Recruitment Process Outsourcing: Everything You Should Know

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Fred Monnier
Fred Monnier
Chief Staffing Operations Officer
Recruitment Process Outsourcing: Everything You Should Know

Table of Contents

Many companies have already flocked to recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers to ease the hiring process and make it more efficient.
Published on
June 22, 2022
Updated on
September 26, 2023

Technological advancements have made it easier for employers to connect with prospective hires. However, hiring the best candidates is still a struggle, considering the global talent shortage and other social dynamics that continue to impact the market.

This is especially the case in highly competitive industries like programming and web and app development. Without proficiency in relevant technologies and the ability to navigate a tight market, you won't be able to recruit the best developers and programmers for your team.

Many companies have already flocked to recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers to ease the hiring process and make it more efficient. Unlike traditional hiring agencies, RPO providers are subject-matter experts in their chosen industry and take more control and responsibility for the entire procedure. RPO providers can also act as an extension of the Human Resources (HR) department and manage every aspect of the hiring process.

Read on to learn more about RPOs and how they can transform your hiring process, reduce costs, and increase productivity.

What Is Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)?

RPO is a type of business process outsourcing (BPO). It involves an employer assigning all or part of the recruitment process to a third-party external provider called an RPO provider. Upon taking over the duties and responsibility for the process, the RPO provider helps the company source, hire, and onboard the best talent for the job.

The RPO services can differ depending on the company in question or the plan you choose for your company. RPOs may use their own or assume your technology, staff, reporting, and methodologies.

Differences Between RPO and a Recruitment Agency

Although they may appear similar at first glance due to the type of work, RPOs and traditional recruitment agencies have many differences. Here's an outline of their main operations and ways of work:

Recruitment Agencies

Recruitment or staffing agencies help multiple companies identify and hire talent. Their main goal is to spot potential candidates, get their resumes, and present them to you. In other words, these agencies play the middleman in the talent acquisition process, introducing candidates to you so you can decide whether they're a good pick for your team.

Recruitment agencies typically don't have their talent pool. They need to compete against other agencies to source candidates with specific skill sets. Therefore, they often have difficulties sourcing leading-edge talent in competitive industries like programming, web development, Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, and blockchain.


Unlike recruitment agencies, RPO companies provide a much higher level of commitment and engagement. Their mission is to help you hire and onboard the candidates you want regardless of how trying or competitive the circumstances may be. Because they prioritize meeting your goals and standards, RPO providers will keep on working until the requested positions get filled.

To ensure that they're meeting your standards, RPOs closely monitor metrics defined in client agreements, such as cost per hire, time to hire, required skillsets, source of hire, and retention levels. This focus helps RPOs vet, test, and pick the best candidates for you. As all the chosen candidates have already undergone a rigorous and specialized testing process, your work here gets reduced to a minimum.

RPOs also face less competition. Instead of competing with other agencies for candidates on sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, RPOs source candidates using their pre-vetted talent pools. The best RPOs can locate the right pick for you in just a few days or hours because they choose candidates already tested for English proficiency, skills, and experience.

In short, partnering with an RPO means less work for you and higher-quality candidates for your team.

Benefits of Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Outsourcing employee selection provides multiple advantages, such as improved scalability, flexibility, and efficiency. Let's take a closer look at these benefits of RPO:

Pre-Vetted and Exclusive Talent Pool

As previously discussed, RPO providers boast exclusive access to extensive databases of hard-to-find talent. All the personnel in these databases have been pre-selected and tested for their English proficiency, skills, and experience. This makes it easier for RPO providers to curate a list of best matches for companies seeking talent.

Flexible and Scalable Services

The hiring needs of most organizations change throughout the year depending on external factors such as demand and supply and internal goals, targets, and budgets. For instance, you may only need five web developers to create a simple app in January. However, you may need 20 of them to work on a complex project by June.

Traditional hiring agencies may find it difficult to adjust to these needs. They often don't have in-depth knowledge of their clients' ways of operation and goals, which prevents them from delivering the necessary support at crucial times.

In contrast, an RPO firm has a much deeper relationship with you — it knows your goals and milestones, when you want to achieve them, and what kind of personnel you want to hire. Accordingly, your RPO representatives will be able to anticipate and handle your needs with ease.

Streamlined and Efficient Hiring Process

With the help of RPO providers, you can also enjoy a more streamlined and efficient hiring process. RPOs are experts in their chosen field, so they usually source and hire employees for your team much faster than other agencies.

Unlike traditional hiring agencies, which primarily focus on engaging candidates through job posts, RPOs often use localized sourcing strategies to develop, source, and hire candidates. They may rely on AI practices, talent communities, employer branding strategies, industry or niche-based landing pages, and outreach via SMS, email, and social media. They may also build a pipeline of job-ready passive candidates.

Additionally, RPOs provide consistent and efficient recruitment methodologies that you can apply uniformly across an organization. This feature is particularly useful for startups with multiple branches or locations.

