How Does Recruitment Outsourcing Work?

In the business world, hiring is one of the most crucial processes. It is a significant factor in shaping the team that will drive the company toward success. However, it can also be a time-consuming and complex process. This is where recruitment outsourcing comes in.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a practice where an employer transfers all or part of its recruitment processes to an external service provider. This provider can take responsibility for the entire process, from defining the job role to onboarding the new employee. Now, let’s delve deeper into how recruitment outsourcing works.

The Nuts and Bolts of Recruitment Outsourcing

A recruitment outsourcing company starts by understanding the client’s company culture, hiring needs, and overall business strategy. With this knowledge, they create a customized recruitment plan.

They handle a variety of tasks including:

  1. Job Description Development: They work closely with the client to create accurate and enticing job descriptions that will attract the right candidates.
  2. Candidate Sourcing: They use multiple channels to find suitable candidates. This could be through online job boards, social media, or their vast networks.
  3. Candidate Screening: They review resumes and conduct initial interviews to check the qualifications and suitability of the candidates.
  4. Interview Coordination: They arrange interviews between the top candidates and the client.
  5. Offer Negotiation and Management: They handle job offer negotiations on behalf of the client and manage the entire process until the candidate is onboarded.
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Why Companies Choose to Outsource Recruitment

Companies outsource their recruitment process for various reasons.


Recruitment can be time-consuming. Outsourcing it allows businesses to focus on their core operations while the RPO provider concentrates on the hiring process.


Outsourcing can be more cost-effective than maintaining an in-house hiring team, especially for companies with fluctuating hiring needs.

Access to Talent

RPO providers often have extensive networks and advanced tools to source talent, making them capable of finding highly-qualified candidates more efficiently.


Recruitment needs can vary, and having an outsourced provider allows for flexibility and scalability in the recruitment process.

Measuring the Success of Recruitment Outsourcing

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are crucial in measuring the success of outsourcing recruitment. These can include the time-to-hire, cost-per-hire, quality of hire, and the satisfaction of hiring managers.

Selecting a Recruitment Outsourcing Provider

Choosing a recruitment outsourcing provider is a critical decision that should not be taken lightly. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Industry Expertise: The provider should have experience in your specific industry.
  2. Track Record: Consider their success rates and how they have helped other companies.
  3. Services: Ensure their services align with what you are looking for.
  4. Communication: They should be able to communicate clearly and regularly.
  5. Flexibility: They should be able to adapt to your changing needs.

Recruitment outsourcing offers many benefits for companies of all sizes and industries. By entrusting recruitment processes to a reputable provider, businesses can streamline their hiring, access top talent, and focus on their core operations. However, it’s crucial to choose a provider that aligns with your company culture and understands your specific hiring needs. With the right partner, recruitment outsourcing can be a strategic advantage in the competitive business landscape.

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Does Recruitment Outsourcing Find Better Quality Job Candidates?

One of the key benefits that many companies find when they outsource their recruitment process is an improvement in the quality of candidates they’re able to attract and hire. Let’s explore how and why this occurs.

Utilizing Industry Expertise and Networks

An experienced Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provider will have a deep understanding of the industry they’re recruiting within. They’re often familiar with the best channels to use for finding top talent, and they may have established networks of qualified candidates that they can tap into. This industry insight and reach can help them attract highly skilled candidates who are well-suited for the role.

Comprehensive Screening and Selection Processes

RPO providers specialize in recruitment, which means they typically have robust screening and selection processes in place. These processes may include skills assessments, behavioral interviews, and other tools designed to identify the most qualified and suitable candidates. Their focused expertise allows them to evaluate candidates more thoroughly than an employer might have the time or resources to do.

Brand Representation

A good RPO provider will take the time to understand your company’s culture and values, and they will reflect these in their recruitment efforts. They effectively act as brand ambassadors, communicating the unique benefits and opportunities your company offers. This strong employer branding can attract higher quality candidates who are a good fit for your company.

