The definitive guide to Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

Whether you’re in a small or large organisation, in today’s candidate market, the price to acquire real talent can be costly and time-consuming.

If the structure and resourcing isn’t in place to effectively screen and source candidates for key requirements (as well as the company culture), it can quickly have a negative impact across the business.

There can be a real knowledge gap between internal recruiters from department to department and the fixed costs that come with maintaining the internal team can weigh heavily. As a result, the pressure to ensure that your talent supply chain runs smoothly every time is immense.

That’s why a lot of companies consider transferring part or all of its recruitment process to an external provider. This is known as Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO).

Recruitment Process Outsourcing: how does it work?

According to the RHOA (Human Resources Outsourcing Association), the definition of Recruitment Process Outsourcing is “a form of business process outsourcing (BPO) where an employer transfers all or part of its recruitment processes to an external service provider.

“An RPO provider can provide its own or may assume the company’s staff, technology, methodologies and reporting. In all cases, RPO differs greatly from providers such as staffing companies and contingent/retained search providers in that it assumes ownership of the design and management of the recruitment process and the responsibility of results.”

In an Recruitment Process Outsourcing model, recruitment is provided by third party recruitment agency, which is an extension of the HR department, off-site or on-site. It’s often used for high-volume recruitment (for example, call centre staff), short and medium roles on a project-to-project basis, as well as fully replacing all internal recruitment in an organisation.

recruitment process outsourcing how does it work and benefits

Recruitment Process Outsourcing is more than just filling positions when the demand is high; it’s also about enhancing the overall recruitment process in your organisation. Because the whole recruitment process is taken care of, this significantly reduces internal HR time and allowing teams to focus on other important duties.

An RPO provider also takes the time to understand the structure and culture of your business in order to outline the key characteristics of the perfect employee for the job.

From the advertising and sourcing for the role available, to each stage of the interview process to ensure that all of the skill and culture requirements are met to the highest standard, to the required background checks and reference checking, all the way to the formal offer, contract duties, placement and onboarding. The RPO provider will manage every single step of the recruitment cycle for you.

What kind of recruitment processes can be outsourced?

Name generation and sourcing

An experienced RPO provider will have access to a large pool of candidates across all industries and verticals, as well as the expertise to market and advertise the roles effectively.

Recruitment marketing/Advertising strategy

There are literally hundreds of places where you can advertise a job, but crossing them all off will quickly eat into your recruitment budget.

An experienced RPO provider will ensure that your roles are advertised in the right places for the role and industry. Whether it’s specific social media platforms, industry-specific forums, job boards or native platforms, every campaign will be handled strategically and effectively.

Candidate screening

Candidate screening is absolutely essential to ensure the candidate has the skills and potential social intelligence required to move forward in the interview process.

This ensures that the interview-to-hire ratio isn’t skewed and the process is as quick and efficient as possible.

Interview Scheduling

The RPO provider will take care of every step of the interview process and scheduling according to the timelines provided by the client.

Testing and Selection

Selecting the right candidate is crucial, and your RPO provider should take careful and calculated steps in making an informed decision. An experienced RPO provider will have state-of-the-art reporting technologies so each and every requirement is fulfilled by the candidate.

Testing methods such as personality and psychometric tests may also be provided to outline the most efficient way to work with the candidate and onboard them at ease.

Drug screening background checking

Background checking ensures the employer that the candidate has the background, education, and experience claimed and required for the role.

An RPO provider can perform thorough background checks on behalf of your business so you can peace of mind before you make a formal job offer.

In some instances, as drug screening could also be required in the process.

Placement and onboarding

Ensuring that a new starter gets the best onboarding experience is crucial for staff retention. An RPO provider will create an onboarding process that reflects positively to your business and strengthens the company culture.

What are the benefits of Recruitment Process Outsourcing?


One of the biggest advantages of RPO is it can reduce your total recruitment spend considerably, due to the flexibility of the service.

The provider can also be as much or as little involved as you want, so costs can go down when your hiring needs go down and the RPO provider can adapt to your business needs.


Since the provider will take ownership of these duties, they are fully accountable for the results they deliver.

Choosing the right RPO provider can significantly reduce risk to your organisation and ensure you have the right expertise for the roles you need to fill.

An experienced RPO provider will track and report on every step of the recruitment process, which will make future planning easier and optimise the process as time goes on.

Higher quality hires and longer staff retention

If your pick the right RPO provider with the right expertise for the relevant processes you want to outsource, it can significantly improve the quality of hires, which will subsequently improve overall staff retention.

RPO providers typically have a larger pool of potential candidates to choose from, which can reduce hire time when you need it the most.


Simply put, outsourcing your recruitment process to an external provider will allow your business to fully focus on its core objectives. You’ll have peace of mind that it’s in good hands.

Looking for an Recruitment Process Outsourcing provider?

Cpl has been a leading Recruitment Process Outsourcing provider over the last 15 years. See how we helped one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers Pfizer grow their workforce in Ireland.

Click here to get in touch to discuss how we can grow your business.