A Check List for Assessing an RPO Partner

by Carrie Kolar

10-rpo-provider-tips.gifRecruitment process outsourcing, or RPO, can have a tremendously positive impact on your company – make sure you find the right vendor. When you decide to invest in an RPO relationship, deciding which RPO provider to partner with can be your first major hurdle. There are many companies who either provide RPO services or claim to, and it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. In this article, based on the RPOA webinar “If Your RPO Says This, Buyer Beware” with presenters Melinda Gotcher, Director or Talent Acquisition at Novotus and Jen Iliff, VP of Marketing at Novotus, we help separate the wheat from the chaff by letting you know what to look for in an RPO partner.

1. Ask for References

This should seem like a no-brainer – you don’t hire anyone without checking their references. However, you’re not looking for just any references. You want to talk with references of several companies that the RPO vendor has worked with, in your same space, in a similar situation as you so you can really understand how the provider has delivered in the past.

2. Expect Transparency

Transparency is key for a successful RPO relationship. You should be able to ask your vendor anything, and they should be able to answer all of your questions. To establish whether they are transparent up front, see if you can visit their facility, meet their team, and learn about their processes and past experience. If they’ll need to hire to be able to handle your project, find out what their training process looks like. These activities also perform double duty by allowing you to evaluate whether the vendor is a cultural match for your company, an essential question for long-term success.

3. Look for an Issue Escalation Process

RPO solutions are complex, which means that at some point, issues will arise. No matter whether it’s an unhappy hiring manager or a delayed hire, processes to track, escalate and resolve issues are a must for any RPO relationship. When you’re in talks with a provider, ask about their issue escalation process. A good RPO provider will be able to immediately give you details about the process they use.

4. Ask What’s Next?

RPO relationships are strategic partnerships, and providers can help you craft a road map for your recruiting strategy. As part of their strategic work, RPO providers should track areas of opportunity and what you’ve accomplished during the RPO partnership, and provide you with regular updates on how the RPO solution is performing. Ideally, they will also provide at least quarterly reports on reports about recruiting trends both inside your company and in the broader field, particularly if you decide on a fully-outsourced RPO solution. To get the most from your RPO relationship, determine if the vendor is prepared to be a strategic partner in your recruiting future. 

At the end of the day, you want to get your RPO vendor right the first time. Selecting an RPO vendor only to find that they aren’t a cultural fit, don’t have the experience they promised or can’t deliver the solution you need is a waste of time, money and energy. To help you find the your perfect RPO provider, the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association has an RPO Discover Center where you can search and connect with vetted RPO providers. With persistence and due diligence, you’re sure to find the recruiting solution that you need.  


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