What is RPO

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RPO – What is Recruitment Process Outsourcing and How Does it Work?

Nastasija Zivkovic

Nastasija Zivkovic

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) has become a prominent solution in today’s business landscape.

If you’re new to the concept of RPO and eager to understand what it means, how it works, and what you need to know to get started, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s jump right in and explore the intricacies of recruitment process outsourcing.

What is RPO?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) refers to the practice of partnering with an external partner to handle some or all aspects of the recruitment process.

Instead of solely relying on an in-house team, organizations can leverage the expertise and resources of an RPO to streamline their recruitment efforts.

In the realm of recruiting, RPO is a strategic approach that allows businesses to optimize their talent acquisition processes.

It involves entrusting the recruitment tasks, such as candidate sourcing, screening, and onboarding, to a dedicated external team.

RPO is designed to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the quality of hires.

Definition and Key Components

RPO involves delegating all or specific parts of the recruitment process to an external partner who specializes in talent acquisition.

This partner acts as an extension of your internal HR team and takes charge of the whole process based on your requirements.

The key components of RPO include:

1. Candidate Sourcing: RPO partners employ various methods, such as online job boards, social media platforms, and professional networks, to identify and attract potential candidates for your organization.

2. Candidate Screening: RPO partners thoroughly evaluate applicants through resume screening, interviews, and assessments, ensuring that only qualified candidates are presented to your organization for further consideration.

3. Process Management: RPO partners handle the entire recruitment process, from initial candidate engagement to final onboarding, ensuring a smooth and efficient workflow.

Benefits of RPO for Organizations

Implementing RPO can bring several advantages to your organization:

1. Access to Expertise: RPO partners are recruitment specialists with extensive industry knowledge and expertise. They bring valuable insights, best practices, and the latest recruitment trends to help you find the right talent.

2. Cost Efficiency: RPO can lead to significant cost savings as it eliminates the need for investing in expensive recruitment infrastructure, technology, and resources. Additionally, RPO partners can optimize the recruitment process, reducing time-to-fill and minimizing costly vacancies.

3. Scalability and Flexibility: RPO allows your organization to scale recruitment efforts according to your needs. Whether you have a sudden surge in hiring demands or need to downsize, RPO partners can quickly adapt to accommodate your requirements.

4. Enhanced Candidate Quality: With dedicated resources and advanced screening techniques, RPO partners ensure that only the most qualified candidates are presented for consideration. This results in improved hiring outcomes and reduced turnover rates.

Check out our other article to see why RPO is the best solution for your hiring challenges.

How Does RPO Work? – A Step-by-Step Breakdown

1. Initial Consultation and Understanding Client Needs

The RPO partner initiates the process by engaging in detailed discussions with your organization to understand your hiring requirements, business goals, and cultural fit.

This collaboration ensures alignment between the RPO partner and your organization’s expectations.

2. Customized Recruitment Strategy Development

Based on the insights gathered, the RPO partner develops a tailored recruitment strategy.

This strategy outlines the sourcing channels, candidate assessment methods, and recruitment timeline that will be implemented to achieve optimal results.

3. Sourcing and Screening of Candidates

RPO partners employ a variety of channels, including online job boards, social media platforms, and their own candidate databases, to source potential candidates.

They then rigorously screen candidates through resume evaluation, interviews, and assessments, ensuring that only the most qualified individuals move forward in the process.

4. Interviewing and Selection Process

RPO partners can conduct initial screening interviews, video interviews, or arrange in-person interviews on behalf of your organization.

They facilitate the interview process, ensuring a smooth and efficient experience for both candidates and hiring managers.

The RPO partner collaborates closely with your organization to make final hiring decisions.

5. Onboarding and Integration of New Hires

Once candidates are selected, the RPO partner assists in the onboarding and integration process.

They handle the necessary paperwork, facilitate background checks, and ensure a seamless transition for new hires into your organization.

Role of Technology in RPO Implementation

Technology plays a crucial role in RPO implementation, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness throughout the recruitment process.

RPO partners leverage applicant tracking systems (ATS), video interviewing platforms, AI-powered candidate screening tools, and other innovative technologies to streamline operations and improve candidate experiences.

Check out top 15 Ai recruitment tools to keep an eye on in 2023.

Collaboration between RPO and the Client

Successful RPO partnerships thrive on collaboration and open communication.

The RPO partner works closely with your organization’s internal stakeholders, including HR teams and hiring managers, to align recruitment strategies, share updates, and gather feedback.

This collaborative approach ensures seamless integration of the RPO partner into your organization’s recruitment processes.

Getting Started with RPO

If you’re considering implementing Recruitment Process Outsourcing for your organization, there are several key considerations to keep in mind.

Let’s explore what you should know and do to get started with RPO successfully.

