Project RPO: The Future of Outsourced Talent Acquisition

With the increased difficulty in acquiring talent, most HR managers need to update their recruitment process. Among other things, there’s been a shift in the recruitment process toward efficiency and optimizing the talent pool. Today, recruitment solutions are utilizing talent analytics and recruitment technology to obtain human resources for their organizations while accelerating hiring time and recruiting efforts. 

With about 40% of companies downsizing their recruiting teams in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they need support in hiring new talents for their progress and growth. The initiative, which was once seen as best suited for large organizations, is gradually becoming embraced by all. 

Several companies resort to Project-based Recruitment Process Outsourcing (Project RPO) for optimized results and future outcomes. Project RPO offers these organizations the flexibility, resources, and expertise required for their success. 

In this article, we’ll be exploring all you need to know about Project RPO, its future, and how many companies are leveraging the initiative.

What is a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)?

While a seasoned HR is well acquainted with RPO, beginners might not be familiar with the concept. So let’s briefly define the term. Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is a workforce solution where an organization outsources its recruitment functions to a third party or external provider to boost scalability, productivity, service, quality and more. 

The third-party expert handles part or all the recruitment process. They identify talents and place them in different sections of the organization. An efficient and professional RPO can reduce hiring time to about 40% and save costs up to 50%. In addition, they utilize the latest technology and flexible recruitment resources to enable organizations to attain massive growth, profitability, and increased profitability.

The RPO vendor collaborates with your company to achieve your goals, meet your requirements and resolve recruitment issues. Depending on your hiring needs, the recruitment process can be accelerated or scaled-down. In addition to this, HR solutions can also help with career coaching, career mobility, redeployment, and more. Unlike staffing companies and search providers, an RPO vendor manages the complete hiring process and results. Below are some of the services offered by an RPO:

  • Workforce planning and forecasting
  • Hiring manager engagement
  • Candidate attraction and sourcing
  • Pre-employment screening and selection
  • Background checks
  • Interview process
  • Recruitment and onboarding
  • Metrics and reporting
  • Compliance and risk management

How does RPO work?

The hiring process has taken a new turn with RPO. The RPO model adopts best practices to recruit the most eligible and qualified talent team members. The outsourced provider works alongside the company to identify its needs and create hiring solutions. 

They’ll manage the sourcing, evaluation, and onboarding process. Using automated tools and techniques with professional experience, market research, and analytics, the RPO provider helps companies achieve their short-term and actionable goals. 

They ensure your company is up to date with the recruiting trends. For companies that want to save cost while boosting flexibility, some RPO vendors offer offshoring options. Besides being cost-efficient, it reduces hiring time, increases quality hire and ROI.

Why is RPO Important?

As a crucial aspect of any company, most leaders are skeptical about delegating the recruitment process to a third party. While their fears are valid, it’s expedient they outsource their hiring procedures to a reputable RPO.

Are you having second thoughts about this service? Here are several reasons why a business might want to use RPO services.

  • Using well-designed methodologies, RPO prevents companies from making bad hires.
  • RPO partners collaborate with the companies to accomplish their aims and objectives. Therefore, they have a vested interest in hiring the right individuals.
  • RPO takes the burden of hiring off the HR team, enabling them to tend to important tasks.
  • RPO partners develop talent management models and strategies that give businesses a competitive edge over others.

How Recruitment Process Outsourcing can Benefit Your Business

While many companies outsource for various reasons, there are several benefits for businesses that integrate RPO within their workforce strategies. RPOs do not only hire top talent; they help companies recruit the ideal candidates. Below are the benefits of RPO.


Though RPO providers focus on hiring the right talent, they strive to make the hiring process inexpensive compared to traditional recruitment. Unlike the traditional approach, RPO used metrics like cost per hire, time to hire, and quality of hire in their recruitment process. This ensures that the best talent is hired without accumulating additional costs. The RPO provider aims to fill in all vacant positions within a stipulated period since a vacancy that remains open reduces productivity and thus increases costs. An efficient RPO ensures these negative factors are reduced to the barest minimum. They adopt and implement strategies to employ suitable candidates who meet hiring needs and are qualified for the roles. Furthermore, using RPO services helps reduce advertising costs and attrition rates.

