What is RPO?
Do you really have an RPO?
Last week I heard four prospects and RPO providers give different definitions of recruitment process outsourcing, and different business model descriptions. Now, I know there is a ton of information available regarding RPO, and experiences are mixed and varied in their level of program maturity. But why are there so many varieties?
First, I think there are fewer varieties of RPO than there might seem. Second, more and more staffing and search firms are in a land-grab to capitalize on the growing value proposition and trend toward RPO.
In the old days — about 10 years ago (ancient history in this business) — everyone in the staffing world was rushing to create a vendor-management solution and managed services program. Today, everyone with a recruiting business is building an RPO. Some to protect their customers, and some just because they think it’s a good idea. For those intrepid souls thinking about jumping in, the barriers to entry aren’t as low as you would think.
So what is RPO? According to the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association (RPOA) RPO is “when a provider acts as a company’s internal recruitment function for a portion or all of its jobs. RPO providers manage the entire recruiting/hiring process from job profiling through the on-boarding of the new hire, including staff, technology, method, and reporting. A properly managed RPO will improve a company’s time to hire, increase the quality of the candidate pool, provide verifiable metrics, reduce costs, and improve governmental compliance.”
One of the key phrases in this description is “acts as a company’s internal recruitment function.” Many project-based recruiting firms and some RPOs deliver what I would call project search — a valuable solution, but not RPO.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Yoh RPO, like several others, delivers point of service solutions. This is when the provider handles parts of the process in an integrated model. The distinction is that we do this in conjunction with, and as part of, the client’s internal recruitment function.
I’m not making a judgment here. All models have their place in the recruitment universe, just like the flavors at Ben & Jerry’s. (For the record, Heath Bar Crunch and Chubby Hubby are my favorites.)
But for those of you who are out there trying to make heads or tails of what exactly RPO is, it’s as much a process (P) as it is recruitment (R). Both are coordinated and integrated services with specific outcomes and expected performance measures.