RPO: Is it Right For Your Business?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing: What is it and is it Right for Your Business?

Nobody understands your business better than you. Consequently, when it comes to hiring new talent, you might be surprised that engaging a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) consultancy often results in the best talent, whilst saving valuable time and money. In our latest blog, discover what RPO is, and how it compares with other recruitment options for small and medium businesses.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing: An Overview

RPO solutions are not new. Numerous organisations utilise this model to take care of their recruitment needs, whether that is all or just a part of the process. Traditionally however, RPO hasn’t been available to small businesses, but this is changing and now companies of all sizes and backgrounds are seeking RPO solutions as their preferred recruitment strategy. Essentially, an RPO solution blends specialist recruiters, technology as well as gold standard hiring processes to drive better delivery and efficiencies when compared to other sourcing options.

The core principles of Recruitment Process Outsourcing see organisations transfer all or part of their recruitment to an external provider in an effort to improve their recruiting process and build long-term relRPO Solutionsationships, as opposed to simply filling vacancies. In some RPO situations, you’ll find the recruitment partner on-site, whilst in others (especially small companies), they’ll be on-demand. Either way, you benefit from working with the same recruiter on an ongoing basis, gaining a recruitment partner that learns your brand and culture without being charged during slow periods when hiring isn’t needed.

In all cases, Recruitment Process Outsourcing differs greatly from agency, in-house and manager-led recruitment by assuming total ownership of the design and management of the recruitment process. On top of that, RPO providers are responsible for the results.

The Cost Implications

A lot of companies assume the most cost-effective strategy is manager-led hiring as they believe there is minimal spend involved. Although, this could be a double-edged sword. Would the hiring manager’s time be better spent on what’s really important, such as their core activities?  And what affect does this have on quality of hires? More on this later.

Contrarily, agency recruitment has built a reputation as the most expensive choice. Bear in mind, if you only recruit a small number of people a year, it can be quite economical – especially if you engage a ‘pay as you go’ recruiter.

The fiscal lines can get blurry with in-house teams as costs vary depending on the levels of individuals required and whether the recruiters are solely dedicated to the hiring function or not. One of the roadblocks is ensuring the recruitment pipeline warrants their salary and that they are experienced enough to manage the full scope of roles. This model is the least flexible and may incur other costs if the position becomes redundant, needs to be replaced again or they still need to rely on agency recruiters for peak periods /hard to fill roles.

RPO is ultimately a cost-sensitive strategy. Tailored specifically to your business, you can pick and choose what you would like to pay for. This flexibility means that costs are closely aligned to the ebbs and flows of your organisation’s needs. The close relationship engendered through the RPO model, coupled with the guaranteed business, results in lower costs than agency recruitment. Other advantages include the savings earned from other services within RPO, such as process improvement, recruitment pattern data, testing and references.

Hiring Quality

Most would agree that the quality of talent is the most important outcome for any workforce strategy. Generally, RPO services sit alongside agency recruiters as the models most likely to deliver high-calibre talent, especially in specialist sectors. This isn’t because they are necessarily better, but the person recruiting in small and medium businesses typically handles recruitment functions alongside their day job which can make securing top talent challenging. They are usually reliant on job boards and referrals, whereas agency and RPO solutions have dedicated time to build networks of active and passive candidates.

On the other hand, manager-led and in-house options tend to have a better understanding of the culture and as a result, are more likely to hire candidates that are a good fit. Despite some agency recruiters getting close to this fit, an RPO provider is more comparable as the very nature of the model means they are treated as part of the business.

Recruitment Efficiency

Sourcing quality may be a main factor of an effective recruitment solution, yet speed of hire is just as crucial. Both agency recruiters and RPO solutions have an edge here. They aren’t reliant on job listings but instead draw on suitable talent from comprehensive networks and databases, resulting in far shorter timeframes.

It’s worthwhile remembering that RPO providers, as well as in-house recruiters, have exposure to the business and an understanding of their long-term objectives and pipelines. This enables them to plan ahead for future resourcing peaks. What’s more, they have the skills and expertise to begin talent pooling and ensure a seamless workforce plan.


All four recruitment models have their own unique complexities when it comes to convenience and adaptability:

Recruitment Solutions

Closing Thoughts

Whether it’s the entire recruitment process (or just a few components), the RPO model stands head and shoulders above the rest. So, if you’re looking to improve your hiring with a cost effective, yet efficient approach, it should be at the top of your list. For more information about RPO, or if you’d like to discuss how Harrison McMillan’s unique solutions can help take your business to the next level, get in touch here.

Harrison McMillan is an Adelaide based recruiter with a unique and award-winning Pay-As-You-Go recruitment model. Eliminating the traditional percentage-based placement fees, we’ve changed the way companies engage with recruitment agencies.