Vendor Management Services and the Quest for the Best Hire

In today’s business environment, one finds that the goals of procurement management and the goals of quality human resource acquisition are often in conflict.  An analysis is warranted of the drivers and motivators between the two conflicting corporate organizations. Most companies, be they Fortune 50 or a growing SMB, are driven to do more with less and to be increasingly more efficient.  At the same time, most executives recognize that the hiring of the best athletes available is a key to realizing efficiencies and gaining market share.  From the lowest level contingent workforce, to the top executives, the people of a company control the success of the enterprise.

Enter the innate conflict of the two drivers to success.  Procurement and supply chain management principles call for the quickest delivery of the most cost effective product that meets minimum standards.  For most commodities, this is a proper goal, and can greatly improve the bottom line of the organization.  On the other hand, effective recruiting of human capital is a painstaking and an intuitive process that resists the efficiency of technology and the commoditization of people.  Since hiring is one of the most difficult tasks a manager faces in his career, it is imperative that the best talent be available for consideration.

Effective, experienced recruiting professionals of the private recruiting industry have long been recognized as the primary source for identifying true prospective talent for companies.  Be they contingent or retained, contract or consulting, the professional firms of this industry can introduce the best talent to an enterprise because they are skilled in ascertaining the intangibles that make for a great employee.

Many mistakes are made in the quest for efficiency and cost savings in the creation of barriers to effective identification, screening, presentation, and hiring of the best candidates for a given position.  To streamline the processes by taking human interaction out of the mix is a mistake.  In a noble quest to make everything more efficient, Vendor Management Services and Managed Services Providers create barriers that ultimately make the hiring process less effective and more time consuming.  The ability of a professional recruiting team to personally engage to identify the intangibles is paramount to recruiting success.  Interjecting the “Meets Minimum Standards” into the process by choosing prospects strictly on the resume content and the speedy population of a portal negates the value that can be added by the personal screening of the applicant by the recruiter.  Knowledge of the intangibles based upon personal relationship with the hiring authority makes for better candidates.  Denying the recruiter-hiring manager interface can make the process frustrating for the manager, and actually extend the hiring time.  Managers have been known to take the least offensive candidate rather than the best available talent simply to end the frustration of seeing a string of good resumes that do not reflect the real substance of the applicant.  This is a recipe for disastrous hiring, and at the least, the recipe will produce a very bland dish.

So, what is the answer?  Perhaps the following can offer some ideas for satisfying the competing goals.

1. Identify the administrative workflows that can readily improve through consolidation and adoption of best practice processes.  These include contract negotiation and management, compliance, payables management, timekeeping, billing consolidation and payment management.  Full workflow analysis may identify others that improve efficiency without creating barriers to effective recruiting.

2. Fully vet the firms and understand the experience and processes of each when choosing the ones who will participate in talent identification.  Promote the development of relationships between vendors and hiring authorities in order to make the interview experience a positive and efficient event.  Evaluate and monitor the success of vendors in providing great talent for the managers to interview and rate the hiring success as perceived by the managers being served.  Constantly upgrade based upon the successes and failures.  Managers will quickly identify those who save them time and consistently provide the best candidates.

3. Allow for fair and profitable pricing.  Low fees and margins force vendors to utilize less qualified sourcers and recruiters.  A good clerical person can learn and become efficient in matching keywords on a requisition and a resume.  That efficiency does not make for really good matches however, and low margins and fees make it necessary for vendors to hire such employees in order to sustain a fair return on investment. Professional recruiters are rightly compensated at a higher level, and possess the skills to truly rate the technical skills of the prospects and evaluate the intangibles innate in the candidates.

Both goals can be satisfied without sacrificing the best practices of each.  Look for the ways to make both contribute to the success of the organization.


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