Just What the Heck is “RPO,” Anyway?

RPO is the latest HR industry buzz word (or if you’re nit-picky, buzz acronym; it stands for recruitment process outsourcing).

All the cool kids are using it, but do these same cool kids really know what it means? I mean, really know? Based on some of the recent conversations I’ve had, I doubt it.

I’ve honestly been amazed at the number of people in our industry who don’t have a complete grasp of the concept of RPO. They’ve had someone tell them they do RPO, but in reality, it’s what we call “faux-PO” — an incomplete view of RPO. It’s like buying store-brand when what you really want and need is name-brand.

No insult intended for my fellow recruiting aficionados, but RPO isn’t simply contingent staffing or bulk purchasing of search. Now I’m not saying there isn’t a place for those types of needs (and trust me, I know there is great value to a variety of models), but true RPO offers a holistic approach to hiring process.

RPO is also not a system that spits resumes when you put in a job spec. All of these have been touted to clients as the next great thing….RPO.

By now you’re saying, OK, Miss Smarty-Pants, then what is RPO? Well, don’t let me tell you…..The Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association (RPOA) defines RPO as:

Article Continues Below

. . . when a provider acts as a company’s internal recruitment function for a portion or all of its jobs. RPO providers manage the entire recruiting/hiring process from job profiling through the on-boarding of the new hire, including staff, technology, method & reporting.”

Look, let me just break it down for you. RPO is all about leverage. A fine-tuned RPO firm offers speed, quality, and control to the hiring process.

It doesn’t matter where the jobs are located or what skill sets are involved. RPO covers the entire process — from soup to nuts. A true RPO provider looks and tastes like they are the company, because they become the company’s recruitment function.

There’s a reason RPO is the latest buzz word (all right, acronym). It isn’t your grandparent’s HR model. It’s a unique, cost-saving, time-saving initiative that more and more companies are using and identifying as a part of their modern HR model.

So if you thought you knew RPO, it’s time to think again.