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How Recruitment Outsourcing Saves Businesses Time

Time is a valuable resource in business, and recruitment can often be a time-consuming process. Outsourcing recruitment can save businesses significant amounts of time in several ways.

Streamlined Recruitment Process

RPO providers have the expertise and tools to streamline the recruitment process. They handle all aspects of recruitment, from writing job descriptions and posting job adverts to screening applicants and conducting initial interviews. This leaves your company’s HR team free to focus on other important tasks.

Faster Time-to-Hire

With their industry knowledge, extensive networks, and recruitment expertise, RPO providers can typically fill vacancies faster than an in-house team might be able to. This can be particularly beneficial for businesses that need to scale up quickly or fill critical positions.

Reduced Time Spent on Administrative Tasks

Outsourcing recruitment also reduces the time your team spends on administrative tasks such as sorting through resumes, scheduling interviews, and following up with candidates. The RPO provider takes care of these tasks, giving your team more time to focus on strategic activities.

Recruitment outsourcing can lead to higher quality candidates and significant time savings. However, the effectiveness of outsourcing will depend on the expertise and capabilities of the RPO provider you choose. It’s essential to select a provider that understands your industry, company culture, and specific recruitment needs.

How Does Recruitment Outsourcing Work?

The process of recruitment outsourcing, also known as Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), involves a company handing over its recruitment process to an external service provider. While each RPO provider may have their own unique approach to recruitment, the general steps are often as follows:

Step 1: Understanding Client Needs

The recruitment outsourcing process begins with the RPO provider getting to know the client’s business and its unique needs. This involves understanding the roles that need to be filled, the company culture, the industry, and the specific qualifications required. It’s crucial for the RPO provider to fully understand these aspects to ensure they’re sourcing the right candidates.

Step 2: Job Posting and Candidate Sourcing

Once they’ve grasped the needs of the client, the RPO provider will handle job postings. They will draft job descriptions that accurately capture the roles and responsibilities, and that are designed to attract the right candidates. They’ll then post these descriptions to relevant job boards, social media channels, and their own networks.

Step 3: Applicant Screening

As applications start to come in, the RPO provider will handle the initial screening process. This usually involves reviewing resumes and applications, and potentially conducting phone screens or initial interviews to gauge the suitability of candidates.

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Step 4: Candidate Assessment and Interviews

The RPO provider will typically conduct further assessments for shortlisted candidates. This could include skills tests, personality assessments, and more in-depth interviews. The aim is to gauge not only the candidates’ skills and qualifications, but also their fit with the company culture.

Step 5: Job Offer and Onboarding

After identifying the top candidates, the RPO provider will usually present these to the client. Once the client has made their selection, the provider may also handle job offer negotiations, reference checks, and even the initial stages of onboarding.

Step 6: Reporting and Analysis

Many RPO providers will also provide regular reporting and analysis on recruitment activities. This could include insights into the effectiveness of different sourcing strategies, time-to-hire metrics, and quality-of-hire data. This information can be used to continuously improve the recruitment process.

Recruitment outsourcing involves a deep partnership between the RPO provider and the client. The provider essentially becomes an extension of the client’s HR team, handling the end-to-end recruitment process and freeing up the client’s time to focus on other strategic activities.

How Much Does Recruitment Outsourcing Cost?

The cost of recruitment outsourcing can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the size of the company, the number of positions to be filled, the complexity of the roles, the level of service required, and the RPO provider’s pricing model. However, as a rough guide, below are some average cost ranges:

Retainer-based Pricing

With retainer-based pricing, the company pays a fixed fee to the RPO provider. This could be a monthly or annual fee and is usually based on an agreed scope of work. The average retainer for an RPO service could range from $1,500 to $5,000 per month, though this can be higher for larger organizations or complex projects.

Cost-per-hire Pricing

In a cost-per-hire pricing model, the company pays the RPO provider a fee for each successful placement. This is usually a percentage of the new hire’s first-year salary, typically between 15-25%. For example, if the RPO provider successfully places a candidate with an annual salary of $50,000, the cost to the company would be $7,500 to $12,500.