Increase scalability

RPO solution works on a flexible mechanism. Depending on the situation, the provider can scale up or scale down the hiring process. Typically, hiring may be inconsistent due to some factors. For example, if you’re starting a new department, you may require a large workforce to assume roles soon. Also, there may be months where there’s no hire. This makes RPO providers adopt a flexible routine that meets business needs at any specific time.

Broader talent pool

The central focus of an RPO provider is to hire the best talent in a competitive market. With years of experience and expertise in hiring for companies of various sizes and fields, RPO providers are known to source and screen for the ideal candidate. 

They conduct a detailed recruitment process to come up with the best results. In addition, they also create a talent pool for quick filling of a vacant position in a company. Due to competition in the corporate world, businesses may have to resort to the passive talent pool. RPO providers have an extensive database of candidates across the world who suit different roles.

Improved efficiency

The recruiting process has evolved with the introduction of cutting-edge technology such as Artificial intelligence (AI) and integrated applicant tracking systems. HR professionals can’t keep up with the industry trend hence the need to relegate the hiring process to RPO providers who use technology-based platforms. 

These online platforms reduce the time to hire to about 40%. With AI, video interviewing, and selection methods, companies have redesigned an effective selection process that promotes the brand and reduces hiring time.

Improved candidate engagement

Candidate engagement is an integral part of human resources hence its significance. However, obtaining the right candidate experience is no easy task. It’s quite demanding and requires much attention, making the HR department deviate from its primary goals. 

An ideal RPO provider has the experience and expertise to enhance customer engagement for a business or company. Besides helping to hire the best talent, it influences the business market share.

Analytics and detailed reporting

RPO providers track each stage of the recruitment process, ensuring it’s reported in detail while offering insights for quick decision-making. This facilitates easy auditing in the future. Since RPO recruits for roles often, they dedicate time to create and conduct skill assessments and personality tests to narrow down the candidate list.

Boost employer brand

These days, salary and other perks aren’t the only factors candidates consider when applying for jobs. They analyze the flexible timing, the hiring process, and the employer’s brand as well. Many prospective employees look up reviews and ratings of companies online to have a foreknowledge of their brand. 

There’s a lot RPO does for an employer’s brand image. Besides the consistent hiring method, a reputable RPO uses analytics, social media, and advanced technology to boost a company’s brand. This, in turn, influences the type and quality of talent attracted, fostering a positive brand image.

Compliance with labor laws and regulations

As the world evolves, there’s also a modification in hiring practices, trends, laws, and regulations concerned with recruitment. With frequent changes in employment laws, RPOs ensure that the hiring process complies with labor laws.

Regardless of the diversity, these RPO providers have managed to stay on top of their game. When you outsource hiring procedures to an RPO, you’re guaranteed that your fingers won’t get burned as you employ new talent for your business.

Adept at adhering to stipulated standards, RPO firms map out every stage of the recruitment and keep a detailed record for auditing purposes.

HR is given the freedom to focus on more strategic goals

The role of an HR professional is challenging. There are more expectations and responsibilities than ever, and still, few HR staff get a seat at important board meetings. The job of attracting permanent staff is becoming the most time-consuming and challenging task within human resource teams. With this in mind, picking an RPO solution has clear advantages.

RPO providers handle all permanent recruitment and provide an end-to-end service; they take a big chunk of responsibility outside the HR office. This gives Human resource professionals the added time and space necessary to keep on top of other parts of their job and develop their skills, adapt to technological change, and perhaps even get a seat at the top table. 

