Return to the glossary

Recruitment Process Outsourcing

What is the recruitment process outsourcing?

Definition: Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a form of business process outsourcing where an employer transfers all or part of its recruitment activities to an external service provider.

An RPO provider can manage the entire recruiting/hiring process, or just specific aspects of it, from job profiling through the onboarding of new hires. The scope of services can include sourcing, screening, interviewing, background checks, coordination of offer letters, and the onboarding process.

Key Features of RPO:

  • Customization: The services are tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the client organization.
  • Scalability: RPO solutions can scale up or down depending on the organization’s hiring needs, making them an efficient option for companies experiencing growth, seasonal peaks, or specific project-based hiring needs.
  • Expertise: RPO providers bring specialized recruitment expertise and access to advanced recruitment technologies and methodologies, which can improve the quality of hires and reduce time-to-fill rates.
  • Cost Efficiency: By outsourcing recruitment processes, companies can often reduce their cost-per-hire and operational costs associated with recruiting activities.
  • Strategic Partnership: RPO providers work closely with the client organization, often embedding their team within the HR department, to ensure alignment with the company’s culture, values, and long-term strategic goals.

Benefits of RPO:

  • Improved Candidate Quality: Access to advanced sourcing techniques and broader talent pools can lead to higher-quality candidates.
  • Enhanced Employer Branding: RPO providers can help promote a positive employer brand, attracting more and better candidates.
  • Compliance and Risk Management: Ensures recruitment practices are compliant with local and international laws and regulations.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Provides valuable insights into recruitment metrics, helping organizations to make data-driven decisions.

For more information, check our detailed guide on recruitment process outsourcing.


What is the difference between RPO and BPO?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a subset of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) specifically focused on the recruitment process. While RPO deals exclusively with outsourcing the tasks related to finding and hiring new employees, BPO encompasses outsourcing various non-core business activities and functions, such as customer service, finance, accounting, and human resources. Essentially, RPO is a specialized form of BPO aimed at enhancing and streamlining an organization’s recruitment function.

What is the recruitment process outsourcing strategy?

A recruitment process outsourcing strategy involves partnering with an external service provider to manage all or part of an organization’s recruitment process. This strategy is designed to optimize the hiring process, improve the quality of hires, reduce time-to-fill and cost-per-hire, and enhance the overall efficiency of the recruitment function. It requires a collaborative approach where the RPO provider works closely with the organization to understand its culture, needs, and goals, tailoring their services to meet these specific requirements and acting as an extension of the company’s HR department.

What is the difference between RPO and MSP?

RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) focuses on the permanent recruitment process, helping organizations fill regular, full-time positions. It covers activities from job profiling to onboarding of new hires. MSP (Managed Service Provider), on the other hand, primarily manages contingent or temporary workforce solutions, including contract workers, freelancers, and consultants. MSPs handle the procurement, management, and administration of a contingent workforce. While RPO aims to improve the quality and efficiency of permanent hiring, MSP focuses on optimizing the flexibility, compliance, and cost-effectiveness of utilizing a temporary workforce.

How does RPO differ from traditional recruitment?

Unlike traditional recruitment, which might involve using a staffing agency to fill specific roles, RPO involves a more comprehensive relationship where the provider acts as an extension of the company’s HR department, potentially managing the entire recruitment lifecycle.

Can RPO be customized for our specific needs?

Yes, RPO solutions are highly customizable. Services can be tailored to manage specific segments of the recruitment process or to take over the entire recruitment function, depending on the organization’s unique requirements and goals.

Will we lose control over our recruitment process by engaging in RPO?

No, engaging in RPO should not result in losing control. A reputable RPO provider works in collaboration with your team, aligning with your company culture, values, and recruitment goals, to act as an extension of your HR department while maintaining the level of control you prefer.

How does RPO impact the candidate experience?

RPO providers often bring specialized expertise and advanced recruitment technologies that can enhance the candidate experience through more efficient processes, better communication, and engagement strategies that reflect positively on your employer brand.

Is RPO cost-effective compared to in-house recruitment?

RPO can be more cost-effective than in-house recruitment by streamlining the hiring process, leveraging economies of scale, reducing dependency on multiple staffing agencies, and minimizing the costs associated with lengthy vacancies.

How quickly can an RPO provider adapt to our changing recruitment needs?

RPO providers are designed to be flexible and scalable, quickly adapting to fluctuations in hiring volume or shifts in strategic priorities. They can ramp up or down their recruitment efforts based on your organization’s changing needs.