Is there a way of reducing your recruitment costs whilst increasing its effectiveness?

In this blog, we look at the reasons why larger businesses and public sector organisations, in particular, have adopted Preferred Supplier Agreements in a bid to reduce the cost, time and hassle of repetitive purchasing, and whether it can apply to your recruitment process.

A PSL or Preferred Supplier List, is a directory of approved suppliers that have signed a Preferred Supplier Agreement (PSA) with clients to provide an agreed level of service and commitment.

For all size and type of organisation, procurement is an expensive charge against the business and any way of reducing this is always going to be welcomed. Having a directory of pre-approved vendors can, almost certainly, speed up the purchasing process, apply a defined security of delivery and provide the reassurance that the vendor has already undergone stringent tests to ensure suitability.

They will also have been credit checked and have a payment system in place that makes the whole process so much easier than having to start fresh each time. They may also offer a discount for the volume business.

In fact, PSL’s have been a part of the recruitment process for many years. Something that has enabled employers to quickly fill vacancies without the inconvenience and uncertainty of having to contact a large number of unknown recruitment agencies.

What are the key benefits of recruiting staff using a PSL?

To answer that we need to consider the pros and cons of having a PSL in place for recruiting staff.

We believe, one of the key benefits of a PSL is ‘trust’. 

This means that having such an agreement in place ensures that your recruitment partner truly understands your business, is financially viable, and is fully compliant in managing your recruitment.

This should inevitably lead to higher quality candidates, and a guaranteed level of service that is cheaper and less bureaucratic than a haphazard approach. In fact, if structured correctly, your recruitment partner effectively becomes an extension of your in-house HR department and brand ambassador.

Is it for everyone?

There is no doubt, having a Preferred Supplier Agreement in place offers many key benefits to all size and type of business. However, this decision will largely depend on the role taken by the recruitment partner in creating a consistently reliable service. That is, one that is able to offer a suitably skilled talent pool combined with a financial advantage of reducing costs and possibly fees, based on volume business.

Of course, some employers will prefer a more flexible recruitment process based on a dynamic approach. This does not necessarily preclude them having a PSL in place but allows them to respond to an ever changing market.

Multitask Personnel, for example, is an advocate of both processes. We appreciate that many employers value the confidence of working to a PSL but we also work closely with intermittent clients who may only have very specific roles to fill on an irregular basis.

Depending on the agreement signed, a PSL does not deny the recruiter flexibility. A larger company, for example, could operate a multi-faceted recruitment process for contracting specific roles within the organisation.

A PSL has to work for both parties

We said earlier that trust was a key feature of such an agreement. Employers have to be confident that their recruitment partner has met an agreed status when it comes industry compliance, service ability and value for money.

These are absolutely critical points to consider when recruiting for new staff and should form an integral part of any Preferred Supplier Agreement.

This is confirmed by the fact that there are some Employers and HR professionals who still consider the demands and efforts of recruitment agencies do not offer value for money.

This is where a PSL can really come into its own. Having an agreement in place ensures a guaranteed level of service as both party’s requirements are established in the initial stages. In addition, a PSL can also save organisation’s a great deal of wasted time in searching for an appropriate recruitment partner, especially one that understands the industry and is compliant to operate in that sector.

This is especially relevant when dealing with sensitive areas such as data protection and financial security. In fact, some industries such as the financial sector rely on PSL’s to ensure compliance vetting is carried out in order to protect the business from undue risk.

Building up a relationship

There is no doubt, having a PSL in place helps to maintain the integrity of the business. This means you have built up a relationship with the recruitment partner and can be confident that they are protecting your reputation and brand definition.

Working with a pre-selected recruitment partner also provides a high level of consistency, increased confidentiality, and access to a selective pool of candidates. At the same time, it also effectively manages an employer’s legal and commercial risk.

So, as we said before, employers can choose to go it alone and recruit through a number of recruiters, and for those that have the time and resources to manage this it can work well. This is especially so for those that employ a number of skilled and experienced HR people in-house.

A hybrid system or a mix of random recruitment and PSL is also a possibility and is something we have a great deal of experience in. We will be happy to offer advice.

To summarise

There are many benefits of setting up a preferred supplier list for your recruitment requirements. To start with you are working with someone who knows your business, is industry compliant, and goes out of their way to understand the client’s needs, thus providing extra reassurance.

However, before all that happens, we believe it’s important to consider what criteria you will apply prior to adopting a PSL.

For example:

  • Will your list contain more than one recruitment partner, or are you looking for an exclusive arrangement? This is especially relevant if your recruitment partner offers a wide range of specialist services rather than being a generalist recruiter.
  • How much does the agency know about your industry, and do they have the skill set and experience to fill volume vacancies across your organisation?
  • Do they have industry accreditation and knowledge of the legislation that applies in your sector, and equally as important, can they quickly adapt to ever changing rules and industry situations?
  • Can they integrate their admin system with yours to ensure a seamless operation for processing CVs, contracts and payment details?
  • Are they offering a discount on their fees?
  • This could be on an upfront or retrospective basis. Whichever way, it could substantially reduce your recruitment costs, particularly if you are regularly filling vacancies.
  • Is there just one point of contact?  This certainly improves the lines of communication especially if there is more than one person in your organisation able to recruit staff, say a team leader or manager.
  • How will you review the success of the PSL?  We recommend you do this on a regular basis, say annually or even six monthly, depending on the level of business processed.

Our flexible approach

Multitask Personnel is proud of its flexible approach to recruitment that is tailored to the client’s specific circumstances. Some prefer to engage us on an irregular basis, some will ask us to use our specialist knowledge to recruit niche staff while others will instruct us using a Preferred Supplier List.

We are happy to offer the best possible advice, service and support that best fits the recruiter’s own criteria.

If you would like to discuss what recruitment arrangement is best for you, please give us a call on 0845 478 5009 or email:


What our clients say about us!
Finance & Operations, Research & Development – Sheffield
“Having worked alongside Claire on both a personal level & for recruitment requirements I have always found Claire & her team at Multitask Personnel to be friendly, professional & helpful & would highly recommend.”
Senior Quantity Surveyor, Construction – Sheffield
“It is with great pleasure that I’m providing this letter of recommendation to Multitask Personnel. Providing support labour in the construction industry is a massive challenge, we need quality resources who are reliable and good value for money. Multitask take away the intensive searching and validating tasks that takes up so much of our valuable time. They have a good portfolio of trade labour and when short notice is all you have they will step up to the mark! It’s with no hesitation that I highly recommend Multitask Personnel for any recruitment needs, they have a brilliant, committed team with Claire their MD always there to help. All the best for the future, keep up the good work!”

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