Is RPO the Big Bad Wolf?

Whether your reason is to reduce recruiting costs or maintain an easy reach into the professionals’ cache of tools and technology, the results of a recent survey suggest that recruitment process outsourcing is not one thing for all people. In fact, 62% say the allure of RPO is to increase recruiting effectiveness (of 131 people, 81 listed that as the most important reason; another 35 listed that as an important reason), while 44% of those playing up the tactical approach suggest that RPO provides the best access to candidate databases (of 127 people, 56 listed that as the most important reason; another 43 listed that as an important reason). Other answers cited included using RPO to have access to trained professionals and increase HR productivity.

The study defined RPO as “full life-cycle” recruiting, meaning a process that includes outsourcing specific discrete processes, spanning a menu of job levels and families, performed in centralized and decentralized organizations, including multi-year contracts with the vendor taking ownership of the processes.

Industry research estimates that staffing and recruiting services spending will reach $92 billion worldwide by 2009, a figure that includes a variety of services such as contingent labor fees, executive search fees, recruitment advertising, jobs board fees, on-boarding services, background screening services, outplacement services, and in some cases, hosting fees for on-demand applicant tracking systems.

The report found that when people say “recruitment outsourcing,” they sometimes have in mind just the use of a third-party search firm. Fifty-seven percent of respondents say they have used a professional staffing firm, as well as 66% who used more than one vendor to fill niche positions. In addition, sourcing, background checking, and drug testing, and screening and assessment are the most commonly outsourced processes among the survey respondents, and these services are provided by all vendor types ? professional staffing firms, RPO services firms, HR consulting firms, and technology vendors.

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Echoing a growing trend, the report noted that cost-savings alone is not the most important reason for outsourcing recruitment; instead, many companies hope to increase their recruiting effectiveness by delivering better-quality candidates to hiring managers.

Finally, recruitment outsourcing is most frequently being used for the IT function, but positions in the finance and accounting industries are a close second. Across job type, the most commonly outsourced is that of non-management professionals and non-exempt workers, the report said.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing: An Assessment of Outsourcing Prevalence and Effectiveness ? complete with charts, graphs, interviews, and extensive research highlighting the state of RPO, is available for purchase in print format.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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