What Criteria are the Most Important in Selecting an RPO Partner

by Carrie Kolar


Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) allows companies to outsource core sourcing and recruiting processes to RPO service providers who bring best practices and capabilities to finding the talent and new hires that their clients need. However, it can be difficult for companies to determine which RPO provider they should work with. We discuss this article based on the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association’s webinar entitled “RPO Implementation: Laying the Groundwork for Success” given by Heather McGotty of Welch’s and Ryan Baca of About Talent what criteria are the most important in selecting an RPO partner.

There are many different RPO providers, and they all have their own industry specializations and different ways of working with clients. To get the most out of any RPO engagement, you need a way to determine which RPO provider will be the best fit for your company and your needs. To determine this, you need to go into your RPO provider search armed with three different things – a knowledge of what you need, a list of important criteria that RPO providers need to fulfill, and a way to evaluate the providers who apply.

The most important criteria for selecting an RPO provider will vary according the specific needs of the company and the industry that they are involved in. For example, if a company that works exclusively on government contracts is searching for an RPO provider, they will consider thorough knowledge of government contracting to be a more important criterion than will a company that does not work on contracts at all. However, there are some criteria that should be considered regardless of company and industry specifics. These criteria include:

  1. Provider capabilities – does the RPO provider have capabilities that the company needs?
  2. Provider-company chemistry – does it look like the RPO provider and client company will work well together?
  3. Cost – how much will the RPO engagement cost?
  4. Partnership – will the RPO provider work as a partner with the company rather than a contract hire? Will they see themselves as an extension of the company’s HR team?
  5. Experience – how much experience does the RPO provider have working on engagements similar to this one?

While there are many criteria that companies can use to evaluate RPO providers, these five should be included in any evaluation. Additionally, in the RPOA webinar Ryan Baca of About Talent emphasizes that “incorporating experiential questions about the implementation are the best way to select an RPO provider.” These include questions about what it will be like to work together, such as “what can I expect when we work together,” “what did you learn from your last project” and “what will the project look like post-implementation?”

Once you’ve identified the criteria and questions that are most important for your company in your RPO provider search, you need a way to evaluate whether the candidates fulfill those criteria. One way to do so is to develop an RFP scorecard that lists the criteria that your final selection will need to meet, and which you can use on the spot to score each RPO provider candidate. Having a structure such as a scorecard to evaluate the companies that want to work with you will allow you more easily identify which RPO provider will meet your needs and will help you reach your goal of a successful RPO partnership.

Learn how to lay the ground work for a successful RPO implementation.




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