The Five Pillars of Staffing Scorecards and How to Interpret Them

What scorecards can (and can’t) tell you about your suppliers’ performance

In our last blog, we explored best practices in designing and deploying staffing supplier scorecards. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the scorecard itself, with some real-life examples on what it can (and can’t) tell you about your suppliers’ performance. 

The five pillars

Almost all of the scorecards we use in partnerships with clients and MSPs use some variation of five metrics: Activity, Quality, Price, Speed, and Compliance. Here are a few sample indicators that fall under each category:


  • Total # of Hires
  • Postings Response Rate 
  • Avg Candidates Shortlisted per Opening 
  • Shortlisted to Interview Rate
  • Candidates Rejected Rate 
  • Interview to Hire Rate


  • Unsuccessful finishes 
  • Manager satisfaction rating 
  • # Renewals
  • Failure to start rate
  • Failure to finish rate


  • # of starts above/below max rate
  • # of exception requests
  • % above/below max rate
  • First response time (days)
  • Maximum response time
  • Starts submittal time


  • Vetting compliance, e.g. criminal background check completed
  • Forms compliance, e.g. confidentiality agreement signed
  • Contract compliance
Pretty straightforward, right? Not always. It’s important to avoid taking the individual metric results wholly at face value, as they ebb and flow according to market conditions, program parameters, and trends in other categories. Let’s focus for a moment on the one category that we suppliers seem to hear most about: price. 

The scorecard in action: price 

Clients prefer the lowest rate for contingent contractors. That’s a given. But we work to educate our business partners that what they really should want is the lowest rate for the speed and quality their business demands. Compliance to the rate card is certainly a valuable indicator: if it’s above 90%, the client might be satisfied on that one parameter. But you have to pair that knowledge with other parameters, such as:

  • Time-to-fill: low rates don’t help if the talent isn’t accepting your offers 
  • Attrition rate: even if you land a contractor, they’re likely to jump ship for a higher rate
  • Exception requests: you run the risk of annoying your staffing providers if you’re below market

On the flip side, the scorecard can also provide clues that your pricing might be too high. If you’re getting 100% compliance to the rate card and quality candidates are coming in the door quickly, you might be overpaying. 

The scorecard in action: speed 

A similar dynamic plays out with speed metrics. The scorecard tells you how many days it takes for your suppliers to submit candidates against requests. You might be thrilled to see low numbers there, until you realize you’re getting resumes and not real people who have agreed to be submitted and are likely to accept. 

Speed and quality may be inversely correlated, so you need to have detailed conversations about vetting procedures. You’ll want to make sure you set a realistic benchmark that reflects the time to fully qualify talent and secure a right-to-represent statement 

A balanced staffing scorecard

Although designed to be an objective and agnostic tool, it’s important to view the scorecard as a holistic measure of the health of your staffing relationships and to allow for some fluidity. In today’s hyper competitive talent market, price targets may fall under more pressure. If your top suppliers trend towards more exceptions and less compliance but still exceed quality and speed metrics, how much slack is built into your system to flex? 

It’s easier to recognize trends over time, and all of these parameters should be a topic of reflection and discussion with your suppliers. The best suppliers will welcome feedback and respond with collaborative strategies to pull on the levers that need to be tweaked, without putting the whole system out of sync. 

Take the next step

If you’re building a scorecard system, consider adding questions on your RFPs to inform the process, like this gem we saw recently from a prospect: What can we do to improve your cost of doing business? For more insights on selecting a vendor, check out our related blog which details how to select the right staffing partner.

When you’re ready to dive deeper on scorecards and related topics, reach out to a local S.i. Systems team. We’d love to hear from you. 

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