Assessing Organizational Needs and Readiness

Before diving into RPO, it’s important to assess your organization’s specific needs and readiness for outsourcing recruitment.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Recruitment Demands: Are you experiencing high-volume hiring or struggling to find specialized talent? Assess the volume and complexity of your recruitment needs to determine if RPO is a suitable solution.

Resource Availability: Evaluate your internal HR team’s capacity and expertise. Determine if they have the bandwidth and skillset required to handle the recruitment workload effectively. RPO can alleviate the burden on your internal team and provide access to specialized recruitment resources.

Budget Considerations: Analyze your recruitment budget and compare it with the potential cost savings and efficiency gains offered by RPO. Consider the long-term return on investment (ROI) and the value RPO can bring to your organization.

Identifying Suitable RPO partners

Choosing the right RPO partner is crucial for a successful partnership. These are the most important factors to consider when evaluating potential RPO organizations:

Experience and Expertise: Look for partners with a proven track record in the RPO industry. Assess their experience in your industry or niche, as well as their understanding of your specific talent needs.

Service Offerings and Scalability: Evaluate the range of services offered by the RPO partner. Ensure that their capabilities align with your requirements and that they can scale their services to accommodate your evolving needs.

Client References and Success Stories: Request client references and case studies from the RPO partner to gain insights into their performance, client satisfaction, and ability to deliver results. Contact these references to gather firsthand feedback.

We’ve written extensively on this topic – check it out here.

Setting Clear Expectations and Establishing a Partnership

Once you’ve chosen an RPO, it’s essential to set clear expectations and establish a strong partnership. This includes:

Defining Roles and Responsibilities: Communicate the roles and responsibilities of both your organization and the RPO partner. Define the scope of work, timelines, and performance metrics to ensure alignment.

Regular Communication and Reporting: Establish regular communication channels to stay updated on the recruitment progress, candidate quality, and any emerging needs or challenges. Implement a reporting system that provides transparency and enables data-driven decision-making.

Collaborative Approach: Foster a collaborative relationship with the RPO. Encourage open communication, share feedback, and actively participate in the recruitment process to maximize the partnership’s success.

By considering these aspects and taking proactive steps, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your RPO journey and harness the benefits it offers.

Challenges and Best Practices

While Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) offers numerous benefits, it’s important to be aware of potential challenges and adopt best practices to ensure a smooth implementation.

In this part, we will discuss some common challenges and provide recommendations for successful RPO implementation.

Overcoming Obstacles in Implementing RPO

Organizational Resistance: Resistance to change is natural. Some employees may feel uneasy about outsourcing recruitment processes. To overcome this, communicate the benefits of RPO clearly and involve key stakeholders in the decision-making process.

Integration with Internal Processes: Integrating the RPO partner’s processes with your organization’s existing systems can present challenges. Ensure open lines of communication, provide access to necessary data, and align processes to ensure a seamless integration.

Cultural Fit and Employer Branding: RPO needs to understand your organization’s culture and represent it accurately to candidates. Regularly communicate your company values, mission, and culture to the RPO partner to ensure they align their sourcing and screening efforts accordingly.

Effective Communication and Collaboration

Open and Transparent Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with the RPO partner. Clearly convey your expectations, provide timely feedback, and address any concerns promptly. Regular communication ensures alignment and fosters a strong partnership.

Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: Collaborate with the RPO partner by sharing insights about your industry, company culture, and specific talent requirements. This enables them to represent your organization and attract the right candidates effectively.

Monitoring and Evaluating RPO Performance

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Define relevant KPIs to measure the success of your RPO partnership. These can include time-to-fill, quality of hires, cost per hire, candidate satisfaction, and retention rates. Regularly track and assess these metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the RPO solution.

Curious to learn more about KPIs – here are 10 metrics to measure if your talent acquisition strategy works.

Continuous Improvement: Foster a culture of continuous improvement. Regularly review and analyze the recruitment process, seeking feedback from both your organization and candidates. Incorporate learnings to optimize the RPO implementation over time.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing continues to evolve in response to changing market dynamics and advancements in technology.

Below, you can read about some of the current trends in RPO that provide insights into the future outlook of the industry.

Adoption of Technology in RPO

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation: RPO partners are increasingly leveraging AI-powered tools and automation to streamline recruitment processes. AI can assist in candidate screening, resume parsing, and interview scheduling, saving time and improving efficiency.

Data Analytics and Predictive Hiring: RPO partners are harnessing the power of data analytics to make informed decisions. By analyzing hiring patterns, candidate data, and market trends, RPO partners can predict future hiring needs, optimize sourcing strategies, and enhance the quality of hires.

Focus on Candidate Experience and Employer Branding

Enhanced Candidate Engagement: RPO partners are placing greater emphasis on delivering a positive candidate experience. This includes personalized communication, timely feedback, and efficient interview processes, all aimed at attracting top talent and creating a positive employer brand.

