The Ultimate Guide to Recruitment Process Outsourcing


Master the art of RPO with these tips, and resources.

Main Banner Image The Ultimate Guide to RPO Pierpoint International Recruitment Process Outsourcing

To get started, let’s define Recruitment Process Outsourcing: RPO comprises the operational responsibility for one or more recruiting functions, from the client to a services provider where the provider essentially takes on all or part of the role of the client’s recruiting department. Pricing is based on the process, usually at volume rates that could be per hire or a monthly retainer.


Originally, RPO was viewed principally as a resource for staffing and research, but it has evolved into a full-cycle service that can include everything from sourcing to onboarding supported by data management, applicant tracking systems, and integration with social media, mobile, and even Big Data.


  • To RPO or Not? How Do You Decide To Go RPO?

  • The Next Stage of RPO

  • RPO Scalability: The Key to Making RPO Fit Your Organization’s Ongoing Needs

  • Key Considerations When Choosing an RPO Partner

  • Your RPO Provider Needs High Emotional Intelligence to Find Those Great Hires

  • Tips on RPO Selection: Why Choosing an Experienced Vendor is Vital

  • How an RPO Vendor Can Help Ensure Compliance

  • Need to Hire Fast? How an RPO Can Attract Talent in a Time Crunch

  • Why Your RPO Needs to Practice Diverse and Inclusive Hiring 

  • Choosing the Right RPO for Med Tech


To RPO or Not? How Do You Decide To Go RPO?


  1. Define the business problems you’re trying to solve

  2. Compare your current model versus an RPO for your specific needs

  3. Develop a cost-focused business case

  4. Compare the baseline (current approach) to RPO models



Any decision on engaging a RPO model should be based on a well-articulated business case that outlines the business impact, costs, risks, challenges and expected outcomes which, if done well, will present a TA/HR team with a clear path toward the right conclusion.


The RPO landscape:


The RPO market is very dynamic and growing fast. The Technavio Global Recruitment Process Outsourcing Market 2017-2021 report puts the 2016 global RPO market value at $3.5 billion with a 2021 projected value of $6.7 billion. The same report also predicts that the market will grow at 17.66% CAGR for the years 2017-2021. With that level of growth, it’s no wonder that RPO is the fastest growing area of all HR outsourcing practices.

A listing of the top RPO Performers of 2016 from Workforce.com shows us the true scale of the success of RPO companies in terms of their total annual hires. It is estimated to be at least one million jobs with approximately 75 percent of that total produced by only seven companies.


There’s much raw numbers that don’t tell us, such as client satisfaction, turnover for the positions hired and the savings realized by their clients over the cost of internal models. Still, an annual total of more than three-quarters of a million hires across only seven RPO companies shows the real power of the practice and why every company facing hiring challenges should consider it.


Step 1: Define Your Business Problem


Overall, I see the RPO-or-not decision as a three-step process, the first step of which is defining your business problem. Are you trying to solve for short-term turnover? Do you need to improve time-to-fill? Are your agency costs too high?


There are numerous examples of RPOs helping to solve such problems. Hays saved £2m by reducing reliance on temp workers for a major investment bank. Right Thing (ADP), through a rigorous standardized hiring process, reduced >90 day turnover for Wal-Mart from 54% to 30% in various regions.


After you define your problems, you should calculate the total cost of the problem. I’ve always included cost-of-turnover in my analyses. At a private US education firm, there was a 48% turnover for teachers resulting in the need to hire 12,000 teachers annually at a cost of approx. $1K per teacher. We also determined that 3% of parents didn’t renew primarily due to teacher turnover, which resulted in more than $5M of lost sales. This is a compelling problem. I encourage all TA/HR leaders to work with their internal finance teams to determine the cost of the problem.


Step 2: Compare the Models


When to use RPO?


While there are no absolutes, some of the key factors to consider when deciding the RPO question include:

  • Cost management

  • Scalable solutions (especially with global growth)

  • Demand for quality talent


RPOs are generally known for being scalable, cost-effective, and for process standardization with high-volume replicable positions, resulting in better hires. They represent the company as well but are not employees of the company and typically have multiple clients.


Examples include hiring for retail, finance, call centers, and health care. Aberdeen Group research shows 43% of Healthcare organizations are investing in RPO as a way to improve efficiencies and stay compliant.


There are exceptions to these generalities. Starbucks and Chipotle are great examples of large-volume retail hiring that have made investments in their in-house capabilities, yielding positive results. HSBC lowered its agency costs by 60% a few years ago with an internal sourcing team.


When not to use RPO


There are situations in which I would not consider and RPO solution, including:


  • When hiring for complex, niche-based positions (e.g., senior level statisticians)

  • When hiring VPs and above (Building an internal executive recruiting function is the better choice. Apple & Intuit are good examples)

  • When the RPO has large clients in same industry resulting in questions of loyalty and conflicts of interest

  • When the RPO is not willing to put fees at risk if they don’t achieve critical Service Level Agreement metrics (SLAs)


Industries with strong internal employment brands and strong established cultures such as high tech Silicon Valley companies tend to be hostile to RPO. Examples include Google, Facebook, Cisco, Disney, Bain Consulting. Their cultures just don’t align with RPO (not yet, anyway).

Finally, the Business Case


A business case provides a common point of measurement for comparing service provider pricing to the internal cost of providing the in-scope activities and should be an apples-to-apples comparison (generally with a moderate amount of normalization). To clarify, while I recommend that the business case should be compared across multiple service providers, the business template should be the same.


The example above shows hiring 12,000 employees for the same role (replicable positions). The cost is quoted at $350 per hire and involves some transition expenses with technology. Hiring costs (Training and EA are administration expenses you’ll incur with or without a RPO). There is an assumption that the client firm is covering some level of sourcing, which needs to be considered (lowering costs of job boards). In this case, posting costs were reduced by an estimated 40%. Here, we factor in interview time for hiring managers as a soft cost. The RPO should reduce HM time (hiring managers were doing the bulk of the screening).


Any RPO deal should have fees at risk negotiated. In this case, the goal was to reduce >90 day turnover by 5%. If the RPO delivers on that promise, the result should be 600 fewer hires with the turnover cost saved and should be factored. We call this a normalization and here, a turnover reduction benefit


It’s important to partner with your internal teams to get the right data. The variances will tell you about the costs. I recommend comparing three years of data to determine if RPO really is a good idea. In this example, the company would save approximately $1.8M with a standardized process, the technology it didn’t have prior and resources to interview candidates usually handled by the hiring manager. This is clearly a compelling business case.


Also, if you bundle RPO services into a pricing model, you have leverage. For large companies, while it’s not advisable to put all your eggs in one basket, synergy make sense. It’s not just about cost; it’s more efficient to have one partner if the data is all in one place. This could apply in cases where the RPO is offering their own applicant tracking system and-or Vendor Service Programs (VSP) as part of the service package.


Although there are no absolutes (death, taxes and need for hiring great talent notwithstanding), a good business case will help guide your RPO-or-not decision-making.


The Next Stage of RPO


The Next Stage of RPO Helps You Recruit the Right Talent—Right When You Need It


With the extremely low unemployment rate and a growing skills and talent gap, U.S. companies are struggling more than ever to find, retain, and compete for the right talent to help their business grow and become a competitive player in their industry.    


In recent years, companies have increasingly turned to recruitment experts—outside firms performing a service known as recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)—to help transform their talent acquisition process and find higher quality candidates with greater efficiency.


But as the recruiting environment grows more complex and fast-paced, RPOs must go the extra mile to deliver value-added services and speedy solutions. On average, a quality RPO implementation can take anywhere from six to nine months to roll out. But in many cases, HR professionals and hiring managers seeking outside help to fill hard-to-staff positions need solutions—and talent—now.


