It’s that time of year where everyone goes a bit Mystic Meg and starts predicting the future. Which got us thinking about RPO – how much it’s evolved over the years and where it might be heading.

But before we look to the future, let’s go back into the mists of time, when RPO was a new-fangled concept that emerged out of a need to navigate a rapidly-changing landscape and relieve frazzled HR departments.

The birth of RPO

RPO providers came into being around 20 years ago, and tended to fall into two camps – high volume, low complexity recruitment, or low volume, high complexity recruitment. It took time for HR leaders to get on board – many were unconvinced and uncomfortable with the idea of outsourcing their recruitment. But over time, companies began to see the value of using experts to find the right talent – not only did it result in better, more successful hires, but it freed up their time to focus on generating revenue.

Now, with the way that people find jobs evolving so rapidly, thanks to new platforms and technology, RPO providers are proving an invaluable resource for helping businesses successfully navigate these technological and behavioural changes.

A partnership, not a provider

So what does the future look like for RPO? Well, it’s about evolving to meet the changing needs of our clients’ businesses, the changing landscape of recruitment and the changing demands of talent when it comes to what they’re looking for from their work.

A big part of that is moving away from being simply a ‘provider’ and operating more as a partner.

To do this, it’s vital that RPO providers continue to integrate into their clients’ businesses – we’ve increasingly found ourselves placing resourcing partners onsite with clients, so they really become part of the team. Because our business model isn’t focused on targets and commission, we can take a more strategic, consultative approach to hiring, evolving our strategy alongside our clients’ businesses, so we’re completely aligned with their needs, goals and ambitions.

As talent becomes more of a priority for businesses – especially in sectors with a talent shortage such a tech – we’re also seeing more senior business partners getting involved in what we do. No longer is RPO only a ‘HR issue’, it’s a business-wide initiative that touches every part of what a company does.

More than filling roles

The best and most successful RPO providers are also evolving their offering to meet the changing and growing need of their clients.

While a huge part of what we do is still pipelining talent and finding the right people for vacant roles, our proposition has grown way beyond that. Our Brand and Insight team get under the skin of our clients’ businesses, finding out how their perceived as an employer, where they should be looking to hire, and how they can stand out from the competition. And when we know all of that, our Creative department create an employer brand – a unique proposition that gets the business in front of the right people and speaks to them in a compelling, memorable way.

And of course, a good RPO provider needs to stay ahead of the plethora of new platforms, new ways of working, and new skill sets. Press ads and rolodexes are long gone, and in their place are comprehensive social media strategies and complex media plans. This ability to evolve is essential for attracting the right talent, and analysing what makes candidates tick is key, which is why we undertook hours of research to create an in-depth report that looks at how to attract top tech talent.

As you can see, RPO is far more than simply recruitment.

So there you have it. Our take on what the future of RPO looks like. Does it match with yours? Or do you increasingly find yourself baffled by the recruitment landscape, and feel unclear about what candidates are actually looking for (or indeed, where they’re hiding) these days?

If so, get in touch. Odds are we’ll be able to help you out.