Tips to Becoming a Standout Supplier

By Kristy Mertz

As recruitment lead for Qualcomm’s contingent workforce management program, I am often approached by staffing firms asking how they can get on our supplier lists or become a preferred provider. Stepping back to consider what makes our most successful suppliers stand out, I have come up with these suggestions.

Account managers. Our most successful providers have a go-to account manager who understands the business from A to Z. They know our culture and environment. A successful account manager is honest and upfront about what skill sets they can provide rather than attempt to fill all roles that we have available. We appreciate those who understand the nuances of Qualcomm, treat us as a unique customer, and every opening as an opportunity for mutual success.

Account managers should also be familiar with employment laws and understand our tenure policy and rate model. It is also crucial to have an account manager who creates an efficient process and incorporates high attention to detail and accuracy with required paperwork in order to ensure a seamless onboarding.

Successful account managers also need to adhere to the terms in the agreement, being aware of service-level agreements, key performance indicators and work within the process in order to properly set expectations. We understand that at times there may be exceptions, so knowing when to ask for these exceptions and having the backup information needed for the company to evaluate the exception request is important. Another key is having account managers who maintain a willingness to listen and who are flexible to our ever-changing needs. Those who succeed maintain an effective relationship with their contingent workers and check in regularly to keep an open line of communication with them.

Recruiters. Recruiter know-how is key. For us, that means the most successful suppliers utilize technical recruiters to focus on the high-level engineering roles we require. In my experience, the recruiters that have engineering backgrounds have proven to be most successful in filling these positions.

When I conduct introduction calls with our suppliers and the hiring team to discuss the parameters of the open position, it is quite obvious if there is a technical recruiter present. Recruiters with an engineering background tend to ask questions that have depth and are focused on specifics rather than the standard policy questions such as “is there flexibly on rate” or “what are the top three skills needed for this position.” These recruiters take the introduction call very seriously and are sure to ask meaningful questions. Hiring managers will provide feedback about recruiters, including the general impression made and whether or not the recruiters took the time to fully understand Qualcomm’s needs.

Candidates. Our most successful suppliers go beyond keyword searches and ensure their candidates are properly vetted and understand the type of role for which they are being considered. It is clear they have spoken with the candidates before submitting them to us. It is frustrating when a hiring manager must end an interview early because the candidate and/or the manager feel the role is not properly aligned to the candidate’s skill set. An example of a candidate not being properly vetted would be a candidate interviewing for a software role when their experience, education, skill set and background is more hardware related. We have also had situations where the candidate has not been made aware that the role is contingent in nature which is an inefficient use of time for everyone involved.

Firms of any size can be great suppliers. Following the aforementioned key points can significantly improve supplier performance within a contingent workforce program. We truly value the partnerships we have established with our most strategic and effective suppliers and look forward to building on our mutually beneficial success together.

Kristy Mertz is recruitment lead at Qualcomm.