What is an RPO Article

What does RPO mean?

Let’s face it: recruitment is complicated. Acquiring the best available talent is as difficult as it is necessary. And when you need to recruit in volume, few in-house HR teams have the size and specialist industry knowledge to take on the task. Instead, you may need a more agile approach that allows you to turn recruitment on and off as your needs evolve. One such solution is Recruitment Process Outsourcing or RPO.

What is an RPO?

What does RPO mean? Even seasoned executives ask this question, so it’s worth unpacking the definition of RPO.

RPO stands for Recruitment Process Outsourcing — a workforce solution where an external provider takes on all or some of an organisation’s permanent recruitment functions.

Crucially, an RPO is an end-to-end solution. The provider manages the company’s permanent recruitment by embedding project managers and recruiters within the firm’s HR function. This team will use the latest recruitment technology, from applicant tracking systems (ATS) and candidate relationship management (CRM) tools to AI-powered sourcing software and predictive talent analytics. Some RPO providers also help employers downsize by offering career transition services to workers who are being laid off.

What are the different types of RPO?

No credible supplier offers a one-size-fits-all RPO. Instead, providers like Page Outsourcing tailor their solutions to meet a company’s unique goals and challenges.

In broad terms, however, most RPOs come in one of two flavours:

Classic or strategic RPO

An ongoing, end-to-end solution covering all functions involved with permanent recruitment. For many organisations, the ultimate aim is to integrate global hiring across all business units.

A full-scale RPO takes time and careful planning to implement but delivers the best efficiencies, savings, and recruitment outcomes over time. In a classic RPO, the provider may:

  • Embed resources like recruiters and project managers on-site to work with hiring managers and HR teams
  • Source, screen, interview, and onboard candidates
  • Prepare and negotiate job offers
  • Deploy state-of-the-art recruitment technologies
  • Design initiatives to boost the client’s employer value proposition (EVP)

Project on-demand

Project on-demand is an end-to-end RPO solution with defined volumes and timeframes. The RPO provider integrates with an existing HR or talent acquisition function for a specific project, such as launching a new product or opening a shared services centre. Most of the features and advantages of a classic RPO, as detailed above, apply to a project-based RPO. The difference is a faster deployment of people and technology to execute a project to strict deadlines.

What are the benefits of an RPO?

A well-designed RPO can transform an organisation’s hiring processes across some or all of its business units. Specific RPO benefits include:

Enhanced candidate and hiring manager experiences

RPO providers have the experience and expertise to optimise the candidate experience, from screening and interviews to onboarding and even career transition advice.

Hiring managers and HR teams benefit too. The RPO provider takes on administrative responsibilities, freeing up core teams to develop their skills in other areas and focus on more strategic tasks.

Increased agility and scalability Hiring volumes aren’t static over time. RPO providers build flexibility into their solutions, allowing organisations to scale teams up or down when necessary. This gives businesses the confidence to plan new initiatives without worrying about talent availability in their market.

Better candidates

RPO providers specialise in building talent pools and pipelines, giving you access to the best permanent hires in any given market. RPO experts know how to attract passive candidates, as well as top talent from traditionally underrepresented groups, who can bring much-needed diversity into the organisation.

Technological innovation

HR professionals rarely have the time to keep up with developments in recruitment technology. RPO providers, on the other hand, employ specialists to build and deploy the latest tech stacks, incorporating powerful tools like VMS platforms and AI-powered sourcing tools.

Standardisation and compliance

Employment laws are not only fluid and changeable within markets, but they also vary between markets. An RPO provider keeps track of all relevant regulations and legislation, ensuring that all hires comply with local laws.

How do RPOs drive down costs?

Lowering talent costs is one of the primary aims of an RPO. By transferring responsibility for recruiting and managing permanent hires to an RPO provider, an organisation can expect to achieve significant savings.

Since RPO providers are evaluated on metrics like time-to-hire and quality-of-hire, it’s in their interest to ensure that permanent vacancies are filled quickly and with the best available talent. This minimises the higher costs and lower productivity associated with long-term workforce and skills gaps.

Interested in knowing more about the RPO recruitment model? Reach out to our experts.

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