RPO Communication: Global Challenges of “Speaking Business”

by Joshua G Rodriguez

RPO communication

Global RPO teams lack the communication skills needed for a successful engagement.   A bold statement by some but, is this really true? Well, before partnering with any RPO provider, you’ll need to be thoroughly prepared and informed with what they’re willing to provide in order to meet your expectations.

Personally, growing up in a bi-cultural household and working across the globe I have heard and listened (yes there is a difference) to various accents and usage of grammar; especially with recruiting activities.  The first piece of advice I would share during the investigation process is to avoid some of the common stereotypes that are widely used.  

In order to maintain an objective way of thinking, we shall not mention them at this time other than from the view of the opening sentence of this article.  Rather, we can touch on them towards the end of the article to bring the thought process into a full circle.

Effective native language communication is an essential component in the success of an international business, and that should be the focus… the business.  With the availability of so many resources, it shouldn’t be too difficult to create an informed opinion.  A great starting point would be to examine and compare the various providers found through The RPO Discovery Center which can help to facilitate your business case.

After doing your homework and determining how effective the language skills are from your provider of choice, then having a transparent discussion with their leaders before utilizing a group of recruiters for your goals will need to happen.  This would be essential to determine if they “speak business.”

During your research, take a look at the numerous emerging countries with exponential growth because this will be important while strategically planning to expand your global footprint in the long run.  In the recruiting world, it becomes more apparent with countless analysis demonstrating the complexities of the situation. However, carefully examining those factors alone can make conversations between global RPO teams and candidates flow better, ultimately leaving a more productive collaboration.

During this process, one region may catch your attention over a few others and we’ll review a few of them with this article.  However, we should consider not just the geographical territory but also the local culture and how we can communicate with our partners in a global office.


Every language is greatly influenced by culture, commonly used words or phrases must be changed in order to more accurately convey a message. Even more significantly, local languages can differ greatly from the source language (most commonly English in recruiting,) so this may be more challenging when implementing your local operations.

For example, if you choose a country that is predominantly Spanish speaking, many words share common Latin roots with the English language and thus may not be as difficult to recognize. However, when your exploring opportunities in Asian geographies you will not have this “luxury.”

“If your company is truly going to become global, you need to have internal people that know how to offer global services.” A simple yet equally profound statement by Cynthia Cohen of Mynt Consultants.  Cynthia is the owner of the Argentinian based RPO company and works with clients all over the US and LATAM.  

As we spoke more, Cynthia elaborates further on this by saying, “leadership needs to THINK globally.” The leaders you employ and partner with need to be “consistent with contracting, understanding legalities, salary requirements, employee relations and managing them.”

With that being said, companies need to understand not just how to source the best candidates, but how to have the right RPO in place to deal with them effectively and adopt that human element which leads to making the right choice, not basing decisions on uniformed communication barriers.

Offshore vs. Nearshore Recruitment Comparisons

linguistic validation


As we look at Asia, one of the more common countries where RPO companies have been established would be in India. India alone has more than 20 spoken languages with over 720 dialects.  

Incredible to imagine how this is even possible while trying to navigate some of the more remote areas. Yet, according to the same source, because of the sheer volume of people, there are “more English speakers than any country in the world, including the United States.”  Let that sink in for a moment!

Not too far away from India moving into the Southeastern region of Asia lies the island country of the Philippines.  Here is the home base of operations for Jimmy Roa, the CEO and Owner of Sysgen RPO.  Jimmy has seen the growth of the RPO market for over 25 years and from firsthand experience understands that customers and clients are searching for strong communication skills because they have come to him with concerns of “thick accents” and solid English proficiency.

Sysgen has worked with clients from the US, Canada, as well as Australia. During the comprehensive training process of new recruiters and on-going training of seasoned recruiters he has developed confidence in their ability to communicate effectively due to Filipinos having a “strong affinity with Western culture.”

It stems from the high level of educated and skilled professionals increasing with every graduating class. As we touched on earlier about doing your research in various regions, we can see in a recent article published in June of 2019 that the English skills of this country can even provide a “strategic business advantage.” Take special note to its reference to The EF’s article.  Number two in Asia with the highest proficiency and 14 overall globally.  

Pleasantly surprised?


No matter which country your operations will be in, the need to be flexible and willing to change or adapt processes to meet local standards will be important.  Not an easy task to take on so you will need to have partnerships abroad and domestically to get the job done. Start by looking at your internal staff and leadership team.

Global Hiring: Using Cultural Anthropological Glasses

Coming full circle, we should now be able to focus on the business side of the RPO advantages. Essentially, it seems to be summarized very well by Jimmy Roa saying, “Overall recruiting and RPO providers are fairly universal and there are more commonalities than differences.  The primary differences are usually the tools used and how data analytics are utilized and interpreted."

Here at the RPOA we encourage due diligence when determining the most beneficial provider to you and/or your company to reduce liability and risk, especially in hopes of long term business relationships. Identification of key business people, business headquarters location, verification of physical location and identification of known business affiliations are all important.

Ultimately, “Speaking Business” would thus mean making an informed decision about potential communication barriers as just another element of conducting an investigation with prospective business partners before signing agreements or entering into a business relationship.

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