Recruitment Process Outsourcing – What is it?


BPO, or Business Process Outsourcing, is a term you have probably heard. But what about RPO?

An experienced HR professional would be familiar with the concept of Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). So let’s talk about this critical part of workforce planning and whether your company needs it.

What’s RPO?

RPO is a subset of BPO where a business contracts its recruitment process to a third-party expert or service provider. The third-party expert acts for the company to maximize the hiring process’s efficiency and return on investment. An RPO provider is more responsible than a recruiter for the recruitment process’s design, management, and results.

How does it work?

The hiring process of companies has evolved a lot from in-house recruitment to staffing agencies. The RPO solution is at the top.

The RPO model is where consultants work with the company to identify their needs and create a solution. The RPO team takes over a portion of the entire process of recruiting candidates, filling existing roles, and possibly managing future requirements.

Why is RPO Important?

Many leaders are concerned about outsourcing such a crucial function to an outside party. Yet, these are the reasons why RPO services are essential for businesses’ survival.

  • RPO helps to avoid bad hiring decisions and brings more stability and effectiveness to your process.
  • RPO relieves your HR team of the responsibility for hiring and allows them to focus on their day-to-day duties.
  • RPO is a partner with the company and acts as an extension to the internal team. They are as committed as any other employee to onboarding suitable candidates.
  • RPO providers offer talent acquisition strategies to give businesses an advantage over their competition.

What are the most common RPO models?

RPO is not a one-size-fits-all solution for hiring. Instead, RPO providers can offer a variety of models depending on the needs and preferences of companies:


This model is for companies that have an immediate and urgent hiring need. These RPO providers are already familiar with the company’s processes and can fulfill these needs accurately and quickly, which saves them a lot of time and money.


This model allows a company to outsource the hiring of a specific division or project to an RPO provider. The internal recruiting team handles other hiring requirements.

Full RPO

This model is slightly different. The company outsources all of its hiring processes, strategies, and decisions to the RPO provider. The RPO provider acts as an internal recruiting team.

What are the RPO services?

These models can be used to cover any or all of the following services:

  1. Workforce planning – It is easy to predict short-term and longer-term hiring requirements.
  2. Hiring manager engagement – Increases communication between the hiring manager and account teams
  3. Strategic Sourcing – This tool will help you identify platforms that have high-performing candidates.
  4. Pre-employment screening – Do background checks on the candidate, including their employment history and any other records.
  5. Graduate recruitment – This can create outreach programs for graduates, internships, vacation schemes, apprenticeships, and other opportunities.
  6. Talent engagement – Assists in the positioning of the company and its culture so that the right talent can be attracted
  7. Candidate Management – Provides a seamless end-to-end experience, starting with the targeting of candidates and ending with their onboarding
  8. Recruitment analytics support – This guide will help you create checklists and processes that measure and identify the metrics used in the recruitment process.
  9. Risk management and compliance – It is necessary to ensure that all recruitment processes and operations comply with applicable regulations.

What are the main stages of RPO?

There are certain aspects providers should follow when implementing any of these RPO services:

Data collection

The RPO implementation manager collects information about the company’s current recruitment processes (e.g., trackers used and internal vs. an external hire, interview formats, etc.) and conducts stakeholder analysis. This step is crucial in the implementation of an RPO service. It can take up to three weeks.

Process mapping

Based on the above responses, the RPO provider creates an extensive process map that identifies all actions to be taken by the HR, internal recruitment, and RPO teams. This document can take up to one week to complete and is as essential as the Bible for hiring teams.

Change management

As new teams expand and focus on their responsibilities more; it is crucial to have a plan for change management. This document will outline the company’s internal messaging and timelines to ensure smooth onboarding for RPO teams.


Every stakeholder in the company and RPO team will receive training to ensure success. Training is designed to ensure everyone understands the new technology, the hiring process, and their responsibilities.

What are the advantages of RPO?

  • Scalable solutions RPO is based on the principle that a business can pay only for what it needs when they need it.
  • Less time and cost to hire –  RPO providers adhere to strict timelines to fulfill the recruitment requirements. RPO can also offer a minimum 30% cost-per-hire reduction.
  • Quality of Hire RPO providers follow detailed protocols to ensure that the people they hire meet the organization’s needs on paper and in practice.
  • Analytics and Reporting – RPO providers analyze, highlight and measure the insights at every stage of the process to enable effective decision-making.

RPO is rapidly gaining popularity and replacing other forms of recruitment. It provides a more holistic workplace. The RPO provider and company can work together to create a win/win environment for candidates, managers, HR, and employers.

FAQs about RPO

1. What’s the overall outlook for the business community concerning outsourcing recruitment?

The community is open to the idea of outsourcing recruitment. According to studies, over 90% of hiring managers from small, medium, and large companies outsource some or all of their recruitment functions.

