How to Become Your Staffing Supplier’s Customer of Choice


If you’ve ever done a favor for a local vendor – say the butcher at your mom and pop market or the favored hairstylist who always does such a great job with your coif – then you know how rewarding it is to get a better cut of meat or extra attention to your hairdo than other customers are getting. As an HR professional tasked with getting the best talent for your organization, wouldn’t you like to attain that same status among your staffing supplier(s)? You can make a “friend on the inside” out of your suppliers if you know how to make the business you do with them a mutually beneficial experience. The dividends of attaining “customer of choice” status can be significant.

The always excellent, Subhadra Sriram at the SIA blog has a recent post up laying out an exhaustive list of the steps you can take to become the kind of customer that always gets the cream of the proverbial crop from their staffing supplier.  Her piece was culled from supplier input recently gathered at Staffing Suppliers Executive Forum in Orlando, Florida. We suggest you read her whole post here.  But to save you some time, we’ve distilled the ideas down into the following seven steps you can take to become the customer of choice for your staffing suppliers and enjoy the benefits that entails.

  1. Don’t categorically lowball the supplier on rates – Like anything else, you get what you pay for and suppliers treat fair customers far better than those known for being aggressively cheap.
  2. Safety first – Pressuring the supplier to cut corners in their process to either save money or expedite the sourcing process makes you more of a risk as a customer.  Don’t be that customer.
  3. Manage Expectations regarding candidate experience – Work with the suppliers to have a clear, straightforward onboarding process. Communicate with the candidates regularly too.  The supplier will love you if you do, and want to do business with you more than the customer that fails to do this.
  4. Be Fair with Insurance Requirements – So, you mean, foisting all the legal responsibility onto the supplier using ‘clever’ contract language won’t win me friends in the supplier community?  Kidding aside, there is a fair way to spread the risk fairly across the supplier and customer. 
  5. Keep Communication Channels Open – Like any good relationship, communication is essential.  Make a point of providing regular feedback on resumes, interviews and other activities. This dialogue helps the supplier to better help you.  When you make it easier for them, it will be easier for you!
  6. Be Realistic – Don’t treat niche suppliers like commodity suppliers of vice versa.  Let each type of supplier shine at what they do best.
  7. Obamacare/ACA Challenges – We all know this is making life difficult for everyone involved. Be compassionate with your supplier; they are also feeling their way through and patience is a virtue.

Do these seven things and you can count on making very beneficial partners of your suppliers.  The results will be excellent for your operations.

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