RPO and in-house recruitment: What’s the difference?

When scaling your business, you will eventually reach a point at which your recruitment system isn’t enough to fulfil your sudden growing need for more people. At that point, you reach a junction in the road. Do you…

  1. Expand your in-house recruitment team?
  2. Work with an RPO provider?

Well, firstly, let’s explain the difference between the two options.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

RPO is a type of recruitment solution in which an organisation hands over the entirety of its recruitment processes to an external provider.

Otherwise, it can also be used when an organisation wants to outsource part of their recruitment processes, due to a sudden need to scale, or a need for specialist recruiters. For example, a non-tech organisation looking to expand its tech department might outsource its tech recruitment needs, but keep the rest of their processes inhouse. So, they can make use of an external provider’s talent pipelines, talent pools, and specialist recruitment knowledge.

In-house Recruitment

In-house recruitment is generally used by businesses large enough to have internal processes, but without the need to scale rapidly. Having an internal team can ensure recruiters know your business inside out and how to sell it to clients, guaranteeing good stakeholder management and intrinsic knowledge of cultural fit. As well as this, when you have an urgent need to recruit, an in-house recruitment team is right there, ready to start the process.

Which is better for your business?

Both recruitment methods have their benefits. Either could be a more suitable option depending on your business’ needs. For example, how many people need to be taken on, and how quickly? Are you hiring for a specific division that requires specialist recruiters?

Ultimately, both RPO and in-house recruitment are different approaches to a recruitment need. As such, they shouldn’t be compared side by side as if one is intrinsically better than the other. However, in certain situations, one will be more useful and achieve better results than the other.

When it comes to rapid scaling, RPO is the most efficient option for finding quality hires quickly while enhancing an organisations employer brand and recruitment processes.

There are several reasons for this. Primarily, they come down to the fact that an RPO provider is uniquely equipped to source the number of hires a scaling company needs while providing their expertise on talent attraction. 

After all, an RPO solution is not just a method to make hires.

Where utilising external recruiters in other circumstances may result in a “bums on seats” attitude, RPO is designed to provide a more specialised approach to recruitment. As a result, some RPO providers incorporate many different specialisms into their offering to provide a much broader solution to organisations looking to scale. For example, some RPO providers incorporate digital, creative, and insight specialisms into their services. As a consequence, RPO’s are equipped to achieve far more than an in-house recruitment team ever could.

An RPO can be reactive to your recruitment needs

RPO providers understand that often, employers are limited in their ability to predict how the market will affect their need to hire.

So, while an organisation might think they need a certain amount of hires, a turn in the market could mean that they need to scale their recruitment project down. Similarly, the market could turn in the other direction, causing the business to need even more hires.

How can an RPO react to changes in the market?

Scaling a project up or down is no problem for an RPO provider, which can easily add more recruiters to a project or take them off. That is the beauty of working with an agency that has a large number of recruiters at their fingertips. However, with an in-house solution, an organisation commits to a certain amount of recruiters and cannot provide a responsive service as recruitment needs increase or decrease. 

Naturally, a flexible, scalable RPO solution should save money overall by being able to provide the service needed at the time. Investing in an in-house recruitment solution can be costly without the ability to scale your recruitment project according to need.

As well as this, RPO recruiters are experts.

Many RPO providers will specialise in a particular field. This is good for them as it means they can concentrate on an area and become a formidable presence in that field. Similarly, it is good for employers as it means they have access to a solution that comes complete with specialised recruiters, in-depth industry knowledge, and a vast talent pool of potential candidates.

All these benefits can result in better quality hires, a reduced time-to-hire, and increased retention rates, as RPO recruiters have the time and resources needed to source the best candidates.

So, RPO or in-house recruitment?

In-house recruitment is ideal for large organisations with no urgent needs to scale rapidly. However, for businesses looking to grow and root themselves firmly in the market, with the best talent available, partnering with an RPO provider is the most effective solution to those pressing recruitment needs.

After all, what’s a business without good people? According to Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, “acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth.” So, as long as you have the right solution in place to source the talent you need, you can rest assured your business will continue to go from strength to strength.