Hybrid Pricing

Some RPO providers offer a hybrid pricing model, combining elements of both retainer-based and cost-per-hire pricing. This could involve a lower monthly retainer plus a reduced fee per hire.

These costs may seem significant, but it’s important to remember the benefits that come with recruitment outsourcing: time savings, access to a broad talent pool, reduced time-to-hire, and often, better quality candidates. In the long run, these benefits can outweigh the costs and deliver a strong return on investment.

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Creating an Ideal Candidate Profile

To ensure the success of your recruitment outsourcing partnership, it’s important to create a comprehensive candidate profile. This profile not only serves as a roadmap for the RPO provider but also acts as a benchmark against which all potential candidates can be measured.

Here’s how you can create an ideal candidate profile:

Understand the Role

Begin with a clear understanding of the role that needs to be filled. This includes not just the job responsibilities, but also the impact the role has on your organization. Outline the key tasks the employee will be responsible for and understand how this role contributes to the overall success of the business.

Identify Key Skills and Experience

Next, list the essential skills and experiences the ideal candidate should possess. This could include specific technical skills, years of experience in a similar role, or familiarity with certain tools or software. Be realistic about what’s truly essential for the role and what can be learned on the job.

Define Success

What does success look like for this role? Defining success not only helps during the recruitment process, but also sets clear expectations for the new hire. This could be meeting certain performance metrics, leading a team, or completing projects within a specified timeframe.

Consider Cultural Fit

A candidate might have all the skills and experience you’re looking for, but if they don’t fit well within your company culture, they’re less likely to be successful. Think about the values and behaviors that align with your company culture.

Crafting Job Requirements

Crafting job requirements goes hand in hand with creating an ideal candidate profile. The job requirements are essentially a breakdown of the candidate profile into a format that can be shared externally.

When crafting job requirements, remember these tips:

Be Clear and Concise

Potential candidates should be able to understand what the role entails from reading the job description. Avoid industry jargon where possible and break responsibilities down into digestible tasks.

Highlight Key Skills and Qualifications

Be sure to mention the necessary skills and qualifications for the role. If certain skills are ‘nice-to-have’ but not essential, make sure to differentiate this in the description.

Showcase Your Company Culture

The job requirements should not only outline what you expect from the candidate but also what the candidate can expect from your company. Share a bit about your company culture and any benefits or unique selling points that would attract top talent.

Remember, the aim is to attract high-quality candidates who not only have the right skills and experience but are also a good cultural fit. By creating a comprehensive candidate profile and clearly articulated job requirements, you’re setting up your RPO provider – and your business – for success.

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Top 10 Recruitment Outsourcing Companies in 2023

Finding the right Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provider can be a game-changer for your organization. Here are the top 10 RPO companies in 2023 that have been recognized for their outstanding service, innovative solutions, and proven track record in the industry:

  1. ManpowerGroup Solutions: As a global leader in the industry, ManpowerGroup Solutions provides comprehensive RPO services along with workforce strategy and talent management solutions.
  2. Randstad Sourceright: Known for their human forward approach, Randstad Sourceright offers talent-driven RPO services that integrate technology, analytics, and expertise to provide efficient and effective recruitment processes.
  3. Korn Ferry: Korn Ferry is renowned for its talent acquisition strategies and high-quality RPO services, enabling businesses to secure the best talent.
  4. Cielo: Cielo’s dedicated and strategic approach to RPO includes industry-specific expertise and global reach, making it a popular choice for businesses of all sizes.
  5. Allegis Global Solutions: With its deep industry knowledge and customizable solutions, Allegis Global Solutions caters to diverse industry needs, including IT, healthcare, manufacturing, and more.
  6. WilsonHCG: Known for their comprehensive talent ecosystem, WilsonHCG is lauded for its consultative and partnership approach to RPO.
  7. Hudson RPO: With a focus on customization and flexibility, Hudson RPO designs recruitment processes that align with the unique business goals of their clients.
  8. Alexander Mann Solutions: They offer a blend of outsourcing solutions, consulting services, and cutting-edge technology to deliver a full suite of RPO services.
  9. Pontoon Solutions: Pontoon Solutions provides a global approach to RPO, delivering recruitment services that focus on improving the candidate experience, enhancing brand impact, and driving business growth.
  10. PeopleScout: Recognized for its innovative approach to RPO, PeopleScout offers solutions that combine data-driven insights with an emphasis on the human touch.

