What is RPO and what are the objectives?

What is Recruitment Process Outsourcing and what are the objectives

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) has become a popular vehicle for permanent workforce management in recent years, due to its proven benefits of quality, control, visibility and better hiring manager and candidate experiences. Understanding what RPO is and how it could fit into your HR strategy is fundamental for selecting the right provider. Here’s our brief guide to RPO. 


What is recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing means outsourcing your permanent recruitment to an external recruitment provider, in whole or in part. The RPO provider will act as an extension of your business, providing the people, technology and expertise to build an optimum recruitment solution for your organisation.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing is different to traditional recruitment, in the sense that it’s usually more than just hiring. RPO providers play a key role in supporting business strategy, taking control for the design and delivery of the recruitment process to meet client goals. As a result, RPO models can include everything from workforce planning and talent attraction and engagement; through to recruitment analytics, recruitment marketing and employer branding, and compliance and risk management. RPO solutions typically include a dedicated delivery team that can be based onsite or offsite (or a combination of both). 

What are the benefits of Recruitment Process Outsourcing?

  • Improve your quality of hire. RPO teams act as an extension of your business, understanding how your business ticks and the type of talent that works well. RPO teams are also industry experts, with extensive networks and sourcing expertise, meaning access to the best talent, even in tough markets and constant talent pipelining.
  • Improve your recruitment efficiency. In an RPO, all permanent recruitment activity is centralised and looked after by the provider. This frees up time for your HR team to focus on other business priorities.
  • Strategy. Workforce planning, a dedicated account team and data driven solutions mean that your resourcing strategy is aligned to your short, medium and long-term needs. RPO providers also have access to hundreds of different datasets, helping you make data-led decisions. 
  • Better candidate experiences. A consistent, streamlined candidate journey led by a team that understands your brand and your values means candidates are bought into your culture, reducing talent attrition in the process and ensuring you get first pick for top talent.
  • Control and consistency. Bring stability to your recruitment with a single point of access for all your requirements. RPOs will streamline your processes, create visibility with technology-backed solutions and management insight, and provide clear pathways to improve hiring manager and candidate experience. RPO success is measured with clear metrics like time-to-hire, cost-per-hire, and quality-of-hire to ensure continuous improvement. 
  • Cost savings. RPO solutions are designed to generate cost savings and ensure efficiency, whether that’s through high direct delivery, supply chain rationalisation, reducing talent attrition or delivering strategic cost saving exercises.
  • Brand building. With dedicated representation of your brand on the ground, RPO will help you build brand advocacy and broadcast your message to market. Some RPO solutions also offer additional services like recruitment marketing to help you widen your reach. 
  • Harness innovation and insight. As experts in HR and recruitment, your extended RPO team can bring strategic insight in terms of market trends, competitor activity and the latest tools and technologies. Some RPO providers offer free events and whitepapers to help their clients stay ahead of the curve.

What are the different types of RPO solution?

RPO means completely or partially outsourcing your permanent recruitment, which means to an extent, you can decide the scope. However, there are a few popular models:

  • Recruitment Process Outsourcing. Outsourcing your end-to-end permanent recruitment.
  • Project RPO. Intended for fixed campaigns or projects, Project RPO offers you the benefits of RPO – expert consultants, streamlined processes, exceptional candidate management – on a temporary basis or for a set amount of roles and positions. 
  • Recruitment on Demand. Permanent recruitment that scales up to meet peaks and troughs in demand, typically delivered through an offsite team. Recruitment on Demand can also include ‘loaning’ a recruitment expert for a fixed period of time to consult on your processes and build your optimum recruitment service. 
  • Total Talent Acquisition. This combines RPO and MSP (managed service provision) to deliver a holistic solution for your permanent and contract recruitment needs through one provider.

Some businesses also like to separate their requirements and work with a number of different specialist suppliers. For example, some businesses would carve out their technology requirements from their  finance requirements, or they might split their executive search requirements from their high volume roles. Some companies may also choose to retain certain programmes in-house – such as graduate recruitment. 


How can you choose the best recruitment process outsourcing partner for you?

There are a number of different considerations when you’re choosing an RPO partner for the first time. These include:

  • Size and scalability. Smaller businesses are more likely to give you a personal, tailored service, but larger companies offer the security and scalability to keep pace with your needs, such as growing your service or expanding into new regions. Ideally, you want a provider that is big enough to cope, but small enough to care.
  • Specialism. Some RPO providers will specialise in specific sectors to provide additional levels of expertise in complex or competitive markets, like STEM. You don’t always need to choose a specialist if your requirements are quite broad, but if you have any hard-to-fill requirements, a specialist could give you more support.
  • Cultural alignment. RPOs are true partnerships; these are the people you will be working with every day and trusting to deliver your strategy, so you should look for alignment in terms of your values, culture and approach. 
  • Proven experience. You should always ask to see examples of where the RPO provider has worked with a similar company to you, in size or in industry. Case studies are an important indicator of what the RPO provider could do for you, and evidence in areas important to you – such as inclusion and diversity, or stakeholder management – can provide reassurance that you’re in safe hands.

Many businesses go out to tender when they are ready to choose an RPO partner. They will issue a Request for Information (RFI), or, if further down the decision-making line, a Request for Proposal (RFP) to gather information about different suppliers and whether they fit the company’s requirements. For more information on how to put together an RFP – look out for our upcoming blog!

Interested in learning more about Lorien and our RPO solutions? Get in touch with me for a confidential, obligation-free conversation about what recruitment process outsourcing could do for you.

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