"How is Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) different from traditional recruitment?" We get this question all the time—in fact, it’s usually the first questions we’re asked. The short answer is that RPO partners and recruitment agencies have very different recruiting strategies based on their service offerings, how they find talent, and how they charge for their services. The long answer? Well, let’s start by defining each service:
What is a recruitment agency?
The primary role of a recruitment agency is to match employers to employees. They recruit under the recruitment firm's brand and their fees are contingent on the firm placing employees for their client.
This means that instead of (or, in addition to) using an employee referral program or an online job posting, businesses can hire an agency to find the candidates they seek. When the agency finds the qualified fit for the job and the business hires the candidate, the hiring agency gets compensated. Thus, recruiters are motivated to hire quickly and efficiently and move on to the next job.
At the end of the day, job openings are filled quickly because different recruitment agencies are trying to beat each other out to find a candidate for their job. While this is an effective recruitment option for some businesses, it's not necessarily a long-term solution for businesses looking to hire quality candidates that will stay in the organization for the long run.
What is recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)?
Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a form of business process outsourcing where an employer transfers all or part of its recruitment processes to a recruitment agency. An RPO partner’s responsibilities can include sourcing, recruiting, marketing, screening, selection, offer management, interview preparation and scheduling, due diligence, pre-hire paperwork and onboarding. Additionally, an RPO partner may recruit under your brand, using their own dedicated recruitment team and custom strategies, or they may assume your company's staff, technology, methodologies, and reporting.
More than simply recruiting for an open position, an RPO provider works closely with your organization to define recruitment needs, assess current processes, and pinpoint areas of improvement. Based on the unique factors of each company, RPOs customize solutions, service level agreements, and success metrics to create a tailored strategy. With the flexibility and expertise RPOs offer, companies of all industries and sizes can benefit from their partnership to find better candidates, faster.
What are the key differences?
- Level of accountability—Your RPO partner will take ownership of the design and management of your recruitment process and assume full responsibility for the results.
- How they charge for their services—Traditional recruitment agencies typically focus on sourcing and screening potential candidates for a particular role and are paid on a commission basis. RPOs, on the other hand, typically charge a flat fee that encompasses all recruitment-related expenses.
- A holistic approach vs. a transactional one—If all you need is to fill specific roles within specific timeframe, staffing agencies could work for you. However, if you’re looking to elevate your talent acquisition strategy, or support your existing team with resources, RPO might be a better fit. In addition to filling positions, an RPO partner will provide strategic expertise to help your company tackle critical recruitment challenges including decreasing premium labor, recession-proofing your talent acquisition approach, finding the right fits for your values and vision, reaching DEI goals, increasing employee retention, and more.
- A larger candidate pool—Generally, RPOs have access to a larger pool of qualified candidates and leverage their extensive network and advanced recruitment technology to quickly find candidates who possess the specific qualifications you need.
Make the right choice for your business.
Choosing an RPO partner for your business means choosing a talent strategy. An RPO partner doesn't simply hire one or two people here and there, they become an extension of your Talent Acquisition team and your brand.
Want to know more about how RPO works and which type of RPO solution is best for your company? Check out our Ultimate Guide to RPO today.