The Traditional Method of Recruitment

In traditional advertising, paper applications and resumes are used. But some managers still prefer a physical interaction to enable a proper assessment of an applicant and their fit for the role.  While online recruiters may use social media and other digital recruitment platforms, traditional recruiters could use any or all of the following methods:

  • Classified advertising: The creation and publishing of classified adverts to recruit for open roles in a company is one of the oldest methods of recruiting. Employers have used this method because it is the easiest and fastest way to inform qualified job seekers of open positions in any organization.
    • Classified advertising may be easy and fast, but it has a limitation when it comes to effectiveness, like other forms of traditional recruiting. When recruiting, you want to get the best candidates and most qualified candidates don’t check classified adverts because they are doing well in their current jobs and not looking for a change.
  • Networking: Good managers recognize the importance of having a network of employers, recruiters, shareholders etc. Another employer or recruiter may know someone that would be open to appealing offers, while not actively searching for a new job. However, this may not be as effective as finding the best candidate for the role.
  • Interviews: Conducting interviews is very common with hiring managers and recruiters. This typically involves job applicants showing in great clothes, hoping to make a good impression. Also, subsequent interviews are conducted if desired by the recruiter. Applicants may be asked to take aptitude and skill assessment tests to prove their suitability for the role.

Differences between Project RPO and Traditional RPO

Before introducing RPO, many companies used traditional recruitment methods to hire great candidates for different roles. The traditional method involves advertising job vacancies in the newspaper, internal hiring, among others. 

While RPO and traditional recruitment methods enable businesses to hire the right candidates, they differ in various ways, especially in key drivers and length of engagement. Let’s consider some of the differences that exist between these two recruitment types.


Traditional RPO handles the recruitment process from start to finish. Here, the recruiter controls the whole process, from posting job vacancies to filling positions. On the other hand, project RPO manages the hiring process for a specific period or project.


This is probably a major difference between the two recruitment methods. Recruitment agencies may charge about 20% to 30% of each candidate’s salary placed in the client’s organization. Thus, if you have a job opening with a $200,000 salary, you will have to pay $220,000 to $230,000 as a recruitment fee for the advertised position. Furthermore, your HR team is actively involved in the recruitment exercise.

RPOs usually impose a monthly management fee and transactional fees for the complete hiring process and filling individual positions. Typically, compared to recruitment agencies, employing the services of an RPO provider is less than 60% to 75%. Since the RPO firm controls all or most of the hiring process, your internal team is less busy, having ample time to accomplish their tasks.

Candidate management

Since recruiters are often paid for placing candidates in respective positions, they have access and control over each talent they present to clients within the contract duration. Perhaps you want to assign a candidate to another position in the future; you’ll need to pay the recruiting agency before the placement.

In RPO, candidate ownership isn’t in place as the client has access to candidates irrespective of the RPO firm sourcing for them or hired from the employee referral program or the company’s website.


While recruiting agencies strive to make placements to get paid, they dissuade clients from using their company’s website or employee referral program to hire candidates. Meeting the needs of clients or promoting the brand image isn’t their primary goal. Also, these recruiters may delegate your internal team to write the job descriptions. This implies that you’ll have to pay the recruiter for services rendered while your team handles recruiting tasks.

Recruitment process outsourcing utilizes every necessary resource to get the best fit for positions. Hence, RPO partners use employee referral programs and the company’s website to get the right candidate. Many RPO providers are concerned with satisfying the needs of their clients.

The RPO firm takes care of everything from the hiring process to the Al-based platform placement and recruiting tactics. They will write the job descriptions, source and screen for talent, boost employee brand, foster long-term and strategic partnerships with clients.

Length of engagement

Typically, traditional recruitment engagement often lasts for over two years. This is usually due to companies seeking continuous support and long-term hiring strategies. 

Based on your timeline and hiring needs, a project RPO engagement may last for about 6 to 12 months. Overall, project RPO contracts are usually less than 6 months, with over 70% of companies’ engagements less than 6 weeks. Therefore, RPO is suitable for companies that wish to outsource without a long-term agreement or contract.

Regardless of the differences between traditional RPO and project RPO, both share similarities in expertise, partnership, and support.

