Why cheap rates often mean poor service

At Bluestones Supply Chain, we understand the costs involved in running a transport or logistics business. With tight margins across the industry, there is often pressure to reduce expenses wherever possible. However, when it comes to recruitment, choosing the cheapest agency option based on price alone can severely impact the quality of talent you acquire.

After years specialising in logistics and supply chain recruitment, we have learned that there are significant risks to picking an agency based predominantly on low rates. While the initial savings may seem attractive, the long-term implications for your workforce and operations could be detrimental.

In this blog, we explore why budget recruitment services frequently result in substandard hiring outcomes and inferior levels of service delivery and support:

Limited investment in recruitment resources

To offer the lowest rates in the sector, some agencies have to drastically reduce their overheads and expenditure. This often means deficient investment in recruitment tech, tools, software and supporting infrastructure. Consultants may lack access to extensive candidate databases, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and advanced sourcing platforms. Without these facilities, the breadth and depth of search capability is hindered considerably.

Junior recruiters still gaining proficiency

Agencies offering basement-level pricing usually have much higher staff turnover. We find many junior recruiters view these companies as temporary stepping stones while they establish their careers. They intend to leave after 12-18 months for superior compensation and working conditions elsewhere. This means your company’s recruitment is being entrusted to individuals still gaining proficiency. They are yet to refine their candidate screening, interviewing and assessment expertise to a point where exceptional hiring outcomes can be achieved regularly. 

Absence of specialist market and sector insight

Logistics and supply chain recruitment demands niche industry knowledge and networks built up diligently over time. Unfortunately, lower-priced agencies rarely invest in developing such specialist competency. This leaves them without the sector relationships and insider connections essential for tapping into the active and passive talent pool. Their consultants’ lack of technical expertise also hinders understanding candidates’ abilities and cultural fit for clients’ niche operational environments. 

Incentivised by volume over quality

For cut-price recruiters compensated primarily on volume based KPIs, the emphasis lands disproportionately on sales metrics over hire quality. Rapid placements take precedence over meticulous vetting and alignment assessment. This fuels the temptation to put forward less suitable applicants simply to increase output and commission. Such volume obsession invariably comes at the detriment of candidate care and stakeholder service.

Less accountability and responsiveness

In our experience, budget recruitment providers are typically less accountable to clients and more transactional in nature. They seem to invest less effort in sustaining relationships, with communication tapering off promptly once each supply period concludes. Being more detached makes them less receptive to feedback on hire performance and workforce optimisation. It also limits their sense of ownership over talent retention and long-term recruitment strategy success.

The bottom line

While the lure of cheaper recruitment fees is understandable, rate alone should not drive your agency selection. The real cost of an inferior hire who underperforms or leaves prematurely is far higher over the long run. Investing slightly more on a specialist logistics and supply chain recruitment partner with superior capability, expertise and networks will nearly always pay dividends. Their additional layers of quality assurance, compliance, candidate care and after-placement support substantially de-risks the acquisition of business-critical talent.

Our stance

At Bluestones Supply Chain, we recognise that rates and fees play an integral role in any recruitment decision. As a specialist agency, we can offer very competitive pricing for logistics and supply chain recruitment without impacting standards. However, we refrain from engaging in a “race to the bottom” on pricing at the expense of service delivery, compliance and sustainable hiring outcomes.

Our goal is always securing the right talent to optimise our clients’ workforce capability over the long-term. We aim to build partnerships where clients recognise and value our expertise and full spectrum of candidate-centric recruitment best practices. If an organisation’s solitary focus is the absolute lowest fee per hire, unfortunately we may not be the best agency partner for them. But for businesses seeking a balance of competitive recruitment pricing alongside exceptional capability and consultation, Bluestones Supply Chain has an outstanding reputation across the industry.

If you have any queries about optimising workforce capability in today’s challenging landscape, please reach out to one of our regional branches. With decades of transportation, warehousing and back-office recruitment experience, we are well-equipped to discuss your hiring requirements and strategic priorities.