Recruiting experts Pierpoint International (“Pierpoint”) say the next stage of RPO market development is to solve companies’ short-term problems while simultaneously planning a sustainable recruitment outsourcing program aimed at long-term growth. Pierpoint is unveiling a new, rapid-response strategy to accelerate the recruitment timeline with a revolutionary recruitment model called RRO (Recruitment Resource Outsourcing).


This model employs a ready-now, expert recruitment team with a robust talent pipeline to assess companies’ immediate needs and provide quick relief for their biggest talent pain points. In the following pages, there are several key elements of RRO—the next stage of RPO in producing greater, more efficient results in the mature talent market.


RRO recognizes that the customer has a need “yesterday”—and fills that need today.


It’s that age-old adage: You don’t start looking for the buckets until the building is on fire. In today’s service-driven economy, companies often don’t see a problem until it’s right in front of them. So if an organization has made the decision to engage an RPO provider today, that usually means they need solutions—and talent—yesterday.


Historically, the answer has lied in outsourcing all or a portion of a company’s recruitment process to an RPO provider, which can help streamline hiring costs, decrease time-to-fill, and improve candidate quality. A successful RPO program provides talent acquisition consulting that encompasses analysis, strategy, and execution.


The problem is this: Traditional RPO platforms have an implementation process that can take anywhere between six to nine months to roll out, in the meantime leaving organizations with unfilled critical positions and dwindling profits. 


With RRO, that timeline is cut in half and a ready-now, expert recruitment team starts throwing water on the proverbial fire today. Armed with a robust talent pipeline to identify immediate talent needs and begin recruiting on day one, this team commences the planning and roll-out of a sustainable recruitment outsourcing program aimed at long-term growth while simultaneously focusing on filling hard-to-fill positions to get talent in your door as the immediate priority. 


A typical RPO implementation begins with a lengthy education process in which the outsourcers learn about the company’s brand, hiring needs and process, and technological tools to determine how best to market and promote the business—all before taking any action to do so.  


On the flip side, an RRO model embraces the idea of “education and action,” rather than “education before action.” An RRO provider will still learn the ins and outs of the company, but it will also tell the company: “Help us understand where your biggest issues are so we can start servicing them immediately while we’re getting up to speed on the rest.”


Under this model, the ramp-up time is significantly reduced; talent is identified and retained, and onboarding begins an average of three to six months sooner than with traditional RPO platforms.


What are the key points of evaluation for selecting an RRO provider?


An evolutionary cousin to RPO, RRO is a redefined RPO process that focuses on the value of a trained, experienced, and certified recruitment team and process oversight which curates technology, facilitates ongoing training and delivers experienced support and guidance on the process. A few of the most important things to look for in a successful RRO provider are:


  • Specializations of their recruiters 

  • Training and education of their recruiters 

  • Tenure of their recruiters


There’s no overstating the importance of specialization when it comes to improving time-to-fill in a tight labor market. Yet some companies may not realize how critical it is to choose recruiters that have experience in their sector or industry, be it health care, financial services, medical devices, pharmaceutical, networking, or software development. While a recruiter’s skill set may be transferable from industry to industry, their back end knowledge base is not. For example, an experienced recruiter who’s been in the IT sector for ten years is equipped with a Rolodex filled with high-quality candidates whom they can draw from to start filling positions on day one. Therefore, the speed to fill on an experienced, successful recruiter is infinitely quicker than it would be for somebody who either hasn’t worked in that industry or hasn’t worked in the space for a long time. 


As a leader in RRO, and its category founding father, Pierpoint boasts a team of highly skilled recruiters who all have LinkedIn Recruiter Certification, applicant tracking systems training, and take ongoing courses on advanced strategic sourcing. Depending on the industry verticals, they possess additional specialized training and certifications. For example,  they may be a Certified Java Developer themselves or have a black belt certification in Diversity & Inclusion and Internet Recruitment. Regardless, all team members have a bachelor’s degree and many have master’s degrees in psychology, business administration, biochemistry, and engineering. This allows recruiters to understand the technology, candidate motivation, and business acumen to partner well with hiring managers and internal recruiting teams.


The Pierpoint team has been cultivating the RRO program and offers the following metrics:


  • Recruiters have an average of 12+ years of experience, particularly in the high-tech, healthcare, and med-tech sectors, which boast some of the more tough-to-fill, specialized roles where knowledge workers are in highest demand. 

  • Pierpoint averages 14 to 20 days to identify the winning candidate with interviews taking place.

  • The RRO team fills complex roles within 30 to 45 days compared to an industry average of 60 days. 

  • In an industry where the provider-client relationship tenure is approximately two years, Pierpoint’s customer retention rate is 94 percent with most relationships spanning 10 or more years.

What is the technology plan for RRO?


Industry insiders say RPO partners must get in front of technological change while also offering more services. With immense competition to find and attract candidates, it is crucial that an RRO program has a technology recruitment stack that is targeted to each organization and has the ability to cut through the clutter to customize the ideal solution for clients.


Using the latest technology, artificial intelligence tools, and advanced sourcing techniques, Pierpoint is able to fill 70 percent of vacancies with passive candidates in a very competitive talent market where the unemployment rate is under 3 percent. Additionally, Pierpoint has helped many companies implement new technologies to improve effectiveness and therefore lower their operational recruiting costs. Some examples include new applicant tracking systems that improve candidate quality, and interview scheduling automation that easily and quickly gets candidates in the door so vacancies can be filled in a more timely manner.


As the challenge to secure talent faster than the organization next door continues to grow, the RRO model is an excellent option to explore to speed up the recruitment process. This solution can also be combined with a number of other offerings, such as hourly recruiter rentals, a hybrid container model for critical talent searches, and specialty hire programs via a diverse team of recruiters that can support any organizations’ needs in virtually any geography in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia.



RPO Scalability: The Key to Making RPO Fit Your Organization’s Ongoing Needs


The time to fill a position currently takes organizations around 27 working days, and 47 percent of declined offers are due to candidates accepting other jobs during the timeframe. 


To speed up processes, companies have increasingly come to see the value in outsourcing recruitment services to RPO vendors.


Currently, the global staffing market is pegged at $450 billion and, as Michael Overell, notes, RPO is a $3 to $4 billion industry growing at 10 percent per year.


While historically restricted to high-volume employers due to high costs of delivery, these days RPO partners deliver cost-effective value to SMEs.


The important consideration is that RPOs have evolved over the years and are able to provide clients with specialized recruitment services that are efficient, affordable and, ultimately, scalable to changing hiring needs.


We recently published some tips to keep in mind when choosing an RPO partner here and here. In this installment, we argue that one of the major considerations when choosing an RPO partner is scalability.


In times of growth or decline, high hiring intensity or slow progress, RPOs need to ramp up or scale down recruitment services to fit organizational requirements.


Red Flags When Choosing an RPO Vendor


As with selecting any vendor or partner, it is worth having a checklist in place to help when making the decision. Carrie Kolar, at RPOA, lists a number of red flags to watch out for. One such flag is when the RPO representative says, “Our team will be dedicated to your account 100% of the time.”


This should be cause for alarm or at least circumspection, Kolar argues. Part of what RPOs provide is scalability. They can scale up or down depending on a client’s needs. That means when some organizations are upscaling, they will be receiving more attention and resources. For those requiring down-scaling of services, fewer resources are required. Within this changing dynamic, RPO partners will need to shift their staff from one client to another.


This in itself is no need for concern. It is the nature of scalable solutions. However, just be aware that the RPO partner should not try to conceal this in the potentially false promise that all all of their attention will be given to a particular client all of the time.


“While your provider would ideally have a core group assigned to your project full-time to maintain quality and continuity along the implementation, dedicating 100% of the team 100% of the time is not feasible,” Kolar writes.


Another aspect tied to scalability is customizability. A good RPO partner will be able to identify an organization’s requirements and provide recruitment services that cater to them.


