Comparing RPO vs. Agency Recruitment

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Hiring top talent is one of the biggest challenges that any organization can face. Finding the right people is not only time-consuming but also a costly process. As a result, many organizations turn to recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) or hiring agencies to help them fill vacancies. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between RPO and hiring agencies, and which one is right for you.

What Is Agency Recruitment?

Staffing agencies acts as a liaison between job seekers and employers. When a company hires a staffing agency, they are hiring a firm to find suitable candidates for open positions. Recruitment agencies often bill clients on a contingency fee, charging a percentage of the candidate's first-year salary.

Some advantages of utilizing recruitment agencies include reaching passive job seekers who may be difficult to find and expertise in specific industries.  However, recruitment agencies may only focus on filling in the job position and often do not provide additional talent management services that prioritize candidate satisfaction, employee retention, or the client's workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives.

What Is Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)?

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is when an organization hires a firm to manage part or all of its recruitment process. An RPO provider can handle everything from crafting compelling job descriptions and screening resumes to  interviewing and onboarding candidates. Beyond this, an RPO partner can offer expert advice on increasing workforce DE&I and enhancing a company's employer brand and employer value proposition (EVP).

RPO firms are highly data-driven, leveraging key metrics to build a customized recruitment strategy. An RPO partner will regularly track quality-of-hire, time-to-fill, candidate satisfaction and more. They compile and analyze this data regularly, and the reports generated help them to continually adapt their recruitment strategy . 

An RPO partnership provides a deep level of collaboration, uniting the client's culture and employer brand with an experienced recruitment partner to better support core business objectives. 
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RPO and Agency Recruitment Compared

Agency vs. Recruitment Process Outsourcing Comparison Chart

One of the key strengths of RPO providers is their ability to tailor the process to the specific needs of their clients. RPO s recognize that every company has different recruitment challenges and; from employer brand consultation and DE&I searches, to providing market intelligence and leveraging workforce analytics—these customizable services can empower organizations with the insights needed build an effective talent acquisition strategy. Further, RPO companies can scale their team up or down depending on the client’s workforce demands. By adjusting their services according to the client’s hiring needs, RPO partners can ensure the highest quality of recruitment services for a company's unique requirements.

Traditional staffing agencies, on the other hand, typically have a narrower scope of services than RPO providers. While recruitment firms are experts in finding, interviewing, and hiring candidates for various roles, they won’t be as focused on the big-picture outlook of an organization's talent strategy as an RPO firm. Most recruitment agencies don’t have specific service lines to cater to a client's specific needs.

When weighing RPO and traditional staffing agencies, employers must consider the broader scope of support required. While improving your company’s recruiting costs will likely be your highest priority, understanding your budget, goals, and priorities while examining the benefits of each option will yield the best result.

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