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  • Writer's pictureStuart Higgins

Why is your Recruitment PSL Damaging your Business?

Benefits of the Recruitment PSL:

The employer gets very little attention to their need, and the more agencies on their PSL, the further this attention reduces.

The candidates usually end up getting lost in the recruitment black hole, never to hear from the recruiter again unless the company asks to interview them.  This frustrates candidates, and it might not do your brand image the world of good either.

OK, I admit, neither of those two are actually benefits, but they are a reality.

Here’s a benefit though:

Getting on as many recruitment PSL's as they can, means the recruiter now has more chances of filling a job - any job.

This offers no guarantees that your job will be the one.

In fact, the more PSL's the recruiter can be part of, the less chance it will be your vacancy that gets worked on.

What is a PSL?

PSL stands for 'Preferred Supplier List'.

Usually, when recruiting new team members, companies will assign their vacancies to a selection of recruitment agencies, their PSL.

This means they'll have a number of recruiters competing with each other to deliver candidate CV’s for the vacancy.

What does this actually mean?

If you were to choose five recruiters to ‘work’ on your vacancy, are you getting more than you’d get with just one recruiter?  

Are you getting five times the focus, five times the coverage, and five times the expertise?

It seems logical to answer ‘yes’ to these questions, but if we scratch the surface here, you’ll find that you’re actually getting less.

How does more suppliers = less?

Because by organising the service delivery, as a service where you have multiple suppliers competing for a single success, each supplier now risks not getting paid for the work they do.

This creates the situation where recruiters need to look for more jobs to add to their list (how often do you receive recruiter sales calls & emails?), and because they will have more jobs to 'work' on, they'll spend less time servicing YOUR specific need.

From the recruiters perspective, a one in five chance of making a placement means they need to be working on five vacancies to make one placement.

This immediately takes the focus away from you, and makes it all about what the recruiter needs to do to maximise their chances. It doesn't matter if the recruiter fills YOUR vacancy, they just need to fill one of them.

Factor in also that recruiters need to make more than one placement, and you’ll understand why recruiters that work this way are juggling the activities of 40-50 live vacancies at any one time.

The recruiter is no longer accountable, not to you the paying client anyway.

When choosing a job out of their list of forty or so live jobs to work on, the recruiter will pick the easiest chance of success first.  An exclusive job is always going to be at or near the top of their list, a retained search will always be number one.

Wrapping up

I get that you need to work with recruiters that you know (and maybe even trust), but instead of releasing a vacancy to all your suppliers at once, why not try assigning one vacancy to just one recruiter?

You'll need to tell them they are assigned to it exclusively, but on the condition that they drop everything and dedicate their time to you, and if it works, that will be the new norm. Rotate your favourite suppliers if you have many.

Instead of feeding the recruiter with more options to satisfy their need, get the recruiter working for you.

If you want to talk about how to optimise your use of recruitment agencies, get in contact with me on +44 (0) 7415 061 809 or email me at:

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