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Ensure a Positive Candidate Experience When Hiring Contingent Talent Remotely

As digitization, coupled with the global pandemic, propels contingent hiring online and with more individuals relying on employer reviewer sites to evaluate businesses, delivering a positive[...]

March 10, 2021

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Make MSPs Your Summer Blockbusters This Year

Film critics often cite 1975 as the year of the blockbuster, specifically referencing the box-office hit “Jaws.” Granted, it’s an odd choice for a summer release given that most people avoided going anywhere near the water after seeing it. But the film started a trend that endures today. The central horror of the story isn’t really a seemingly unkillable shark; it’s fear of the unfamiliar, of a powerful force that threatens the peace of the status quo. A lot of hiring managers confronted by the implementation of an MSP program often feel as helpless at the beachgoers of Amity. But unlike a pesky seafaring predator, MSP/VMS solutions offer a wealth of benefits to hiring managers, which need to be communicated in order to ensure their buy-in.

Swimming with Sharks

Beneath the surface, “Jaws” is actually a basic morality tale -- a disco-era reimagining of Melville’s “Moby Dick” in many respects. And in both stories, the real action takes place in the third act, after the writers fully introduce us to grizzled old salts who have somewhat personal scores to settle with menacing sea predators. When you strip away the gory details and granular plot points, you realize that neither story is really about a ravenous shark or marauding sperm whale. The monsters are merely things, allegories, metaphors -- symbols for change.

The tales are compelling and relatable to audiences because they focus on people. They illustrate how people in charge react when confronted by sudden and unexpected change -- and the chaos that change often brings. The best extraterrestrial films capitalize on these themes, too: How do leaders of a group or organization handle the introduction of an unknown, and therefore frightening, new presence?

Last week, we discussed how hiring managers and MSPs can align to form genuine partnerships. But for those who’ve never used an MSP, the challenges are different.

Hiring managers have been known to circumvent MSP/VMS programs because of the uncertainty of the change. Anxiety arises from a perceived loss of control, the inability of MSPs to understand the hiring managers’ departments or unique requirements, and the upheaval of introducing new processes and suppliers. Working in concert with hiring managers during the implementation process can curb these rogue actions.

Recognizing When You Need a Bigger Boat

Quest stories are the stuff of film and literature. They’re effective parables for demonstrating the pitfalls, failures, risks, and successes of any significant undertaking. “Moby Dick” is a painfully acute depiction of what not to do.

Captain Ahab’s downfall, for instance, springs from his single-minded purpose toward a personal objective. He abandons his duties to his employers and his crew. Ahab spends the bulk of his time shut up in his cabin, leaving his colleagues without direction. When he finally appears, he attempts to bribe them to forsake their duties to the organization. He operates against the “program managers” aboard, who have the skills and eagerness to shoulder his administrative burdens and ensure the smooth running of the ship. For that, he pays a heavy toll.

Captain Quint, of the ill-fated vessel Orca in “Jaws,” also tries to go it alone: “I don’t want no volunteers, I don’t want no mates, there’s just too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself.” The film’s protagonists eventually persuade Quint to take them on as a crew, and without their assistance in managing the initiative, success would not have been possible.

Outsourced contingent workforce management programs require the same level of persuasion. It’s an understandable pickle for a hiring manager who’s performed well over many years without the help of outsiders. Yet, when facing a large task that demands the need for a bigger boat, one also needs a bigger crew. Hiring experienced deck officers to manage the day-to-day activities and performance of that crew allows captains to focus completely on their core duties.

How MSPs Help Hiring Managers Run a Tight Ship

To tame the trepidation of deploying a new or unfamiliar program, hiring managers need to be well versed in the benefits these engagements deliver. In our experience, as a supplier focused on partnering with MSP/VMS providers to achieve client goals together, we see unrivaled value to hiring managers in the following key areas.

