Recruitment Process Outsourcing: Your Competitive Advantage?

Many businesses facing talent acquisition challenges turn to recruitment process outsourcing. Here’s why, and how to determine if it’s right for you.

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image of hr manager meeting with recruiting outsourcing team to review candidates

Many businesses face challenges with talent acquisition and building their pipelines, especially when it comes to specialized job niches. Others simply need more hands to assist busy HR staff to help attract, recruit, and hire top talent.

The global talent shortage reached what seems to be a 17-year high in 2023, according to research by ManpowerGroup. Nearly 4/5 of the 39,000 employers surveyed internationally reported difficulty with hiring. One solution companies can utilize to offset these challenges is recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) services.

Turning over recruitment tasks to a third-party provider is often a winning solution for businesses. Doing so empowers them to focus on other important tasks knowing the RPO is skilled at securing high-quality, qualified candidates.

What is recruitment process outsourcing?

Recruitment process outsourcing is a business model by which a business outsources recruiting tasks to another company that specializes in this niche. The RPO may take on the job of searching, attracting, recruiting, and onboarding new employees into the company. Businesses can also opt to keep 1 or more of these processes in-house, leaving their RPO provider with only partial control of the hiring process.

Benefits of RPO

Businesses frequently find working with an RPO provider strengthens their ability to manage their workforce planning and hire qualified candidates. Other advantages they typically experience include:

  • Gaining access to specialized candidate expertise.
  • Increasing efficiency, cost savings, and the probability of successful placement.
  • Speed in identifying and hiring the quality candidates they need.
  • Developing a pipeline for future hiring needs.
  • Reducing burdens on HR and hiring managers.
  • Eliminating problems with hiring fluctuations.

Other services RPO providers can offer include compliance support and the mitigation of risks associated with compliance. They also employ the latest technology to help support or improve businesses’ own technical capabilities during the talent acquisition process.

Types of RPO models

When it comes to outsourcing recruitment, there’s more than 1 RPO solution to address the array of recruiting challenges. Choosing what will work best for you is easier when you understand the options.

End-to-end RPO

Businesses seeking comprehensive RPO services often opt for an end-to-end RPO provider. This solution normally encompasses the RPO’s management of the entire recruitment process. The relationship typically lasts many years.

Project-based RPO

Employers often select a project-based RPO to gain the benefits of an end-to-end RPO solution for specific, sometimes short-term situations. However, they still maintain internal recruitment for day-to-day hiring.

Selective RPO

Companies opting for selective RPO only choose specific services for the RPO partner to manage to alleviate certain HR responsibilities. For instance, they may outsource candidate sourcing, management, or screening while in-house staff works the rest of the hiring process.

Hybrid models for RPO services

Hybrid models involve using a combination of in-house staff and a recruitment process outsourcing firm. This is particularly advantageous for businesses with seasonal or fluctuating hiring needs.

What does recruitment process outsourcing involve?

Businesses invest in RPO for the gains they enjoy from this partnership.

Essentially, the RPO process requires faith in an RPO partner. The employer, most often a large or midsize business, turns over the reins, allowing the RPO specialist to handle recruitment and hiring in full or in part. Exact services and approaches selected will vary accordingly and may include the following:

Needs-assessment and analysis

The RPO vendor carefully examines the organization’s recruitment needs and assesses any specific roles needing to be filled. This helps determine which model or services will suit them best.

Candidate sourcing and attraction strategy

Developing an attraction strategy is a tough process for many companies. An RPO partner can neatly slide into assuming these tasks. Aside from promoting your brand to potential candidates, the strategy often entails searching job boards, scouring social media, and seeking employee referrals.


Other recruitment processes for which RPO can help identify the right talent include screening resumes, conducting interviews, and performing assessments.

Pro tip: Ask yourself if this is something you’re more comfortable doing in-house or feel confident outsourcing as a part of the RPO selection process.


As one of the last steps in the recruitment process, interviews are critical to hiring. Most RPO providers can take over this task for your company if it’s cumbersome for you. The drawback is that you give up control over this important aspect of hiring.


Choosing a candidate and proposing an offer is something normally tasked to an HR or hiring manager. However, an RPO provider is equipped to choose from a carefully cultivated candidate pool for specific positions. In a tight labor market, this expediency may give you a competitive advantage.

Onboarding and integration

Welcoming new employees and providing orientation, training, and proper onboarding are all critical to the new hires’ successes. Depending on your preferences, you may prefer to keep it in-house or work with an RPO provider.

Finding the best talent often is time-consuming, so consider the above processes when weighing options for working with an RPO firm. You may find this new-hire model beneficial after comparing the overall RPO cost to that of staffing an in-house talent acquisition team.

Is RPO the right decision?

There is no clear-cut answer to whether RPO is the “right” decision or which RPO solutions are the “best.” Each organization must consider the pros and cons as well as the personnel and budget they have to work with. As is the case with other HR outsourcing trends, an informational consultation is a good way to get that ball rolling.

Learn more about RPO and other HR and business management topics at Workest.

1 2023 Global Talent Shortage report, ManpowerGroup

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