Chris Russell

1 min read


Meaning of RPO in Recruitment

RPO is a frequent term used in recruitment circles but also brings some confusion. According to the RPOA (Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association), RPO is “a form of business process outsourcing (BPO) where an employer transfers all or part of its recruitment processes to an external service provider.”

A company can hire an RPO agency to provide all staff and typically that staff uses the company’s recruitment technology and offices. They are essentially acting as full time staff despite being employed at the RPO itself.

It’s very typical for RPO companies to work with their clients for many years, while working to improve their recruiting processes.

Should Your Company Use an RPO Provider?

RPO has traditionally been used at high volume recruiting organizations. These employers outsource this level of recruiting in order to save on costs. But there are now more flexible options of an RPO company, meaning that smaller companies have started to engage providers such as having them source/shortlist candidates.

More RPOs are now offering various strategic solutions to employers to help them compete in the war for talent.

How RPO’s Work

There are typically three ways you can engage an RPO provider.

On-Demand: Based on a specified contract with a defined number of roles and timeframe. 

Department-Based: This is where the RPO company takes over an entire function such as IT staffing.

Full Service: All internal recruiting and hiring is taken over by the RPO firm as an in-house team.

And these are the services they usually offer;

Strategic Planning: The provider will work with employers to understand their hiring needs and craft a plan to meet those recruitment goals such as forecasting, recruitment process and more.

Recruitment Marketing: RPO providers market client jobs through job boards, social media, referrals, and networking to drive candidate exposure to jobs and 
employer brand (a major differentiator from staffing solutions).

Sourcing Candidates: Sourcing talent includes initial reach outs and explaining the employer value proposition to potential candidates in order to keep the pipeline full.

Candidate assessments: Providers will also assess candidates at the beginning of the recruiting process to ensure they meet minimum requirements and have interest in the role.

Candidate Experience: The overall recruiting process includes how candidates are treated and how easily and enjoyable the experience is. RPO’s will typically “own” this highly critical function because that experience is reflective of your employer brand.

Who are the Major RPO’s?

The major RPO providers today include companies such as Alexander Mann, Cielo, Orion Talent, PeopleScout, FutureStep and Pontoon.

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