Hueman Blog

What is Recruitment Process Outsourcing? RPO 101

Posted by Derek Carpenter


Empty office with long desk in the center

What is Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)?

Let's start with the basics.

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 can offer its own recruitment process, or may assume the company's:

  • Operation
  • Staff
  • Technology
  • Methodologies
  • Reporting



How is RPO Different from Traditional Recruiting?

Our partners at the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association (RPOA) have covered this question extensively. Put simply, while RPO originated from traditional recruiting, RPO differs greatly from providers such as staffing companies and contingent/ retained search providers in that it assumes ownership of the design and management of the recruitment process and the responsibility of results.

While a staffing firm focuses on simply filling a role, a RPO partnership focuses on optimizing your recruitment as a whole.

6 Ways Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) Can Benefit Your Business

Recruitment Process Outsourcing can be sliced and diced in many ways, but at Hueman, we offer dedicated recruitment teams who can focus on critical recruitment pain points including:

  • Decreasing premium labor
  • Finding the right culture fits
  • And increasing employee retention

1. Increased Employee Retention

When you hone in on recruitment, time and energy goes into finding quality candidates for your business that will stay with your organization for the long run. RPO providers have the resources and capacity to not only fill your position but, find the best, most qualified person for that role (ie. recruiting the best cultural fit). Between job requirements, values, attitude, behavior, etc. — your organization will receive top notch employees who fit your culture and your needs as an organization, reducing employee turnover and increasing retention.

2. A Better Candidate Experience

A job candidate's experience starts from the time they find and apply for a job to the offer or rejection stage. The candidate's experience throughout that process can make or break your reputation. If they have a bad experience, they will tell their friends, family or even voice their experience on online platforms (Glassdoor, Indeed and Facebook, for example). With an RPO provider, the recruiter will sell your company's mission and values with every candidate interaction they have and give 110 percent of their attention to the potential candidate. And candidates won't be left in limbo, wondering why they never heard back from your company after an interview or application, because you'll have adequate recruiting sources.

3. Cost Savings

Every day a job remains open, your company is losing money in terms of recruitment costs and employee productivity. And when you are left scramming to find bodies to fill positions quickly, you could hire the wrong person. Then your organization will be spending thousands of dollars on recruiting yet again and training a replacement.

When you choose to work with a RPO provider, you simply pay them to recruit and countless recruitment costs can be covered in the partnership, such as:

  • Employee turnover costs
  • Premium labor spend
  • Advertisement costs
  • Recruitment software and subscriptions costs (RPO partners have access to enterprise level software, oftentimes)
  • Payment for recruiter's workspace and materials they use

4. Decreased Time-to-Hire

According to SHRM, the 2016 national average time-to-fill was 42 days (!) With an RPO provider, this doesn't have to be the case.

Recruiters are able to fill jobs more efficiently and effectively. For example, if you are looking to rapidly hire 75 people for a new business location, a solid RPO partner should be able to easily ramp up and hire top quality candidates, even in a time crunch. RPO recruiters are able to fill jobs faster, saving you not only hard cost savings, but also time due to the ability to focus solely on recruitment.

5. Turnover Reduction

Think about the steps you went through to hire an individual originally. How did they hear about your company? Was it a paid ad on Facebook? A job posting on Indeed?  Consider the training time, office space, technology and tools and of course, salary. This is just skimming the surface. You invested time and money into that employee—and when they leave, it's costly. You want them to stay! The more you can reduce turnover through a solid, sound recruitment process, the better.

6. Increased Employee Engagement

Great hires bring fresh energy to their teams, inspiring creativity and a renewed sense of motivation. That spike in overall engagement can increase both productivity and profitability by 20 percent. When an employee is engaged they are more likely to have long-term advancement plans and to take charge of their career path.

At Hueman, we prioritize employee engagement. We know that a happy employee leads to great service for our partners, increased retention and so much more. It's this focus that led to our honor on Gallup's Top 39 Most Engaged Companies in the World list and most recently to Great Place to Work and Fortune magazine's Best Workplaces in Consulting and Professional Services list.   

How to Choose a Recruitment Process Outsourcing Solution

RPO service providers should offer different solutions based on objectives specific to the end-partner.

Gone are the days when RPO providers could offer a service and send a bill with X, Y and Z of what they will provide to the client. More often than not, there are now negotiations and adjustments to the original contract as well as room to adapt to new needs as the relationship builds between the business and the RPO provider.

Here's an example of how we've structured some our RPO partnership offerings based on the partners' needs and annual hires:

  • Custom recruitment is a personal, fluid solution that happens to be our most popular. It's ideal for companies seeking complete flexibility and for those with annual hiring needs ranging from 50 to 5,000 annual hires. We support as much (or as little) of the process as the partner needs.
  • Enterprise recruitment, otherwise known as the all-in-one, is our "whole house" solution. It's deal for companies seeking end-to-end talent acquisition support and those with annual hiring needs above 1,000 or who have an appetite for 6+ permanent recruiters.
  • Project RPO is our short-term solution. It's ideal for companies that don't hire throughout the year, or who have bulk-hiring needs due to business expansion. This is a ready-to-deploy, full-cycle solution that can turn off once goals are met.

Typical Features of an RPO Program

An RPO program includes a slew of services, but here are some common buckets you should expect.

  • Technology—Technology used during the recruitment process is a key component and advancement to an organization's recruiting and staffing operations. RPO providers, like ourselves, use an applicant tracking system (ATS) software that provides a central location for candidate data—including resumes and applications. An ATS is built to help you better manage every stage in the recruiting process, from application to hire, while delivering greater overall efficiency. With an RPO provider, everything from a large database system to a partnership with  Indeed and CareerBuilder is covered.
  • Recruitment Marketing—Recruitment marketing refers to the strategies an organization uses to find, attract, engage and nurture top talent candidates. From your job application process, company's online reputation, job advertisements, SEO and social media presence—a solid recruitment partner should execute or consult on all of them. Today, a recruiter's job goes far beyond simply reaching out to job applicants and interviewing. They attract candidates the same way that companies must attract customers. When when considering advertising or marketing job openings, we are able to determine the best place this may be.
  • Strategic Expertise—In a RPO partnership, you have recruitment experts and leaders working to be the best at recruitment and undering your organization's culture and goals to help you reach them. A RPO partner should alleviate the burden of the hiring manager and ensure the candidate experience is best-in-class. A good partner should know what works best, and what doesn't work.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) can be a crucial asset your company's ongoing success. If you're interested in learning more about Hueman's RPO services, email me at

Topics: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, RPO, recruitment, talent acquisition