Indeed, it is this expert knowledge that has increased RPO’s popularity over the years. Jarrod Mollison, at Datum RPO, writes that RPO services provide welcome alternatives to traditional methods of agencies or in-house teams.

An RPO provider may offer an end-to-end solution, taking on a client’s entire recruiting function or providing specific services, bolstering the in-house team. This can include candidate research, auditing, process mapping, technology consulting training and compliance. 


Scalability is also an important aspect of the partnership. Mollison says a reliable RPO partner should be able to provide specialized services that are scalable to an organization’s needs. In order to achieve this, RPOs need to be aware of the turnaround of temporary workers, market fluctuations, centralized rates, quality control and IT infrastructure.


RPOs Cater to Times of Rapid Growth and Seasonal Spikes


This awareness will help RPOs deliver services that meet clients’ hiring needs within a customized framework, according to Tom Valerius at The Source 2 Blog. In order to make this possible, RPOs need to offer scalable processes and services.


It’s important for an RPO to be able to act when an organization is growing and needs to ramp up hires quickly. However, what is also vital is for an RPO vendor to scale down when hiring needs are slow. This means a flexible approach is key. “It’s important to remember,” Valerius writes, “there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to RPO.”


RPO partners are vital for those times when recruitment needs to be altered to accommodate seasonal spikes and unexpected rapid growth, Andrew Greenberg writes at Contract Recruiter.


Not only does keeping recruitment in-house during these trying times place undue stress on the team, but it can also lead to hasty placements of candidates who may not be the most suitable.

RPO partners can better control the fluctuating recruiting demands of, and impact on, businesses. With dedicated staff, experienced recruiters, advanced recruiting technology and social recruiting methods, RPOs are well-equipped to deal with scalable hiring needs.


Additionally, small startups can reap the rewards of partnering with an RPO vendor. Consider how these new organizations won’t have the same resources as larger competitors in their industries. They can compete by outsourcing recruitment, as RPOs can find better candidates and place them quicker than the startups could do on their own.


When companies outsource recruiting, it’s usually to resolve specific needs such as rapid growth, hiring for short-term projects, saving money or reducing turnover. A good RPO partner can not only scale these services to fit demand, but it can also add the resources to find the best fits for roles.


Big or Small, RPOs Scale to Fit Any Organization


Quarsh director Lucy James notes how the old days of a job for life are long gone. The modern workforce moves rapidly, and organizations need recruitment strategies to match this.


Businesses of any size, James argues, must be able to “scale and adapt their employment offering and routes to the candidate market at a much greater pace than ever before, whilst understanding and incorporating the ever-increasing number of technological developments in the labor market.”


RPOs present companies with a means of dealing with these changes in a cost-effective and largely stress-free way. The flexibility of scalable modern RPO services is an effective recruitment solution for SMEs especially, those who benefit from the economies of scale that an RPO offers as well as the outsourcing partner’s knowledge and expertise.


Scalability is Top of the List


Scalability is such an important aspect of the RPO partnership that it registers as the major priority when choosing a vendor.


Gary Bragar at HRO Today lists the main reasons behind why companies outsource their recruitment processes. Improving talent acquisition performance results and quality of hires is an obvious motivator as is transforming and updating processes to find better candidates from a broader network at a lower cost.


Topping the list, however, are scalability and being able to meet changing business demands. Agility is an important capability in business and responsive, proactive talent acquisition grants organizations the nimbleness to adapt.


The ability to scale up recruitment to support growth has become a major challenge for internal talent acquisition teams. A stronger economy, increased demand for specialized positions, global expansion, seasonal hiring, and mergers and acquisitions all impact the need for scalable services.


The reality is that for most in-house teams, these demands, whether sudden or planned for, are too great to deal with on their own. This is why RPO partners can add value to the hiring process.


RPOs Grant Access to Technology


Better recruitment strategies are linked to global reach, writes Richard Jackson, COO at Hays. Jackson notes how clients are well-served by partnering with RPOs that have worldwide clout. This provides a coordinated approach to recruitment.


However, another major advantage of employing RPO services is access to recruitment technology. Using the latest tech means decisions can be made more accurately in a shorter space of time. It also helps with scaling services to fit organizational needs. As Jackson notes, outsourcing these concerns gives in-house hiring teams the space to focus resources elsewhere.


Further, Allie Kelly at HR Technologist argues that RPO partners can provide modern recruiting tools for smaller companies without the financial resources to bring it in house. This means that even single-person hiring departments or small teams can find scalable solutions to manage the many facets of recruiting.


Scalability is Just One Aspect of a Solid RPO Offering


Francis Padamadan at Financial Express says RPO players, with the clear communication of organizations with local expertise and experience, can provide accelerated speed of hire to the right scale. Padamadan is so enthusiastic, he writes that “RPO is the panacea.”


Breaking down RPO into four main categories — skill-based, project-based, consulting and end-to-end — Padamadan argues that RPO partners can help boost ROI.


Scalability is a notable concern, but it is just one aspect of many considerations when it comes to selecting an RPO partner. Important issues such as cost-reduction, access to technology and pipelines loaded with candidates of good cultural fits remain key.


An effective RPO partner will be able to provide all of these to meet an organization’s changing needs — and will have the flexibility to ramp up or scale down when circumstances demand.



Key Considerations When Choosing an RPO Partner

The job market is competitive, and without trying too hard you will find plenty of references to a so-called “talent war.” While we don’t wish to paint a picture of hiring managers dashing around with sticks and stones, we do concur: It is tough out there.


Hiring managers are overworked, HR departments are juggling multiple tasks, and many lack the necessary skills and expertise to develop a proactive hiring strategy. Some may not even be equipped to test, interview and appraise candidates for highly technical roles.


Choosing the right recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner can be a huge boon. RPO can give organizations access to cutting-edge technology and testing tools, as well as a loaded pipeline of skilled candidates.


It is for these reasons, and a few more we will discuss, that many employers opt to outsource their recruitment needs to experts. Here are a few tips on choosing a reliable RPO partner.


Why Choose an RPO Partner


It’s worth pointing out the circumstances in which an RPO tends to be a better choice than a traditional recruitment agency. As Oli Meagers at Online Recruitment magazine says, organizations might opt for the latter when filling positions urgently. Driven by time constraints, the organization and the recruitment agency act quickly — but perhaps not according to the best strategy.


Many readers will see the above as a reactive approach to hiring. We have, in a previous post, written about the advantages of building proactive talent acquisition strategies. To reiterate, this should be the aim whenever possible.   


RPOs, on the other hand, are generally used by organizations that might lack the requisite in-house skills or wish to develop a long-term talent acquisition strategy. The relationship between organization and RPO will be based on exclusivity clauses or sole-supplier contracts to develop transparent and consultative partnerships.


Having an RPO partner doesn’t mean the existing in-house team becomes superfluous, however. It depends on what kind of relationship and organization seeks from its partner.


RPOs Must Offer Customizable Treatment


Randstad Sourceright’s Sue Ruddock, writing at the Staffing Stream, lists four major RPO models:


  • End-to-end, which includes all hiring requirements for appointing permanent employees, as well as value-added services such as contingent workforce management.

  • Project RPO, which is for one-off or repeat projects requiring short-term sourcing needs.

  • Selective RPO, which is used to build upon the existing recruitment process.

  • Recruiter on demand (ROD) solutions, which add manpower to an organization’s in-house function.


Whatever the chosen model, Ruddock notes that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Companies need a customized strategy to meet their larger business goals.


Achieving recruitment goals with an in-house team is possible, but it is costly and time-consuming. Ruddock notes how quickly talent analytics and mobile technology, for example, have become essential for an effective talent strategy. Not being on top of this will cause hiring strategies to fail.


An RPO partner, she writes, can help an organization find balance by delivering insights and market experience. It should complement the company culture and be able to adapt to change in size and direction.


