To PSL Or Not To PSL?

What is a PSL?

Some of you may have heard of PSL, and others may not have. For those unfamiliar with the term, PSL stands for ‘Preferred Supplier List’.A PSL is essentially a pre-agreed list of suppliers an organisation will use to outsource various resources. When looking to recruit for example, a Hiring Manager may only use their organisation’s PSL to try and find talent for positions they need resources for.Of course, it is entirely a company’s choice whether to have a PSL or not.

​So, to PSL, or not to PSL? Let’s discuss the difference between these two approaches along with the pros and cons of both.

Pros and Cons

A preferred supplier list can save organisations a lot of time if they remain up to date with the changes in markets. However, with a PSL there is a risk these lists can become outdated.​

When recruiting, for example an organisation’s PSL may have been selected based on historical hiring. Essentially, if the supplier has a great track record, they will be placed on the company’s PSL. However, a dry spell of candidate hiring can mean it may take a long period of time to find someone suitable. Long-awaited reviews of each supplier may mean organisations miss out on the best available talent in the market because they haven’t partnered with the right agencies. 

​Working with a single preferred supplier within the organisation's PSL can allow the hiring manager and supplier to build a relationship with great communication. By having a go-to supplier for all hiring needs can ensure the candidate has a positive experience throughout the employment process. This can allow the process to be easy and efficient, showcasing the organisation in a positive light.

Hiring for specific roles outside of your PSL could mean you are paying specialist agencies more than you would using suppliers on your PSL. But is it worth it? Paying that extra amount outside your PSL for a hire can speed up the process as you get a more specialist service. Finding the right resource role to complete your team leads to faster project completion making it worthwhile to look beyond a PSL.​

PSL’s can be restrictive. This is because an organisation will be limited to picking suppliers only from this list. For example, if a company is looking for an ERP Consultant, a generalist recruitment agency on the PSL would not be able to cater for their specific role requirements. This is because they won’t have the right candidates to fulfil the role. But if you didn’t have a PSL, the supplier you prefer (a specialist ERP recruitment agency) can offer you more suitable candidates.

​Without the right agencies on your PSL, you may struggle to find the best talent that meets your specific hiring needs. Relying on specific, listed agencies to find the perfect candidate could often take a while. The business could begin to wonder “How long do we leave the vacancy unfulfilled with the PSL?”. Leaving vacancies unfulfilled for a long period of time can expose an organisation to a multitude of problems. With long periods of capacity issues, a company may experience project delays, overworked staff, and even a drop in revenue because they do not have the right resources. Reaching out to other agencies outside of your PSL can mean that hiring is faster, more efficient, and more effective.

To PSL or not to PSL? 

As you can see, there are points to consider when deciding ‘to PSL or not to PSL’. However, it is important to review and measure the performance of your current hiring strategy. 

Are your PSL’s successful in finding great potential candidates, or have you experienced dry spells? Have specialist recruitment agencies outside of the PSL found more appropriate candidates for your open vacancies?It is essential to review your own process regularly to know exactly what works best for your own organisation.