Fast Track Recruitment

The Problem With PSLs

Posted by Mitch on 13th January 2015


I recently saw a recruitment coordinator ask for recommendations of good sales recruitment agencies. I suspect she works in the type of HR function highlighted here.

Apparently they were “overhauling their recruitment” and figured that replacing some of the recruitment agencies on their PSL was going to help them achieve this.

Those agencies being replaced have presumably proven themselves to be useless.

Or they’ve proved themselves to not be interested in submitting decent candidates into a portal, most of which won’t get responded to – and so haven’t bothered after the first few attempts.

The reality is that any good sales recruiters will have sold better terms to other companies. Companies who value decent recruiters rather than treating them as glorified administrators and so instead, are too busy doing business with them.

The problem is that most recruitment agencies that see getting put onto a PSL as a win, have a tendency to be in the aforementioned “useless” category.

There’s your vicious circle, right there.

What the company with the PSL are doing is trying to improve a badly performing car by giving it a re-spray.

And all the agencies are doing is getting excited about getting a seat at a blackjack table.

All I see happening is the company continuing to get 2nd rate candidates from 2nd rate agencies.

Now it’s entirely possible that this is a company that are only good enough to hire 2nd rate salespeople, in which case what they’re doing makes perfect sense.

Afterall, 2nd rate salespeople need jobs too. And they generally need 2nd rate recruiters to do that for them.


By Johnny Walker on Friday, 16 January 2015

Aahh. Somebody has gone and said it. PSL’s are not all that.

PSLs do have benefits. They reduce the price charged for recruitment and they reduce the management hassle for HR.

However - and this however is a whopper, PSLs often reduce the quality of recruitment received, frustrate line management and the cost of this poor quality is almost always more than the discounted price that HR claim as a prize and justification for the PSL.

I am given to wonder, if the only people to benefit from the PSL are the people who created it - HR. The PSL is then sold as, but falls woefully short of, benefiting the business / line management, who have to pay for this arrangement and bear the costs of it not delivering.

As we all know, the best businesses are those with the best staff. The most innovative staff, the most productive staff, the most competitive staff, the best value staff, the brightest, hardest-working, most committed staff. Isn’t time for HR to acknowledge that the process of bringing these oh so precious of resources in, needs an equally capable approach and not just the cheapest and most convenient one for HR?

I get that the recruitment industry sets appallingly low standards and is made up of a lot of young men with ‘directional hair’, who used to work for estate agents, but is it beyond the wit of HR to raise the quality of recruitment by identifying the quality recruiters and use a quality process to deliver for their business clients?

By Mitch on Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Johnny, your response to this blog is actually better than the blog itself.

Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts.

By Neale Ricotti on Thursday, 18 February 2016


Your comment, ‘young men with ‘directional hair’ completely nailed the perception of new recruiters in the sales industry.

Thank you. My day is complete.


By Mitch on Thursday, 18 February 2016

If this keeps up, I’m going to have to pay Johnny to write these blogs.

By Johnny on Thursday, 18 February 2016

Mitch - Occasionally I say something interesting. Even rarer is it also useful. Until the frequency of both picks up - you’re safe from me expecting to charge ;-)

Neale - Happy to help.

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