Contingent Worker Quality – Vendor Management System to the Rescue | DCR Workforce Blog

Contingent Worker Quality – Vendor Management System to the Rescue


If your company uses contingent workers without using any technology to support their use; you must have come across umpteen numbers of marketing posts telling you how effectively a vendor management system (VMS) can help you. That would be very true. Many companies have reaped real benefits when using a VMS to manage spend, eliminate maverick expenditures, schedule workers, track and analyze results, manage SOW projects, process timecard submissions, and mitigate employment risks. But, innovative features keep getting added to some VMSs and let us talk here about the role of a VMS in helping to recruit candidates of high quality.

Many times, the urgency behind hiring contingent workers to meet delayed/urgent project deliverables or replace an absent employee makes the process of hiring a temp extremely rushed and somewhat irregular. It is, at times, not possible for a hiring manager to know in advance which suppliers will offer the best candidates in the needed timeframe.

Without a Vendor Management System

Let me describe what a hiring manager might experience when working for a company that is not using a VMS.  In these companies, when a hiring manager identifies the need for a contract worker, a written justification must be developed and a requisition submitted for approval.  This may be a manual process, or may be done through some kind of online form.  Either way, approval involves the hiring manager’s direct supervisor and a host of other people (finance/ HR/Procurement/ An additional layer of business or functional management).  Approval times vary greatly.  During this time, the hiring manager waits – not knowing what is causing the delay.

When the requisition is finally approved, the hiring manager is assigned a “qualified staffing agency recruiter” to fill the position.  This individual reads the requirement/job description and then asks to interview the hiring manager to better understand the needs.  The hiring manager then receives resumes of “qualified” candidates, but often sees no evidence of the required qualifications.  If no candidates seem to fit, the supplier asks for another discussion to further understand the need.  At this point, the hiring manager is wondering who qualified the supplier, and against what criteria!  If more time elapses without positive results, the hiring manager starts screaming, a new staffing agency or recruiter is assigned, and the process begins again.

Sounds a bit overstated?

With a Vendor Management System

Anyone who has done a fair bit of contingent worker hiring will assure you that there is no overstatement here! It does not take much to convince anyone that there is a better way.  A good VMS system can remove the confusion and the subjectivity in the whole process.

  • The system offers an automated, fully transparent process.  Requirements are rapidly created using standardized job descriptions, and automatically circulated through the approval chain.  At any point in time, the hiring manager can see the status of the requirement. System alerts and reminders encourage timely processing.  If adjustments to the requirement need to be made prior to approval, the hiring manager is immediately informed and can quickly make the change.
  • The requirement distribution system can be configured for each job type and/or location.  Hard to fill positions can be automatically distributed to a wider set of suppliers, or additional suppliers can be added as time elapses.  Limits can be placed on the number of candidates submitted by any supplier, forcing them to be selective.
  • The vendor management system enables a dispassionate evaluation of each supplier before joining the program and also over time.  Supplier profiles can contain recruitment skills profiles and evidence of positive prior experience.  Performance over time can automatically alter the supplier’s tier assignment or type of requirement offered.  Candidates are presented in a consistent way, automatically rated and ranked based on their alignment with hiring priorities.  Suppliers submit evidence of credential verification and reference checking, giving the hiring manager a complete picture of each candidate.
  • The VMS helps in onboarding the candidate by verifying completion of contractually binding onboarding requirements prior to work commencement.  This includes background screening, drug testing, documentation completion, asset provisioning, training and orientation activities.
  • It also automates the processes of work scheduling, time reporting and approval, and invoicing.  The system may do this directly or through interfaces to specialized time management systems.
  • The VMS helps you track top performing contingents or those who fill specialized needs, ensuring that high quality workers can be brought back for future assignments based on need.

The functionality described above is quite basic, and should be the minimum offered by any VMS under consideration.  Industry leading offerings also assist in workforce composition planning and peer benchmarking.  They extend beyond agency-supplied contractors to address SOW-based project teams and independent contractors. They fully integrate with back office systems to provide true workforce intelligence.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.