Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) occurs when an organization outsources some or all aspects of the recruiting process to fill its vacancies. These activities are taken over by an individual or an organization that specializes in recruiting.
Employers can allow RPO providers to take on as much or as little of the recruiting process as they like, acting as internal resources would by taking over the entire process or stepping in for individual projects, regions, or anything in between. Many RPO providers can even act as the organization, not just as an agency working on behalf of the employer.
Pros and Cons of Using RPO
Naturally, there are pros and cons to utilizing RPO. Let’s look at a few of each.
Pros to RPO:
- It saves time and lets HR professionals focus on other HR activities.
- Utilizing an RPO may mean faster hiring time because the RPO provider is doing this full-time. It can, therefore, be efficient in the process.
- There’s less technological in-house investment required for recruiting.
- Because many RPO providers present themselves as the employer, the candidate experience can remain consistent.
- Because RPO providers specialize in recruiting, it may be easier to scale up hiring quickly if needed. This may be especially relevant when hiring for new roles or in new regions. It could be done as needed or continually and results in greater flexibility.
- RPO providers may get better-quality candidates because they may be advertising across different platforms and/or regions due to their scale.
- RPO providers may have more robust hiring analytics, enabling better data for decision-making. They may be able to more accurately make staffing predictions for the organization.
- Unlike simply outsourcing some of the process, an RPO provider is more likely to assess and improve the entire process.
Cons to RPO:
- It may feel as though employers have less control over the recruiting process, which can make some organizations or individuals uncomfortable.
- The organization won’t know if a qualified candidate was overlooked.
- It may be difficult for an RPO provider to understand role requirements and the organization’s culture, which are both critical in finding a good fit.
Be Sure to Consider the Fees
If you’re considering using an RPO provider, check into the services it offers, the data it provides, and its fee structure.
RPO providers’ fee structures tend to be quite different from other types of outsourced recruiting options; for example, they may have monthly fees combined with placement fees.
Feel free to ask for references from other clients they’ve worked with, and be sure they understand what level of outsourcing your organization is interested in before you get started.
Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple, diverse departments, including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.