How to choose a second-generation recruitment process outsourcing solution

How to choose a second generation Recruitment Process Outsourcing solution

Many first generation RPOs focus on delivery and governance – whether that’s streamlining processes, gaining hiring manager buy-in, or improving candidate experience – as well as bringing quality, consistency, flexibility, and strong supply chain management to the process. They bring a strong, sustainable recruitment process to life and build the foundations for continuous improvement. So what should you do when the time comes for contract renewal and retendering?  Here are some of the key things you should check for in a second generation RPO provider who is ready to evolve with your business. 


An understanding of your specialism

Generic RPO providers can still bring a lot of great value to your business, but when it comes to competitive edge, it’s important to work with someone who understands how the talent in your market thinks and acts – especially if you work in a skill scarce industry like technology. Specialist RPO providers can bring additional layers of understanding to your business – they will speak the same tech language as your hiring managers, enabling them to fluently translate your opportunities to the target market while identifying ‘perfect matches’ for your team. They can bring market insight and depth of experience to your resourcing decisions, such as where to find talent, what your competitors are doing, and how to set out your processes. And they can help you reach talent that others can’t, by understanding specific talent trends and dedicating time to building networks in specific talent communities. A word of caution here though – don’t compromise the agility of an RPO provider for a smaller specialist, as scale, experience and delivery are just as important. 


A focus on continuous improvement and strategy

Your RPO provider should act like an extension of your business, and by default, should always be asking ‘is there a better way?’ in order to drive you forwards. Your RPO should want to play an active part in helping to shape your resourcing strategy, including offering senior-level involvement with continuous improvement, offering innovation workshops and providing market insight. Looking at your recruitment with a strategic lens and understanding how talent plays a key part in your overall business strategy – and not just churning the wheel – is really important in any partnership, but particularly when your talent strategy is already in a really good place. You want to be improving on that standard. For example, your RPO should want to be involved in initiatives at the heart of your business, such as equality, diversity, and inclusion, rather than simply recruitment quotas. 



Choosing your RPO provider should be about finding someone that will help take you to the next level. Your service provider should be able to evolve with you – whether that’s expanding into new regions, developing your outsourced service to include new elements (e.g. graduate programmes), or incorporating new initiatives into the resourcing strategy. A provider that can evidence scalability and agility to your needs will mean that growth is within your control. Finding the balance between small enough to care and big enough to cope should be a key aim in any outsourcing project (regardless of whether that’s first, second, third, or tenth gen!).



Understanding your business culture and values, and walking in your shoes, are two different things. Your RPO provider should align not only with your business objectives but also with your long-term vision and be committed to helping you achieve it. Often, when we think of RPO arrangements we think of pragmatic things like efficiency, cost savings or even less administrative burden. But when trust exists between client and provider, conversations are more transparent, processes are easier, and actions are taken more quickly and more collaboratively. Your RPO shouldn’t just be about delivery, but also about partnership. 


Cost savings and innovation

In your first generation RPO, you will have seen what good looks like and what works well. The question is, how can you improve on it? It may be a worthwhile exercise to go back to your original tender and the pain points you asked to be addressed. You should challenge your second generation RPO to deliver against the same criteria, but from a new benchmark. Staying ahead of the curve is critical for long-term success, and you need a partner that can bring new ideas to the table.  In many ways, selecting a second generation RPO is similar to a first generation RPO, it’s about service, partnership, commitment and an ability to deliver as you evolve. If you are looking at how to build a true partnership and hire the talent your business needs for tomorrow, today, then reach out to us at for more information or check out our portfolio of clients services here
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