Many companies, recruitment agencies included, have Preferred Supplier Lists (PSL) in place, primarily to standardise processes and drive efficiency. The PSL will generally contain a set list of recruitment agencies that the business will contact when they require candidates for a position. There are often long-standing relationships between these businesses, with no real service review ever having been done. It is easy to forget that recruitment is the lifeblood of any organisation. Now more than ever, it is vitally important to ensure you partner with agencies who will ensure your organisation is understood and communicated to the candidate pool in the correct manner. It is no longer about finding ‘good candidates quickly’. It is just as important to partner with an organisation capable of effectively building your employer brand too, thus making your recruitment easier in the future.
It is important to review your PSL regularly to ensure it is performing effectively and that your partnerships, however old or recent, are working for your business. Even if your PSL is working fine for you, reviews are instrumental in preventing any future agency complacency due to long-term tenure.
Assess your reasons for using one. Why do you need a PSL? What benefits do you want to achieve from having a PSL? Does your current PSL meet these needs? If not, why not? Some companies have PSLs that have not changed since the business was formed, purely for ease, and not necessarily because it is an effective system for them when it comes to finding premium candidates. Recruitment businesses can unfortunately be subject to high turnover of consultants. Businesses change - The reason you chose that agency initially may have been due to a specific consultant or team experience. This may not be the case now.
Ask yourself, what value do your recruitment suppliers offer? By measuring KPIs such as candidate submission to interview ratio, number of roles given vs how placements made, time to hire, etc, you will be able to measure and therefore compare each supplier’s performance and negate any that aren’t performing as efficiently. Do your suppliers assist you with other areas? A good, knowledgeable agency will be able to advise you on all areas of recruitment, from packages, to skills shortages, employer branding, competition, legislation and compliance… the list goes on…
Consider whether there are certain parameters in which you would benefit from going outside of your PSL to source quality candidates. Are there more niche positions that would be easier to fill if you used a specialist recruitment company? If your PSL consists of three generalist, local agencies – What do you do when your Operations Director retires, and you require more specialist assistance? Do you have the ability to use a ‘one-time vendor’ should your PSL suppliers struggle to source suitable candidates for a specific campaign?
Give an agency the chance to prove their worth. When a new recruitment company comes to you with an appealing pitch, give them a chance, you’ve got nothing to lose. They have the potential deliver quality candidates, good value and can further streamline your recruitment processes.
The main thing to remember is that a PSL should enhance your recruitment process, not hinder it. An outstanding talent attraction strategy is essential and for some companies, a strict PSL is the most efficient method. For others, the PSL might be what stands between you and achieving your goals.