RPO vs Recruitment Agency: Which is right for you?

The world of tech recruitment can be a minefield. We work in it every day and are fully immersed in the industry, which makes it easy to forget that sometimes these terms can be confusing, especially if your business is just starting out. For startups it’s crucial that you hire the right people, but with the market so competitive and dog eat dog, it’s easier than ever to feel overwhelmed.

When a tech business is scaling, finding the right people to help deliver your mission is one of the most critical elements. The people you surround yourself with in the early stages can be the difference in making or breaking your business. Therefore, if you’re outsourcing your recruitment, it’s also essential that you choose the right method to help you source these talented people. Many businesses choose to outsource their recruitment, mainly if they’re focussed on growth strategies, as it frees up time to prioritise other elements of the company and they can benefit from expert recruiters.

If you’ve been exploring outsourcing recruitment for your business, you’ll probably have heard the terms “RPO” and “contingent recruitment” a lot. These are the two main types of a recruitment agency that you will find. But do you really understand what they mean? What’s the difference, and which is right for you?

At Talent Works, we’re committed to helping scaling tech businesses to succeed, which is why we wanted to help make your decision easier. As a flexible RPO provider, we know what we’re talking about when it comes to outsourcing recruitment and which sort of projects agencies like us are most suited to. This blog will explain the difference between RPO and contingent recruitment agencies so that you can understand how they work and gain a clearer picture of what will help your business to grow.

What is RPO?

Let’s start with what we know best. RPO or recruitment process outsourcing agencies play a strategic role in the recruitment process. They don’t simply help you recruit for a tech vacancy like hiring a single full-stack developer. Instead, they act as an extension of your business, helping your internal recruitment teams or business leaders to better understand the minefield that is talent acquisition.

The recruiters take a deep delve into your business so that they have a real understanding of your company culture, values and goals. They’ll use their expertise to make recommendations for your recruitment strategies, with vast industry knowledge they can advise on specific roles as well as strategic tactics to help you attract top candidates.

Advantages of RPO

RPO providers are proactive; they bridge the gap between talent acquisition, strategy and talent management. They won’t only help to fill a role; instead, they can work on all elements of talent attraction, helping you discover what’s best for your business. Whether it’s building an employer brand which will raise your profile amongst relevant candidates and make you an employer of choice to researching your business or helping you to discover the roles that will elevate you to the next level.

RPO is all about the overall recruitment strategy and looking at the bigger picture than just filling a role. They can help you fill multiple positions and work with you over a long time on multiple or large-scale projects.

RPO providers also stand a better chance of providing a better quality of hire. As the recruitment teams and strategists take the time to get to know your business, they understand the type of personality that will thrive. They can assist in diversity & Inclusion initiatives and will also have a great idea of candidates will be a good fit for your business.

What is a contingency agency?

Contingency recruitment agencies, which are also referred to as staffing agencies or temporary placement agencies, are mostly used when a company has a specific vacancy that needs to be filled quickly. Their services are often used by clients on an ad-hoc basis when the position is difficult to fill or the client is limited on time. Contingent Recruiters will dedicate their time to hiring for a specific role (alongside other roles for different clients), and charge a fee if a candidate is successfully hired. They tend to act quickly as they are often in competition with other agencies to fill the role.

Advantages of contingency agency

Contingency agencies can react quickly to a need. If you need to hire for a specific vacancy quickly (say a team member is leaving) then a contingency agency that specialises in that industry should be able to find you a suitable candidate quickly and easily. A contingent recruiter’s main objective is to fill positions as quickly as possible. To put it as simply as possible, contingent recruitment agencies make connections between candidates and clients by primarily focusing on sourcing capabilities.

Contingency Recruiters work on multiple short-term projects at a time and will reallocate their time and effort to other vacancies once yours is filled or they find they can no longer support you.

Which is right for you?

The different recruitment agency models serve two very different needs. As a first step, you should identify your available budget and what you hope to achieve with your tech recruitment strategy in 2021. When you know exactly what it is you need to achieve, it will become much clearer which model is more appropriate.

If you plan for a small level of tech recruitment in the next year or two, or if you have a one-off role to fill, it’s likely that the contingency agency model will be most suitable for your business. The same goes for if you’re looking for temporary recruitment to cover maternity or for short-term contracts. You don’t need a long-term recruitment partner and are unlikely to need strategic hiring advice, Make sure you take the time to look for an agency who represents the type of candidates you’re looking for or recruit for similar roles for the ones you’re looking for already.

If you’re about to scale significantly, then you should be looking for more of a strategic tech recruitment partner, who can help you to reach long-term goals or carry out larger scale recruitment projects. In this case, an RPO should be your primary consideration. This way, you can have recruitment experts who truly understand your organisation working to help you grow; they’ll know all about your industry and the roles you need to recruit for. They can help you build an attractive EVP and a refined employer brand as well as to source talented tech candidates.

If you’re experiencing fast growth or you’re looking to drive long-term change, then RPO may be a good option for you. However, it can be a very significant investment to make. Finding a provider that aligns with your values and can make a real impact in your organisation is invaluable to your recruitment strategy.

Talent Works approach to RPO

At Talent Works, we offer RPO with a difference. Our recruitment process outsourcing is flexible; which means our services can be adjusted to meet your business’ needs. We understand that recruitment efforts may need to change as time passes, as will your business priorities and goals (especially in a scaling business) and therefore we ensure that we can help you adjust and adapt quickly. As we have inhouse creative, digital, research and sourcing teams, we can be agile in our approach. It also means you can access expert advice in all areas whenever it’s needed and swap and change between our recruitment services to help your overall strategy. Plus with offices in Northampton and Manchester in the UK and Boston in the US we can provide a truly global approach RPO which helps startups to scale internationally as well as in their local market.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your business with tech recruitment and would like to have a conversation about our agile RPO solutions, contact us today. Our teams can help with employer branding, recruitment marketing and digital attraction as well as sourcing for even the most niche technical roles. Give us a new challenge for 2022.