What Is RPO In Recruitment?

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What is Recruitment Process Outsourcing?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a talent acquisition strategy in which your permanent employee recruitment is wholly, or partly, outsourced to an RPO provider. Whilst there are varying types and scales to RPO, which I will go into detail later, essentially it means that your provider can act as an extension of your internal hiring department, managing permanent recruitment for your company.

RPO normally entails the management of:

  • Workforce planning
  • Recruitment campaigning
  • Candidate sourcing
  • Screening, vetting, assessing and selecting
  • Managing offers and negotiations
  • Onboarding
  • Reporting and analysing progress

Benefits of Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Depending on your level of involvement, an RPO provider has the scope to take over your whole workforce recruitment if needed. In addition to supporting you with making the most of your budget and improving productivity and retention in the recruitment process, utilising RPO has a number of great benefits:

Ease of scalability

This is one of the main advantages of RPO in recruitment for your company. As your resource requirements can be outsourced to an RPO provider, there is much greater flexibility in terms of scaling needs, compared to if you were to only use your own internal talent team. For example, if you were to undergo periods where hiring reduces or increases, the RPO provider can assign more or less of their resources to the process. However, if you were to rely only on your internal hiring team, an instability in workload would be difficult to manage.

Better quality hires

As your RPO provider is integrated into your business more than an outside agency, they will be able to build and improve your current recruitment strategies and processes through this close partnership. This will ensure that you fully benefit from the expertise a provider can supply as well as exclusive access to their wide talent pools. In particular, if you are struggling to recruit in a specific department, a specialist RPO provider, such as VIQU, will have established partners across sectors, who can provide market insights and talent pools to secure you the hires you require in no time.

Reduced pressure on other areas of the business

By outsourcing your recruitment to a provider, it will take the heat off management and others who were previously involved in the internal talent processes before. Consequently, this will allow these individuals to focus on their work and maximise revenue.

Proactive not reactive

If you have previously relied on various recruitment agencies, whether in a retained or contingency search capacity, you will likely find RPO in recruitment to be much quicker. An RPO provider will be part of your business decisions and thus will be part of the conversation when discussing recruitment needs and solutions. This contrasts vastly with scenarios where you might realise you need a new hire and  then have to find a recruitment agency to assist you. An RPO provider, on the other hand, would be there from the start.

Better candidate experience

RPO providers offer expertise, knowledge and technology to streamline recruitment processes to improve candidate experience and increase engagement. Their recruiters are well versed in attracting and nurturing top professionals for your company. Furthermore, by having a specific team to handle the recruitment process, rather than a variety of recruitment agencies, you will make candidate experience consistent and effective.

Risk mitigation

Another benefit of RPO in recruitment is that the providers offer full management over compliance. With detailed knowledge of employment law, regulations, tax and insurance cover, you will be in safe hands.

Analytics and reporting

As this partnership is a long-term talent solution, your provider will be able to track, analyse and optimise their current recruitment processes as they work with you. Real-time reporting will allow you to have evidence of their progress and whether this operation is working well for you.

Disadvantages of Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Whilst the benefits of RPO in recruitment are numerous, it does have its drawbacks.

Loss of control

This is one of the main disadvantages of Recruitment Process Outsourcing that makes some companies hesitant to use a provider. Whilst there are hybrid models of RPO, which include you still employing some talent management expertise internally, providers will often have a lot of end-to-end control. However, there would never be a complete loss of control, due to agreed-upon goals and methods of contact. Nevertheless, an effective RPO provider would have more extensive control over the recruitment processes than a normal recruitment agency would.


For most businesses, RPO is much more cost-effective than employing an internal hiring team, particularly for companies with large-scale hires or inconsistent levels of recruitment. However, if you are a small company with very limited hiring needs, from a cost perspective, utilising RPO would not make as much sense.

Often a long-term buy-in

For all the advantages of RPO in recruitment to be realised, long-term commitment is needed. This allows the provider to work closely with your team, forming an extensive amount of knowledge on your company. However, this means that you will often have to put a lot of faith and commitment into this partnership. You may like to consider starting with a type of RPO known as ‘On-demand’ or ‘Project RPO’, which is often a shorter contract, to make sure the provider is the best option for you.

How does Recruitment Process Outsourcing work?

Depending on the level of involvement you want an RPO provider to have, there are different RPO methods that might work best for you. These types of RPO include:

Full service/ end-to-end RPO

This is perfect for companies that have complex, high volume, or long term talent acquisition strategies. A full service would include the provider having full access and control over the recruitment processes and strategy.

On-demand/ project RPO

On-demand RPO offers complete outsourcing without the long-term commitment. It is often used on a project-to-project basis, such as when a new department is created, or when a new branch is opened.

Hybrid/ selective RPO

This is a flexible and agile approach, in which you can fully outsource parts of your recruitment process to an RPO provider, whilst keeping some control over other aspects.

Difference between RPO and traditional recruitment

At the heart, an RPO provider will have a different relationship with your company than a normal contract with a recruitment agency. An RPO provider will have a level of control over the processes and strategy that an external recruitment agency would never have. This will often give a provider the scope to analyse, improve and build upon your current procedures.

Additionally, when you have a long-term partnership with an RPO provider, they will ensure your processes are centralised and consistent. This means candidates will have the same experience and impression of your company, instead of it being diluted and altered through various recruitment agencies’ involvement.

How to determine the right workplace solution for you

Here are the key questions to ask yourself when considering whether Recruitment Process Outsourcing is the best talent solution for your company:

  • How effective are your current recruitment processes? Are the formalised and centralised to one department?
  • Are your recruitment costs high due to inefficient processes?
  • Are you open to hearing expert opinions and advice to improve your hiring strategy?
  • How is your current talent team coping?
  • Is your talent team skilled up to deliver the level of recruitment you need?
  • Would you prefer to keep some level of control over the hiring process or happy to give full reign to an RPO provider?

If you are struggling under the weight of your current recruitment requirements and need an expert provider to come lift some of the pressure, RPO could be for you.

Looking for an RPO solution?

For more information on how Recruitment Process Outsourcing might be the right apporach for your business, give us a call and we can guide you through your options.

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