For Gajendra Chandel, chief HR officer at Tata Motors, an RPO partner plays a supportive role. While its in-house talent acquisition team focuses on strategy and brand-building, the company outsources to a partner that is able to deliver skills the company doesn’t have, as well as access to a deeper pool of candidates.   


While Chandel keeps brand-building in-house, many RPOs can fulfil this function, as well as many other functions.


Hiring an RPO Is Not Just About Filling Desks


As employers’ needs have evolved, so too has the role of RPO partners. Stacey Cadigan, a market intelligence consultant, says RPOs should help organizations build their employment brands, boost passive candidate engagement and make the application process more personalized.


This all sounds positive, but there is sometimes still a reluctance to outsource. Some organizations fear the unknown or a perceived loss of control when bringing in an RPO. This stems from the false belief that the vendor won’t be able to understand an organization’s needs. A good RPO, writes Newton Consulting’s Patty Silbert, quickly gets to grip with a company’s value proposition and can articulate to candidates how it differs from their current employment.


Of course, a solid RPO program will be able to measure whether goals are being met within agreed to timeframes. Using tracking mechanisms and metrics to measure progress, this data will reveal the RPO’s efficiency, as well as help shape and evolve the talent acquisition strategy.


What to Do Before Deciding on an RPO Partner


Larry Myler at Forbes writes that when hiring an RPO partner it is prudent to check their track record. Just as one wouldn’t hire a financial planner with a questionable personal investment portfolio, one shouldn’t hire an RPO that cannot boast a talented and long-serving team working for them.


Myler suggests asking three questions to help decided on the right partner:


  • What is their annual loss rate of employees? Turnover should be less than 20 percent.

  • Do they hire, train and manage their own employees?

  • Do their employees love working for their employers?


The answers to these questions should yield useful insight when choosing the best outsourcing vendor for an organization’s needs.


IBM’s Jacques Bossonney says before choosing an RPO partner, it is worth listing all of your organization’s needs and ranking them according to priority.  “Your objectives must remedy your pain points,” he says, “so be specific.” These considerations include:


  • RPO partners being able to source and deliver hard-to-fill positions.

  • Being innovative with tools and solutions.

  • Being flexible to adapt the service without compromising quality.


Beyond the skills and technological know-how of RPOs, there is another important consideration: An RPO needs to align with the hiring values of the organization. This is what Kimberly Warne, talent acquisition leader at GE, expects from both in-house recruiters and RPOs. They should “manage managers, keep candidates warm, bear in mind diversity programs and a number of other requirements.”


All of the above flows into a major capability an RPO needs to demonstrate: It must be able to customize recruitment solutions.


Eyal Katz at Connecteam says the right RPO will have industry-specific expertise to solve the pain points. It does this through a customized solution that fits an organization’s business needs and strategic objectives.


The Difference Between Good and Great RPOs


Howard Flint, at Recruiting Blogs, deals with an important question: What is the difference between a good RPO and a great RPO? A great partner, he says, will deliver “recruitment excellence” from the beginning and throughout the relationship.


Flint cautions that while RPOs offer interesting perspectives and insight into emerging areas of recruitment practice, they can often be following market trends. This is necessary, but without being proactive in dealing with their clients’ needs, they will not add real and measurable value to an organization.  


Great RPOs offer a comprehensive strategy and overarching framework for improvement to deliver a real and sustained competitive advantage. This all needs to happen with minimum hassle and cost. To ensure this happens, Flint advises organizations to test an RPO’s performance using the four criteria:


  • Quality hires through data

  • Service efficiency and positive stakeholder experience

  • Total workforce management

  • Client empathy to honor the company’s culture, values, and brand


Picking an RPO Partner Is Simpler Than It Sounds


This may all seem like a lot, but as Quarsh founder Lucy James says, choosing the right RPO just requires a bit of research. She suggests finding an RPO that can up and downscale according to organizational needs.


James also says when it comes to specialized needs such as tech or scientific candidates, organizations will need RPOs with specific skill sets and proven experience in technical fields.


The task may seem daunting, but it needn’t be. RPOs are experts for a reason: They have the experience, the technology and the skills to ensure their clients get the very best resources to build a long-term talent acquisition strategy.


With the guidance offered in this post, hiring managers and employers can ask important questions from the very beginning as to what their organization needs. The right RPO will be able to lead them to the answers.



Your RPO Provider Needs High Emotional Intelligence to Find Those Great Hires     


The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2020 emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 skills in the workplace. That goes for bosses as well as teams and team leaders.


No matter how many hard skills a candidate possesses, a lack of emotional intelligence can render them a bad fit for any company.


This is not all that surprising. Consider the work of author and psychologist Daniel Goleman, who, back in 1995, found that many of the competencies that distinguish the best performers at work are related to emotional intelligence, or EQ.


Even in highly technical IT roles, candidates with emotional intelligence tend to do better. Soft skills such as EQ and cognitive flexibility are necessary for workers to adapt to the changing marketplace and industry demands.


These soft skills are not just about being a friendly face in the office. Holly Benson, vice president at Infosys, says non-technical skills help fuel “innovation, creativity and collaboration” within organizations.


It’s all very well for a client to direct its RPO to find emotionally intelligent candidates, but this means recruiters need to be intelligent in the same way.


In this post, we argue that an RPO partner needs to have a strong team of recruiting professionals who are emotionally intelligent. In this way, they will know how to test candidates for this increasingly important soft skill.


A Brief Definition of Emotional Intelligence


Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, defines emotional intelligence in terms of how people manage behavior, navigate social complexities and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.


Emotional intelligence, Bradberry argues, comprises four skills subsumed by two overarching competencies: personal competence and social competence.


Personal competence comprises self-awareness (accurately perceiving one’s own emotions and staying aware of them as they happen) and self-management skills (using awareness of one’s own emotions to stay flexible and to positively direct behavior).


Social competence is made up of social awareness (accurately picking up on emotions in other people) and relationship management (using awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully).


Bradberry notes how those with strong emotional intelligence and an average IQ can, in 70 percent of cases, outperform those with the highest IQs. Quite simply, emotional intelligence sets candidates apart from the rest.


Why Do Employers Want Emotionally Intelligent Candidates?


Candidates who lack EQ tend to struggle to learn from their mistakes and blame others for their failures. According to Laszlo Bock, Google’s former head of people operations, this boils down to poor self-awareness and lack of motivation to better themselves.            


Obviously, employers want to find emotionally intelligent people for their companies, but the blame cannot rest solely on candidates who turn out to be bad fits. According to a Leadership IQ study, a major reason for new employees failing at their jobs is due to a flawed interview process. Company CEO Mark Murphy attributes this to interviewers focusing on technical rather than emotional competence.

Murphy points to coachability, emotional intelligence, temperament and motivation as being vital qualities in successful candidates.


Where Are the Emotionally Intelligent Candidates?


Knowing that organizations thrive with high EQ candidates is one part of the recruitment process. The other is knowing how to find them.


Annie McKee, at Harvard Business Review, writes that recruiters often don’t hire for EQ, focusing instead on pedigree: where the candidate went to school, grades and test scores, technical skills, and certifications. This is often because those doing the hiring have not been trained to test for emotional intelligence.


This needs to change. Recruiters should become more aware of the importance of hiring candidates who can adapt to change; understand and motivate other employees; and manage the good, the bad and the ugly emotions that humans display throughout the stressful periods of work, McKee argues.


Further, she recommends that recruiters need to go beyond the simple questions related to emotional intelligence by asking strong follow-up questions. The recruiter has to be able to penetrate the “idealized notion” of candidates and get to how they really behave.


As one example, McKee says this could mean asking candidates to think about a challenge in which they need to help a team come to a solution. Running through successful and unsuccessful examples will help shed light as to how the person perceives their own emotions and how they managed them.


Why Recruiters Need to Be Emotionally Intelligent


The old saying “It takes one to know one” comes into mind when talking about emotionally intelligent recruiters.


