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Is RPO right for my business?

April 20, 2023

When it comes to hiring, consistency is probably not what comes to mind for most talent acquisition teams. Recruitment volumes vary and can be impacted by many factors, often beyond a company’s control. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a dramatic example of this, as the influences of the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted hiring needs across most, if not all, industries. 

The ever-changing hiring market presents a complicated challenge for organizations. Should companies invest in building large talent acquisition teams to prepare for hiring surges or keep their teams small to save money but risk being unprepared when hiring needs increase? The revenue sacrificed due to not having a sufficient talent acquisition team when an opportunity presents itself far eclipses the savings obtained by keeping a lean talent acquisition team. 

For many organizations, neither of the options mentioned above is particularly attractive. An RPO partnership, however, could be the perfect solution, thanks to the ability RPO providers have to scale up or down based on business need.  

RPO vs. in-house recruitment 

While in-house recruitment teams are undeniably valuable — offering a first-hand understanding of what a company needs, and which candidates are the right fit — they’re also limited by the size of their department. Unless your organization has a large budget that allows you to hire, train, and retain a large team so you can handle any potential surges that might come your way, chances are your talent acquisition department is only equipped to manage a predictable level of hiring. 

Whitepaper: The A-Z of RPO 

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) can solve this dilemma by bringing in a team of experts who will bolster your existing internal acquisition team whenever needed. Staffing agencies can also be used to supplement existing resources but can be more costly than RPO solutions and may not embed into your team and organization in the same way as an RPO provider.  

An RPO’s sole focus is recruitment and hiring. RPOs don’t simply provide qualified candidates; they streamline the entire process making it more effective for the long term. 

Continuous innovation is a critical component of RPO learning and development programs. RPO providers continually update their training programs to ensure their recruiters and sourcers stay up to date with the latest talent acquisition and industry-specific trends.   

Maximizing the benefits of RPO recruitment 

To begin with, a good RPO team will leverage labor market intelligence. This will help to identify the total addressable market and determine the likely time-to-fill for your open positions. RPO experts can also work with your HR department to create a compelling employee value proposition (EVP) that positions your organization as employer of choice. Your RPO partners can even conduct recruitment marketing themselves, in addition to coordinating interviews, assessments, and any other pre-employment evaluations and onboarding steps required. Another benefit? RPOs can also help you determine which HR and talent acquisition technology is best for your business.

What’s especially valuable about the RPO recruitment process, however, is that these outsourced experts don’t simply perform those functions and then move on. They gather relevant data from the process in order to properly evaluate its effectiveness. RPOs monitor and analyze important metrics, such as time-to-hire versus time-to-fill, allowing them to offer informed suggestions for improving the recruitment process. Your dedicated RPO team will continuously monitor the global labor market to determine when talent acquisition strategies need to adapt. 

However, to take advantage of RPO, it’s important to remember that you can’t just wait for the next hiring surge to creep up on you. You should begin the implementation phase for recruitment process outsourcing sooner rather than later. A long-term approach to talent acquisition is critical, especially in today’s fluctuating market.

Why you should start your RPO search today 

It’s important to emphasize that the value of an RPO provider is in the long haul. Once you find an RPO you want to work with, the length of the implementation process can vary depending on the scope of the partnership. The implementation phase aims to create a sustainable program that enables you to act quickly in response to hiring surges. 

The implementation process involves a kickoff and discovery phase to help your new hiring partner better understand your business’s unique challenges and opportunities, as well as analysis, design and validation phases prior to launch. Each phase requires collaboration from different levels of your organization, across talent acquisition and other relevant departments (like operations and marketing). Appropriate consideration is made to ensure everyone in the organization is on board with the new RPO partnership and to address any issues that might arise during or after implementation. RPOs can also help with the change management aspect of these phases. 

In other words, while an RPO company is perfect for helping you handle the variability in the hiring market, that’s only true if you’ve already gone through the implementation process. So, if you think you might want the services of an RPO in the future, now is the time to act. The ideal time to complete an implementation is when recruiting needs are low, not when a hiring surge is already underway. 

Next steps if you’re thinking about an RPO partnership 

If you’ve decided that RPO might be for you, the next step is to find the right RPO provider. Whether you’re looking to improve your time-to-fill, boost the quality of your hires or scale quickly on a limited budget, the right recruitment process outsourcing company can help you deliver on these recruitment goals (both now and in the future) and can help you turn your talent acquisition efforts into a strategic, business-impacting function. To learn more about what goes into an RPO partnership and how it can help your organization meet its objectives, check out our RPO solutions page.


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About Carmen Scanlon

As Vice President of Client Solutions, Carmen Scanlon is responsible for consulting with organizations as partnership is being considered to support and optimize their talent strategy. With an extensive background in HR solutions, she combines her experience supporting clients with outsourced HR services and HR technology to deliver a unique perspective when building agile and customized talent solutions for WilsonHCG clients. Top 5 CliftonStrengths: Restorative | Belief | Focus | Futuristic | Relator