RPO Analytics for Strengthening Business Models

Since they possess extensive talent databases and analytics tools, RPO firms can analyze and predict future trends that affect your organization, such as:

  • Widening talent gaps and how to address them
  • Loosening or strengthening education, experience, and skills requirements
  • Demand and supply of key personnel for essential roles
  • Unemployment rates for targeted skill groups
  • Changing salaries and hourly rates
  • Why candidates have been saying yes or no to certain offers

These statistics can be invaluable and help you develop a better idea of how to:

  • Create and fill positions at your company
  • Upskill and reskill existing employees as needed
  • Retain talent by implementing and refining an employee value and reward system

Compliance With Local Hiring Regulations

Many countries — including Venezuela and Cuba — have strict recruitment laws that make it challenging for companies to hire international talent. If you don't follow these rules, you may face fines or criminal charges.

For instance, former President Trump's Executive Order No. 13884 prohibits hiring a Venezuelan programmer who acts directly or indirectly on the Venezuelan government's behalf. If you violate this order as a U.S. citizen, you may get your property blocked worldwide.

That's where trusted RPO service providers come in. Unlike traditional hiring agencies, which typically only employ locally and provide no guidance for onboarding international hires, RPO firms have extensive knowledge and experience in domestic and international labor laws. Besides compliance, they will also help you with payroll, onboarding, immigration, taxes, and more, giving you more time to work with your new hires.

Some RPO providers also offer your hires additional benefits, including:

  • Benefits packages. These help new employees feel like they're part of your team. Most packages include gym membership, culture (i.e., trips to cultural events), dental insurance, healthcare, and meal allowance.
  • Community engagement perks. RPO firms may also offer premium offices, partnerships, and exclusive events to keep talent engaged and reduce churn.

Improved Employer Branding

Top-notch candidates are highly sought after by companies globally. You need to curate and project the proper company branding to stay competitive on such a market. If your in-house HR team doesn't have a strong position on your goals, values, or employee rewarding system, attracting the candidates you deserve will be an uphill battle.

An experienced RPO firm will research your brand and competitor positioning, align your brand strategy and vision, and develop effective recruitment communications. All of this will emphasize why talent should work with you. In simple words, the right RPO provider will be a brand ambassador that communicates your employee value proposition (EVP) to leads.

Disadvantages of RPO

Although hiring through an RPO provides many advantages, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

May Lead to Cultural Clashes

Since the RPO provider doesn't work in-house, it's not fully immersed in your company culture. As a result, the provider may onboard hires who don't fit your core values and mission. For instance, your RPO partner may onboard Waterfall methodology computer programmers when you have an Agile company culture.

To prevent these cultural clashes, give the RPO firm everything it needs to understand your company culture. The additional information will help your partner hire the candidates you want.

Requires You to Give up Control

If you want to have a say in every candidate interview and look at every hiring email that gets sent out, hiring through an RPO firm may be frightening at first. After all, you're giving up your control to a third party that isn't well-versed in your company culture.

However, giving up some control isn't always a risky proposition. If you choose the right service provider, you can reap many benefits without any risks. Remember that your RPO provider does this for a living and has ample experience and knowledge about the hiring process. Once you start seeing results, letting go of some control will become easier.

Lack of Communication

Last but not least, you may experience communication delays or an outright lack of communication when working with RPOs. Because RPOs are third-party providers, they may sometimes slip to update you on time.

Still, you can prevent miscommunication easily by scheduling regular check-ups with the RPO team. These meetups can give you a better sense of what the RPO is doing for your branding and culture.

RPO Models

Each company has its talent challenges — some want to improve their candidate experience, and others to shorten their time to hire. The best RPO provider will assess your circumstances, pinpoint the core issues, and tailor a solution for your specific needs. Most of these solutions will fall under one of these three models:

Enterprise RPO

Also known as full-service RPO or fully outsourced RPO, enterprise RPO involves outsourcing all your recruiting functions to an RPO provider. Your RPO partner will design and implement a recruitment and hiring program that meets your needs. They'll also be responsible for:

  • Defining and meeting all metrics for your company
  • Managing recruitment resources
  • Selling your brand to prospective employees

Hybrid RPO

If you aren't comfortable outsourcing all of your recruitment functions to an external provider, consider choosing a hybrid RPO model. As its name suggests, hybrid RPO involves assigning some recruiting roles to an RPO provider while leaving the rest to your internal HR team. It allows you to capitalize on the strengths of your dedicated HR team and your external RPO provider.

Project RPO

If you only need a specific number of hires within a short period and your internal HR team is already fully occupied, consider picking the project RPO model.

Project RPOs are a great way to quickly source people for short-term projects that only last weeks or months. For example, you can use project PRO to hire and onboard new programmers if you need to create, test, and launch a new app in two months.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing Costs

RPO costs vary greatly depending on the industry, the provider, and the length and complexity of your hiring requirements. However, most RPO providers are much more cost-effective than agencies.

Because RPOs use highly efficient processes to source, vet, and onboard candidates, they require less time and fewer resources to put a team together. As such, they're much better for your bottom line. All you have to do is tell the RPO provider the following:

  • Your preferred RPO model
  • Your company culture, missions, and values
  • The positions you want to fill
  • Deadlines for filling those positions

Start Recruiting With Revelo

If you want a flexible, cost-effective solution for your recruitment process outsourcing needs, consider partnering with Revelo. We help you source, hire, and handle web developers all on one platform. You'll also gain access to a talent pool pre-vetted for knowledge, skills, and English proficiency.

Contact us today to learn more.

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