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What is Recruitment Process Outsourcing? A definition of RPO.


Recruitment Process Outsourcing is defined as a form of business process outsourcing where a company transfers all or parts of its recruitment process to an external provider. An RPO provider might manage the entire recruiting and hiring process, or can work on some selected areas of the recruitment chain (i.e. talent sourcing only or selected business divisions etc.), serving either as integrated part or as an extension of the company's human resources department.


Recruitment Process Outsourcing first appeared in the United-States when human resource outsourcing became more prevalent back in the 1980's and 90's. As companies began to look at outsourcing functions such as taxes and employee benefits, it became clear that recruitment was a significant cost to HR. Recruitment Process Outsourcing is now well spread and highly accepted especially in the Anglo-saxon countries. Reason for this is that the volume of recruitment is very volatile and this is a challenge in the normally quite steady world of Human Resources. Between a hiring freeze and an expansion or growth project may lie only weeks or months. An external RPO partner who is able to allocate his recruitment capacity over a significant number of clients can handle this challenge much smoother. And when hiring needs pick up again the RPO provider has the recruiters in place to quickly provide top candidates quickly to fill critical and urgent hiring needs. A great advantage of RPO is that it can be deployed quickly; that is a new way of acquiring talent.


RPO solutions are customizable. An RPO provider can manage a wide portion of the hiring process from the job posting to the on-boarding of the new hire. Every RPO solution is highly flexible depending on the company's needs.


An RPO partner provides its own recruiters, technology, methodologies and reporting or may take over the company's already available resources. Typically RPO providers dedicate onsite recruiters to clients. These recruiters work closely with the provider's sourcing teams. This collaboration enables the leveraging of multiple channels to find the best talent. In addition to this, an RPO provider always promotes the company's brand rather than its own.

To summarize, some of the services you can expect from an RPO provider include:

  • Full recruiting outsourcing for your company with on-site support

  • Full recruiting outsourcing for part or all of your company

  • Full recruiting outsourcing for a project

  • Candidate research

  • Third party vendor management

  • Compliance, tracking, reporting and audits of your recruitment



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