Five Keys to Selecting an RPO provider

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Posted by Matt Rivera

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March 18, 2015

RPO-companiesChoosing the right Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provider is critical to the success of an outsourced recruiting or sourcing program. Whether you are looking to improve your recruiting processes, efficiency or enhance your employment brand, developing a partnership with a RPO provider begins with the selection process.

What is Recruitment Process Outsourcing?

The business of Recruitment Process Outsourcing gained momentum during the 1980's as labor markets became more competitive. RPO by definition is the process by which a company outsources part or all of its recruitment functions. Referred to as RPO companies, providers, agencies, and firms manage a variety of recruiting functions; including job postings, employment branding, sourcing, screening, interview scheduling and logistics,and offer execution, to name a few. While outsourced recruiting is viewed as a driver of cost-savings, and it can be, it offers many more benefits to improve your overall recruiting process. 



A Common First Misstep 

The business of outsourcing does come with a certain perception or resistance; especially from key members within the organization. Corporate culture and leadership buy-in are two areas you should assess when determining whether the organization is really ready to implement an RPO Program. If the answer is yes, then selecting an RPO provider is the logical next step.

This should be an intentional process that sets the stage for a successful program. Many organizations jump right into the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Over the years, we've seen a number of good RFP's that ask a variety of questions that would seemingly lead to choice providers. And, there have been many vague, incomplete and unclear RFP's. Understanding the contrast between the two is the difference between hitting the ground running, and a failed implementation or worse, unsuccessful program. 


How to Begin the Selection Process


Preparing for the selection process should not be taken lightly. The first steps that are often lacking, even in good RPO provider selection efforts, relate to internal preparation and planning. Taking the time to look at a few of these areas prior to developing an RFP can pay dividends in the long run.

Below is a sampling of the Five Keys to Selecting an RPO Provider, but you can download the complete white paper for additional information on each of the bullet points below.

1. Understand Your Process.

Before bringing on any RPO Provider, you need to understand your company's existing recruiting processes. Don't forget to factor in any compliance needs.

2. Identify the Reasons for Selecting RPO.

The motivations and expectations should be crystal clear. To forewarn, if saving money is your only driver, you might not be headed in the right direction.

3. Ask Specific Questions.

Develop very specific, tactical questions regarding how a provider will accomplish the goals you have in mind. Also, prioritize your requirements beforehand.

4. Commit to a Strategy.

An RPO solution is a collaborative process. Many RPO solutions fail because one party has a set-it-and-forget-it mindset. 

5. Plan for Change.

It's important to make sure key stakeholders understand the "to-be" state and how it will affect them. Get started on the right track -- workarounds, exceptions, and non-compliant behaviors are not easily changed later.

While not everyone will be comfortable talking to a provider before some of the steps above are done, if you already have a good workforce solutions partner, you should consider asking them to advise or assist with some of these steps.

Whatever you do, just make sure you prepare before you start sending out RFPs. What's that old John Wooden saying? "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." That certainly holds true for setting up an RPO program.


This blog was written by Matt Rivera. Matt serves as Vice President, Marketing and Communications and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of Yoh’s marketing and brand communications. Matt holds a degree in Journalism/Public Relations and has been working in the staffing industry for more than 25 years. Prior to this role, Matt held many different roles from branch recruiting and proposal writing to technology management and online marketing.

Topics: RPO

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