Making the Case for RPO to Top Executives

by Steven Dashiell


Recruitment process outsourcing provides a strategic solution to talent acquisition challenges for different size organizations. However, top executives might not easily see the value. As Mike Palmer and Mike Tastle of Accolo explained in Why Smaller Businesses Should Outsource Their Recruiting: RPO can solve hiring fluctuations, reduce time-to-fill, improve candidate and hiring manager experiences, and provide an effective hiring process, among other benefits.

In their previous article, how do you determine if RPO is right for your small- or mid-sized business?, Palmer and Tastle provide a few guidelines to help you assess whether RPO is the right solution for your organization.

Once you decide RPO can solve your recruiting problems and it is the right option for your organization, you might still need to bring your organization’s leaders onboard when hiring an RPO provider.

Here, Palmer and Tastle outline a few questions you can ask to make the case for RPO to top level executives in your organization.

What Are Your Current Costs?

"First and foremost, any plan to bring aboard a third-party agency to help your company in some fashion must be justified financially – there needs to be a level of return on investment (ROI) that makes sense for your company," says Tastle.

To do so, you need to understand your total recruiting cost. That includes staffing agencies, job boards, applicant tracking system and other technology costs. Cost per hire is another measure that can help you make the case for an outsourced recruiting solution. Many factors contribute to the cost per hire including: cost of technology, cost of advertising and marketing, cost of the recruiters who are doing the work, cost of the hiring managers who are interviewing the candidates, and cost of travel or relocation. Work with your accounting department and make sure you get a clear and realistic view of your recruiting costs, and how they compare to the cost of an RPO and what it stands to save your organization.

Your evaluation also needs to include opportunity cost, for example: what is the productivity loss your organization experiences when your recruiters are asked to do too many other things? Or how much time of your hiring managers is spent on recruiting when it can be spent on more pressing work?

“You really need to take some time and work with accounting and make sure you’re getting a very realistic idea of costs associated with your recruitment,” says Tastle.

You will also want to clearly state in your business case whether the RPO arrangement will be a long-term or short-term solution. A short-term, or temporary solution, can be easier to sell to executives, especially if your plan includes a fully fleshed out transition phase to pick up where your RPO left off.

Finally, it’s wise to have an idea of what your overall budget is for engaging with an RPO provider. As Palmer and Tastle note, many organizations don’t have a clear handle on their recruiting expenses and recruiting metrics.

Will RPO Lead to Better Time to Productivity?

It might be tempting to engage in a partnership with an RPO simply because it makes your organization’s life “easier.” That explanation will not be terribly convincing when it comes time to make your case however. Instead, take a look at productivity, says Tastle:

“How long does it take for a position to get filled? Can it be done faster? How much time and money is lost by having a position unfilled? How long until a new hire is productive in their new job? What’s the overall net impact to having jobs filled faster than they are?”

Breaking down these questions and getting the answers down on a spreadsheet makes it much easier to convey the benefits, in time and money, of partnering with an RPO to assist with your recruiting needs. For all of these benefits, “you can put a financial number to that,” observes Tastle.

Will RPO Improve Your Candidate Experience?

"The importance of the candidate experience in your recruiting program cannot be understated when it comes to securing a candidate for a position. However, it is important to keep in mind that your recruiting process is a reflection of your company," says Tastle.

“One of the things that we really want to stress is all the candidates that apply for a job…most will not become an employee. We want to make sure that those candidates that don’t become an employee still become a customer or consumer for your organization.”

"A poor candidate experience can ultimately have a poor impact on your organization. It’s the same as thinking of your brand," says Tastle. "A candidate that has a bad experience with your recruiting process may tell their friends, family, or other job seekers about the negative experience they had when applying."

An RPO will make the candidate experience a priority during their tenure with your organization, bringing a level of experience and polish that you may not necessarily have in house.

Learn more about why recruitment process outsourcing makes a strategic talent acquisition solution for smaller business in this 30-minute webinar: RPO for Smaller Business? Really?  

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