Or, as The Next Step director Jo Skipper says, “You have to know your opposite.” Noting how she loathes tardy candidates and the assumptions she forms of those who are late, Skipper says she is aware of this as her personal potential derailer: “We can’t play judge and jury about who will be most successful in a role. As recruiters, we have to leave our prejudices behind.”


Recruiters who are aware of their own emotions and how to manage them in trying situations will be able to ask the right questions to determine whether candidates share this intelligence.


Anna Gibbons, at the Undercover Recruiter, writes about the importance of hiring professionals implementing their understanding of emotional intelligence to improve the quality of hires. This includes looking at interviewees’ body language and how they articulate themselves.


“Don’t underestimate your gut feeling,” Gibbons says. “If someone is saying all the right things, but for some reason, you doubt their integrity or their confidence in themselves, it is worth thinking about whether they will give the same impression to the hiring manager.”


Recruiters with superior EQ are vital to build and maintain strong relationships to prevent the recruitment process from going awry, according to Ankur Chauhan at Collar Search.


Chauhan argues that EQ helps recruiters determine whether a candidate will succeed or fail in a new role. He suggests raising the following points when interviewing potential hires:


  • How they manage their impulses.

  • How they adapt to change.

  • Whether they are defensive under pressure.

  • How they manage to shift priorities.

  • How agile they regard themselves.

Caroline Stokes, the founder of recruiting agency FORWARD as well as podcast and recruitment platform The Emotionally Intelligent Recruiter, is a big advocate of partnering with recruiters with high EQ.


Not only is this vital for the points discussed above, but it is a boon for the bottom line. Stokes points out that the U.S. Air Force saved $3 million after switching to emotionally intelligent recruiters.


Having recruiters with high EQ is good for profits, and it’s good for team morale and cohesion. In short, emotions are very important. Sigal Barsade, professor of management at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, says: “[High-EQ recruiters] can provide a company with information [about] what people really feel and can help predict what kind of decisions will be made, what kind of behavior will occur, and what types of relationships will be formed.”


Referrals and EQ


Hiring professionals often talk about the power of the referral. However, adding an emotionally intelligent approach to referral hires “can be a rich source of social capital to introduce to your organization,” Kes Thygesen writes at Fast Company.


Not only do current employees have a solid understanding of what is required for the job, but they are also watching out for themselves. They will rarely suggest a candidate who is ill-equipped to deal with the role’s demands.


By stressing the importance of emotionally intelligent attributes such as willingness to learn, relationship management and social awareness, “your employees will scour their networks to find the right fit,” Thygesen argues.


Recruiters and Candidates Can Enhance Their EQ


For those of you reading this and wondering whether you have the right EQ or not, fear not, as this is a skill that can be developed. Jessica Stephenson, at Exact Hire, writes that emotional intelligence can improve or regress based on an awareness of one’s emotions.


This self-awareness can come in many forms. For Stephenson, it was when listening to the audio version of Bradberry’s book during her commute and realizing what times of day and circumstances make her a better listener.


This knowledge of how we react to and interact with information from others is the first part in controlling how we behave.


Emotionally intelligent candidates will mean better hires. They will be able to work well in teams and respond appropriately to work stress and others in the organization.


Companies will need self-aware recruiters with well-developed soft skills to find the best candidates for hard-to-fill roles.  



Tips on RPO Selection: Why Choosing an Experienced Vendor is Vital                          


Companies that use the services of an RPO partner are around 40 percent more likely to establish an effective talent pipeline for their open positions.


This is what Zachary Chertok at Aberdeen Group reveals in his report, Recruitment Process Outsourcing: A Lifeline in the War for Top Talent. The report also found that RPO customers are 17 percent more likely than non-RPO customers to end up with a top-quality workforce.


Add to that the results from a 2017 Mercer Global Talent Trends Study, in which 69 percent of executives believe talent scarcity is the most crucial challenge to overcome.


It’s tough to find the right talent, but RPO vendors can help achieve this. However, recruitment is more than just a numbers game. In this post — a follow-up to our last post on tips for choosing an RPO vendor — we argue that selecting the right vendor is key and give some insight in how to choose the best.


Ultimately, it comes down to an RPO with a solid track record and experienced team.


Cut the Time to Hire


Time is valuable to all businesses, and it’s worth trying to save as much of it as possible.


Katie Barr at Resourcing Insight writes that having an experienced and reliable RPO partner can shorten hiring windows through their “highly structured and centralised” approach. Indeed, speed is a major advantage throughout the process. RPOs can rapidly contract and expand resources depending on the market.


Part of this time-saving capability is due to having a loaded pipeline. Kevin Duffy, at Kelly OCG, writes that employers partnering with an experienced RPO will realize a number of benefits. A reliable RPO with a proven track record often has a broader and often global talent pool.


But the RPO partner, while learning what the client organization needs, also understands what candidates in the market want. This makes the talent acquisition strategy more customized and effective.


An experienced RPO partner also has in-depth knowledge of streamlining recruitment processes and can establish a contingent and scalable workforce.


RPO Vendors Within Budget


Organizations want RPO partners that work fast, but that can also save them money. Lamees Abourahma, at the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association, says a good RPO vendor will work within a budget and deliver quality cost-effectively and efficiently.


While the relationship between company and vendor is set to be positive, assuming the contract is worked on judiciously, Abourahma suggests leaving space for an initial transitional period of between one and three months.


This is the time needed for even an experienced RPO partner to get up to speed with the workings of an organization, “work out kinks in the process, and implement any new technology.”


This period is also vital for the RPO partner and HR team to develop a working relationship.


RPO Partners Are Up to Date With Industry Changes


Yvonne McAteer and Tim Proehm, at Kelly OCG, argue that a generation ago talent acquisition worked differently than it does today. Most industries weren’t struggling to fill positions then, and technology played a much smaller role in the hiring process.


The recruitment process was much more straightforward with recruiters posting job ads, perusing resumes and selecting the best candidates for a series of interviews. RPOs, therefore,  were tactical over the long term to decrease hiring costs for the employer.


These days, the evolved RPO is agile, creative and candidate-focused. It is outcome-based and uses technology to boost the candidate experience. Just consider how AI, chatbots and advanced automation are becoming crucial to improving the hiring process for candidates and recruiters alike.


The truth for most companies is that no matter how skilled their HR departments are, they are slowed down by duties other than hiring. This means they are not at the forefront of industry changes and technological innovations.


Agency, In-House Team and RPO Vendors Have Different Skills


We mentioned how in-house teams and HR departments do not always have the necessary resources available to deal with hiring quality candidates. But there are differences in skills and advantages between in-house teams, staffing agencies and, of course, RPO partners.


Jason Collings at Quarsh says a good agency supplier will not necessarily be a good outsourcer, as the skills sets are not the same. This is why choosing an RPO partner with experience is key. There needs to be a proven track record of improving processes and optimizing returns. A skilled vendor that hires experts in their fields is the difference between finding the best candidates with long-term successes and not.


A skilled RPO partner can proactively source candidates and deliver processes and systems to improve recruitment standards. Expert RPO will provide all of this with a “laser focus” on clients’ needs and, if they are good, won’t “even ask you to exclude the best of your agency suppliers, giving you the best of both worlds,” Collins argues.


For Mitch Sullivan, at Hitched, the reason for choosing an RPO partner comes down to strategy. In his opinion, outsourcing can lead to a more effective means of hiring the best talent.


This is something with which Eyal Katz, at Connecteam, agrees. He argues that the best RPO partners get the job done right. Obviously, this boils down to experience and deep knowledge of recruiting. But it is also dependent on having expertise on matching the right candidate to the right role.


It doesn’t sound all that different from an in-house team, right? The difference, Katz argues, is that the RPO partner is judged solely on how well the new employees work out, how quickly they are hired and how much money is saved when doing it.


An RPO partner with an experienced team understands the latest must-have skills and, unlike an in-house team, is there to hire and hire only. They are not cutting into HR duties the company still needs to perform when hiring other candidates.


