AGR Blog

Making the most of supplier partnerships



Building a partnership and working as one team is fundamental to getting the most out of your supplier relationships. Amanda Marques, Business Solutions Director at Cohesion shares her tips and advice for maximising your return on investment.


There are so many different things you can do to make sure you get the most from working with a supplier. While it is a lot simpler than you may anticipate – there are still plenty of opportunities where certain aspects can be overlooked.

The best piece of advice we can give you is to recruit a supplier in a similar way to how you would recruit a new member of your internal team – what do you look for? What are their KPIs? What do you expect from them? And, finally, how are you going to measure whether or not they’re performing?

Here are four ways you can ensure that you make the most out of your supplier partnership:

Get to know the business

You’ve chosen your supplier and defined the roles of each party – now what? How are you going to ensure they have the knowledge to drive your recruitment forward, handle any queries from hiring managers and candidates alike, and positively represent your values and employer brand at every single stage of the recruitment process?

One of the most important things to consider is how you go about integrating your supplier into your business. Start with the basics – building your relationship from a foundation of openness and transparency from the outset. As with any relationship – you need to get to know one another. How do they work? What are their values? As a business – who are they?

Define what ‘good’ looks like

If you’ve built a great relationship with your supplier, how are you defining what constitutes a ‘good job’? Clearly define your goals and understand how the supplier you’ve chosen is going to get you to where you want to be. This involved scoping out the journey your organisation is going to take with your supplier. What are the key landmarks along the way? What are you expecting to see throughout the partnership?

Establish regular communication

An implementation plan will cover off all you need to think about in the initial stage but, most importantly, any good relationship is built on mutual trust, and an efficient and consistent communication process.

Yes – you’ll have defined your SLAs and KPIs that each party will be working towards on a daily basis. But, allowing a platform where any issues can be raised as they occur is invaluable. There is no benefit to leaving issues unresolved for weeks while you wait for the next review meeting – a weekly call, at minimum, allows for everything to be dealt with regularly.

Measure Success

Simple and highly visible transactional metrics such as application numbers, conversion ratios at each stage, time to hire and roles filled will give you a good overall picture of how things are going. However, you need to be looking beyond these to more in-depth measures – what does the ongoing retention of your future talent recruits look like? How are they progressing through their performance reviews? What feedback have you received from both hiring managers and candidates?

If recruitment companies sold themselves entirely on their transactional results – there would be no real way to distinguish one from another. What separates one recruitment partner from another is the relational link between what they do, and the ongoing outcomes they achieve.

We all know recruitment success is something that’s difficult to monetise straight away. But, at the same time – you need to understand what your desired outcomes actually were, and how they benefit your organisation. It’s unfair and unrealistic to hang all of your hopes on financial gain from recruitment. There are a number of subjective methods that you can keep your eye on to determine how things have gone – for example, what was the candidates’ recruitment experience like? How has the recruitment experience influenced their perception of your brand as an employer?

Making the most of supplier relationships was the topic of a recent AGR webinar

Terms and Conditions | Sitemap | Privacy Policy | Accessibility | AGR Policy Statements

Membership Web Design by Senior

Association of Graduate Recruiters is the trading name of the Institute of Student Employers, limited company no. 01042932. Registered offices: 6 Bath Place, Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3JE