Talent acquisition departments are increasingly looking for support that can work in true partnership with their existing in-house teams. But how can the advantages of hybrid RPO (co-sourcing) be maximised to deliver the best experience for candidates, hiring managers, and talent acquisition teams alike? And what is the measure of success?

What is Hybrid RPO?

In this type of partnership, an RPO provider complements your current recruitment processes with a dedicated team of recruiters. They will live and breathe your culture, mission and values while giving your human resources team the flexibility it needs to focus on strategic business objectives.

The advantages of Hybrid RPO

Hybrid RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) can deliver many benefits. It brings great flexibility, allowing for talent acquisition activity to be scaled up at will to meet challenges such as The Great Resignation or rapid business expansion. It can also give you access to specialist knowledge that enhances and supplements that of your current HR and TA professionals.

At Cielo, our teams can provide expertise in everything from sourcing expertise, recruitment technology and employer branding, to DEI&B best practice and process management, to augment the skills in your current team.

With varying legislation and cultural differences across EMEA and APAC countries, Cielo can also bring in that local expertise to ensure your TA process is aligned to the candidate experience. So, if you are expanding into new territories or countries, a hybrid RPO partnership can provide you with in-country recruiters to get the in-demand talent you need.

On top of all these advantages, hybrid RPO can also give your organisation access to innovative and highly specialised recruitment technology. To set up such technology solutions from scratch in-house would require a big budget and huge time resource. You receive all the benefits of reductions in cost-per-hire, and time-to-hire that such technology can bring, for a fraction of the resource outlay, with regular technology updates and all the things you would expect from an award-winning technology stack.

The best hybrid RPO solutions involve a true partnership, allowing both teams to thrive, innovate and excel, as they work together to drive an exceptional talent acquisition function. But how do you create such a partnership – and avoid any potential pitfalls?

How to avoid the pitfalls

1. Make sure what’s being outsourced is clearly defined

Insourcing clear expertise along with a long-term plan is key to success. From the outset, it’s important to work with your RPO provider to define the objectives, shape, scope and scale of the responsibilities you want them to take on board.

2. Where possible, outsource end-to-end projects

Utilising a hybrid RPO solution for ‘end-to-end’ projects is most effective. For example, if you need to grow your digital team to meet a surge in online sales, outsourcing the entire process from creation and deployment of a branded marketing campaign to talent sourcing, screening and keeping the candidate warm would provide the most effective approach. When only parts of an end-to-end project are outsourced, the points in the process where the two teams interact can result in reduced efficiency and blurred lines of responsibility. This is especially true where the RPO team is working on a key project, whilst the internal team have multiple responsibilities, as the two teams are then working at different speeds and with differing timescales.

3. Communicate clearly with your internal teams

Successful hybrid RPO is a partnership. The RPO team should be positioned as an enabler, adding the resource and expertise to support the internal team and allow them to concentrate on their areas of strength and key strategic priorities. Internal teams should be clearly informed and introduced to the external RPO provider and understand what their responsibilities are from the beginning, making sure they understand the exact scope of the RPO’s responsibilities versus their own.

At Cielo, we take the work of building this partnership very seriously. Our promise to our clients is that ‘We become you’. We do this not only by ensuring everyone in our RPO team has a thorough induction to your brand but also by our flexible approach. We don’t believe one size fits all and will work closely with your internal teams to create bespoke solutions that meet the specific needs of your business.

4. Allow realistic timescales for implementation

One of the big advantages of hybrid RPO is that it can free up the valuable time of your people and reduce the time-to-hire the talent your business needs to thrive. But an element of planning and preparation will be required. Your RPO team will need to be assembled and have time to set up processes that can drive positive change, from reduced cost-per-hire to attracting hard to find talent. Equally importantly, time needs to be spent on internal change management – ensuring that on both a psychological and practical level, your internal teams are engaged with and invested in the RPO team. Time spent setting an RPO up for success will quickly reap dividends.

5. Fully integrate both teams’ actions

From where your RPO team will be physically based, to whether you can open your tech ecosystem to share it with your RPO provider, planning how integration will work is key to success. A prime example of why this alignment is so important is in relation to job boards: some won’t allow two different entities to use the same branded adverts. Without initial alignment, teams can end up blocking each other – or else duplication can waste resources, and result in teams competing for the same talent.

6. Be open to innovation

Innovation can come from both the RPO provider and the internal team. By working in partnership with your RPO provider they can suggest new ways of operating.

The most successful partnerships are ones where everybody – both internal employees and RPO team members – see themselves as part of one dedicated talent acquisition team, working together to find innovative ways to deliver more for your business.

When planning and evolving a hybrid RPO partnership, the experience of the candidates, the line managers and the entire talent acquisition team all need to be considered. Something that your RPO provider will do in tandem with your internal team.

To discover more about building a hybrid RPO solution built on true partnership, contact us.


Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is not a frequent purchase for heads of procurement. As C-Suite leaders have become more aware of the value of quality talent, and the competitiveness of obtaining it, RPO is a solution many procurement professiona...

View Blog