A staffing supplier’s role is very different from that of a supplier of goods.
In an earlier role, I worked for a staffing company that specialized in technical recruiting. I sat within earshot of more than a dozen recruiters who spent every day from 8 AM to 7 PM calling IT specialists and engineers to determine their availability and interest in open positions. Inevitably, there would be one client that everyone dreaded supporting – the guy who wanted the most sought after talent at a rock bottom price. The recruiter was faced with attempting to convince a candidate who had a choice of opportunities that he/she should take a job at below market rates. Since recruiters are compensated on “fills”, they were certainly not motivated to spend hours working on one difficult req when they could invest that time in sourcing contract workers for two or three other positions in the same amount of time.
The situation was even more complex than that. The Account Execs in that company were under pressure to bring in new clients, but ultimately were compensated on gross margin generated. What this means is that if a client is paying a mark-up that leaves a slim profit margin, the Account Exec will see less in his paycheck. In these cases, I often heard the sales managers tell their teams, “Just get the contract. We can always choose to not fill the reqs.”
At this point, you’re thinking “I’m glad my supplier doesn’t do that.” Well, think again. The above example is of one of the most highly regarded staffing agencies in the industry, and the practices described are common in the industry.
The moral of this story is NOT that you must pay exorbitant rates to ensure good service. So what is our message?
We have investigated some successful relationships and come up with the following wisdom on how successful staffing clients keep the romance alive in the relationship.
Genuine engagement and access to opportunities are critical to the success of a relationship with a supplier. Companies may enjoy receiving all those ‘best supplier’ awards, but the ultimate reward would always prove to be the forging of a win-win relationship which ensures the success of both the client and the supplier.
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