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Staffing firms largely dissatisfied with VMS, report says

November 22, 2016

Staffing firms are largely dissatisfied with vendor management systems, according to research released by Bullhorn and Inavero.

Three-quarters of the survey participants, 76%, receive orders and submit candidates through a VMS and VMS represented more than 30% of revenue for firms participating in the survey. However, more than half of the respondents are extremely dissatisfied, 15%, or somewhat dissatisfied, 40%, with submitting candidates through a VMS. Only 4% of respondents indicated they are extremely satisfied, leaving a big muddled middle of lukewarm participants, Bullhorn reported.

Many of the biggest factors in the dissatisfaction are related to time, according to the research. Staffing firms with automated VMS workflows reported greater efficiency, faster speed and higher numbers of candidate submissions and fill rates. Highlights include up to 55% more interviews in a month and 33% higher fill rates. Respondents who automated five to six steps had nearly double the satisfaction rate as respondents who automated one to two steps.

The survey found the top three most frustrating aspects of VMS are:

  1. The ability to ask hiring managers clarifying job order-related questions: 62%
  2. The metrics VMS programs use to judge your performance: 53%
  3. The time spent submitting candidates for an open order through a VMS: 46%

Respondents reported the highest VMS priority is increasing the percentage of orders filled. The next four top VMS goals come in a distant second, but are fairly similar to each other in rankings of emphasis:

  1. Increase the percentage of orders we’re able to fill: 56%
  2. Improve our margins on the job orders we fill through VMS: 25%
  3. Increase our speed at filling VMS job orders: 23%
  4. Improve our submit-to-interview ratio: 23%
  5. Increase the total number of orders we receive and service: 22%

“The most efficient VMS models will come about through three forces coming together — better technology to remove busy work, improved organizational structures to be more efficient in communications, and, ideally, collaboration and transparency from the clients.” said Jonathan Novich, Bullhorn’s VP of platform and staffing technologies.

The online survey included 608 staffing firm employees using vendor management systems. It was conducted from April 13 to April 21, 2016.


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Brian Hoffmeyer01/17/2017 04:08 pm

Appreciate SIA posting this and that there is dialog on it. @Greg Muccio very much agree with you and love the car vs tree analogy! I'd love to hear suggestions from the suppliers commenting here on things that the VMS could improve on, keeping in mind that we don't control what the program (whether it is MSP or internally run) does.

Impact Workforce Technology

Don G. King12/01/2016 12:51 pm

With the many issues arising out of the MSP/VMS marketplace none is greater than the separation of the client and the sourcing provider. If you are a staffing provider and are looking for a different approach reach out to Impact Workforce Technology and Join the Clarity VMS Revolution!

CSS Staffing

Tom Clarke11/29/2016 11:13 am

Evaluating VMS systems is like evaluating any new client, some are good, some bad. We have found over the years, trying some 25-30 VMS systems and all but a 3-4 were big "black holes" ....submitting people and never hearing anything. Really no better than an outside applicant submitting their resume to a company and hearing nothing. The final result, we feel, is that the VMS is successful only if the CLA (contract labor administrator) communicates and handles questions and issues in a timely manner. It also helps if these folks have a little sense of humor, as we all know how things can get crazy in this business that involve people. Find the good CLAs and you will find a good VMS...they will improve any system shortfalls and get the feedback and manager input you need to get good presentation to interview and interview to placement ratios where they need to be for your business.

Southwest Airlines

Greg Muccio11/28/2016 10:39 pm

Blaming the VMS is like blaming the car for running into a tree vs maybe the driver? It is who is running it that is the problem. Our VMS tool does what we program it to do...it doesn't tell us what to do.

Suppliers created the market for VMS. Too many horror stories of crazy mark-ups and improper relationships for business without that visibility. The VMS suppliers simply filled a need in the market, but they didn't create it. Now many users of VMS are not using correctly....but that is another story.

When I am called from a peer starting a program, I tell them they are foolish if they don't get a VMS tool that fits their needs. I let then know that we could not have done what we have accomplished in our program without the help our partner.
However, I cannot prevent them from driving into a tree...


Joe Bartoszek11/23/2016 09:13 am

The issue is not so much the VMS. The issue is the amount of dedication the MSP applies to management of their chosen VMS system. We truly value all of our MSP & VMS relationships. As much as these MSPs value us, it does appear that their processes for timely, professional communications/management of their VMS can vary wildly (many times processes just completely do not exist at all) from one Account Manager to the next even within the very same organization. This has lead to an alarming inability to hold many of these people accountable to providing excellent service (Granted, many of these people are overworked). Whether the inability to communication in a timely and/or professional manner stems from a lack of standardized processes within the organization or a shortage of workforce to manage all of these communications... two things are apparent. 1. Many MSPs do not prioritize enough money and resources on properly managing their VMS and 2. They do not find it to be of pivotal importance to provide excellent customer service to everyone they do business with, especially their vendor partners whom they rely on to fill their needs. I strongly feel that creating standardized processes for Account Managers, and investing the proper money and resources into better management of these VMS systems will increase their Client satisfaction and help everyone to better accomplished our collective goal, which is to improve patient outcomes throughout the U.S. by providing quality staff to facilities in need and financially benefiting throughout the process.


Anthony11/23/2016 09:00 am

VMS' commoditize the industry. I've worked with a large system integrator that relies heavily upon their VMS and despite numerous warnings that they were sacrificing quality to price, they ignored it and ended up with disastrous results. Ultimately they got out of the healthcare IT services industry. The value of a VMS is on the back end of the process, not the front end.


Yana Nigen11/22/2016 06:19 pm

The sampling game can even confuse a Trump victory with a Hillary landslide. It’s not who was polled that makes the difference, it is who wasn’t.


David Jones11/22/2016 03:39 pm

To add to the discussion - for staffing agencies VMS's tend to degrade the relationship between the agency and its client. Relationships are essential in business and anything that drives a wedge between a business and its clients is detrimental to success. Also, it slows down the speed of processing of job orders. Not a good thing when you need orders filled post haste. Finally it squeezes the already thin profit margins for staffing agencies.