Manager Stories - Thomas Arrigg - MSP Relationships


The world is changing. As it changes, we too must adopt our behaviors. The same can be said when it comes to the relationship between a staffing company and a Master Service Provider (MSP).

First thing’s first – what is an MSP?
Essentially, an MSP is an intermediary company between a recruitment firm and an end client. The function of a Master Service Provider is to help the end client streamline all recruitment efforts. And at Real Staffing, we believe that building efficient relationships with these service providers can enable better staffing solutions for life sciences organisations.

But what are some of the best ways for recruitment companies to engage with MSPs? And just how can we ensure the MSP relationship is maximized to the benefit of the end client?

Thomas Arrigg, Director at Real Life Sciences, shared his thoughts on how we can achieve this.


The MSP relationship

Over the last five years at Real Staffing, we have gone through an evolution of our thinking. In the past, our day-to-day activities were not aligned with the goals of the MSP. As a staffing organization, we were accustomed to working directly with the end client. Having direct line manager access and being able to map out specific timelines was the way we typically operated. However, as we evolved, we have learned some truly valuable lessons and our mindset has shifted to now thinking of the MSP as our client.
As part of Real Staffing, we will always maintain our vertical market specialism, however when it comes to working with an MSP we have tried to create a different form of specialization so we can meet their needs more effectively.

So, how have we done it?

One example of the ways that we have adapted includes developing an internal MSP Relationship Management Team - this team is the point of contact for all our MSP relationships, the point of escalation, and the people who keep our recruiters aligned with the MSPs principles and guidelines. Additionally, we have created specialized delivery teams that are positioned to specifically source for our client’s needs.

Mistakes still happen of course, and we are not perfect. But forming a strong relationship with our partners allows us to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. In our eyes, providers that are equally as invested in building strong relationships with recruitment companies and have a genuine desire to properly represent their own client are the ones that are truly worth partnering with. Those that are unwilling to do this are doing the end client a disservice and should be reevaluated as a recruitment partner.
So, with all that said, one important question remains…

What does an MSP want from recruitment companies?

Strong personal connections

The basis of any strong relationship is trust and communication. A partnership can only be effective when each party embodies these traits. MSPs depend on us to provide market intel. They need to let the end client know what is going on in the market - it is our job to provide useful insights regarding specific roles, market trends, and competitor information that can help formulate change within the program.
We appreciate that it can be difficult for MSPs to build relationships with multiple individuals from one recruitment company. Having a dedicated point of contact and escalation point for each one of our clients allows us to strengthen our MSP relationships and maintain fluid communication throughout the whole process.

Transparency and authenticity

I also believe that transparency is key – it’s essential to be upfront and honest with the MSP you work with regarding your strengths and weaknesses as an organization. As much as every recruiter loves to think they can support on any role or project, that’s not always true.
When you’re a specialist recruitment company like Real Staffing, you’re often working within niche markets, and the truth is that, some roles within specific markets are outside our areas of specialism.
I believe it’s critical that we are honest and upfront about that in order to build trust. Allowing the MSP to have clarity about what your strengths are as a recruitment company will give you more long-term opportunities.

Speed and quality of delivery

The expectation from the client regarding resumes is centered around two things: quality and speed. If you are able to provide both when working a live job, you will clearly add value to the MSP.
Given these parameters, the ability of a recruitment team to stay connected with skilled candidates and build strong communities within niche markets is critical in providing organizations with the highest caliber of professionals. Our goal is to maintain high-quality candidates while delivering at a speed that is aligned with the MSP’s SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure).

Compliance to MSP’s Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

This part is simple - stay compliant and follow the rules.
Do not contact line managers. Do not try to get candidates to start without paperwork and background checks completed. Do not work outside of the bill rates unless there is a conversation prior to the candidate being submitted.

Do not put unqualified candidates onto the portals. Do not have excessive mark ups when there are no max mark ups provided. Our industry is changing, and companies within the life sciences are using the MSP model more than ever before. We must adapt our ways to continue and build upon our strong relationships to make a bigger impact for all of the people we service.

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