How RPO Companies are Different from Traditional Recruiting

by Lamees Abourahma

What you should know before you outsource your recruiting.

While Recruitment Process Outsourcing is an industry that emerged from traditional recruiting, there are a few fundamental differences between the two.  Recruitment Process Outsourcing is “a form of business process outsourcing (BPO) where an employer transfers all or part of its recruitment processes to an external service provider. An RPO provider can provide its own or may assume the company’s staff, technology, methodologies and reporting. In all cases, 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,” - RPOA.

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Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is more than filling open jobs; it’s about improving an organization’s recruiting process. "An RPO provider is a people-process-technology solution with an element of consultative work." Another difference is that RPO is based on a partnership between the RPO provider and buyer.  "We enjoy the relationship with our clients, looking at the long-term [factors]," he said. "RPO is more strategic, more programatic and not transactional."

Beware of what you get

RPO has noticeably grown over the past few years, and is gaining ground beyond the United States. Projected market growth for the industry in 2011 was between 25% and 30%. It's also been proven to be popular among customers, as an Aberdeen Group study looked at almost 200 companies and found that, of those pursuing RPO solutions, 77% indicated they would recommend it to peers. 

With its great potential (both for providers and customers), there is a lot of noise in the RPO marketplace. The industry is attracting many players into the marketplace including recruiters who want to get into the game. This makes it confusing for companies considering RPO as a recruiting solution. "There are a lot of temporary staffing providers calling themselves RPO providers… learning as they go," said Mike Mayeux, co-founder of the RPOA and the CEO of Novotus.

Part of the name change is also that recruiters are trying to promote services such as remote recruiting, where recruiters are assigned to fill the positions of your company like an in-house recruiter or a headhunter, but for a fraction of the cost. Recruitment process outsourcing is a fancy way to name that service, but does not quite adhere to what RPO really is.

Mayeux said that "RPO is to permanent placement what managed service providers are to temporary staffing... that RPO much more than closing jobs and filling positions". RPO is about improving the recruiting process of a company, implementing and monitoring a system that handles all of the company's employment needs.

"We enjoy the relationship with our clients, looking at the long-term [factors]," he said. "RPO is more strategic, more programatic and not transactional."

For a listing of verified RPO Providers, check the iCoCo Marketplace

How RPO is different... and better than traditional recruiting

The biggest difference is that RPO doesn't end with filling a position that's gone unfilled, but in working with an organization's recruiting process as a whole and doing more than just filling a position. RPO will also look at turnover rates, technology, scalability, and how much time it takes to fill a position.

Recruitment process outsourcing is never one and done. It's more typical for RPO companies to work with their clients for several years, constantly improving their recruiting processes. Mayeux  said that it's not about selling the client that a good job has been performed, but on managing a program and demonstrating the results that indicate that a good job has been performed.

Download free white paper: What the BLEEP is Recruitment Process Outsourcing?

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