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The what and why of Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

Whether for lack of time or a want of expertise, it’s not unusual for an organisation to hand over some (or all) of its recruitment process to a third party. This is Recruitment Process Outsourcing, or RPO. It acts as a sort of extension to a company’s human resources team, working closely with its clients on-site by developing and deploying a bespoke hiring SaaS solution specific to the client’s needs.

But make no mistake – this isn’t just a fancy new name for the same old thing.

There are a few key differences between working with a traditional recruitment agency and putting RPO to work in your business. First of all, where agencies will aim to find and place candidates in a specific role, using an RPO platform or provider will allow you complete control of the layout and fulfilment of the entire recruitment process. This is huge, and goes as far as workforce planning, talent engagement, strategic sourcing, candidate management, hiring manager engagement, pre-employment screening, early careers or graduate recruitment, employer brand consultation, vendor partner or supply chain management, compliance management, risk management and recruitment analytics support.

All of which comes in real handy when a company is relocating, or it doesn’t have enough time to handle recruitment itself, or is even in the depths of a merger and acquisition process. These situations are where you might consider turning to RPO.

But what about outside of those situations? How do you know what RPO could do for your recruitment process? We’ve listed a few of the biggest benefits of working with these providers – so you can judge if this process is right for you.

Reduced cost

Embracing and maintaining an RPO model is extremely cost-effective – and often seen as the main benefit for any business looking to take this route. Compare that to something like investing in job boards and candidate head-hunters where you might see recruitment costs spiral out of control, and RPO reduces costs through an integrated SaaS platform that can also increase turnaround time and offer a higher quality of hire.


Most companies have felt the highs and lows of staffing. But a recruitment process in today's world, where many are still working remotely, adds an additional challenge. With RPO, you can increase or decrease your involvement depending on your specific requirements. This is great if you’re growing quickly as a result of some other business development that requires your attention – like opening new offices or growing overseas.


An RPO isn’t your average third party. Usually, they will staff their recruiters directly in your organisation. That way, they develop a deeper understanding of the company culture and know more about the specifics of each job role – so they know what kind of candidates they’re looking for. With that, they can ensure their clients find the right employee for the role, increasing both job retention and competitive advantage.

Quality candidates

Speaking of finding the right candidate for the role, RPO leaves no stone unturned. With best practice and experience at hand, they know how to search for the most ideal fit – someone who can breathe new life into a role and bring the right qualities to the business. Additionally, whoever is providing the RPO solution will have a long list of candidates to pick from, so it’s not like they’ll be starting from scratch – they maintain constant records, so if they already know the right person, you’ll be able to interview them quickly. Compare this to the hiring manager who may only search for potential employees as and when a role needs filling, and you can see the difference that makes.


Even after you realise there’s a staffing gap, it can often be a while before it’s filled. This isn’t made any easier if the hiring process is handled poorly – this can end up increasing the time-to-hire as good prospects are taken by competition or the interviews are drawn out over a longer period of time. This leads to a lot of wasted money and time with nothing to show but vacant seats. Utilising RPO puts well-established processes in place to avoid any delay and conclusively gain the highest quality candidates as fast as possible.

Analysis, planning and reporting

All of the benefits you’ve seen so far are made possible by RPO providers working closely with their clients. But beyond the act of recruitment itself, this closeness means RPO providers will also understand the business goals, helping them to forecast their hiring needs and plan what resources they need to help them achieve those goals – sometimes before the organisation knows. Essential to this is (what else) data – much of it collected throughout the entire hiring process. Analysing this data means you can report in real time – gaining insights into decision-making for more efficient recruitment. We all know the importance of regularly analysing and tweaking a process to improve its performance, and doing so within recruitment will inevitably lead to improved efficiency, a cost reduction and an improved quality of employees.

Wondering if Recruitment Process Outsourcing is right for your next hire? Get in touch with Industrious Code to learn more.

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