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Recruitment Agency vs Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO): what's the difference?

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Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) has become a popular option for businesses of all sizes who are looking to grow their businesses. RPO is often chosen due to the flexibility of the service, as well as the potential savings in recruitment budget.

According to Research and Markets, the global RPO market was valued at $5.01 billion in 2017 and is estimated to expand with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 14.4% from 2017 - 2025.

In today's candidate market, the cost to acquire talent is increasing. RPO can provide a service that will help your budget, but it offers more than just filling positions when the demand is high. RPO is about enhancing the overall recruitment process.

Globally, there's an obvious shift in companies recognising the benefits that come with RPO, but what really separates it from the traditional recruitment agency offerings?

The difference between the traditional recruitment agency model and the RPO model

The traditional recruitment agency model

In the traditional recruitment agency model, a recruiter is as involved with the recruitment process and the candidate as much as the client wants.

Sometimes a client will request the recruiter to be involved in every stage of the process, but typically, the recruiter would:

  • Source appropriate candidates for vacant roles
  • Liaise between the candidates and client throughout the recruitment process
  • Screen candidates to ensure they have the necessary skills
  • Assist candidates with every stage of the application and interview process (CV preparation, interview advice, salary negotiations etc.)

For example, for the last three years, Cpl is the go-to recruitment agency for The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). As the recruitment agency for RCSI Cpl finds flexible office support and temp staff for RCSI on a regular basis.

Maggie Walsh, Recruitment Specialist in RCSI says 'I very rarely even need to give a job description to the recruiters we deal with onsite in Cpl. They know who's a fit for us and they can have somebody in place within 24 hours'. Read more here.

The RPO model

In Recruitment Process Outsourcing, the client transfers all or part of its recruitment processes to the RPO provider.

The RPO provider then acts as an extension of that client's HR department. This can be done either off-site or on-site. The RPO provider takes full ownership of all hiring duties and are fully accountable for the results they deliver.

RPO providers are often sought out for high-volume recruitment (for example, call centre staff), short and medium roles on a project-to-project basis, as well as fully replacing all internal recruitment in an organisation.

The RPO provider can take responsibility of part or all of:

  • Candidate name generation and sourcing
  • Recruitment marketing and/or advertising strategy
  • Candidate screening
  • The entire interview process
  • Testing and selection
  • Salary negotiation
  • Drug screening and background check
  • Placement and onboarding
  • Reporting

An RPO provider would also be responsible for introducing their own technology and reporting. This can be a big budget saver for clients, particularly for smaller companies who may not have access to similar technologies.

All the above services can be amped up or reduced throughout the year depending on a client's needs. These means costs can go down when your hiring needs go down and the RPO provider can adapt to your specific business needs.

While the traditional agency model offers as much support as the client needs, RPO acts as an extension of the internal recruitment operations of the business by taking full ownership of the duties. Each solution has its merits to suit the needs of the client and enhance the core functions of the business.

Looking for an Recruitment Process Outsourcing provider?

Cpl has been a leading Recruitment Process Outsourcing provider over the last 15 years. See how we helped one of the world's largest pharmaceutical manufacturers Pfizer grow their workforce in Ireland.

Click here to get in touch to discuss how we can grow your business.