What is RPO?

Recruitment process outsourcing strategy (RPO) is a way of business process outsourcing (BPO) where a business transfers all or part of its recruitment processes to an outside service provider, according to the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association. An Recruitment Process Outsourcing Strategy provider can deliver its own or may adopt the company’s staff, technology, procedures, and reporting. In all cases, Recruitment Process Outsourcing Strategy varies significantly from providers such as staffing companies and liable / retained search providers in that it assumes ownership of the design and management of the recruitment process and the accountability of results.

Why think through RPO?

Today, the recruiting situation is pretty complex. In order to successfully recruit top talent, you need to navigate a tight labor market; become capable in a set of related technologies; and manage and nurture applicants and hiring managers. RPO providers are subject-matter-professionals; talent acquisition is their central competency. They know how to direct the recruiting environment, stay present with the latest recruiting technology and have the resources to scale recruiting capacity to meet hiring demands. RPOs bring people, technology, method, and metrics into a talent procurement function.
According to RPOA co-founder and Talent Acquisition professional John Younger, “the number one reason companies flourish, fight, or fail directly relates with who they hire.”
Dependent on what an organization is considering for, an RPO solution can bring an range of many benefits including managing hiring variations throughout the year; reducing total recruiting cost and dependence on staffing agencies; improving hiring manager satisfaction; reducing time-to-fill; elevating employment brand; improving candidate experience; streamlining or restructuring the hiring process and saving time for additional duties between other benefits.

Is RPO right choice for organizations?

Generally, RPO providing high-volume hiring for big organizations at a lower cost compared to other recruiting options. Though, RPO has changed over the last few years to become a flexible tactical talent acquisition solution with extra benefits that can be approved by small and medium-size organizations as well.

Over the past few years, RPO has been dripping down into the smaller and middle market domain as outsourced recruiting becomes valid to these markets. As a result, smaller, active RPOs are growing into the higher ranks of strategic recruiting partners and figure their unique niche in the talent acquisition marketplace.

Smaller organizations have the further challenge of handling hiring volume and changing needs. It is typical for human resources personnel in smaller organizations to wear multiple hats: handling employee relations, training, payroll, compensation, and benefits, in addition to hiring and recruiting. Smaller firms also have a changing number of hires during the year, making it challenging to staff an internal recruiting team based on demand.

Recruitment process outsourcing brings scalability to the process and variability into the cost. RPO actions can be organized and priced based on hiring needs, providing a flexible solution to recruitment requirements.

How is RPO change from Other Outsourced Recruiting Choices?

Usually, organizations hire through one of three recruiting options: internal recruiters, staffing agencies, and contract recruiters. Until recently, few organizations were aware that recruitment process outsourcing could be a viable or existing solution to their recruiting.

Unlike other outsourced recruiting models, recruitment process outsourcing is a strategic partnership that brings additional value-added benefits, containing:

Study and Planning.

When run efficiently, RPO providers work with their clients to realize the business side of recruitment or business goals. They support clients forecast staffing needs and plan the necessary resources to respond to these needs, which help attain those business goals.

Wide job Marketing.

RPO providers market client jobs over job boards, social media, referrals, and networking to drive applicant exposure to jobs and employer brand (a major differentiator from staffing solutions).

Locating and Winning Talent.

In addition to finding talent, RPO providers shape up employment brand and recognition; involve future potential talent through talent groups and talent pipelines; and source candidates in advance and with multiple sourcing calculations.

Candidate Valuations.

RPO providers evaluate candidates, guide them through the start of the recruitment process, and make sure they have the central skills, capabilities, and motivators to do the job.

There are three types of RPO engagement

RPO is not a one-size-fits-all. RPO offers diverse engagement models.


A contract-based engagement with a capable provider that knows the company, their messaging, their procedures and the results they need. The contract requires a defined number of roles within a defined period of time.


The RPO provider takes a piece of the company’s recruiting needs totally off the company’s plate.

Full RPO:

When the RPO vendor provides a company’s whole internal recruiting function counting access to the provider’s full breadth of resources.


When executed properly, RPO improves recruiting efficiency and provides an organization a competitive advantage. As Younger said, by improving recruiting and hiring, an organization places the right people in the right positions, creating an environment where everybody wins: employees are happier, management is more effective, and executives hit their numbers and the organization overall is better positioned for success.