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Selecting An RPO Partner To Deliver Recruitment Excellence

5 Minute Read
looking for an RPO provider

The global talent acquisition scenario is facing its toughest barrage of challenges. A rapidly growing gig economy, intense competition to acquire stellar talent and a dynamic, fluid and ever-changing talent landscape are making it difficult to identify, shortlist, select, recruit and retain talent. Thus organizations are looking towards partnering with Recruitment Process Outsourcing service providers (RPOs)to facilitate cost-optimization, efficiency and effectiveness of the talent acquiring process.

What is an RPO?

It is a service wherein a company outsources all or part of its recruitment responsibilities to a third party. The RPO provider becomes an extension of the company resourcing function and provides a holistic recruiting solution as and when required. While traditional recruitment deals with filling up open job opportunities only, RPO looks at ways and means to improve the company recruiting process.

Need for partnering with an RPO

A company generally outsources its recruitment process for cost savings and convenience. But partnering with the RPO provider has benefits that go beyond cost savings and recruiting budget like:

  • Talent pool expansion: Talent scarcity is huge; attracting qualified talent is challenging and passive talent difficult to trace. Partnering with an RPO vendor, however, eliminates these problems to some extent with their:
    • Extensive talent database,
    • Greater accessibility to global talent,
    • Sourcing expertise and
    • Ability to match candidate skills to job profiles.
  • Expertise in employer branding: Proper projection of the company to attract top-quality candidates, improving the company’s EVP or employee value proposition, building a robust brand strategy etc., are ways by which employer branding can be improved. Today candidates research the company as much as employers research potential candidates. Thus projecting the right company image is a necessity since the brand value of the company influences candidate preference in a big way.
  • Compliance assurance and risk mitigation: Certain statutory regulations and non-statutory rules that govern recruitment. These are amended, updated and appended as and when the need arises. Companies looking to recruit quality talent cannot possibly keep track of these changes. But for outsourced recruiting service experts, recruitment is the core competency. Hence they come equipped with the necessary experience and expertise to mitigate risks arising from:
    • Adopting non-compliant hiring processes and
    • Complex legal hiring requirements.

More importantly, they have the knowhow to help companies frame low-risk, compliance focussed recruitment policies. This makes recruitment hassle-free and cost-effective.

  • Best practices ensure greater efficiency: Internal company resources cannot add the required effectiveness and rigor that is inherent to an RPO program. Most RPO providers have a global presence. Thus they are well-versed in achieving optimal results using global best practices like the:
    • Six Sigma training,
    • Encouraging diverse hiring tactics,
    • Taking a personalized approach and
    • Ensuring a positive potential candidate experience.
  • Speed of hire gets enhanced: Companies take an average of 42 days to fill an open position. Keeping the position open beyond that makes it difficult for them to:
    • Execute business objectives,
    • Respond to changing market conditions,
    • Combat competition.

RPOs work closely with the company hiring managers to:

  • Understand job requirements properly,
  • Implement SLAs or service level agreements that require processing within a scheduled time frame,
  • Facilitate rigorous screening, assessment and interviews,
  • Offer streamlined job offer propositions,
  • Enable onboarding and on-job training.

This results in a faster and more efficient end to end recruitment process.

  • Latest technology benefits: Talent innovation techniques are extremely beneficial for attracting, engaging and retaining talent. Yet the expenses involved prevent many companies from implementing it. RPO providers are always up to date with the latest advances in technology. They keep implementing new solutions to:
    • Enhance hiring outcome and
    • Enable their clients to get the required talent.
  • Scalability and flexibility: The hiring needs keep fluctuating throughout the year. RPO providers are well-prepared to face these fluctuations. They offer clients the flexibility to recruit as per requirement by scaling their recruitment solution models according to the demand. Arrangements like ROD or recruiter-on-demand, project RPO etc., give RPOs the required flexibility to handle this challenge. Thus the company does not need to hire a HR manager, thereby saving money and manpower.
  • Better analytical insights: Making use of predictive talent analysis, RPO providers can predict recruitment trends and needs. By making use of talent data to provide business intelligence, RPOs ensure the right-fill candidates for vacant job opportunities. Businesses can also make informed decisions based on it.

Making a decision to partner with an RPO provider is easy. It gives a good ROI. But choosing the right RPO provider is difficult. Some factors that help make this choice easy are:

  • Understanding of the industry: Every industry has different hiring needs. To cater to these industry-specific recruitment needs, RPO vendors should have an inherent understanding of the industry. This understanding  enables them to:
    • Provide recruitment solutions in sync with the mission and vision of the company,
    • Target stellar candidates aptly suitable for the job,
    • Identify passive candidates and lure then onboard.