Outsourcing recruitment allows companies to focus their attention on other areas such as product development, marketing, finance, and so forth. Smaller companies and startups will find it even more advantageous to partner with an RPO. They don’t have to invest time, effort, or funds in building an HR team or hiring. Instead, the recruiter will handle the hiring to focus on growing and expanding their businesses.

2. In-house or hiring manager — who works directly alongside the RPO contact?

This is a business call. The best RPO agencies today work directly with hiring managers. They choose to hire managers because they can maintain a healthy working relationship between candidates and hiring managers.

Again, it is up to the business to decide who will work with RPO partners. RPOs work with hiring managers when they aren’t available or when mass hiring is required (which requires a lot more candidate processing). The hiring manager should always be present from the beginning. This will allow them to focus their attention on more important tasks and help their RPO partners.

3. RPO partners can help startups with small HR and recruiting budgets. Is that true?

RPOs are available to all businesses. Startups that are unable to spend a lot on recruiting will find their experience invaluable. Today’s startups have many requirements. These include onboarding, employer branding, and single search. They also need ATS configurations as needed. Career pages are just a few of the many tasks that today’s RPOs can handle.
There are no set rules. Startups can choose to hire in-house, contract, or contingency staff. They can enjoy cost and quality optimization like never before by partnering with a reputable RPO partner.

4. What is the difference between an RPO provider or a headhunter?

Below are some areas that an RPO agency can address concerning recruitment. A headhunter is a specialist in single-search solutions and will often focus more on the candidate for the job.

  • Employer branding
  • Administrative support
  • Service Level-Agreements
  • Compliance Management
  • Training and development
  • Program management and change
  • Tools and channels for digital sourcing
  • Consultation, scalability, governance
  • Service and partnership beyond hiring
  • Analytics and real-time reporting
  • Digitalization, consistency, accountability

5. Can RPOs handle volume hiring?

They do. RPOs understand that businesses have difficulty handling volume in-house because workers are often hired on a project basis. RPOs offer mobile-friendly solutions to help companies assess and hire quickly. They screen candidates and provide the best possible hiring experience for both the candidate and the hiring manager.

6. Why should an organization choose an RPO?

An organization may choose to partner with an RPO for many reasons. But most often, these reasons are strategic or tactical. For example, a firm could approach an RPO form if it feels that its internal team is not capable of the job. In addition, there could be limitations in hiring due to outdated technology or bandwidth problems. Finally, companies might also consider changing the way they acquire talent.

7. Are RPOs able to integrate solutions with ATS

Many RPO partners are familiar with the details of various applicant tracking systems. Experienced RPOs can optimize their services based on different software and tools used by companies. RPOs can also help companies develop, manage, and implement recruitment technology. This helps to simplify the process of sourcing, managing, and processing employees.

8. If the need for staffing is temporary or seasonal, would partnering with an RPO provider be a good idea?

Companies don’t have to commit to any headcount when working with RPO partners. RPO partnerships offer flexibility. RPOs are a way for conglomerate and startup partners to share their knowledge and benefit. RPOs are ideal for seasonal recruitment or temporary staffing.

9. How can an RPO partnership optimize cost?

It is essential to be clear that the costs associated with partnering with an RPO agency will vary depending on what services you choose. Public opinion is clear that clients have found numerous testimonials about how they could optimize their spending and save money by choosing an RPO partner instead of a headhunter, traditional recruitment agency, our on-site team. An RPO partner will first assess your requirements and then recommend ways to optimize your spending.

10. Will opting for an RPO replace my current staff?

Not necessarily. The leadership can decide whether the on-site recruiting needs to be restructured or downsized by partnering with an RPO agency. In addition, an RPO partner can handle the recruitment process and free up the on-site recruiting team and other essential HR functions.

11. Which is better: Contract (Corporate) Recruiter or an RPO partner?

When working with a corporate recruiter or contract recruiter, the common assumption is that they will immediately start the recruitment process and fill positions. You should be aware that they are a single function, and only one person integrates with the organization. They call them the shorts. They have complete control over the administrative and management side of the recruitment process. This can lead to problems as they have very little time or no time for more profound sourcing candidates.

Let’s now talk about partnering up with an RPO. They will oversee the entire recruitment process. They will also be able to understand and divide the responsibilities to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the recruitment process.

They will also emphasize the overall scope of the problem and require flexible solutions to deliver superior results consistently.

12. What is the minimum and maximum annual hiring threshold that makes it worth partnering with an RPO?

There is no minimum or maximum threshold. The number of candidates that you need to increase your workforce will determine how many. Partnering with an RPO agency is an excellent option if the on-site recruiting team is overwhelmed and can’t dedicate time to other HR activities. The RPO partner will handle the recruitment process and give some breathing space to the HR department.

Partnering with an RPO agency can also bring you other benefits beyond the ability to recruit quality candidates. For example, it can enhance the candidate experience, strengthen your company’s brand, reduce attrition, improve employee retention, and optimize recruitment costs.

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