Eight Danger Signs to Watch for in Your RPO Vendor Search

by Guest

RPO Red Flags

When looking for a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) vendor, it is important to be careful. A bad RPO vendor can lead to months of wasted time and money. So how do you avoid this mistake? By being smart and doing your homework before signing on the dotted line. This blog post will highlight eight danger signs Orion Talent’s RPO leaders recommend looking for when seeking an RPO vendor. We'll also show what a good RPO vendor should provide your business. And finally, we'll provide some good questions you can ask to help you evaluate and choose the right RPO company for your needs.

Choosing the RPO Vendor That’s Right for You

Not all RPO is created equal. Many staffing agencies say they can provide RPO services; however, not all of them can deliver what they promise. You need to be careful and understand the difference between a real RPO vendor and a fake one.

Some RPO providers are large companies that do a lot of hiring, while others are smaller businesses that only do a certain type of hiring. You'll need to figure out which kind of RPO provider aligns best with your needs. The following danger signs will help you evaluate prospective RPO partners so that you make a wise decision on your recruitment outsourcing. 

Danger Sign #1: RPO Vendors Promise You the Moon

When an RPO provider tells you, "Our team will be dedicated to your account 100% of the time,” you really want to dig a little further, because scaling up and down is a key benefit of RPO.

RPO allows clients to manage the ups and downs of recruitment since having the right size team all of the time might be difficult. To adjust to shifts in hiring demand, RPOs cross-train and recruit full team members with specific knowledge from one job to the next to deliver as expected.

A good RPO provider will explain that an account manager will oversee your account to ensure that you're ready for any sudden shifts in hiring demands. So when you have to ramp up hiring, you can draw from your internal talent pool and shift fast to the increase in hiring volume. On the flip side, if you slow your hiring volume, a good RPO partner will reduce its presence within your hiring function, so that you can focus on other projects that will grow your company. 

Register now for a deep dive into the 8 red flags to avoid with RPO 

Here are two questions you could ask to make sure your prospective RPO partner isn't over-promising:

  • How will you staff your team?
  • How will you adjust to the sudden changes in the recruitment environment?

Danger Sign #2: RPO Vendors Who Quote You a Low Price for the Sake of Getting Your Business

Sometimes an RPO provider might undercut its price just to get your business. 

A good RPO provider should do its homework about your company's hiring needs. It will propose an RPO model that encompasses all your company's resources to meet your recruiting and hiring goals. 

Ensure you're comparing apples to apples. To make sure your prospective RPO partner isn't underbidding you to get your business, consider asking the following questions:

  • What due diligence has the RPO done to fully know your needs? In other words, does the proposed RPO model align with the proposed costs plus any unforeseen costs?
  • Is the proposal presented by the potential RPO realistic and customized to suit all your needs, so that it delivers your desired results?

Danger Sign #3: RPO Vendors Who Claim Their Recruiters Do It All 

If a potential RPO vendor tells you that their recruiters do it all, they might mean their recruiters spend most of their time reporting and scheduling. The whole purpose of RPO is to drive efficiency. So if you notice that the RPO provider does mostly scheduling and reporting, consider looking elsewhere. 

A good RPO provider fully understands your hiring needs. The most successful and efficient RPO requires the help of a competent backup team. An expert RPO company will employ seasoned administrative personnel, strong analysts, and capable management teams. As a result of this strong team, recruiters can focus on what they do best: talking to prospects and hiring managers to ensure they match each role with the right talent. 

In order to learn if your prospective RPO partner works with a whole team of Talent Acquisition leaders and specialists, consider asking these questions: 

  • What is the structure of your RPO team?
  • How many dedicated recruiters will the RPO provider assign to your project?

Does the number of recruiters employed match the number of recruiters you need?

Find Out How RPO Services Effectively Attract and Retain Top Talent

Danger Sign #4: RPO Vendors Who Claim to Have a Support Team that Doesn't Exist

Some RPO vendors might introduce you to only one or two team members. This may be a sign that their team is extremely small, not the well-staffed support team they claim. 

