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Is it time to consider Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)?

By Oli Meagers, Sales and Solutions Manager at Capita Reourcing

By Oli Meagers, Sales and Solutions Manager at Capita Reourcing

Having worked on both sides - RPO and recruitment agency - I know better than most the pros and cons that differentiate the two. However speaking to prospective clients on a daily basis, I am increasingly aware that many potential customers do not understand the fundamental differences, which limits their ability to be able to make a justified decision when choosing suppliers to partner with.

Traditional recruitment agencies are typically used by companies when there is an urgent requirement to fill a role ‘yesterday’! The agency will then move quickly to find potential candidates, often competing against other agencies for that lucrative fee and commission payment.

RPO is a solution where an employer outsources all or part of its recruitment processes to an external provider. That said, RPO is more than just filling vacancies; it typically focuses on forming strategic partnerships to transform recruitment processes to help the client achieve its long-term business objectives. RPO providers will have exclusivity clauses or sole supplier contracts in place to allow them to develop transparent and consultative relationships with their clients. In the case of RPO, it’s often a combination of knowledge, people and services that delivers a perfect result.

While a specialist recruitment agency can support with niche hires, this is often accompanied by a ‘specialist’ cost and employers must be prepared to pay top whack for a single hire. It is also often the case that a challenging vacancy requires a personalised touch, hard to achieve and manage effectively using a lengthy PSL of suppliers. Speaking from experience, I once spoke to a client who had 150 separate agencies on their supplier list!

Due to the flexibility of RPO solutions, and their ability to provide access to a team of experienced recruiters on a short-term project basis often with strong direct-fill rates, clients can actually improve on the cost per hire for a variety of roles (including those causing the hiring managers sleepless nights!) as part of the wider solution.

Not only this, the RPO partner can assume the client employer brand and embed itself into the client’s own internal function, providing a positive and consistent candidate and hiring manager experience.

With quality of hire as well as cost increasingly becoming a major factor to companies looking at the overall performance of their recruitment function, I believe the knowledge, experience and agility inherent within a RPO model delivers hires that truly add value to an organisation. In fact, an Aberdeen Group Study looked at almost 200 companies and found that - of those pursuing RPO solutions - 77% would recommend it to their peers.

The decision whether to work with an RPO or multiple agencies lies with the client alone; but having a thorough knowledge of the pros and cons alone means that decision is all the more easier to make.