Process Optimization

The biggest asset of MSP/VMS solutions lies in program centralization -- standardizing core competencies and communications between multiple participants: hiring managers, HR, procurement officers, executive sponsors, staffing suppliers and the talent itself. Contingent workers are often spread out across different departments and business units within the enterprise. Instituting a centralized MSP/VMS structure enables better tracking of workers from a dedicated source rather than relying on department managers to take time from their jobs to oversee contingent talent.


By recording information in VMS systems, MSPs provide hiring managers with a panoramic view of the contingent labor program, which encompasses spend management, fill rates, submittal rates, budgets, vendor and worker performance, business analytics and reporting, ongoing recommendations for best practices and enhancements, and more.

Cost Savings

An MSP/VMS program contains costs and eliminates renegade spend through the enforcement of standardized rates across the supply base, automated approval processes through integrated technology, universal contract terms, market rate benchmarking, and consolidated electronic invoicing. Redeploying the client’s internal resources to their core business activities also yields substantial soft cost savings internally.

Reduced Risk

MSP/VMS programs ensure the proper classification of workers, delegation of duties, assignment and tenure policies, compliant on-/off-boarding processes and a uniform methodology for engaging qualified staffing partners with vetted talent.

Quality Improvements

Enabled by VMS technology, MSPs monitor and report on Service Level Agreement adherence and Key Performance Indicators for hiring managers. Regularly scheduled business reviews further facilitate enterprise-wide dialogs for continuous improvements, innovations and program scaling.

Reduced Cycle Times

With an automated requisition process managed by MSP account teams, hiring managers gain access to a wider talent pool, competitive supplier bidding, faster submittal times, and optimized interviewing processes. MSP/VMS account teams also free hiring managers from the constraints of creating, distributing and evaluating job orders.


The datasets MSPs collect in the VMS software provide hiring managers with a treasure trove of information and analytics that can be used to forecast demands, usage and financial considerations for near-term and long-term planning.

Hiring Manager Satisfaction

Of course, the end goal of MSP client services professionals is to attain hiring manager satisfaction and adoption. Robust quality service delivery programs make evident to hiring managers how the MSP/VMS meets or surpasses expectations and contractual commitments. SLAs are tracked and managed. Customized scorecards are developed, monitored and reported on. Compliance audits recur at defined intervals to promote visibility and collaboration. And stakeholder satisfaction is frequently polled and reviewed through the distribution of client, supplier and talent satisfaction surveys.

Smooth Sailing Ahead

Facing the unknown, in any context, is a human challenge. And conquering initial reservations requires identifying and understanding the agents of the change.

In the final moments of “Moby Dick,” when the behemoth whale breaches the surface and stuns the men, the first mate rationally and accurately sizes up the situation: “Moby Dick’s no devil. He’s a whale. A monstrous big whale, aye, but a whale no matter. And we’re whaling men, no less. We hunt whales.”

The need for an expanded contingent labor program is no different. It’s a workforce management program. A monstrous big program, aye, but a contingent workforce program all the same. And you’re hiring managers, no less. You manage hiring initiatives.

As for the MSP/VMS teams, also be sure to recall so many science fiction movies of the past. In the standard formula, aliens land on Earth. They are unfamiliar, their intentions are difficult to comprehend and they bring technologies and ideals that seem utterly foreign to the indigenous population. In the direst narratives, society allows fear to overcome sensibility and exploration. Militaries are mobilized, the extraterrestrial visitors are destroyed. And then, one curious scientist discovers that the aliens had brought a cure for cancer and famine.

Embrace the MSP teams and their VMS tools. Give these dynamic and unfamiliar visitors a chance to prove their worth, show you the gifts they bear and make your world an easier, more productive place to peacefully coexist.

Sunil Bagai
Sunil Bagai
Sunil is a Silicon Valley thought leader, speaker, motivator, and the visionary behind the groundbreaking Crowdstaffing ecosystem. Blending vision, technology, and business skills, he is transforming the talent acquisition landscape and the very nature of work. Prior to launching Crowdstaffing, Sunil honed his skills and experience as a business leader for companies such as IBM, EMC, and Symantec. "We need to think exponentially to mindfully architect the future of humanity, civilization, and work. When we collaborate and work together, everyone prospers."
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