Pros and Cons of RPO Services: An In-Depth Look

RPO services, otherwise known as Recruitment Process Outsourcing, can solve many hiring challenges for the enterprise.

Companies often engage RPO services to deepen or enrich their candidate pools, implement proven recruitment processes, or augment the client’s internal hiring teams. By implementing talent acquisition strategies focused on short and long-term goals, clients often see improvements in candidate quality, time to fill, and recruitment costs.

Because talent continues to be a company’s biggest competitive advantage, there are many reasons to consider a strategic partner, like an RPO firm, focused on talent acquisition. While the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, some HR leaders still hesitate to engage RPO services for their firm—mostly due to a lack of information.

If you are an HR or talent acquisition professional who falls under the “hesitant” category, this post is for you. At ACA Talent, we know that the more informed our customers are, the better the relationship will be. As such, here is an honest look at the pros and cons of RPO services.

Pros of RPO Services

Scalable, adaptable resources

Recruitment Process Outsourcing allows you to scale your talent acquisition function according to hiring volumes without disrupting your operations and infrastructure. Because your RPO partner builds recruitment teams exclusively for your account, you don’t have to source and train a team of recruiters from scratch or provide them with office space, support staff, computers, phones, and expense accounts. Your RPO services provider handles all of that for you and manages the performance of its staff

With scalable recruitment resources and dedicated account management in place, your HR team is free to work more strategically, whether on specialized searches or overseeing how the RPO partnership impacts and shapes the business. You can focus on what matters most while your RPO provider focuses on building pipelines, interviewing candidates, and improving your headcount.

No more posting and hoping

Corporate talent acquisition specialists often play the role of brand ambassador to candidates, which means posting open positions to the company’s career site and job board accounts. Much of a corporate recruiter’s efforts are focused on attracting and qualifying candidates that have expressed an interest in the company. Particularly in large companies with hundreds of requisitions, recruiters may spend most of their time qualifying applicants who apply to postings. With thousands of candidates to review, you can see why this doesn’t leave much time for outreach to passive talent.

To supplement a client’s recruitment efforts, RPO companies offer localized sourcing strategies focused on developing passive talent pools. This sourcing strategy may include interest-based landing pages, artificial intelligence, talent communities, and outreach via email, social media, and SMS—all focused on uncovering talent you may not be able to find on your own. RPO services therefore actively create hiring opportunities with exceptional candidates who aren’t actively applying to job postings—a meaningful advantage.

Positive candidate experiences

While cost savings and greater efficiency are among the main drivers for companies employing Recruitment Process Outsourcing solutions, you shouldn’t discount the human element.

With unemployment reaching historic lows, candidate engagement is more important than ever. A positive candidate experience helps build your brand and establishes you as an attractive employer in the job market.

By optimizing your recruitment process so candidates aren’t left waiting too long or jumping through unnecessary hoops, while ensuring candidates are a good fit for your culture before inviting them to interview, your RPO services partner can help build a strong candidate experience.

Regardless of whether a candidate gets the job or not, leaving a good impression encourages favorable word-of-mouth and makes future recruiting easier.

Leading edge innovation

The latest recruiting technology can be time-consuming and expensive for you to adopt. Another pro of RPO services is that we invest, test, and deploy new apps continuously in order to maintain a competitive edge. As a recruitment partner, you get to leverage best-in-class software and processes without a huge upfront investment. This includes cutting-edge technology like artificial intelligence for sourcing, chatbots, CRMs, texting technology, and social media outreach tools, to name a few.

New technology creates greater opportunities through larger candidate pools, greater prominence in the job market, and a well-organized hiring process which fosters goodwill and referrals.

Meaningful insights

Recruitment Process Outsourcing equips you with rich insights into your recruitment operation through clear, robust reporting. You gain a bird’s eye view of what is happening across the enterprise on a regular basis and can focus on being proactive instead of reactive.

Your RPO partner can help you understand whether you’re achieving the necessary conversions from interviews to hires, how many candidates you need to source to keep your funnel full, and where the process may be adjusted in order to achieve optimal results.

Cons of Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Cultural clashes

Your RPO services provider should share your company’s goals and basic values. Because RPO companies work with clients on a long-term basis, cultural fit is essential to a smooth rollout and continuous success. Even little things, like whether you prefer to receive emails or phone calls or in-person visits, can affect the overall relationship.

Ramp-up time

While your RPO partner excels at recruiting, they might not have extensive experience with your industry. In this case, there is a necessary ramp-up process where the partner becomes educated in the nuances which will make the partnership successful. To accelerate the process, share all the essentials of your recruitment focus, including in-depth candidate profiles, and expected metrics and conversion rates. Even blocking off times to interview on hiring managers’ calendars can go a long way to ramping up quickly.

Long-term buy-in

You cannot build a successful RPO program overnight. Recruitment optimization has many moving parts, so a long-term commitment is necessary in order to work out kinks and refine the process. There may be steps backward before there are steps forward, so a minimum of one year is recommended for each engagement. The average contract term for an RPO company and client is three years.

Executives must also buy in and push the message from the top down to facilitate change management. Without establishing expectations, others at varying management levels who are involved in the hiring process may not embrace the RPO partnership or fail to hire recommended candidates, resulting in wasted resources and limited success in the program.

Giving up (some) control

The idea of relinquishing control of such a crucial element in your business as recruiting to a third party might provoke anxiety. Your RPO services provider should demonstrate transparency throughout the process. Many RPO providers offer pilot programs, smaller engagements which offer proof-of-concept and helps build trust with your organization. Once you reap some of the benefits of RPO and realize positive impacts on your business, you can turn over more of the process to the service provider.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing requires detailed communication between the client and the provider to set expectations and foster success. With these crucial elements in place, you can solve most of the cons and build a fruitful business partnership.

Are you evaluating the pros and cons of RPO services?

Contact us to see if RPO is right for your company and take advantage of the pros.

September 9, 2021

My recruiter at ACA Talent intuitively knows what kinds of candidates I want to see, so I don’t have to see four candidates to get the one that I want.

- Field Sales Manager -

I spend zero time recruiting now that we’re working with ACA Talent. I don’t have to pound the pavement to find people.

- Route Sales Manager, Snack Food Brand

In the past, recruiting all fell on the sales manager’s shoulders. It used up so much of our time at the expense of running our business. ACA Talent has made it possible for me to focus on my job with little concern over manpower. It’s like pushing the “easy” button with them.

-Regional Sales Manager, Security Firm