Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO): Evolving at warp speed

April 4, 2010

While recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is still a relatively new outsourcing sector and phenomena, it is now evolving at warp speed. Moreover, the impact of the great recession over the past year and a half, which has left many recruiting and HR departments decimated and unprepared for any hiring uptick, has led to service providers, clients and candidates alike to have new recruiting needs.

This is clearly evident in a recent Recruiter Magazine article that interviewed several RPO experts for their thoughts on the direction that RPO is currently moving in. The major RPO trends they spotted included the following:

  • From Providing Simple Solutions... Chris Herrmannsen, the chief executive of talent management and recruitment firm Ochre House, noted that 10 years ago, RPO had a very simple proposition as expectations were very low as it was difficult to measure what was occurring in the recruitment process. Miles Stribbling, the MD of Resource Solutions (a division of search firm Robert Walters) even noted that back in the 1990s, RPO consisted simply of seconding a consultant to a client to handle their recruitment needs.
  • …To Providing an End-to-end Solution. In contrast, Catharine Pelling, a sales director at CarlisleMS, noted that clients now expect more and that there is a much greater need to provide them with an end-to-end solution. In fact, she noted that only a few years ago, the process would often stop after the offer stage while today, clients want their RPO provider to be involved in the on boarding stage and with talent retention. However, Jerry Collier, the international RPO development director of Kenexa, also noted that to many providers are still focused on efficiency rather than adding value to their client’s business.
  • Changing Business Models. And finally, Robert Leggett, the founder of OmniRMS, noted that the RPO model has shifted from the use of agencies to the use of preferred suppliers, then master vendors, then managed service providers and now to full fledged RPO. This shift has mirrored the changes due to both technology and business practices. In addition, Herrmannsen also noted that today, clients want long-term partnerships as well as quality and effectiveness over quantity and efficiencies.

RPO growth
Meanwhile and in another Recruiter Magazine article from the end of 2009, a number of RPO and recruitment professionals were asked what recruiting trends they saw for 2010. Nearly everyone asked predicted that hiring will pick up while the demand for finding and retaining top talent will rise. In addition, Jerry Collier of Kenexa noted that there will be a greater focus by everyone on finding quality candidates and determining what message to send to them in order to balance out the “noise” coming from alternative sourcing channels such as social networking sites. He also added that he believes 2010 will be an exciting year for RPO.

Moreover, Collier had noted in the other Recruiter Magazine article that we should expect to see plenty of new RPO players but we should also expect to see some spectacular failures as RPO is not the easiest outsourcing business to be successful in. Hence, his advice to existing or would be RPO players is simple: Either get big, go niche or simply get out.


4 Responses to “Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO): Evolving at warp speed”

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  2. Johon on April 12th, 2010 5:23 am

    RPO’s supervise the entire recruiting/hiring process from job detailing through the on-boarding of the new recruit, including staff, know-how, process and reporting. A suitably managed RPO will improve a company’s time to hire, boost the quality of the candidate pool, provide demonstrable metrics, trim down cost and improve governmental conformity

  3. Barry Diamond on April 15th, 2010 8:46 am

    Great Article! And I would add these trends are true for North America too

  4. Herry on April 17th, 2010 4:56 am

    RPOs not only supervise the entire recruiting/hiring process but they command a powerful place in the market. RPO providers are well associated with different companies and the job seeker market. RPOs provide outstanding leverage in the areas of Quality, Cost, Service and Speed.

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