Love Me Tender…but Maybe Next Year?

There is going to be a theme in our Hot Talent blogs from now until the end of the year…all of the things that we feel we need to get done, but maybe haven’t or won’t.

A number of our clients have been advising us for some months now that they are going to go to tender to review their recruitment services panel. Yet with only six more Mondays between now and when Santa visits (if we’ve been good), the tender documentation still hasn’t been released. This is not new – in fact, as recruiters, we can set our watch by it every November.

I’m here to tell you – if you don’t already have your tender out, then cross this off your list of things to have completed by the end of the year. You’ve left it too late. Let me explain why I think that:

  • Rushed tenders are never good tenders. The procurement team hurriedly copies and pastes bits and pieces from a million other tenders that you’ve previously released, or from other companies they’ve worked at (yes we see evidence of this regularly). This results in a set of questions that may include the same thing asked three times in three very slightly different ways, or contracts with clauses that aren’t aligned to the procurement of recruitment services.Worst of all, you may not be asking the questions that will enable you to select the best providers for your chosen commercial panel arrangement.
  • It wastes your time and everyone who responds. Creating unnecessary to-ing and fro-ing between you and a multitude of respondents is both time-consuming and negatively impacts your employer brand. Particularly when it comes to compliance with your proposed contract – CFOs and legal teams get grumpy and that’s never a good thing.
  • The response timeframes can be unreasonable. When you talk to us about going to tender and how important it is to your organisation for 9 months, then when it’s finally released you only give us two weeks to respond, this is not helpful. Particularly if the deadline is Friday 20th December – honestly, who is really going to be around in your office to review the responses at that time? Why not extend the deadline out to Friday 10th January instead, once everyone is back on board?The impact on you is negligible, but it makes a material difference to the respondent. Recruiters often only have a small number of people who write tender responses, and they are stretched very thinly at this time of year.
  • We don’t mind how long it takes you to make a decision if we’ve been given a reasonable amount of time to write a high-quality response. Most companies will include a timeline with their tender docs that states a review period of only a few weeks, and a final decision being made within a very short timeframe. As someone who has been responding to recruitment tenders for nearly twenty years, I am yet to see any organisation actually meet those initial timeframes. As someone who has also put out tenders for goods and services, I know that it takes time to review and score each response thoroughly and objectively.If you’ve given me two weeks to respond to a 70 page document and the due date is Christmas Eve, I’m going to feel slightly salty at you when you take six months (which is quite typical) to make a decision.

    However if you’ve given me four business weeks, I am going to be able to produce something that’s customised to your specific business needs, culture and values – which is surely better for both of us.

Here endeth my sermon. I hope that seeing this critically important process from another point of view has been helpful. If you are considering going to tender or changing the structure of the supply of your recruitment services, I’m very happy to share any of my learnings over the last few decades. Please email me or call me on 03 9963 4802.

Sam Micich, General Manager – Operations.

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