You have heard of the term, BPO or Business Process Outsourcing; but what about the term RPO?

A seasoned HR would be quite familiar with the concept of Recruitment Process Outsourcing or RPO. For those who are not aware of it, let us discuss this crucial part of workforce planning and whether or not your business needs it.

What is RPO?

RPO can be understood as a specialised subset of BPO, where a business outsources its recruitment process – in part or entirety – to a third-party expert or a service provider. This third-party expert acts on behalf of the company to maximise the efficiency and ROI of the hiring process. An RPO service provider assumes more responsibility than a recruitment firm in the design, management and results of the recruitment process.

How does RPO work?

From in-house recruiting to a staffing agency, the hiring processes of companies have come a long way. And at the top of this chain is the RPO solution.

In the RPO model, a consulting team works with the company to understand their hiring needs and architect a solution based on it. The RPO team then takes ownership of a part of or the entire recruitment process in generating and qualifying candidates, filling current roles and, possibly, managing the future needs.

Why is RPO important?

Most leaders worry about outsourcing such a critical function to an external party. But the following reasons explain why businesses need RPO services for their survival:

  • With clearly mapped strategies, RPO prevents bad hiring decisions, bringing more stability and effectiveness to the process.
  • RPO offloads the hiring responsibility from your HR teams’ shoulders and allows them to work on vital day-to-day tasks.
  • RPO partners with the company and works as an extension of the internal team. They are just as invested as any other member of the organisation in onboarding the right people.
  • RPO providers come up with talent acquisition strategies that give businesses an edge over their competitors.

What are the common RPO models?

RPO isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” hiring solution. Based on the needs of the company, there are several models that RPO providers offer:

  1. On-demand model
    In this model, the company has a sudden and immediate hiring need. With RPO providers already in line with the organisation’s processes, they are able to fulfil these requirements accurately and in a timely manner, saving them a lot of time and money.
  2. Function-based model
    The company that opts for this model outsources the hiring for a particular division or a project to an RPO provider. The other hiring needs are taken care of by the internal recruitment team.
  3. Full RPO
    This model is a little different; wherein the company outsources all the hiring strategies, processes and decisions to the RPO provider. Here, the RPO provider practically serves as an internal recruiting team.

What do the RPO services include?

The above models can cover one or more of the below services:

  • Workforce planning
    Perfect to forecast short-term and long-term hiring needs
  • Hiring manager engagement
    Improves channels of communication between a hiring manager and the account teams
  • Strategic sourcing
    Helps to identify the platforms where high-performing candidates are available
  • Pre-employment screening
    Conduct thorough background checks, employment history and other records of the candidates
  • Early careers or graduate recruitment
    Can be used to develop outreach programmes for graduates, internships, vacation schemes, apprenticeships and more
  • Talent engagement
    Aids in positioning the company and its culture such that they can acquire the right talent
  • Candidate management
    Delivers an efficient end-to-end experience starting from targeting the candidate to their onboarding
  • Recruitment analytics support
    Helps to develop checklists and processes to measure and identify the metrics of the recruitment process
  • Compliance and risk management
    Needed to ensure that all processes and operations of recruitment are legal, ethical and in line with regulations

What are the key stages of RPO?

In implementing any of the above RPO services, there are some aspects that a provider typically follows:

  1. Data collection – The RPO implementation manager obtains information on the company’s existing recruitment processes (e.g., trackers used, internal hire vs external hire and interview formats) and conducts a stakeholder analysis. This is the most critical milestone in implementing an RPO service and can take up to even three weeks.
  2. Process mapping – Based on all the responses to the above process, the RPO provider architects an exhaustive process map that identifies all the actions that will be undertaken by the internal recruitment team, HR, hiring managers and the RPO team. This document is as good as the Bible for the hiring teams and can take up to a week to be completed.
  3. Change management – As new teams start to expand or focus on their responsibilities, there needs to be a change management plan in place. This will clearly outline how the company should handle the internal messaging and timelines for the smooth onboarding of the RPO teams.
  4. Training – Every stakeholder from the company and the RPO team will undergo training to ensure the success of the process. The goal of the training is for everyone to be on the same page with the updated hiring process, technology and responsibilities.

What are the benefits of RPO?

  • Scalable solutions – RPO works on the principle of a scalable and flexible solution where a business has to pay only for what they need when they need it.
  • Reduced time & cost to hire – RPO providers follow strict timelines to meet the recruitment needs. Further, in the long run, RPO can offer a minimum of a 30% reduction in the cost-per-hire.
  • Quality of hire – RPO providers design and follow extensive protocols to ensure hiring those people who meet the organisational needs, not just on paper, but also in practice.
  • Analytics and reporting – RPO providers measure, analyse and highlight the insights from every stage of the process to allow for effective decision-making.

With its ever-increasing popularity, RPO is quickly replacing all other models of recruitment to provide a more holistic workplace. If the RPO provider and the company work hand-in-hand, there is a potential to create a win-win environment for employers, managers, HR and the candidates.

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Shalini L

One of the prime contributors for this blog, Expertise in Staffing and Recruitment, Content Strategist by Profession. A Music Lover & Traveller by Choice.

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