It is an interesting time here at Wall Street Services – most of our current clients are bulge bracket investment banks who worry about getting the best quality and employ significant technology to manage and get the most out of their vendors. Exhaustive Supply Chain Management Systems blast temporary staffing requisitions out to their vendors and automatically resend to 2nd tier vendors after 48 hours if the first fails to yield a satisfactory response. Intricate quarterly performance reports are delivered to vendors in somber meetings where resume submission ratios are detailed.

Yet despite these expensive tools, our clients struggle to get the best people. With all the technology, they seem to forget the one thing that yields the most results: relationships.

Most investment banks of any significant size hire an outside firm to manage their temporary staffing efforts, and that is the crux of the problem. Those firms, for the most part, keep vendors separate from the line managers looking to hire temporary employees. The vendors are not employees of the firm and therefore cannot command the respect of the hiring managers. Last week we received the following job description:

Clear breaks for servicing and middle office teams; assist teams with general follow-ups related to confirms, allocations and trade bookings. Analytical, detail-oriented, able to follow through and take ownership. Paralegal or loans administration experience would be helpful. Bachelor’s required

The original temporary employee assigned to the position got a permanent position before the assignment started so the Vendor Manager was under considerable stress to get the position filled. Yet our contact with the vendor manager could not answer basic questions such as “What was it about the candidate selected that the hiring manager liked?” or “What was missing with the candidates we originally sent?” Never mind the real basic stuff like “What types of people are successful in this group?” or “What is the manager like?”

Why couldn’t the vendor answer these questions? He didn’t know, and for whatever reason, couldn’t ask. Now, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that providing this basic information to the people looking for the employees would make a difference, yet consistently it does not happen.

In this industry, Vendor Managers treat staffing like pencils or copy paper. But this is a very nuanced business that thrives with the flow of information.

More on how to get this information to flow more freely next week.

2 thoughts on “Partnership

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