Does a PSA really work or just make agencies complacent?



If you’ve read the heading of this article, I’m sure I’ve already got your back up, particularly if you are an agency recruiter.  If you read my blog semi-regularly I’m sure it’s possibly not the first time and I can almost guarantee you it won’t be the last. As a blogger I want to ignite discussion, I want to make you think and I want to challenge some things in our industry.  If I was here each blog waffling on about how great everything is I would be failing as a blogger (and possibly a bit of a fibber!).

If you’ve read my last post, you will know I’ve shifted jobs.  And I’ve moved into an organisation that does use agencies to recruit when required and has a wide ranging PSA across the business.  This is a new way of working for me – and something that I have had to adjust to.  My background is in agency recruitment and in my most recent prior in-house role I had zero budget for agency – zip, nada, zilch. How my world has changed. But, of my current employer’s PSA, only ONE agency reached out to me when I started.  Kudos to them, they’ve built what seems to be the start of a good relationship and they’re getting some business.

However, I wonder if this is an industry issue or just our PSA issue.  In my last role I would speak to on average a recruiter a day chasing my business, even though I couldn’t do much, if anything, in that space.  On the flip side now I work for someone who has confirmed approved agencies….  the phone line is quiet. Maybe the word hasn’t spread out how it should, but there is also a recruitment team here and they haven’t had anything either! How does that work?

I know “back in my day” of agency I would be on the phone talking through vacancies, meeting my stakeholders, getting jobs to recruit and floating candidates that fitted culture, values and skills that my PSA clients looked for. It is one thing to be on a PSA but if you don’t continue to work at it you won’t be there for long!  I will concede that it is a two way street – information needs to go both ways.  It is also a delicate balance of not annoying your recruitment team/hiring managers or bombarding them with contact calls, coffees and information – but have we gone too far the other way? Scared to call in case we get push back? Worried about upsetting the apple cart of the PSA so we wait for instruction?

Now before you go blowing up my inbox with hate mail…. wait. I’ve been in agency before and I can appreciate the challenges of agency recruitment.  I know that agency and client relationships need to go both ways.  I’ll be doing my darndest to make sure that our PSA panel work with us, not for or against us. I’ve got things in the mix coming up to try to get everyone on the same page and work through our PSA to get results for all. However, it seems some just aren’t interested at the moment?  Is agency going through some form of boom I am unaware of?

In-house AND Agency recruiters I would love your input – what do you think? Is it time to scrap the PSA and open up the marketplace or is time to man (or woman) up and make our PSAs actually work BOTH ways?


One thought on “Does a PSA really work or just make agencies complacent?

  1. I feel it takes two to tango. In a perfect world a PSA would be beneficial for both the agency and client.

    You will find that different people have different views. I personally feel it is a waste of time simply because the client will use this reason to negotiate for a better rate. I don’t find the need to have exclusivity as I know the end result is my delivery and that means guaranteed business. I prefer to have better rates.

    On the other hand you might find that my boss would prefer to have PSA’s in place. This is a way of protecting his business if a good consultant leaves. It gives him certain timeframe to get an equal replacement.

    Like a marriage, PSA needs to be maintained.

    My job is to break up that marriage ! 🙂

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