Why Leaders are Investing in Project RPO

Many companies entrust their talent acquisition strategies to RPO providers to meet their immediate needs, achieve short-term goals, and build long-term capability. Sometimes, most companies at a particular time may want to break into the market or scale-up real quick; hence they resort to RPO providers. 

Compared to traditional RPO, strategies adopted in project RPO are guided by labor market trends and company objectives. Based on research, it’s reported that companies investing in project RPO aim to broaden their market scope, support hiring demands, and high-growth goals.

Key Drivers in Project RPO

While traditional RPO and project RPO are popular recruitment methods used today, the latter is gradually gaining ground among companies. The following factors will drive project RPO.

  • Hiring surges: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was economic disruption leading to several companies downsizing and closing down for some period. Today, businesses are re-opening and filling vacant positions, thus the hiring surge.
  • Market expansion: The outbreak brought along with it new ways of operating business. Some companies are broadening their market scope while they lack the expertise and experience for growth. This will make them seek urgent hires to fulfill their business goals and objectives. Outsourcing hiring practices to project RPO providers will enable the companies to acquire the needed expertise and talent for successful business growth.
  • Reduced time-to-fill: Virtually all companies want to offer effective and efficient services. Due to increased hiring demands, these companies may not be willing to wait 40-50 days to get the right candidate for a specific position. Vacant positions indicate low productivity, capacity, and profitability. Recently, RPO providers are pressured to boost overall efficiency and capacity. As a result, many organizations want to reduce time-to-fill to days rather than months. With project RPO, companies can successfully reduce time-to-fill to preferred duration. About 75% of companies using project RPO methodologies have reported that empty positions are filled within 30 days.
  • High-growth goals: In the previous year, there’s been a shift in business goals among several companies. These companies are growing at a fast pace and increasing in size in the coming year. This increase will lead to job openings that need filling. For companies with high-growth goals, project RPO can enable them to scale up within a short period.

How to find the Right RPO Solution for your Business

Now that you’ve understood the concept of project RPO, the benefits, and key drivers, you’re considering choosing an RPO solution for your company. Guess you don’t want to end up with a one-size-fits-all workforce solution; hence you must ask the right questions. 

How can an RPO provider help you achieve your goals? Is the solution aligned with your business goals? Ponder on these before making informed decisions. Below are tips that will help you choose the right project RPO specialists.

Identify your business objectives and ensure they’re aligned

Compared to other talent acquisition strategies, project RPO offers prompt solutions for short-term business goals and challenges. If your business goals and talent are aligned, then you can fully maximize project RPO resources. Ensure your goals and objectives align with the RPO provider to ensure proper execution of the recruitment process.

Furthermore, define your reasons for opting for RPO. While cost-efficiency may rank among your top reasons, you should consider the quality of hires. Many choose RPO because of the reduced turnover rates, quality talent pool, and improved employer brand. Let your most preferred provider know why you’re partnering with them. This will make them tailor their services to suit your recruitment needs.

Recognize your hiring needs

Why are you hiring? What areas of your hiring process do you wish to improve? Which areas are performing well? Which positions do you need to fill? Answer these pertinent questions so the outsourcing firm can work with this to create a proper structure for your company. In addition, this will help you with the search for the right RPO partner.

Consider key factors

You may want to consider factors like niche, technology, scalability, company culture, and quick time-to-fill in choosing an ideal recruiting team.

What’s your niche? You can choose a provider with vast knowledge in medical staffing, information technology, etc. Their extensive database of talent will enable you to fill up vacant positions in your company.

Technology can also be a vital factor to consider when selecting an RPO partner. Perhaps data security is of utmost priority to you; opt for a solution that is concerned with this and has efficient data security. 

Does your business have hiring seasons or unpredictable growth? Then, choose a provider that can easily augment your services to meet your hiring needs.

