RPO recruitment

What is RPO?

RPO is the abbreviation for Recruitment Process Outsourcing. Simply put, RPO is when you use an external provider for parts of your recruitment. This means handing over parts of, or all of your recruitment processes to a third party.

It is typically a more efficient method of recruitment than others. The providers have ready-made talent pools and pipelines, are specialists in recruitment, and can offer more flexibility than other options. They can scale up or down easily, depending on your needs. This can prove valuable if your hiring needs can change quickly. The alternatives are having an in-house or embedded team, which would be less flexible and more costly.

RPO is a more suitable option than in-house or embedded recruitment for organisations with a need to scale rapidly. Providers can add or remove recruiters to suit, meaning you’re not paying for something you’re not using.

Why should I choose RPO recruitment?

Organisations favour RPO over embedded or in-house recruitment when they want the best value-for-money and quick hires. Investing in an in-house team can be expensive by comparison, as those staff are often permanent staff. That can become expensive and inefficient if an organisation’s recruitment needs aren’t consistent.

Providers invest in the latest technologies and are well-versed in finding quality candidates. Their expertise in Employer Branding and EVP (Employee Value Proposition) add value. Both are proven to attract and retain the best talent. In-house teams won’t necessarily have specialist knowledge of Employer Branding or EVP. 72% of recruitment leaders worldwide agreeing that employer branding has a significant impact on hiring, so employers must get it right.

An RPO does much of the work in the sourcing, screening and onboarding of staff. This helps ensure only the best quality candidates get through. Another increasingly important factor that RPO providers can help with is D,E & I (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion). This is an area many employers are looking to improve in, but sometimes struggle to do well.

Understanding what skills are required for certain roles, and what personalities will fit, is something specialist providers can help with. It can save time and resources and helps ensure the candidates can hit the ground running. Avoiding speaking to the wrong people can be valuable to an organisation, particularly if they’re looking to hire at speed.

Who provides this type of service?

There are many recruitment organisations who offer RPO services, however, the best ones focus on this type of service. They may offer other related services, but are often more focused than ‘traditional’ recruitment providers. RPO recruiters differ from other providers as they are equipped to manage an organisation’s entire recruitment end-to-end.

Is all RPO Recruitment the same?

No – some organisations will just need support with specific areas such as sourcing and screening candidates (partial-cycle RPO). Other organisations may want their provider to take care of the entire process, from hiring managers requests through to offering and negotiating offers.

From an organisation’s perspective, the flexibility is one of the main perks of RPO. You determine what you need support with and they will take control of whatever parts you want them to. Should the need for increasing or decreasing support from the provider arise, they will simply add or remove people. This is particularly useful when scaling your business, or hiring at speed. Situations can change quickly, and being in a position to adapt to that and provide exactly what’s needed at the time, is a huge benefit to businesses. It helps them keep their costs down while not losing any capacity for their current hiring needs.

Some providers will focus on specific industries while other, larger organisations cater more for businesses that need to do a lot of hiring. The advantages of the smaller vendors is that they usually have significant knowledge and experience of the industry they hire for. This means they have a solid understanding of the skills required and the type of culture that businesses in that sector typically have. This is invaluable, as providers will know almost immediately if a candidate possesses the relevant skills and whether their personality is a good fit.

How to tell who the best provider is

The best providers won’t just say ‘yes’ to everything. A great RPO provider will challenge the client and advise or inform them of what to do. Asking to see previous example of work they’ve done for clients is a good way of understanding your vendor. Something else to be cautious of when choosing your provider is what their offering is. If they cannot customise their offering to suit you and your needs, it’s unlikely that they will prove to be a great help.

Telling the best providers apart isn’t always easy – how well they understand your needs will determine whether they achieve your goals or not. This means the vendor needs to put as much thought and care into learning about your organisation and its needs, as they do with finding appropriate candidates.

How much does RPO cost?

RPO isn’t something that has a set cost. As previously mentioned, the flexible nature of this type of recruitment means costs can go up or down during the recruitment process. The kind of service required will also contribute towards determining the cost. Some organisations may just want help sourcing and screening candidates, some may want the entire process taken over completely. The number of hires needed and what mediums/platforms are used to advertise the roles will play quite a significant part in the overall price of the service.

If you’re thinking about working with an RPO provider, we’d love to pitch for you. With specialisms in the tech sector and helping businesses expand their technical and digital capacities, we help some of the world’s most exciting enterprises scale.

As an RPO provider based in the UK, US, and more recently, South Africa, our teams have truly global reach and can help you expand into new territories.

To find out more about how our flexible approach to RPO can help you or to let us know more about your future recruitment projects, contact us.