RPO buyers should focus on getting to know the RPO vendor and its whole team. A seasoned RPO provider will invite you to their offices to meet key leaders and all the members of the RPO team. The purpose of such a meeting– whether in person or virtual– is to: 

  • Help you discover whether your business culture aligns with the culture of the RPO provider.
  • Help you understand the RPO provider’s recruiter training procedures and its cross-training processes.
  • Foster long-term relationships to drive success and efficiency. 

Questions to ask to ensure your prospective RPO partner has a well-staffed support team and is a good culture fit for you include: 

  • Does your workplace culture align with the RPO vendor's workplace culture?
  • Does the RPO vendor show you how they train their recruiters?
  • Does the RPO vendor invite you to their offices to meet their team and start building a lasting relationship?

Danger Sign #5: RPO Vendors Who Say "Yes" to Everything

If the RPO vendor says "Yes" to all of your questions, you could really be missing an opportunity to fully explore all your possible solutions and achieve the best strategy.

The sales presentation of a reputable RPO vendor should be a solution-based conversation. It'll be a transparent back and forth discussion where the RPO provider acts like a consultant or a partner.

To make sure you talk to someone who wants to be your partner and not your "yes" man, ask questions such as:

  • Who is involved in the process?
  • Are they conducting a solution-based presentation?
  • Does the RPO vendor provide examples of previous work?
  • Will they allow you to speak with references?
  • How quickly can their process start?
  • Does the RPO vendor create a reasonable service level agreement (SLA)?
  • Does the vendor share its strengths and weaknesses?

Danger Sign #6: RPO Vendors With a One-Size-Fits-All Process

If an RPO vendor cannot customize its process to your needs, you should move on from that vendor. A cookie-cutter approach to hiring and recruiting is not good. A good RPO provider will thoroughly investigate your needs and provide you with a tailored solution specific to your project. 

When an RPO buyer understands their hiring needs, they'll know that an RPO vendor specializing in simple but high-volume hires might not be what they’re looking for if they must staff complex specialty roles. 

To avoid the prospective RPO partner who offers the cookie-cutter approach, ask questions such as:

  • What essentials will the RPO  provider require to meet your hiring needs?
  • In what type of hiring solutions does the prospective RPO specialize? 
  • What customized RPO model will the RPO provider use to reach your hiring goals?

Danger Sign #7: RPO Vendors Who Lack Contingency Plans

You'll want to avoid RPO vendors who do not have a contingency plan for when problems or hiring issues occur. Whether it’s an issue with a hiring manager or a complicated search, a good RPO provider will have a plan to handle these situations proactively. 

In order to learn a potential RPO provider’s contingency plan, ask questions like:

  • Does the RPO provider have a defined procedure in place for resolving issues?
  • What are those procedures, exactly? Who is involved?
  • What's the process for sharing knowledge after the RPO provider resolves a problem?
  • What is the RPO provider’s best approach to making the most of your lessons?

Danger Sign #8: RPO Vendors Who are Followers, Not Leaders

An RPO vendor should help you craft your strategic road map. If they're not helping you do that, then move on from that vendor. If the prospective RPO vendor asks you what will be the next steps, then you are talking with a follower and not a strategic partner. 

A good RPO provider would update you on vital milestones and then give monthly updates and complete quarterly reports showing progress and trends. They should show trends specific to your business, your industry, and the overall talent acquisition space. 

To make sure your prospective RPO partner is a leader who will get your requisitions filled, ask questions such as:

  • Is there a schedule for when the vendor will provide updates?
  • What is your review procedure?
  • What method does the provider use to track progress, patterns, and the employment market?

To Conclude

Watching out for these danger signs can help you develop an honest and successful relationship with your RPO vendor. Remember, the success of any company is reliant on its people. Suppose you sense a lack of transparency or honesty from the beginning of your relationship with an RPO provider. In that case, it’s best to ask more questions until you are comfortable or move on to another provider. Before talking with any RPO vendor, make sure you thoroughly understand your business environment and hiring needs. 

For easier reference, download the free eBook “Buyer Beware: Eight Red Flags To Avoid with RPO" at the RPOA Academy today.

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