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 professionals are being asked to acquire. Here are our top tips for procurement leaders thinking about investing in an RPO solution

1. Map out the scope of service you wish to procure – This can be as simple as listing the aspects of the recruitment process you wish to outsource and those you wish to retain. Get input from both HR and talent acquisition leaders, as well as those who will use the service regularly. Both you and the RPO providers need to understand exactly what you want to buy. If you do not define the scope of service, you are not outsourcing a process – you are potentially outsourcing a problem. 

2. Keep dialogue open during the tender process – The quickest and most effective buying processes allow an open dialogue throughout the sales cycle. Once a formal sales process has commenced, dialogue between parties can often be limited to one round of questions via email. Whilst this does ensure a level playing field for all, the responses received by the providers often generate more questions. Allowing RPO providers the opportunity to ask follow-up questions - this can really help, specifically with regards to assumptions made around pricing. The best course of action is to keep the dialogue open and set up regular conference calls between all parties that enable everyone to ask and answer questions in an open manner. 

3. Keep it simple – Every organisation loves to use multiple terms and acronyms – and they change all the time. Different purchasers and providers often interpret terms in different ways. Sometimes terms vary between divisions of the same organisation! Avoid industry jargon where possible and focus on clearly explaining the part of the process you want to outsource. 

4. Do thorough due diligence – There can be a significant disparity between the solution an RPO provider has priced for, and the reality discovered during implementation. This can lead to the need to re-solution and re-price, which tends to result in delays. Ensure the scope of work is fully mapped out before going out to tender. 

5. Consult locally if undertaking a multi-country RPO – All countries have different recruitment landscapes, different pain points and different in-house capabilities. Not only do you need to understand what those differences are, but you need to know whether they are based on legal, cultural, economic, historical or political realities versus being based on perceptions. That knowledge will mean that with your provider you can design solutions to support those differences. Where a country or regions nuances are concerned, one size really does not fit all when it comes to talent acquisition. 

6. Do not move too fast – Once you have made the decision to outsource your recruitment, there is usually the temptation to move swiftly to capture cost savings and service improvements as quickly as possible. Rushed implementations can hinder an RPO programme because not enough focus is placed on change management. This can potentially negate or delay some of the benefits of the service. It is better to take the extra time to ease the transition. 

By taking these steps into consideration, transitioning to an RPO solution can be achieved smoothly and efficiently, and a better overall experience is delivered. 


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