Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a form of business process outsourcing whereby an employer outsources or transfers all or part of its recruitment activities to an external service provider.
According to the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association (RPOA), the official definition is this: "Recruitment Process Outsourcing 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 cost and improve governmental compliance."
On the other hand, occasional recruitment support, for example temporary, contingency, retained and executive search services are more analogous to out-sourcing. This is not the same as RPO and in this example the service provider is "a" source for a particular type of recruitment activity.
To help understand the distinction between RPO and out-sourcing, you need to look at the process. In recruitment process outsourcing the service provider assumes ownership of the process (this is the key), while in other types of staffing the service provider is part of a process controlled by the organization buying their services.
Responsibility and ownership of the process is the key to determining if what you are doing is RPO or just outsourcing. Smart businesses know that they need to 'stick to first principles' and focus on what makes them the best: this is seldom the HR component or function within their business. That being the case, smart businesses understand the value of hiring experts and retaining professionals too.
This is why RPO makes such great sense for businesses because you can outsource some of the process or all of the process - whatever works best for your business. With a professional HR company handling all aspects of this function, your business can focus its efforts on the core competencies it has become known for - assured that its internal HR process will be handled properly.
Professional HR firms that offer RPO have defined process and programs to ensure a proper fusion between the host company and the RPO provider. And confidentiality and timeliness are assured with proper processes. RPO offers improvement in quality, cost, service and speed and service offerings are available for every budget.
RPO solutions can also change fixed investment costs into variable costs that vary with fluctuation in recruitment activity. Companies may pay by transaction rather than by staff member, thus avoiding under-utilization or forcing costly layoffs of recruitment staff when activity is low. Each client's requirements are unique and a professional RPO supplier will custom configure an RPO solution that provides what is needed today, as well as a plan for growing into tomorrow.
As with all suppliers of service, conduct your own due diligence to assure yourself that the RPO provider is a good fit for your business - remember, at the most involved levels the RPO supplier is effectively an outsourced division of your company, whereas at the other end, they will simply be providing support services as needed - the decision is yours to make.
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