Employer Branding Alignment: RPO partners work closely with organizations to understand their employer brand and effectively communicate it to candidates. By aligning recruitment efforts with the employer brand, RPO helps organizations attract candidates who are the right fit culturally and professionally.

Globalization and Expansion

International RPO Solutions: With companies expanding their global footprint, RPO is also becoming more international. RPO partners offer global recruitment solutions, assisting organizations in sourcing and hiring talent across different regions, ensuring compliance with local regulations and cultural sensitivities.

Emerging Markets: RPO is gaining traction in emerging markets where talent acquisition is a critical challenge. RPO partners offer expertise in navigating local talent pools, helping organizations tap into diverse talent markets.

Future Outlook

Strategic Workforce Planning: RPO partners will increasingly play a strategic role in workforce planning. By analyzing business goals, skills gaps, and market trends, RPO can provide insights and recommendations for building a strong talent pipeline.

Integration of Virtual Recruitment: Virtual recruitment, including video interviews and online assessment tools, has gained prominence due to remote work trends. RPO partners will continue to incorporate these virtual recruitment methods to ensure efficient hiring processes.


As the recruitment landscape evolves, RPO will adapt to meet the changing needs of organizations.

By embracing technology, focusing on candidate experience, and expanding global reach, RPO partners will continue to play a pivotal role in helping organizations attract and retain top talent.

In conclusion, RPO provides organizations with a strategic advantage in attracting and hiring top talent.

By partnering with an RPO, you can optimize your recruitment processes, improve candidate your experience, and focus on core business objectives.

Keep exploring the possibilities of RPO and be ready to adapt to the evolving landscape, which will certainly help your organization to stay ahead in the competitive talent market.

Interested in partnering with Tribe as your RPO? Give us a call to see how we can help with your hiring needs.

FAQ: Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) – Understanding the Basics

What is Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) and how does it work?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) refers to the long-term transfer of ownership of all or part of an employer’s recruitment process to a third-party specialist.

It is a business model that enables organizations to scale their resources based on hiring demands without increasing budgets for in-house recruiters or recruitment agencies.

An RPO provider acts as an in-house recruiter, offering efficiency and flexibility to the recruitment process.

The partnership encompasses daily administration and strategic guidance, covering the entire recruitment process from talent consulting to onboarding support.

All candidates sourced and recruited are exclusive to the client, and the RPO provider does not share them with other clients.

Key Information:

  1. RPO is the long-term outsourcing of recruitment processes to a third-party specialist.
  2. It allows organizations to scale resources based on hiring demands without increasing budgets.
  3. RPO providers act as in-house recruiters, handling the entire recruitment process from sourcing to onboarding.

What are the benefits of outsourcing recruitment?

Outsourcing recruitment through RPO offers numerous advantages to organizations. It can significantly impact cost savings, compliance support, talent acquisition, and overall productivity and retention.

The key benefits include:

  • Reduced recruitment costs: RPO’s scalability and efficiency lead to cost savings over time.
  • Compliance support: RPO providers maintain compliance with changing regulations throughout the recruitment process.
  • State-of-the-art technology: RPO providers offer advanced applicant tracking systems (ATS) and improve communication between employers and applicants.
  • Faster time to fill: RPO providers identify barriers and optimize processes for faster position filling.
  • Decreased turnover: Streamlined hiring and onboarding processes result in higher employee engagement and retention.
  • Diversified talent pools: RPO providers establish partnerships with diverse organizations and networks to attract underrepresented talent.
  • Advanced analytics: RPO provides real-time data and benchmarks to guide recruitment strategies.

Key Information:

  1. RPO offers reduced recruitment costs and compliance support.
  2. It provides access to state-of-the-art technology and faster time to fill positions.
  3. RPO helps decrease turnover and attracts diverse talent pools through advanced analytics.

What are the different types of RPO and their pricing models?

Organizations can choose from various types of RPO arrangements and pricing models.

The common types of RPO are end-to-end RPO, project RPO, selective RPO, and recruiter on demand (ROD).

As for the pricing models, employers typically pay for RPO services using cost-per-hire, cost-per-resource, hybrid (blended), or transaction-based methods.

The most preferred model is cost-per-hire due to its flexibility, while transaction-based pricing may become expensive for businesses with high candidate volumes.

Key Information:

  1. Types of RPO include end-to-end, project, selective, and recruiter on demand (ROD).
  2. RPO pricing models include cost-per-hire, cost-per-resource, hybrid, and transaction-based.
  3. The cost-per-hire model is commonly preferred due to its flexibility.

How do employers know if RPO is suitable for their business?

Employers should evaluate their hiring team’s bandwidth, processes, technology, and recruitment challenges to determine if RPO is a good fit for their business.

Some indicators that outsourcing recruitment may be warranted include limited hiring team resources, decentralized or inefficient processes, seasonal hiring demands, compliance risks, high recruitment costs, lack of specialized recruitment expertise.

Nastasija Zivkovic

Nastasija Zivkovic

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