How long does the RPO firm fill up vacant positions? Look for an option that has quick time-to-fill. This will help you save costs as the faster the hiring process, the lower the cost. While they may have prompt hiring time, ensure the RPO provides you with the best talent.

Look for a reliable and reputable RPO provider

Whether short-term or long-term, expertise and collaboration are vital in any business, even in an RPO investment. Find an RPO solution that understands your target audience and has vast knowledge and expertise across all talent acquisition strategies. 

For example, an RPO with in-depth knowledge of recruitment methods will have an extensive network to resort to for recruiting resources and established processes for talent attraction and hire.

Identify outcomes and metrics for success

What are your success metrics? What do you aim to achieve? Know this early before bringing in an RPO partner to work on your project. This will help towards achieving the best results. Metrics may include:

  • Experience (candidate, hiring manager, recruiter).
  • Efficiency (time to fill, productivity, conversion).
  • Effectiveness ( quality applicants, quality hires, diversity).

For companies that want to achieve incredible feats in their projects, it’s crucial for them to collaborate with RPO solutions to define and review the service-level agreements (SLAs) and KPIs (key performance indicators) or metrics.

Choosing a Workforce Solutions Partner

The right RPO provider offers great benefits to your recruitment process, from expertise to a broad network and technology. While an RPO provider is majorly concerned with getting the right fit for job openings in your company, JCSI offers that and a lot more. 

JCSI Recruitment is a brand known for providing superior recruitment services to attract passive candidates for our clients’ opportunities. Unlike traditional recruiting firms, we target passive candidates as part of the regular search process.

The firm has developed creative candidate-marketing strategies and tools to attract passive talent, which increases your talent pool and results in better applicants. With three separate, dedicated teams, JCSI’s unique approach to recruiting has proven successful over a wide variety of industries and roles.

Through decades of overwhelming recruitment success, JCSI developed an innovative process that is very successful at finding and attracting high-quality candidates.  This innovative recruitment model guarantees better hires, at a faster rate and at far less cost than traditional recruiting firms. Better hires mean sustainable and reliable talent, which drives or contributes to your organization’s continued growth.

  1. First, we discover your ideal profile. This typically involves a thorough implementation meeting where we dive into the preferred skills and requirements for the role, including special competencies, experience, and educational qualifications. We also use the opportunity to learn more about your company, the organization’s overall structure, management style, and culture.
  2. Then we find your best candidates. Finding ideal candidates often seems like searching for needles in a haystack. However, JCSI has successfully found top candidates in any industry by using proven research tools and strategies. Our firm’s sourcing team is exceptionally skilled at passive candidate research and matching your ideal profile with real candidates.
  3. Attracting top talent in the process, we do so through creative marketing strategies. While finding the ideal candidate with updated contact information is essential. The key to driving more interviews with top-notch talent is understanding passive candidates, how they prefer to communicate, and what motivates them to connect with us.
  4. We guarantee a list of interview-ready, prescreened candidates who meet or exceed your requirements for each search. These candidates are well-informed about your company and have been thoroughly vetted by our team. By providing a slate of 3-4 qualified candidates who meet 100% of your position requirements, we enable you to hire the best candidate for the job instead of the best available. Once we find and attract top-notch candidates to your opportunity, our Recruiters conduct a thorough phone screen, asking your knockout and nice-to-have questions. JCSI fully understands your expectations and preferences as your recruiting partner and works well to ensure our candidates meet all your requirements.
  5. Prescreened candidates are presented to your hiring team, and you select the candidates you want to move forward in the process. We schedule phone interviews with the selected candidates at your convenience, and coordinate details and all necessary follow up with your applicants.


JCSI provides you with all the reporting, analytics, and candidate data you need to evaluate the progress being made on your search at any given time in the project as a seamless extension to your hiring team.

Boasting 20 years of experience, we’ve successfully taken many businesses to the peak of success by finding the right talent. Our experts collaborate with companies of various sizes and fields to help them tackle and deal with hiccups associated with the hiring process. So contact JCSI today, and let’s help you find the best talent for your job openings.