This understanding becomes even more pertinent if the company operates in a specialized industry or domain. In these situations, it is the specialization that dictates the capabilities and skills required for a specific job opening.

  • Capability of catering: Some RPOs cater to large volume recruitment while others recruit for numerous smaller positions throughout the year. Thus before selecting an RPO provider, the company needs to be clear on its:
    • Hiring needs and
    • An expected increase in its hiring in future.

Choosing an RPO capable of catering to mid-sized business volume might seem like a good idea in the current situation. But if the volume of hire increases in the future, such an RPO might get overwhelmed.  Thus the scope of hiring for a company needs to be understood before zeroing on an RPO. It would be prudent to mention here that an RPO functions more as an extension of a company’s HR team. It promotes the company brand to ensure a strong candidate line-up.

  • Recruitment model selection: An RPO can be either used as a full cycle recruiting service partneror to complement a company’s HR. RPOs operate using 4 main employment models. They are:
    • Recruiter on demand: This model is for those companies that require additional recruiters to supplement its internal recruitment. Thus when there is either a spike in demand for hiring, a product launch is to be done or a new business initiative taken etc., the ROD provides for a perfectly flexible solution.
    • Selective RPO: Herein, specific internal recruitment processes are outsourced. Thus, if required, the company can opt for RPO services only when they recruit high-level officials or when a high volume of recruitment is required. The concerned outsourcing recruitmentcompany can also opt to outsource recruitment for a specific geography or business unit etc.
    • Project RPO: While this is similar to the end to end project RPO, it differs in being project-based. Herein, a specific project or a key business initiative is outsourced. Clear goals and a scheduled timeline characterize this RPO model. It is generally used to fulfil short term hiring needs or immediate sourcing needs. Additionally, it is also used to test drive an RPO provider before entering into a contract or solution and also before implementing the RPO initiative throughout the enterprise.
    • End-to-end RPO: This is a comprehensive model that includes all services required for permanent recruitment like:
      • Consultations with hiring managers,
      • Requisition processing,
      • Sourcing of candidates and their screening,
      • Scheduling interviews,
      • Preparation of offers, their presentation and negotiation, if any and
      • Onboarding.
    • Experience and expertise: The more experienced an RPO provider is, the better is its expertise. Recruitment Outsourcing is not an easy field. It tends to throw up unexpected challenges that might or might not have a precedent. For an experienced RPO provider, facing these challenges is easy. It has the tools, the knowledge and the expertise to deal with them. Thus experienced RPO providers make better RPO partners. Some important validations required are:
      • Quality of workforce, both in terms of specialized qualifications and number of years of experience,
      • Clients served in the past,
      • References of clients with the liberty of cross-checking with them,
      • Frequency of updations and up-gradations of software and other related technical and non-technical requirements etc.

From Good to great

There is a fine line of difference between great and good RPO providers. Good RPO providers might be sincere and diligent in their recruitment efforts, but a great RPO provider looks to deliver recruitment excellence. Their ability to follow market trends, perform predictive analytics and superlative understanding of the industry enable them to add real value; that which scores well when measured using different metrics of measurement.

Great RPO providers also look to delivering a real, sustained and competitive advantage using a comprehensive overarching strategy and framework. They ensure the least hassle and optimal cost. But to differentiate between a good and a great RPO provider, a company needs to test their performance on:

  • Quality hires based on data,
  • Service efficiency offered,
  • Degree of positive stakeholder experience,
  • Workforce management,
  • Client empathy with special focus on company culture, value, branding etc.

The process of selection of outsourced full-cycle recruiting service partner is a strategic decision that needs plenty of deliberation. When a company outsources recruitment, it entrusts the RPO provider with the company brand’s reputation; something that takes years to build. Thus thoughtfulness and meticulousness become prime consideration points.

Choosing an RPO provider with the ability to upscale and downscale as per client needs, always proves beneficial. An RPO partner that has similar commitments towards upholding corporate culture and values easily blends in with the work culture of their clients. Previous performance and results obtained are other critical points that need careful consideration. But ultimately, the choice of the RPO provider is based on its capabilities and experience to meet the client’s talent acquisition needs.

Gaining sustained success in stellar talent acquisition depends on finding the right balance. The right 360 recruitment servicepartner will play a big role in meeting client needs and providing the right commitment to support their long-term goals.  







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