VMS or Vendor Managment Software systems are software platforms that large companies use to manage the workflows of their contingent (temp) worker programs. It is a software interface between the client company's hiring managers and the staffing agencies that automates what used to be a manual process. It replaces the manual process where managers called or emailed their staffing agency's account manager or recruiter to tell them what they are looking for and getting submissions of candidates via email.
Most Fortune 1000 companies (50-60%) also now use an outsourced agency called a Managed Service Provider or MSP to run their VMS systems to manage their hiring of temp and contingent workers. Often MSPs have their own VMS system which makes it easier for them to manage. To learn more about MSP and VMSs, read our primer on what are MSPs and VMSs.
When a staffing company calls a job seeker and tells them they are going to submit their resume to a client, they rarely send it directly to a hiring manager, they mostly submit it into a VMS system against a specific open position. Other approved staffing vendors of that company will also submit two or three candidates for the same position. To avoid duplicate submissions where the same candidate is submitted by multiple agencies, most staffing agencies will often ask job seekers for a 'Right to Represent' email in which the candidate acknowledges that a job seeker will work with only that agency for that specific position number at that client.
Example- This staffing directory shows you an example of what the preferred vendor list for a company (in this case Google) may look like.
The client company's manager then shortlists candidates by looking at the submitted resumes against their open position and decides who to interview, shortlist and hire. All this information is transmitted through the VMS system and makes it more efficient for the client and the staffing agency to keep track of whats happening. The client can quickly browse all the candidates and staffing agency can see what's happening against every position without having to followup with the Manager. If a Manager is slacking, the MSP can follow up and put the position on hold or close it and the staffing agency can stop working on that position. Its also a good way for the MSP to get data on which of their vendors are performing well.
Here is a list of the top rated and most popular VMSs and some of the client companies who use them