On top of that, a good RPO partner takes the time and effort to understand whether a recruit will thrive in the work environment in a way that an in-house team cannot.


Trust the Outsourcing Relationship and Reap the RPO Rewards


Outsourcing is not a decision to be taken lightly. This is certainly something that Karen Piercy, a Philadelphia-based partner with Mercer, notes. She says that handing over responsibilities to an RPO partner can be a “huge change” that often brings with it a sense of lost control.


While the magnitude of change is largely dependent on the type of outsourcing contract chosen, an experienced RPO partner, Piercy argues, will help navigate these feelings of uncertainty.


Whether an RPO partner is selected on a project basis or for end-to-end or segment arrangements, the more experienced and knowledgeable it is, the better the hiring results will be.


Catherine Park at Social Talent suggests that by selecting the best vendor, organizations will reap the rewards of expertise and ensure long-term profits. The outsourcing relationship is deeply dependent on quality communication and honed strategy and processes. The experts know how to do this well.


Doing it well is something Sahil Dhamija, writing at LinkedIn, also stresses. RPO, when done effectively, is often one of the most successful hiring strategies. It is able to deliver greatly improved performance compared to in-house solutions.


The “doing it well” part is important. That is why choosing an RPO partner with experience and proven skills is key. The wrong choice can result in a vendor that does “little more than coordinate agency response or put a consultant on site, offering their client first refusal of candidates on their database,” Dhamija argues.


The right choice of partner, however, can mean a proactive strategy to source candidates from a deep pipeline. It also means, as an organization, you will get access to proven processes, methods and technological systems to enhance the quality of new hires.



How an RPO Vendor Can Help Ensure Compliance


Exempt and non-exempt compliance issues are often too tricky and unwieldy for busy HR departments to deal with. To complicate matters, an important federal-level HR law that would have gone into effect (and that people had planned for) was put on hold at the last minute in December 2016.


Compliance will only get more complicated from here.


Certainly, some companies may have their labor compliance nailed down. For those that don’t have the in-house resources, however, making use of an RPO vendor is one way to shed some light on the darkened nooks and crannies of regulations and compliance.


The question of how to deal with exempt and non-exempt employees in the wake of these future changes is complex.


Passing the Duties Test


The distinction does not just lie in how employees are paid or the words in their job titles, writes Carrie Luxem. More importantly, exempt vs. non-exempt boils down to a duties test: The daily tasks of a worker’s role will determine whether he or she is exempt.


Luxem points out the large room for confusion that this distinction may bring, noting that babysitters, sugar-processing workers and cab drivers, for example, are considered exempt.


This demonstrates how rules aimed at clarity often cloud vision. Indeed, in an interview at SHRM, attorney Robin Samuel says: “The duties test has become so convoluted that even employment lawyers have difficulty figuring out who is performing exempt or non-exempt duties. The duties test is ripe for review and simplification.”


Whether organizations choose an RPO partner or labor lawyer to help guide their future action, employers will need to seek counsel. Those who don’t, and get the distinction wrong, may face penalties for non-compliance.


FLSA Amendments Could Lead to Reclassification of Employee Status


The proposed changes to some of the rules outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which we alluded to earlier, spawned months of worry. Projected for enactment on December 1, 2016, it has since been postponed for discussion. Still, doubt persists for a great many employers and HR departments.


Lynell Meeth, at MRA, writes that if and when the regulations come into action, employers will need to reclassify some of their white-collar employees. The changes are due to proposed amendments to the salary threshold, driving the minimum annual income for employees exempt from being paid overtime from $23,660 to $47,476.


Affected employees would need to be compensated with pay and a half for every extra hour worked after a 40-hour week of work.


Questions of non-compliance are most likely to come to light when it is time for payment, including overtime, which opens employers up to potential harm.


While employers may wish to make this process simpler, it is not that easy.


The Law Decides Who is Exempt or Non-exempt, Not Employers


Some employers may be tempted to decide unilaterally which employee is exempt or non-exempt, but this is not how it works. Contrary to prevailing opinion, Jennifer Hetherington at The Balance writes how the decision to classify an employee is often out of the employer’s control. The distinction is usually defined by the FLSA, and failure to comply can lead to lawsuits and fines.


Attorney Jonathan K, Driggs, at Payroll Experts, writes that clients who pay non-exempt employees on a salary basis make him nervous. This is because sooner or later they will violate the FLSA, he says. Driggs argues that this non-compliance can often happen in good faith, with employers trying to assist their employees with more convenient and personalized payment arrangements.


His message to employers: Don’t do it. You do not decide which employees are exempt or not; the law does.


Simplifying payroll is a potential motivator for companies to muddle the distinction between exempt and non-exempt employees.


If this is not all confusing enough, Alison Doyle, at The Balance, writes about further considerations that employers face. Additional federal, state and FLSA laws all affect how workers — including interns, independent contractors, temporary employees, volunteers, workers in training, and foreign workers — are classified.


This, in turn, affects how these employees are paid. Contractors and consultants are treated differently and may not be working for just one company. Choosing an RPO vendor will help determine who needs to be paid when and how.


Obviously, potential lawsuits, costs accrued and time wasted rectifying the errors of misclassification are severe. But employee morale can suffer, too. This is the message from Chuck Leddy at Spark. He argues that employees who think an organization is not complying with FLSA classification standards will live in fear of severe litigation. This leads to disengagement and diminishes productivity.


Things to Consider When Choosing an RPO Partner


While the future of the law’s amendments has yet to be decided, it is clear that murky waters still lie ahead. It’s important to know what to do and when to do it for the sake of an organization’s stability and the well-being of its employees.


We advise companies to get well acquainted with the relevant labor law regardless of whether they seek an RPO partner. However, if organizations do seek to outsource, they should bear some key considerations in mind. Allison Reilly at the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association writes how a consultative and collaborative approach to choosing a partner is essential.


Securing support from the executive team, she argues, helps facilitate the process, which can only work when treated in a consultative way. Tied to this approach is the need for realistic expectations. RPO vendors will not be able to solve every recruiting pain point instantly, Reilly writes. However, they can help organizations navigate the recruitment landscape, which can turn into a metaphorical minefield as regulations change.


Organizations will be able to go it alone without necessarily using RPO vendors. Robust hiring protocol and a devoted, well-trained HR department will serve the company admirably. However, choosing the right RPO partners can make things much easier.

This is what Eyal Katz, at Business2Community, argues when he compares HR and RPO vendors to cell phones. The former is like an older phone model whereas RPO vendors are the modern smartphone equivalents, Katz writes. It may take a little longer configuring a smartphone to your needs and preferences, but the efficiencies gained make up for it.


Katz argues that a reliable RPO partner pays for itself just in the hours saved by organizations no longer having to take care of recruitment issues.


RPO vendors are well placed to alleviate these concerns. Their knowledge and expertise take away the headaches organizations often face when trying to navigate the murky regulatory waters on their own. However, each company seeking an RPO partner must choose wisely. They should define their needs, wants, and aspirations and find the right outsourcing team to help achieve them.



Need to Hire Fast? How an RPO Can Attract Talent in a Time Crunch           


Seasonal demands, unexpected changes to projects and employees who move onto other opportunities are some of the reasons organizations need to hire fast. Anyone in overworked and under-resourced HR departments knows that this is not an easy feat to achieve. All existing HR work needs to continue, while the added task of trying to find a good fit the first time throws a giant wrench into the works.


So what do organizations do? Unless there is a big HR department with lots of senior members to take on recruiting tasks themselves, most organizations will need to look to an RPO partner for assistance.


In this post, we look at how RPOs can come in at critical moments when hiring needs to be completed as quickly as possible. Not only that, the hired person has got to be the right choice for the job as bad hires can be very costly.


The adage of ‘time is money’ has been around for a long time, but these days, time costs a lot more money.


