacts (transactional/non-value added/inactive) compared to 300 beneficial contacts. Isn't the statement the same as saying if we have 500 suppliers we are better than a competitor with 300 suppliers? It's irrelevant unless they are qualified and provide value.

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  • Mike Robertson

    12/05/2016 03:32PM

    I think Tanias statement was a good influencer but should not be taken literally. Introverts for example may not feel comfortable getting 500+ connections, you are instantly alienating them because they don't "make the cut"?, lets get real.
    As a principle connecting with others may be useful but this has to be balance with
    1) Quality of connections
    2) The time & effort you are prepared to put into building and maintaining your network
    3) What it delivers

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  • vanitha iyer

    11/05/2016 01:18PM

    I agree with all the above comments, its not about the quantity of connections you have it is about the quality!

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  • James Ferguson

    11/05/2016 09:07AM

    I definitely agree with Jennifer that it is about quality over quantity; the number is just vanity. However it is also about your role; if you are in a fast moving role, with lot's of requirements (like new product sourcing), with lots of market engagement then you will have more connections, however if you are in a niche, focused Procurement role then you will likely have less (and there is nothing wrong with that).

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  • Not really, it's about how useful the network for us. I learned during my certification classes " In procurement any data is not fully utilized is nothing but a dump".

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  • Sheri Daneliak

    12/09/2016 03:57PM

    I'm a retired Canadian Government Procurement Specialist so I do not necessarily have many followers on LinkedIn because I am not pursuing employment but I was asked many times to create a profile to meet other procurement specialists on LinkedIn via Twitter and I still don't have many followers on LikedIn because I state that I'm retired but I have thousands on Twitter that I offer advise and I'm on hundreds of lists because of my involvement in many technical topics including procurement, supply chain, LoT, cloud technology, programming, finance, etc., so, I don't believe numbers of followers are as important but the quality of your connections are very important and that's all that really matters when it comes to your profession and your interests.

    I have over 20 years experience in this profession so I'm just here to offer my opion or help if I can. I'm not anyone's competition. When I started in this profession there wasn't social media, it was the telephone, conferences, courses, booking meetings and you hustled to meet your connections. You had to finesse your clients and be prepared for anything. I was barely in my 20's when I started in Supply. To be honest, my big connections are not necessarily all on social media but that's how you start. I help a lot of small gaming or programming start up companies with sourcing. It's exciting to watch them succeed.

    As someone mentioned above, I have found my experience in Procurement and the Supply Chain has come in very useful in almost every aspect of my life as it is second nature to me. So yes, every person I meet is a possible connection because you never really know what their background
    is unless you ask and everyone has a story. That's just being friendly.

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  • Jozef Mikula

    12/05/2016 03:54PM

    how do you say it? The right Person can Change your life forever. If you have 2000 contacts that barely know you .. they all together have no value compared to 1 you actually know and who can push you Forward ..

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  • Alexandr Dudich

    07/07/2016 10:15AM

    I know an employer who just does not consider a certain candidate if he (a candidate) does not use the gmail service. Stupid, isn't it? It is a sort of approach which is on discussion and in fact it is like create an obstacles and limits for yourself and your business.

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  • Xavier Niemann

    18/05/2016 04:30PM

    this is the most depressing procurement related thing i have ever heard. Linked in is a waste of time and anyone judging someone by the number of connections is a fool.

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  • Hugo Britt

    12/05/2016 10:06PM

    Some great responses here! Thanks to everyone who commented. Totally agree that your connections should be 1) quality, and 2) useful.

    Here's a follow up question - If you change professions (for example, you leave procurement to become a yoga instructor), I've often wondered what you'd do with your network - do those 500+ people suddenly become irrelevant, or is everyone potentially useful, no matter what profession they're in?

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    Matthieu Baril That sounds like a great opportunity to get procurement people into yoga. Having an insight into both worlds, you'll know how to appeal to the procurement crowd to communicate to them the benefits of yoga. You could write content that grabs the procurement people's attention, and educate them on yoga.

    If you don't want to cross-sell yoga to procurement folk, I would still keep in touch with the procurement world and follow how things are evolving there. Lateral thinking doesn't always have an obvious application, but can yield some interesting insights down the line- how would you use the influencing skills learnt in a procurement context to manage a 20-person yoga class? Or your ability to visualise and plan a procurement project with milestones to plan a yoga periodisation schedule? Sound principles developed in one discipline can certainly be used in other contexts, so to keep learning and reflecting upon procurement concepts that you are familiar with would, in my opinion, only benefit you in other endeavours.

    12/05/2016 10:18PM

    Stuart Brocklehurst I now have a mental image involving lycra that will be difficult to expunge...

    13/05/2016 08:38AM

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