Why Recruitment Process Outsourcing Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Editor’s Note: Dr. John Sullivan has been a provocateur and strategist in the field of human resources and talent management for over 30 years. His specialty is HR strategy and designing world class HR systems and tools for Fortune 200 firms, and he’s never been shy about telling it like it is.

That’s why TLNT asked him to share his thinking in a video series titled “$#*!@ Dr. John Sullivan Says!” Look for these videos twice a week here at TLNT.

Today’s topic: The problems with RPO

When Dr. John gets asked what he thinks of RPO — recruitment process outsourcing — he offers up a typically blunt answer: “The reality is that it’s a fad pushed by consultants … pushed by RPO vendors, (and) I don’t recommend it except in limited cases … it has many more problems than results.”

Here’s why: business people, he points out, are always looking for a competitive advantage, but if both you and your competitors are using RPO, you can’t have a competitive advantage because your company is going to get the same kind of people that your competitors get.

He also says that RPO firms generally offer a “vanilla” approach, and really, that’s all they can offer because they are offering their services to a wide variety of customers. And, great recruiters don’t want to work for an RPO firm; they would rather than work in a corporate environment or for an outside recruiter.

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If cost is your driver and you are filling a lot of jobs, Dr. John says, you might be able to use RPO companies. But he adds, most RPO firms just don’t understand your culture, your agenda, your values, the keys to your company.

Recruiting, he believes, is a mission-critical function — and you don’t outsource a mission critical function, ever.

Did you miss the last segment of$#*!@ Dr. John Sullivan Says!” on “Is it Time for HR to DStart From Scratch?” You can see it here.

John Hollon is managing editor of Fuel50, an AI Opportunity Marketplace solution that delivers internal talent mobility and workforce reskilling. He's also the former founding editor of TLNT and a frequent contributor to ERE and the Fistful of Talent blog. 

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