R … P … Oh No!

Recruitment process outsourcing by definition is a form of business process outsourcing where an employer outsources or transfers all or part of its recruitment activities to an external service provider. Each letter in the term RPO represents a valuable and equal piece of the RPO process model, yet more and more RPO providers today are using the letters in the phrase but not performing up to standard expectations around each functional letter R-P-O.

Whether outsourcing any particular business function is good or bad can be debated, but for those companies who choose to outsource their recruitment departments and select an RPO provider, there are several key elements that will either make or break the initiative. Most important, understand what a particular RPO provider is willing to deliver and what they are good at delivering. Through personal experience it seems that most RPO providers have forgotten or ignored the “R” or “Recruitment” in RPO and spend the majority of their time and resources focusing on “Process” and/or “Outsourcing/Optimization.”

For me, the “R” is the most important aspect in the term RPO and is what I focus on. If a provider can’t deliver on the “R,” then “P” and “O” are useless to me.  Other organizations may place a higher value on the “P” and “O,” and again it is all what is best for organizational needs. To me, most RPO providers have lost the concept of recruiting and now focus on the outsourced part.

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Although it may be more efficient and although it may be more cost effective — I still demand a certain bang for my buck and while I don’t expect executive-search-quality candidates for every position, RPO providers should still be focused on providing candidates of a certain level of quality and not just numbers.

Lucky for me after trial and error, I was able to locate a provider who has not lost focus on “recruitment” and that can and does deliver at a high level, and that is what it is all about for me. Do your homework, talk to some other professionals in the industry, and conduct a proper assessment prior to partnering with an RPO provider. And if all else fails – meet me at the 2012 ERE Expo in South Florida where I can tell you an RPO story that will make the hair on the back of any HR executive’s neck stand straight up. See you there.

Morgan Hoogvelt currently serves as director, global talent acquisition for ESAB, a leading engineering company. Drawing on his expertise in human capital strategy, executive search, RPO, essential hiring practices, candidate sourcing, Internet recruiting, and social networking, he provides organizations targeted, best-of-class solutions, and employment branding strategies that help his clients meet the challenges of recruiting, technology, and retaining and rewarding top talent. He is also passionate about delivering excellent customer service and building positive, productive relationships. He can be contacted at morgan.hoogvelt@esab.com

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