The use of RPO firms has certainly gained traction over the years
Employers may transfer selected parts of the TA function or all TA activities to the RPO. But, we have seen many employers give them a try, only to return to an in-house Talent Acquisition model after a failed and frustrating experience. Lack of competency and low quality of hires are the issues we most frequently hear. The cost of such failure can be immeasurable.
Is Outsourcing the Best Option?
Every CEO and HR executive will say that their employees are their company’s most valuable resource and they are 100% correct. Hiring and retaining the right talent is critical. How can you outsource a function responsible for providing your company’s most valued resource? How can you put your trust in an outside service and take on that risk? I don’t get it.
RPO’s will promote their service saying they can provide a customized solution tailored to meet your needs and save you money. This sounds great, and there must be examples of great success, but how often is it true? Are less expensive recruiters better recruiters? The RPO hires the recruiter. How do you know if that person will be a good representative of your company? How can an outside firm really get to know the culture of the company and provide a great candidate experience? How can they effectively promote the brand, get to know the employees and what are the great aspects of working there and the frustrations and downsides?
Imagine the Response
Can you imagine the transition of process, tools, promotion and human resources? Can you imagine how hiring managers will react? Painful. Imagine telling your recruiters that they will be laid off or they can still have a job, but it will be working for the RPO, likely at a lower level of total compensation. They may take the job, but the resentment will be there, and they will be keeping an updated LinkedIn profile and an eye on the market for a chance to leave as soon as possible.
I have been a Talent Acquisition Leader, In-house Tech Recruiter, and Contract Recruiter. One of the great rewards for a recruiter is seeing the results of your work and interacting with your hires once they are on the job. You have changed someone’s life for the better with that offer. You have contributed to building a team. It is a great sense of satisfaction and achievement that keeps you motivated. RPO recruiters don’t get this satisfaction and exposure. They are an outsider by design and this can negatively affect motivation. They don’t get the feedback and on-going information that helps a recruiter do the job.
The Best Teams
We believe the best Talent Acquisition teams are managed in-house and not outsourced. They are staffed with a mix of company recruiters and specialized contract recruiters. This is a very flexible model that allows HR and TA executives the latitude to lead and control the function. It allows for expansion and contraction as business conditions change without having to layoff full time staff. Contract recruiters become part of the team and their contractor status is invisible to hiring managers and candidates. The best contract recruiters have specific areas of expertise, but are chameleons that can adapt to the differences in process, tools, resources, culture, req loads, and leadership styles.
If you have a TA leader that really knows their stuff, keep it managed in-house. Many of our clients like to maintain a certain percentage of the TA team on contract. Other clients like hiring our recruiters for a unique hiring push with a defined number of hires and timeline. Contract recruiters are the best resource for projects, fill-ins for LOA and hiring needs that tend to fluctuate. Keep control of your most valued resource and keep TA as a core function within the company.