Before choosing an RPO provider, consider the specific needs of your business and your long-term talent acquisition strategy. The right RPO provider will partner with you to understand your business goals and align their services to meet those needs.

After the Selection: What Happens Next?

After a recruitment outsourcing company identifies the potential employee candidates for your business, several key steps follow:

Interviews and Evaluations: The first step post-selection involves conducting interviews and further evaluations. The recruitment outsourcing company may conduct initial interviews, or they may arrange interviews for your company’s hiring managers to carry out. These interviews are pivotal in assessing the candidates’ skills, attitude, and fit within your company culture.

Background and Reference Checks: To ensure the credibility of the selected candidates, the recruitment outsourcing company will typically conduct thorough background and reference checks. This process ensures that all information provided by the candidate is accurate and they have a positive employment history.

Job Offer and Negotiation: Once a candidate passes through the interviewing and vetting process, the recruitment agency can handle job offers and negotiations. This part of the process involves communicating the job offer to the candidate, discussing terms of employment, and potentially negotiating salary and benefits.

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Onboarding: The onboarding process is often facilitated by the recruitment outsourcing company, particularly in the early stages. This might include introducing new hires to your team, organizing training sessions, and ensuring that the new employee has all the tools they need to get started.

Continuous Support and Review: Even after the successful placement of a candidate, many recruitment outsourcing companies provide ongoing support. They may conduct performance reviews to assess the effectiveness of the placement and ensure that both the employee and employer are content.

By using a recruitment outsourcing company, you not only get assistance with the initial selection of candidates but a comprehensive service that covers all stages of the recruitment process. This ensures a smooth and efficient process that will help your business find and retain the best possible talent.

The Benefits of Long-Term Partnerships with Recruitment Outsourcing Companies

Building a long-term partnership with a recruitment outsourcing company can bring further benefits beyond the immediate recruitment process. Here’s why a sustained relationship with a recruitment company can be advantageous:

Deep Understanding of Your Business: Over time, a recruitment outsourcing company will develop a deep understanding of your business, your culture, and the type of employees who succeed in your environment. This insight can lead to more accurate and effective candidate selection, reducing the time spent on unsuccessful hires.

Improved Employer Brand: A recruitment outsourcing company can work closely with your business to improve your employer brand. By effectively marketing your business to potential employees, they can increase the pool of candidates who are eager to work for your company. This improved employer brand can result in higher-quality candidates and a more engaged workforce.

Continuous Talent Pooling: With a long-term partnership, a recruitment outsourcing company can continually develop a talent pool specifically for your business. This means that when a vacancy arises, there is already a pool of pre-vetted candidates that can be considered, speeding up the recruitment process.

Ongoing Training and Development: Some recruitment outsourcing companies offer ongoing training and development services. These can help ensure your employees continue to grow and develop in their roles, increasing their value to your business and their job satisfaction.

Succession Planning: Recruitment outsourcing companies can also assist with succession planning, ensuring that there are capable employees ready to step up into leadership roles as they become available.

Scalability: As your business grows, a recruitment outsourcing company can scale their services to match your needs. This means they can manage the recruitment process regardless of whether you need to hire one new employee or one hundred.

Recruitment outsourcing is much more than just finding candidates for open positions. It’s a comprehensive service that can handle every aspect of the recruitment process, from initial job posting to ongoing support and development. With the right partner, recruitment outsourcing can save your business time, effort, and money while helping you build a highly skilled, engaged workforce.

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