Quarsh Blog

Recruitment Process Outsourcing: Innovate or Evaporate

Eight elements to securing an added value RPO solution

Research conducted by Outsourcing giant Capita Managed Services has revealed an air of disharmony amongst HR Directors and Recruitment Process Outsourcing providers, with respondents citing that the relationships firms have with both clients and candidates is impersonal and inflexible.

Technology has completely reshaped the recruitment landscape. More brands and candidates are harnessing the power of digital than ever before. Yet despite the array of tools at a recruiter’s disposal, many RPO firms still insist on providing clients with a ‘one size fits all’ solution that isn’t scalable or particularly suitable for the business it’s supporting. 

One of the questions posed to the 21 respondents during the research was: ‘what adds value?’, and their answers were somewhat unsurprising; senior managers expect firms to up their ante, and offer an all-encompassing solution which allows room to collaborate and innovate, as opposed to just providing a ‘boxed and ready to go’ process. The business should be assessed by an RPO provider on where it is now, where it needs to be- and the bit that adds value- how it gets there.

Total workforce planning

It’s all very well that your Head of Client Services can address your immediate needs, but what measures are in place to ensure that your business maximises its productivity and reaches organisational objectives long-term? Workforce planning, or talent mapping as it is also referred, is a strategic process that involves analysing productivity, identifying the risk of skills shortages within your workforce and developing workable solutions, as well as forecasting capacity and managing people to fill that capacity. The skills and abilities of your prospective hires need to align with and fulfil the business’s strategic direction, and your RPO should be providing support that nurtures both your current and future talent needs.

Branding and consistency

Careers portals, recruitment literature, video and social media campaigns – branding must be consistently implemented across the business to be effective. Your RPO provider should be working to help you to develop a notable presence in your sector as both a desirable brand in a business or consumer capacity, and as an employer. From the fonts and colour schemes you use as styling elements to your choice of language and content; every aspect of your branding should communicate a clear, consistent message about your business’s identity and its values. Failure to do so will be perceived as careless and will subsequently do more harm than good. Strong branding will ensure that you attract, engage with and retain the right people for your business.

Building communities and networks, and developing channels rather than job specifications and advertisements

When used improperly, the internet can prove to be a barrier to effective communication. It is, however, a tool that when used in the right capacity, can have terrific influence over your recruitment process. Social media platforms build online communities, helping people to engage in discussions about your brand and allowing you to establish a digital presence. This in turn will help you to engage with prospective candidates. Utilising the power of business networks such as LinkedIn is essential too as they will help you to forge valuable connections. This could be considered the social aspect of Talent Warehousing, and a reliable RPO should have a thorough understanding of how and why such campaigns will benefit both your hiring managers and potential talent.

Direct sourcing

Not only will this reduce your reliance on agencies, but when effectively utilised, direct sourcing is one of the first crucial steps taken to establish a fully operational talent pool. A competent account manager will understand how imperative it is to not only post job adverts with high visual impact and robust content to attract active jobseekers, but will harness the power of their networks and online resources like Broadbean and Joberate to tap into a vast array of passive candidates too. Precision marketing is also key here, adopting a pro-active, targeted approach to the recruitment campaign.

RPO as a true advisor to the business

This is essential. In order for RPO providers to add true value to any business, they must be more than a supplier; they must become a business partner. Open and collaborative communication channels will ensure that your RPO provider can not only analyse the needs of your business thoroughly and holistically, but also means that they will be able to be honest with you when it comes to recommending things that need to be changed- because there will inevitably be things that need changing.

Account managers that provide solutions rather than just sales

There are RPO firms that will assign you an account manager and a predetermined solution, and then there are those that will ask questions, establish what it is your business needs, and build a solution around you. A staggering 90% of RPO providers still use First and Second Generation solutions, where the approach seeks to drive down costs based on scalability with very little acknowledgement of an organisation’s existing culture and established processes; perhaps this is why RPO is traditionally viewed as a business process more workable for large enterprises over SME’s. Before you decide on an RPO provider, know what it is you need them to do, and ask them how they would do it. Engage with them, and be articulate in your discussions, because clarity is key. Focus on the quality of the service they can provide, not the monetary value or supposed savings, and you should establish a relationship with an RPO that has the ability to be truly consultative.

Being more strategic

A competent RPO provider will be thinking in both the short and long-term. They will create opportunities, and fill roles that don’t yet exist. They will advise you on the potential impact of decisions, and provide you with people who can address problems you weren’t aware of. They will tailor their approach, and show you how to attract, engage and retain a powerful workforce that will help drive your business forward.

It takes more than just an understanding of the hiring process and an ability to navigate around an Applicant Tracking System to do modern recruitment well; RPO account managers must be aware of labour market conditions, understand your business’s strategic needs and work to build and manage a fruitful talent pipeline. They must integrate the qualities of a talent advisor within their existing role and adapt to accommodate the ever-changing, ever-more demanding employment market. With the right RPO firm in tow, added value shouldn’t be added effort, it should come as standard - so don’t settle for anything less.