What is recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)?

March 29, 2023

What is recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is when a company hires an outside provider to handle its entire recruitment process. Unlike other staffing services, RPO assumes ownership of the strategy and implementation of recruiting.

In other words, an RPO provider essentially becomes an in-house recruiter for your company. It provides greater efficiency and more flexibility for your hiring needs. Employers and HR professionals can eliminate the administrative burden, while delivering positive experiences for job candidates.

Advantages of recruitment process outsourcing

Now that you know what recruitment process outsourcing is, why would you need it? To put it simply, outsourced recruiting offers a more streamlined hiring process. RPO services provide daily administration support, from workforce planning to onboarding structuring. Additionally, recruiting technology, such as applicant tracking systems (ATS), provides exclusive candidates that are not shared with other clients.

At the end of the day, RPO enables employers to maximize their budgets, while simultaneously improving productivity and retention. Here are just a few things to keep in mind when considering an RPO solution:


Recruiting and hiring in-house can get expensive. Especially if your HR team doesn't have the training or expertise to acquire top talent. RPO is a scalable and flexible solution with tangible cost savings. This can come in the form of higher retention rates, faster hiring and onboarding, and custom pricing. According to Strategic CFO, turnover and in-house hiring can cost between six to nine months of a new employee salary.


Recruiting domestically is one thing, but what if you want to hire quality talent overseas? Compliance can become a major hurdle for in-house recruiters. Keeping up with changing employment regulations across multiple countries is overwhelming. However, recruiting agencies that specialize in international staffing keep up with all these requirements to ensure you stay compliant.


A successful talent acquisition function requires streamlined technology. Businesses need to track candidate statuses, maintain constant communication, and deliver incredible hiring experiences. RPO providers can use an ATS or support your existing technology to deliver lasting results you can measure. 78% of recruiters say that an applicant tracking system has improved their quality of hire. This enables you to make improvements and establish accountability procedures.


When you're looking for new positions, it can be frustrating when the process seems to take an eternity. Workloads for your remaining team members can quickly become a burden as you rush to fill the roles. An RPO provider ensures you find the right candidate in a much faster period of time. Leveraging their expertise helps you identify and overcome any potential barriers.


Job turnover is one of the costliest setbacks for a business. Time, money and resources are spent training and onboarding every employee. So, when a company has high turnover, it results in reduced efficiency and higher costs. Hiring and onboarding processes need to be consistent and streamlined to create an immediate positive impression and improve retention. Research by Brandon Hall Group found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.


Because RPO providers have established partnerships and connections, they can help employers attract diverse talent. Making inclusive hiring part of your employment brand will also help with retention and productivity. A study done by McKinsey and Company found a correlation between diversity and increased productivity and revenue.


Strategic decisions depend upon reliable data. RPO providers can offer real-time analytics to help guide an employer's recruiting objectives. Some of these KPIs include time-to-fill, candidate pipeline, number of applicants, candidate sources and conversion rates. This information helps shape your long-term success as you build networks of talent pools all over the world.

Related: Top 5 benefits of recruiting internationally

RPO vs. other outsourced recruiting options

In the past, recruitment process outsourcing offered high-volume hiring for large organizations. Due to their size and hiring requirements for a project, RPO was usually a less costly solution compared with other recruiting options.

Recently, however, RPO has adapted to serve smaller organizations as well. What is recruitment process outsourcing doing to evolve? Well, RPO brings scalable solutions with a flexible pricing structure to meet your needs.

We know how common it is for HR professionals in smaller organizations to wear multiple hats. They have a lot on their plates, including employee relations, training, payroll, compensation and benefits. But with fluctuating hiring needs, it often doesn't make sense to staff internal talent acquisition teams.

Traditionally, companies have three options for hiring: internal recruiters, staffing agencies or contract recruiters. Due to the recent shift in RPO business models, many organizations didn't even know this was an option for them.

Unlike other outsourced recruitment strategies, RPO focuses on developing a strategic partnership to streamline the hiring process. Here are a few key differences that set RPO apart from typical recruitment options:

Long-term relationships

RPO providers take the time to truly understand an organization and their talent needs. They work to learn the business objectives and goals and develop a recruitment plan to realize growth strategies. This helps clients forecast their staffing needs as they achieve their goals and makes hiring proactive, instead of reactive.

Job marketing expertise

Many staffing agencies don't provide a robust solution to drive candidate exposure to your brand. Because RPO providers behave like a partnership, they have a vested interest in your success. They market client jobs through multiple channels, including social media, networking, job boards and referrals.

Access to talent networks

RPO providers don't stop when they find the best talent for your open positions. They build your brand through engagement with talent communities and pipelines. This enables them to source candidates before you even know you need them, with multiple sourcing assessments.

Candidate assessments

When it comes to recruitment process outsourcing, they understand the importance of retention. That's why RPO providers assess candidates with extensive thoroughness. Candidates need to fit culturally, as well as having the core skills, competencies and motivators to stay for the long term.

Candidate care

Recruitment and hiring are the first impression a person will have of your brand. Therefore, managing this process effectively will ensure a positive experience and reputation. RPO providers enhance every interaction, from interviews to online communications.

Related: How to avoid pitfalls during international recruitment

A trusted partner for RPO

Talent acquisition is a necessary component for your overall business growth strategy. Recruitment process outsourcing is one of the most fruitful and effective partnerships to cultivate the right team for your organization.

Aberdeen research concluded that 43% of best-in-class companies are likely to partner with an RPO provider. Currently, nearly 60% of organizations manage their own recruitment in-house. However, many lack the skills or training to execute a successful strategy.

Partnering with Safeguard Global for RPO is like adding to your existing team. We’ll adopt your technology, branding and methodologies during the hiring process. Our RPO solutions allow you to reduce the time spent on people and process management, as we handle the recruiting operation.

Chat with a global solutions advisor to learn more about how we can help you meet business needs with recruitment process outsourcing.

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