Preferred Supplier Lists – Does anybody really benefit?

At the time of writing this post I currently have six Head chefs all looking for new positions. I know that I won’t be the only recruiter that they’ll be registered with, but this one of the incentives to work harder to find them a position.

There are other reasons. Many of them have known me (admittedly via online forums & social media) for a number of years, so I want to see them grow as chefs and see them flourish & their careers being nurtured.

Sadly, all too often, I see an advert & think ‘I have the ideal candidate for that position ‘ and try to make contact with the potential client.

The response varies widely from:

  • “We don’t use agencies/we do all our own recruitment” – although they are already using an agent, which is how I probably worked out it was them in the first place.
  • Deleting the introductory email without even reading it – a particular favourite of mine.
  • & “Unfortunately we can’t use you because you aren’t on our PSL”.

It is this last point I can’t quite understand. Unlike a lot of the High street recruiters, I don’t make 600 sales calls a day to scoop a hundred vacancies & then pay a £100 to put each advert on What’s the point?

Instead I already have the available chefs, hence the reason I’m contacting you (the potential client). I’m not in it to waste everybody’s time, my call or email is for a reason – because I have the ability to support you & your business.

Now I know what you’re thinking:

Yes, you chef recruiters are just in it for the money.

Well to a certain degree we are, as we’re businesses just like our clients. The general misunderstanding is what is involved in presenting the client with a complete picture of a candidate.

It takes time: Interviewing the candidate; checking references; fact checking a CV (our library of guide books for AA goes to 1994 & GFG to 2000) and adding social media profiles, is time consuming. So much so, researching & re-typing just one CV can take 4-6hours, and this is the difference between the services that the smaller consultancies and the so called big boys offer.

Unfortunately, the High street agents tend to have more clout when it comes to opening doors with potential clients. They’ll tell you they have X amount of thousands of candidates in their database, and this is probably true. So why do they have big advertising budgets with

There in lies the problem. As a client, why would you restrict the amount of potential candidates that you could see for your vacancies? PSL (Preferred Supplier Lists) make no sense; the reality is that you’re probably going to pay a higher rate than that of a smaller recruiter, you’ll almost certainly have a less personal service; you’re restricting the candidate pool to choose from, and most importantly – it costs nothing to engage a recruiter, only when the candidate is employed.

So really, as employers, what have you got to lose? Maybe give the guys a chance who think a little bit differently to the High street drones.

You never know, you might be surprised.

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