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Talent Strategy: Corporate versus Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

Updated: Jul 30, 2018

In the minds of many business leaders, there are two avenues for talent acquisition. Corporate recruiting utilizing internal recruiters directly employed by the business and agency recruiting, utilizing external firms. As a business owner, deciding between the two can be challenging at times, especially without full understanding of the agency side of recruiting.

So what is a recruiting agency? Many of you may think this is a simple answer, but an agency can take many different forms in today’s landscape. I’ll ask you a question, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an external recruiting firm? Is it Recruitment Process Outsourcing or RPO for short? I didn’t think so. RPO firms are an alternative to the general conception of recruiting agencies, bordering on corporate recruiting. In this type of agency, the firm will essentially plug directly into the team/company and function as an internal recruiter working directly with HR, hiring managers and candidates as part of the organization. This isn’t the case in all businesses, but I’m sure at this point you’re wondering, “If I have internal recruiters, why would I need an RPO firm?” Great question! Let’s review some of the differences between an RPO firm and internal recruiters.

  • You get exactly what you pay for. As a business owner, your reaction may be, “I get that now.” From an outside perspective, that’s likely not the case. External recruiters are billing you ONLY for the time spent recruiting for your position. That means, if we are assigned to 20 hours, those 20 hours will only be used for activities that get us closer to a potential hire for you. Sounds pretty great right? The recruiters are laser focused during that time on only activities that get you closer to hiring a great candidate for your business.

  • Consulting from experience – This might not be exclusive to agencies, but when we come on-site, our goal is to help you find someone that will positively impact your business. Our expertise doesn’t stop at skillset and interviewing. RPO firms (mostly) offer full-service recruiting with hands in everything from candidate identification, interviewing, on-site scheduling, debriefing, and consulting throughout the process. We help you navigate the process with each person to make the process as seamless as possible and provide a great candidate experience.

  • Interviewing – On the front-end of the interview process, we are diving deep into a candidate’s background, skills and even career path to ensure this person won’t fill the role, but elevate it. Once we have a strong understanding of how this potential employee will fit into the role/organization, we are a sounding board for all questions and concerns.

  • Targeted approach – Viewed as the “experts” on our given search, we do everything in our power to absorb all information about the company, position, and market and use this to identify the ideal “fit.” Once this information is gathered, we perform a targeted search and narrow in on exactly what the company NEEDS rather than surface level skills and qualifications. Shotgun approach isn’t in our vocabulary! Convinced yet?

Maybe you’re not convinced. Maybe you have reservations based on what you’ve experienced before or heard about agencies. We definitely get it! The biggest misconception about RPO recruiting is that the companies drag their feet and you end up paying more in the long run. With our 20 years of experience in this space, I can assure you with us, this isn’t the case. In recruiting, if you’re negatively impacting a company’s bottom-line, you won’t be there very long. As any good agency owner or recruiter will tell you, our business is about relationships.

Written by Philip Giuffre, Recruiting Consultant


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