RPOs For the Short-Term, Long-Term and End-To-End Hire


The role of an RPO, as Edwin Noordeloos at the Amsterdam-based recruiting company Yoores says, is always to find ways to decrease the time-to-hire for clients. This usually follows three strategies: long-term, short-term or streamlining end-to-end processes.


The long-term focuses on sustained building of employer brand to attract passive candidates as well as create a clear message for all potential hires.


A short-term approach is for a quick fix, where an RPO takes over job marketing and promotes individual opening to find a new hire fast.


Streamlining the end-to-end process is where RPOs can be the most effective in reducing time to hire. This means from the first job posting to the final hire, the RPO takes the lead and feeds in the best candidates.


RPOs Add Value to Time-Poor Businesses


Life is unpredictable, which makes hiring requirements unpredictable.


Axim Technologies president Sai Navle says modern businesses need to be able to hire quickly when necessary and also remain ahead of daily disruptions. While this can be achieved by in-house hiring professionals, the truth is that it is a difficult task.


RPOs, brought in during critical times or maintained for these unpredictable disruptions take away HR’s pain. Not only have RPOs got a loaded talent pipeline to draw from, but they also have the personnel power to get the job done fast.


A Changing Industry Requires Calling In the Experts


The hiring market is fluid. Technology and other advancements bring with them change to prevailing best practices. Hiring is not only highly technical, it is also social and requires relationship building across multiple media.


It is because of these changing variables that Andrew Greenberg at Contract Recruiter argues in favor of partnering with an RPO: “Outsourcing all of your recruiting or just part of your recruitment process puts the reins in the hands of experienced recruitment consultants, saving you time and money.”


This is especially true in times of rapid growth or seasonal spikes, which can place undue strain on staff and make in-house recruiting a daunting challenge. An RPO can better stabilize the fluctuations of an organization’s recruiting activity.


Staying on trend is something Zach Chertok, principal analyst for the Human Capital Management practice in Scotland, talks about too. He says part of the power of an RPO partner is that it is up to date with recruitment trends and market demands.


For companies that keep recruiting in-house, the converse applies in that they limit their scope of understanding as to exactly what candidates want from them as employers.


It’s essential that companies maintain a broad understanding of the needs of the recruitment market if they want to find the best candidates in the fastest possible time, an often insurmountable task for time-strapped hiring professionals. Outsourcing can provide a direct line to market trends and dictates.


RPOs Can Help Lift When the Load Gets Too Heavy


Carrie Kolar at the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association says the demands placed on hiring departments tend to vary, often due to unexpected and unplanned events. They need to be able to adapt to solve these problems. Part of this ability to adapt stems from better planning.


“Determine the likely workload for the next year and build you team around that,” Kolar writes, “setting a level of what you know they can handle.” Beyond that, it will be essential to have a reliable RPO partner on hand to swoop in with added resources. The caveat, however, is to ensure an RPO that delivers consistent and optimal results.


Using an RPO partner means that unexpected hiring needs don’t take away time and resources from an organization’s core business, RPOA’s Allison Reilly added. Most susceptible to these disruptions are SMEs. RPOs can help these organizations remain focused while finding new hires fast.


Our own Jon Langford says, “The exempt-level hiring that a midsized company looks to outsource is generally a prime candidate for 20 to 50 percent reductions in time to fill through an RPO.”


Langford refers to Shutterstock, which required more hires in 2017 due to taking on more global deals. Pierpoint provided a scalable recruitment strategy to accommodate this demand.


There’s a Reason RPOs Were Created


Hiring professional John Hull says “RPO was born as a reaction to poor practice by 3rd party recruiters.” A lack of transparency and strategy meant talent acquisition did not perform well nor was this performance adequately measured.

RPO models brought “discipline, measurement, transparency and delivery focus to HR operations,” Hull writes. This has led to commercial and operational rigor that focuses on reducing time and cost to hire and lowering attrition rates.


RPOs Deliver Flexibility


RPO director Jason Collins at NP Group says that RPOs bring flexibility to organizations. In-house recruitment teams tend to be a fixed number of permanent staff. While workloads increase or decrease, the number of staff dealing with this remains static.


An RPO partner can add or subtract resources from a project accordingly. “If you have a peak in recruitment needs, additional consultants are added to support your onsite consultant, and when your business demands less human capital, the solutions flex – all within the confines of your agreed contract and cost. This means less internal change and flex, whilst still meeting your business demands,” Collins writes.


Flexibility is important, according to Seuss Recruitment CEO Sabine Hutchinson. She says RPOs give their partner organizations “a dedicated recruiter on a temporary basis.” This means they have the resources and knowledge to focus all their energies on filling a role quickly and effectively.


Time to Hire Is Cut With a Strong Employer Brand


It’s hard to find the right candidate at the best of times. It’s harder still when there are time pressures involved. This is one of the reasons why building and maintaining a strong employer brand is vital.


A good RPO partner will be adept at creating a powerful brand message on behalf of their client. When the highly sought after passive candidate needs to be hired, the employer brand is a powerful ally.


“Passive job seekers need time to learn about your brand, so your campaigns and channels need to provide that consistent image over time,” says Lanis Yarzab, vice president of Sales, APAC & Middle East, at Pontoon Solutions.



Why Your RPO Needs to Practice Diverse and Inclusive Hiring 


We’ve written before about diversity, but it is essential to stress again the importance of having an inclusive workforce.


According to research from McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have above-average financial returns. When it comes to gender, inclusive companies are 15 percent more likely to generate greater revenue.


So, diversity is good for company profits. But why? A study from Deloitte found that employees who perceive their organizations as committed to and supportive of diversity will feel more included. Those employees, in turn, tend to experience an 83 percent increase in their ability (or perhaps willingness) to innovate.


While the numbers show that a diverse workforce is good for business, not all companies have realized this. Consider a survey from Glassdoor that found more than 50 percent of respondents said their employers should be doing more to increase the diversity in their organizations.


Excuses abound as to why. A report by SHRM found that 41 percent of respondents cited being too busy to enforce diversity standards.


We acknowledge just how hard it is to find time and energy to bring about changes in an organization. In this post, however, we argue that diversity is one such change that needs to happen immediately.


Companies struggling with a lack of resources may look to outsource their recruiting needs. When doing so, they need to ensure their RPO partner has a record of delivering a diverse array of candidates.


Here are a few reasons to ensure your RPO partner is up to scratch with its diversity credentials.


RPOs Can Help Root Out Biases


Steven Dashiell, at Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association, reports that an inclusive and diverse work culture leads to a collaborative work environment, a more attractive employer brand, a greater sense of belonging and stronger engagement among employees.


To ensure these diverse candidates have the chance of joining an organization, RPO vendors need to root out their own hiring biases and those of their clients. As Dashiell argues, while we like to think we are immune to personal bias, :the truth is most of us harbor some level of bias unknowingly.”


Potential bias needs to be avoided at all costs, writes Rachel Miller at Wavelength. If any step along the way disproportionately cuts out marginalized groups, then something has gone wrong.


It’s essential to adjust processes to be inclusive. An RPO partner can guide clients through an inclusive and diverse hiring strategy to help them be more thoughtful when assessing candidates. A diverse team will tend to attract more diverse hires, which will continue to reinforce an inclusive hiring strategy.


Diversity is also empowering. Miller says being a woman in a male-dominated setting can feel isolating, whereas “diverse companies let their employees direct energy toward being their happiest and most productive selves.”


The right RPO partner is aware of the empowerment that diversity brings and will help organizations realize this too.


Louise Petty, at High Speed Training, says it’s important to be aware that while companies may not actively be barring certain people from applying for a job, there may be hidden barriers that inadvertently create this result.


A good RPO partner will be able to make these hidden barriers seen and bring about an effective strategy to hire diverse candidates.


