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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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For MSPs, Top Talent Comes from Partnering with Top Suppliers

Award-winning MSPs will tell you their core task is to ensure hiring manager satisfaction and program adoption. How? Through a flawless talent acquisition process that consistently delivers the best talent at the most competitive rates, with the fastest submittal times. And finding the best talent means tapping into the recruiting prowess of top suppliers.

Filling New Gaps in Digital Skills for the Digital Age

Designing an end-to-end MSP/VMS program requires building a consolidated vendor model that identifies and addresses the needs of all client stakeholder groups. The most successful programs are customized to each client’s operation, and a multi-faceted contingent labor solution can span departments and individuals: IT, executive branches, Human Resources, Procurement, Accounts Payable, and the hiring managers responsible for contingent labor categories in each business unit.

Every group has firm expectations and priorities for the program, but MSPs learn early on that all practice leaders desire the same outcome from vendors – quality talent.

The need for top talent grows more urgent every year. In 2014, Deloitte issued a report titled “Global Human Capital Trends 2014: Engaging the 21st-Century Workforce” that emphasized the importance of procuring skilled talent to avoid the “leadership gaps” threatening more than 60 percent of all companies. Dramatic shifts in the economy, technology, and an aging workforce played huge parts. Four years later, however, Deloitte asserted that these gaps have grown, particularly with the need for organizations to find “digital leaders.”

“Most organizations have not moved rapidly enough to develop digital leaders, promote young leaders, and build new leadership models,” the summary noted. Other key findings:

  • The leadership gap has become larger; organizational capabilities to address leadership dropped by 2 percent.
  • Forty-two percent of companies cite “leadership development” as very important.
  • The percentage of companies with strong or adequate experiential programs for leaders rose by 2 percent last year.

As the workforce changes and a new breed of talent enters the market, breakthroughs will come from innovative staffing suppliers who excel at providing these exceptional workers. For savvy MSPs, sourcing the right agencies leads to higher offer acceptance rates, stronger retention levels, and superior productivity.

Sourcing Top Suppliers

The great chefs of the world are relentless experimenters who constantly test new combinations of ingredients to appease the evolving palates of their clients. They keep meticulous notes as they perfect their processes through trial and error. When diners enter Michelin-starred restaurants, however, the food they receive is prepared in strict adherence to a proven recipe. Masterful chefs don’t experiment on their customers.

Exemplary supplier sourcing leaders with top-rated MSPs are no different. They rely on well-defined and validated methodologies when sourcing, engaging, and enrolling staffing suppliers. Here are some tried and true tips for creating a five-star recipe.

Assemble an Evaluation Team

Planning is essential to a successful supplier sourcing initiative. If the MSP doesn’t start off with a firm understanding of the client’s current situation and future goals, it will be difficult to find the perfect complement of supplier partners. Successful MSP sourcing managers begin each initiative by rallying an internal team of people who have a stake in the vendor selection process to articulate objectives and clarify requirements to supplier prospects. Members of these governance councils help drive strategy and goals, provide guidance, and align supplier sourcing strategies with company objectives.

Needs Analysis

A comprehensive needs analysis defines the client’s business and technical requirements. It’s a tactical discovery process that incorporates Voice of the Customer feedback, logs of existing data or pain points, strategy sessions for growth, and essential project planning. By the end of the exercise, the team should have developed a sourcing and engagement strategy that clearly presents options, meets client objectives, identifies contingencies, establishes risk mitigation plans, maps processes, and includes transitioning plans for existing suppliers that will be phasing out, if applicable.

Searching High and Low

With team members in sync and the marching orders prepared, it’s time to begin the search for staffing suppliers. Project leaders from award-winning MSPs stress that their implementation specialists historically consider the supplier engagement phase to be the most time consuming. As an old rule of thumb, the number of supplier prospects would be proportional to the program’s scope: the larger the program, the more suppliers the MSP would canvas in the search. However, today that’s not necessarily effective.

Consolidating spend and volume under a smaller number of vendors with larger capabilities can drive greater outcomes. Of course, there must be tiers of niche suppliers for difficult or specialized requests. That’s why we believe a crowd-based agency model is the best way to offer a rational approach to rationalization: one provider as the employer-of-record with hundreds of independent agencies recruiting in the platform. The benefit to MSPs is apparent. What about the agencies? They receive a competitive placement fee for simply submitting best-matched candidates. Higher rewards for less work.

Distribute RFIs/RFPs to Prospects

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) have become familiar tools for MSP sourcing managers because they aid in the execution of a proactive sourcing strategy. For potential suppliers, the RFP explicitly defines the purpose, specifications, requirements, expectations, benefits, necessary qualifications, evaluation criteria, and selection logistics. When used properly, an RFP provokes thought, careful planning, innovation, and a solid basis for further discovery.

Make sure to ask questions that elicit concise, no-nonsense responses. Equally important is establishing a rubric for quantitative and weighted pass/fail scores. Assign values for each requirement that rank both importance and the supplier’s performance in response. If all of that sounds like a pain, we’ve got a complete RFP tool kit you can download for free.


Even with weighted scoring, evaluating supplier responses and choosing winning firms can be the most difficult parts of the process. Every MSP and every project will focus on unique criteria. There are, however, time-tested ingredients that all gourmets infuse in their recipes.

  • Ability to provide required skill sets – now and in the future
  • Efficient and well documented candidate recruitment process
  • Specific experience filling positions in the client’s industry, especially when niche job titles are likely to come into play
  • Cultural alignment to the MSP and the client – shared visions and values
  • Demonstrated executive commitment and solvency
  • Recruiters with industry experience (filling job titles in the client’s industry) and domain experience (filling related job titles in a variety of client industries)

Partnerships Built to Endure

Staffing suppliers play a vital role in the ultimate success of a contingent labor solution. With the talented resources they’ve vetted, selected, and nurtured, staffing suppliers are the lifeblood of any thriving MSP/VMS program. Those MSPs dedicated to building mutually rewarding partnerships with suppliers will inevitably find themselves basking in praise for measurable increases in customer satisfaction, cost savings, quality, and service.

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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