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PSLs – an Effective Recruitment Tool or the Emperor’s New Clothes?

PSLs – an Effective Recruitment Tool or the Emperor’s New Clothes?
Aim PSLs

There’s a “whoop!” across the office, high 5s all round.  Another recruiter has successfully gained a coveted place on a target company’s Preferred Supplier List (PSL).  But stop for just one moment; is that all it’s cracked up to be?

What just happened?

The target company have selected 5? 10? recruitment teams through whom they will pass their vacancies.   Procurement have shaved a couple of percent off the charge rate which is good news for business unfortunately the in-house recruiters or hiring managers may not be quite so happy.  How the PSL is operated makes an incredible difference to how effective it is.

A company that carefully selects partners with specific areas of expertise to undertake relevant recruitment on an exclusive basis will reap the rewards of loyalty, priority and excellent service.   They will genuinely have a list of PREFERRED suppliers.  They’ll have an effective recruitment tool; the Emperor’s modesty is cloaked in the finest material and everyone’s genuinely impressed.

This is what the high-fiving, whooping recruiter based their good intentions and declarations of service levels upon when they applied for a place on the PSL.

A company that shares all vacancies with multiple members of the PSL will become very disillusioned with their PSL.  In time if they stop and consider why they will realise they have built merely a list of fewer suppliers and eliminated the bother of recruiters that approach them with speculative candidates.  Don’t tell anyone but the Emperor’s naked – and unfortunately the recruiters appear to have noticed he’s got a pimple on his bum!

Once keen, zealous recruiters find that this is what they’ve signed up to they rapidly deflate.  They’re no better off being on this client’s PSL than they are working with a client with no PSL.  All they have gained is knowledge of roles they’d never have known about but for the PSL.  And for the privilege they’ve reduced their rates and can no longer look at that client’s employees as candidates for other roles.

With recruiters competing to submit candidates’ CVs the inhouse recruitment team and hiring managers will probably face the prospect of having to wade through an inordinate number of inappropriate, barely relevant CVs; the recruiters haven’t spent time qualifying candidates for the role.  Chances are the volume will be such that when they finally discover the one gem submitted whom they’d love to employ the candidate will no longer available.

You have to feel sympathy for the inhouse team.  That wasn’t what they’d hoped for from a PSL.  Shouldn’t the recruiters have felt special and given a better service?  Exactly!  A PSL is what you make it – an effective recruitment tool or the Emperor’s new clothes