Petty argues why this is important: “Workplace diversity means that your staff members can relate to every one of your customers. If you have a range of people with a range of opinions then it makes it much easier to target a wider range of clients.”


Diversity Is Good For Your Employer Brand


But it’s not just about getting more customers. A diverse workforce makes a company more attractive to prospective employees, too.


Benefits such as a daycare option for children, flexible working hours and time off for religious observances will open up job opportunities to more people than you can possibly imagine, Petty writes.


Management consultant Joao Araujo argues that diversity is not only a vital part of social responsibility, but essential for building a strong employer brand.


RPO partners are able to dedicate time and resources to building their client’s employer brands in many different ways. However, diversity is a powerful component of this branding strategy. An RPO that does not live the diversity ethos will struggle to implement this at their client’s organization.


The Value of Diverse Perspectives


The potential power of differing opinions and viewpoints is huge. This is what Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey mean in 2015 when he told the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: “Any time you bring together diverse perspectives, it just creates a bunch of potential that you weren’t really expecting.”


This is why an RPO partner that not only boasts its own diverse team but is focused on sourcing diverse candidates is key to your organization’s success.


If people are created equal, then it is logical to assume that talent is created equally. Can you select enough talent from a homogeneous group to run a company well?


Luke Visconti                                                                                                                      CEO of DiversityInc

Perhaps this is what Randy Lewis, former SVP of supply chain and logistics at Walgreens, was thinking. Implementing a policy in 2007, the organization actively began to hire staff with physical or cognitive disabilities and chose instead to alter the warehouses to accommodate employees’ needs.

The result was a huge success. Across Walgreens’ 21 distribution centers, more than 10 percent of its employees are disabled.

We mentioned Lewis before in our previous post about diversity. But so successful and encouraging was Walgreens’ policy that it’s worth repeating.


The Difference Between Diversity and Inclusivity


While it is essential to be diverse in hiring strategies, author and HR consultant Jennifer Brown argues that diversity is insufficient on its own. Diversity concerns “who’s being recruited, who’s being promoted, who we’re tracking from the traditional characteristics and identities of gender and ethnicity, and sexual orientation and disability—inherent diversity characteristics that we’re born with.”


Inclusion concerns the lived experience that makes diversity valuable. “Inclusion is the how, the behaviors that welcome and embrace diversity,” Brown says.


Hiring for diversity without having a proper strategy will not be good for business. This is where an RPO partner is useful. It can help organizations that want a more diverse workforce avoid making bad recruitment decisions, Andrew Blackman argues at Envato Tuts+. There is no sense in hiring the wrong candidate for the sake of diversity goals.


Not only is this bad for business, but it’s also “patronizing to the person you hire, it can cause resentment among other employees, and it won’t help your business move forward,” Blackman says.


Organizations with a diverse in-house recruitment team will be well placed to make the right hires. However, as Andrew Greenberg argues at Contract Recruiter, many employers and hiring managers don’t know how to find diverse candidates or don’t have time to change their recruiting process. These are the people who are best served by RPO partners.


RPO professionals, Greenberg says, can help with individual parts of the recruiting process such as sourcing diverse candidates or handle the whole recruitment process to integrate diversity initiatives.


They have greater access to pipelines of vetted diverse candidates as well as the resources to attend minority job fairs and community events.


In closing, diversity is important for the bottom line as well as team morale. But it is increasingly an issue of compliance, too. As society evolves, more will be expected from the business. Compliance is notoriously difficult to navigate and is another area where RPO partners add value, which we wrote about here.


Perhaps the most powerful reason to have a diverse workforce and an inclusive hiring strategy come from author and digital strategist Mark S. Luckie: “Without a variety of voices contributing ideas, the workplace becomes a homogenized environment where potential brilliance may never be achieved. Diversity should rightly be seen as a benefit to growth, not an obstruction to avoid.”



Choosing the Right RPO for Med Tech


Jobs for the Medical Technology industry have been on a continuous rise. The professional designation includes surgical robotics, diagnosis, machines used in healthcare dialysis equipment, etc. Surgical robotics, for example, is an area within Med Tech that is undergoing rapid expansion. During 2018, the market share of surgical robots globally stood at $5.4 Billion, and as per Global Market Insights report, it is expected to hit $24 Billion by 2025 (with 24.4% CAGR). An aging population is a primary reason for such demand. Surgical robotics engineers earn in the range of $110k to $125k per year. With 5+ years of experience you can even look at $160k per year. While the numbers look promising, the organizations hiring Med Tech talent face several challenges. Which demands the need to hire an RPO to manage to hire.


What is RPO? Why choose RPO for hiring?


Organizations face a lot of stress regarding hiring and, more importantly, retaining Med Tech talent. With the improvements in workforce acquisition technologies, the challenges seem overwhelming for the small Human Resources staff. As the times change, catering to the present and future workforce’s expectations can be a challenge for the limited resourced HR department.


 What services RPO provides


Recruitment Process Outsourcing benefits include the availability of knowledge, skills, experience, and technology to its clients.

  • Reduction of work and responsibilities of the HR staff of the Medical Technology organization.

  • Make up for skills shortfalls as well as manage off-peak man hour demand.

  • As recruitment is their core competency, RPO provides with the latest innovation and technologies for Med Tech talent sourcing.


The Shortage of Talent in Field of Med Tech


Hiring full-time candidates for medical professional positions has been a challenge for organizations. These positions include surgical robotics, diagnosis, machines used in healthcare dialysis equipment, etc. A holistic approach is required to hire quality candidates. RPOs bring in tonnes of domain-specific experience and expertise in devising strategies and developing an innovative approach towards sourcing right-fit talent. RPO strategy has the talent marketplace visibility, which can not be acquired with internal HR Teams.


RPOs for Med Tech have the capacity to invest in the latest technologies like AI to develop innovative sourcing platforms. As they have their volumes justify the expenditures, healthcare organizations can leverage the technology quickly and efficiently. Predictive analysis is an in-built feature of AI, HR teams can use it to quickly pull out the best matching candidates from the talent pool.


 RPOs Address Talent Retention Challenges


RPOs are experienced recruiting firms that have firsthand experience of handling talent for different industries. They have the expertise to cater to the job seekers’ changing needs. An internal recruiting team might not be well equipped to handle the changes in expectations. RPO act as a cost-effective partner when it comes to adapting to the changing marketplace. RPOs have agile teams that can take sudden spurts in hiring activities, thus bringing down the RPO costs. Such may be induced by opening a new location or a new department. And vice versa of this situation, when hiring comes to a freeze, can be handled easily by an agile RPO team.


Candidate Expectations 


When it comes to the expectations of potential hires, internal recruiters find it hard to manage their expectations. The first contact with the candidate has a lasting effect on the candidate. HR staff should take note of the need to provide a positive hiring process experience. They also need to focus on building and fortifying a strong employer branding in the candidates’ minds. Thus, such inspired candidates can quickly turn into brand promoters and provide substantial word-of-mouth publicity to the company. RPO for Med Tech staffing companies use time-tested techniques to provide a smooth hiring process experience to candidates. RPO providers could run a process audit for the organization and thereby provide valuable feedback for improvement. Resultant being a streamlined hiring experience for the candidates.


An RPO for Med Tech industries could also bring in the latest hiring techniques employing the use of technology. Mobile Apps or websites for hiring, Social media interactions with potential candidates, online talent forums to provide an enticing yet personalized experience. RPOs could conduct phone interviews, pre-application tests, video interviews, etc.


Top RPO companies could provide the latest AI-powered Application Tracking Systems (ATS) to reduce the time and human error involved while sifting through the received applications. RPOs already have industry contacts to ensure that every job advertisement gets the maximum reach it deserves. AI-powered hiring tools could help draft a typical candidate profile which could be easily found in the overwhelming number of received applications. AI can help streamlining and automation of the scheduling process.


Medical Technology industries can leverage the USPs of RPOs discussed above to positively affect their recruitment teams’ challenges.