Preferred Supplier Lists - an oxymoron?

Preferred Supplier Lists - an oxymoron?

 5 Oct 2017

On Tuesday evening I attended a very interesting dinner sponsored by APSCo and attended by Recruitment Leaders from across Scotland. It was a great opportunity to discuss the current market challenges in a relatively informal environment, something that recruiters rarely do; we are normally sworn enemies fighting over the those ‘unicorn’ candidates or exclusive roles.
 
After a couple of glasses of wine, the conversation turned to PSLs (or Preferred Supplier Lists, for those not in recruiter/HR circles). Hearing different views from around the table it was clear that we all struggle to see the benefits of large PSLs (particularly when you throw in the added barrier of a BPO model).
 
Preferred Supplier Lists should be exactly that, a list of ‘preferred suppliers’ that work in partnership with hiring team, allowing both sides to build a positive two-way relationship allowing for greater transparency, communication and improved candidate journey – they should be a good use of everyone’s time. All too often, respected recruitment colleagues spend a lot of time, money and effort trying to achieve a place on that elusive PSL (often to a great fanfare!) only to find that they are one of 45 ‘preferred’ agencies and, if they are lucky enough to receive a highly-prized role to work on, they are unlikely to receive any feedback on any candidates submitted into the process. One of the attendees at the meeting had even decided to go so far as asking to remove themselves from a client’s PSL as it ended up costing them money that they could not afford!
 
Whilst there are a number of factors at play here, and my comments do not apply across the board, there must be a way to improve this process. Why not restrict your PSL to a small number of truly preferred recruitment partners and bring them in from the cold, furnish them with regular updates and specific feedback to allow a productive long-term relationship – the knock-on effect of this will undoubtedly be a much improved company reputation and a much more efficient use of everyone’s time.
 
As always, any thoughts or comments welcome.
 
Written by Matthew Welstead

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