Before I answer this question, it’s worth defining what recruitment process outsourcing or an RPO is. Quite simply it is when a business transfers all or part of its recruitment process to an external provider.

So, how do RPO providers vary from traditional recruitment firms? The scope of a recruitment firm (agency or consultancy) is to place candidates in the required role. An RPO provider take ownership of the design and execution of the recruitment process.  This can include additional services such as

  • Talent engagement
  • Candidate management
  • Analytical support
  • Workforce planning
  • Candidate screening
  • Compliance

When it comes to recruitment, there are many options to choose from. So, which solution is right for you? For starters, you need to decide if you’re looking for somebody that specialises in recruitment process outsourcing, a specialist recruitment consultancy or recruitment agency.  All options are capable of finding you candidates for a position, but, the process, cost of doing so and the service they provide differ.

Here are some of the key differences between the RPO and recruitment agencies to help you decide, which is the most suitable for your business.

  1. An RPO provider will manage everything from the strategy to the execution of the recruitment process. The services will vary from business to business, but you can expect them to deal with everything and anything recruitment related.  A traditional recruitment firm will design and deliver a recruitment campaign by a job by job basis.  The level of service will differ, but you can expect them to be focused on sourcing suitable options for a specific role.
  2. An RPO agreement is more common in larger organisations which require a dedicated service provider that can deliver in volume and scale. An RPO provider will have a team to service a specific account working on a number of vacancies throughout the business.  A recruitment firm (agency or consultancy) will provide a key service to a number of businesses at one time.
  3. Because traditional recruitment consultancies/agencies are assigned to multiple businesses they may have less input into job descriptions and candidate management. Depending on the relationship between the consultant and the hiring manager, they may advise on the structure, the content and provide feedback were appropriate. An RPO provider will have agreed a process at a strategic level and the operational team will work to deliver this.
  4. An RPO provider is more likely to be ‘analytics’ focused than a traditional recruitment firm. They will need to measure the effectiveness of the delivery.  Analytics come to be a priority and algorithms are a viewed as a sourcing strategy to attract and assess candidates.  Recruitment firms also use analytics to measure effectiveness.  This is internal rather than external and recruiters place a higher value on the human decision making and assessment.

Over time, both build a picture of where the inefficiencies lie in the process Both use advance tracking systems and can report back on time taken, cost to hire, candidate experience, hiring manager satisfaction, retention rates etc.

The success of many businesses (large or small) lies in its people and the value that they add.  Hiring strategies and processes must be defined to ensure success.  Whether you choose to outsource, build a partnership with a consultancy or use a local agency, it is important to understand and design a process that works for you.

The goal is to source suitable candidates for a specific job opening and this goes beyond posting the job requirements and playing a reactionary role.