6 Steps to Choosing an RPO Provider

by Allison Reilly

Once you come to the conclusion that outsourcing your candidate sourcing is the best solution for getting the right number and type of hire on board, how do you go about selecting your RPO provider? Here are six steps for finding and engaging an RPO partner.

  1. Get Executive Support – With just about any monumental change in howchoosing an RPO provider things are done within the company, you need to get executive support to make that change, and outsourcing your recruiting functions is no exception. This is especially crucial for RPO since RPO is consultative and requires the cooperation of everyone involved. If your executives don’t like the idea of an RPO provider coming in, offering suggestions, and making everyone do things differently, then you have some work to do. Excecutive support is essential for a successful recruiting outsourcing solution.
  2. Set Realistic Expectations – As a consultative process and solution, recruitment process outsourcing isn’t perfect. Do not think of your RPO provider as a company that will solve all your recruiting pain points instantly, or as a way to offload your problems. Most companies start with little or no data from the existing internal function, so it may be time to figure out what to work out and what’s specifically happening.
  3. Include Your Entire Recruitment Needs – Don’t forget to include any independent contractor or part-time needs as well the obvious full-time ones. Having one RPO provider handle all of your needs will not only make things simpler, but it could also benefit applicants because they will have greater opportunity and access to full-time, contract, and contract-to-hire opportunities.
  4. Compile a List of Potential RPO Providers – The Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association (RPOA) provides the Buyer's Guide, which includes a list of verified RPO providers. You can search for a provider by location, industry, department, services, and other criteria. Through the buyer’s guide, you can contact directly the providers that interest you.
  5. Communicate Your Recruiting Pain Points – Determine the three or four things that you would like the RPO provider to improve or to accomplish. Good examples include metrics relating to hiring quality, speed, and cost. Try to provide as much information as possible, as the more information your RPO provider has, the better the relationship will be. Here are a few ways you can communicate your recruiting pain points and figure out things to improve upon:
    1. Describe why you are outsourcing the recruiting function
    2. Outline your current process, including approvals, assessments, drug testing, and on-boarding
    3. Define the current recruitment infrastructure that the RPO will replace (i.e. how many recruiters, administrative staff members, types of technology, technology support staff, etc.)
    4. Job detail - Job titles, brief description of responsibilities, salary levels, exempt/non-exempt, locations, number of hires for each in the previous year and expected number of hires in the upcoming year
    5. Current average cycle times (time to present the person hired, time to accept, time to start)
    6. Current average cost-per hire and specifically how those numbers were derived
  6. Select Your RPO Provider – RPO providers have significant differences in technology, processes, staff and approach amongst each other. Since this is a highly consultative function, it’s critical to select the provider that best aligns with your company’s culture, management style, and goals. Some will refine your current process, use your existing technology and incorporate your staff in conjunction with their own, and others will have a more complete end-to-end solution. Without the careful consideration of all factors, an RPO solution won’t be successful, no matter the provider you choose.

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