Oh you have a PSL?! Oh you want me to submit my details to a black hole?! Oh you don’t want me to contact your Line Managers direct with great candidates that you can’t get yourself?! Well, guess what: I’m not even bothering to consider working with you. It’s a candidate-led market and it’s dog-eat-dog. And we agency boys and girls know how to eat dogs – and in-house recruiters – for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

One has to wonder if the agency PSL has a place to play anymore in corporate recruiting. For me, the answer is that is doesn’t – at least not for the next few years anyway. I reckon the smart in-house guys will stop wasting months of meetings putting together a PSL, as they know it doesn’t make them look good in the eye of their customer – and those free supplier lunches make them look a lot older than they really are! You can tell those that don’t have a PSL – they’re lean and mean from scrapping it out with the agencies when they have to, exploiting them when necessary. They don’t care who gets the candidate as long as the Line Manager is happy and fully resourced. They have budget, smarts and street cred. They’ll spend when they have to.

If it takes 30% to get that superstar who only works with an agent, so be it.

Peter Gold

No whining on the super-secret mega closed off LinkedIn Group about rip-off agency rates. Nope, let the whiners whine while the winners win. They don’t necessarily love their agencies but they also don’t hate them. They know they need them – not always, granted, but sometimes. And when they do, and because they show them respect, they get respect, service and great candidates in return. None of this ‘death of the agency’ sheep mentality that sees them stuck with the flock not knowing how to survive the onslaught of the wolves. They run with the wolves.

Of course the sheep negotiate great rates with agencies that can’t supply and get bamboozled by the wolves that run amok whenever they want. But, hey, they feel good and are full of belly; with great rates; and they gloat on LinkedIn.

But then the Line Manager calls. Then the Line Manager calls the wolf. And guess who wins?! So much for the PSL and those great rates!!

PSL or no PSL? That is the question.

Contributed by: Peter Gold, Hire Strategies



  1. Emma 5 years ago

    This does strike me as more of a blog post to try and get reactions, rather than a well thought out one. However just to add my thoughts as someone who has come into a company with no PSL and hiring managers having direct contact with agencies. There was a bad candidate experience, agencies were selling us to candidates based on preconception (that wasn’t accurate), knew nothing about our culture, accounts couldn’t keep up with all the different payment terms, non signed off roles were going out to agencies and rates were all over the place.

    We and agencies need to bear in mind a recruitment agency is an extension of our recruitment process and they’re representing our brand. We should be treating agencies as partners so they understand the company, can get the right caliber of people from the right backgrounds and provide a candidate experience/manage expectations. If an In-house Recruiter and an agency treat it as a partnership, they can be the greatest allies and not enemies as this blog post is insinuating and work together to get the best talent.

  2. Peter 5 years ago

    Hi Emma

    Thanks for your comment. Yep, I am saying that some Inhouse hate agencies which I am sure you are well aware of (sheep) but some see the value and work with them (wolves).

    But, you are confusing poor business process with a PSL. What you describe in your business won’t be fixed by a PSL and can indeed be fixed without a PSL.


    • Emma Hunt 5 years ago

      We’ve fixed it with a PSL as it made more sense, I guess it depends on preference and what you want the outcome to be.

  3. Natalie Talbutt 5 years ago

    Great read. Thanks, Peter Gold.

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