What is RPO and how does it work in practice?

4 min read

Here is everything you should know about recruitment process outsourcing (RPO).

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a service that allows organisations to outsource entire or parts of their recruitment process to an external provider. Usually, organisations use RPO to reduce their cost and time to hire, improve the quality of hire and efficiency of the internal processes and to avail of the scalability benefits.


How does RPO work in practice?

RPO provider acts as an extension of an internal HR or TA team of a hiring organisation, which means that:

  • The RPO team adapts their to  client’s policies, processes and even culture.

  • The team operates from the client’s premises, unless requested otherwise.

  • The consultants may wear the client’s company name badges, follow their dress code or wear the official uniforms for the duration of the RPO project.

  • The team members introduce themselves using the name of the client’s company when they speak to prospective candidates.

You can expect the RPO consultant to reside in your office and work with your hiring managers and other team members as if they were one of your own employees. However, unlike in case of in-house teams, the RPO model allows you to temporarily scale your hiring up or down to meet the market fluctuations or even seasonality by increasing the size of your RPO team. This flexibility is why organisations often choose RPO.


What kind of tasks will an RPO provider carry out?

Every company is different so in order to meet the unique requirements of each organisation, RPO solutions should be designed specifically for each client. This means that certain elements of RPO can be dropped while others may play a prominent role in the project. Generally, the tasks fall under the below categories:

1. Consultation, forecasting and strategic planning

2. Selecting, establishing and managing all required technologies and processes

3. Candidates sourcing

4. Screening and shortlisting

5. Interviewing and ability testing

6. Psychometric and behavioral assessments

7. Reference checks

8. Offer management

9. On-boarding

10. Managing any 3rd party suppliers

11. Ongoing monitoring and reporting


How can you know if your RPO provider is effective?

A good RPO partner will monitor and provide regular or live reporting on metrics such as: cost per hire, time to hire or performance ratios (such as “CV to Interview” and “Interview to Offer”). These quantitative measurements are a standard part of the service that you can expect from RPO provider, given that the baseline performance metrics are agreed in advance. However, on top of the traditional metrics, it’s becoming more and more popular to measure qualitative effectiveness of RPO. Some of the aspects you might want to monitor and receive reports on may include:

  • Hiring Manager satisfaction

  • Candidate experience

  • Retention

  • Diversity

  • Employer brand recognition


As in the case of numerical measurements, ideally these should be agreed with the provider in advance to allow for the most accurate monitoring and reporting solution to be established.  Agreeing metrics for evaluating RPO success and establishing a process for continuous improvement of the results creates a strong foundation for effective collaboration between RPO providers and clients.


What to do next?

If you’d like to find out more about RPO and whether it is something that could work for your business, please fill in this form and one of our consultants will reach out to you to schedule an informal chat.




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