So, you work at a temp agency?


Then, is it like a headhunter?

No, not exactly. It focuses on RPO – Recruitment Process Outsourcing. It is a form of BPO – Business Process Outsourcing.

Ohhh, so you help companies close down and outsource jobs to other countries and stuff.


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A true RPO company know that good hired are not just a matter of checking off the right boxes on a resume. It not only helps fill roles but completes - or even transforms - a culture.After a few conversations like this, I learned that working in RPO comes with the need to explain to people just what it is – and what it is NOT. But to do that, I obviously needed to become knowledgeable about it myself. That meant finding the right sources that would allow me to gather information about the industry and how it differs from everything else out there.

The main point to get across about RPO is the depth and immersion involved. This goes way beyond filling positions with little to no concern for turnover rate. A true RPO company is not merely a vendor but a strategic partner, helping companies find the best permanent hire candidates who will ensure their business reaches its full potential. A true RPO company knows that good hires are not just a matter of checking off the right boxes on a resume. A true RPO company not only helps fill roles but completes – or even transforms – a culture.

The ‘O’ Word

The term “outsourcing,” which I quickly came to know as “the ‘o’ word,” carries with it negative connotations of soulless corporate types mercilessly putting good people out of work just to increase the bottom line. The irony is that in the case of RPO, while we have “outsourcing” in the description, people are actually the main focus. Far from putting people out of work, we are in the business of giving people jobs – in most cases, careers.

Some of the most rewarding moments from my first week at Cielo came from shadowing our recruiters and Impression Center agents who are on the phone with jobseekers every day as they go through the interview process. It could be a gentleman who is maybe not adept at navigating a company’s online application system but would still make a fine truck mechanic. Or it is that single mom picking up the phone and finally hearing that she got the job.

These are folks who might have fallen through the cracks in a traditional post-and-pray recruitment scenario. But with RPO, we make sure the right jobs go to the right people.

Nuts and bolts

To learn the basics of RPO – and help me sound like I knew what I was talking about on day one – I needed to do some research.

Focusing on the HR industry, HRO Today has become essential reading for anyone looking to learn about RPO. You’ll find basic definitions and explanations about the industry, and also be able to take a deeper dive with articles, blogs, videos, webinars, whitepapers and many other channels for information. It would be easy to spend a whole workday (but please, ask your manager first) just scratching the surface of all that is out there. HRO Today is the originator of the annual Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Ratings, a list that all reputable RPO companies strive to make.

Research, analysis

Organizations like the Aberdeen Group, Everest Group and NelsonHall regularly feature comprehensive research studies and market analyses relevant to RPO. After reading each one, you will feel like you just had a helpful session with a top-shelf consultant.

To get the full scope of RPO’s impact, it is important to keep up with general business websites as well. Articles about labor markets, hiring practices, workplace cultures, employee engagement and countless other topics might not directly deal with RPO, but are still quite relevant. We need to know about the world our client companies are living in.

It was a crash-course first week on the job, showing me that there is so much involved in RPO that goes beyond people’s basic conceptions of recruitment and outsourcing. I have learned a lot and cannot wait to learn more.

Post contributed by Stacey Harrison. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

If you thought this blog post was interesting, you might also like “Cielo's Definitive Guide to Recruitment Process Outsourcing”!