What Is RPO? The Breakdown You Need

Published on 10/1/2022 by David Webb
Last Updated on 7/17/2023

Categories: RPO Software

Tags: recruitmentrpo

According to the 2022 State of HR report, 60% of businesses struggle to find the job candidates they need. Nearly half are seeing their bottom line impacted due to the inability to fill vital positions.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is a great way to find the best talent for your company quickly and efficiently.

  • There are several types of RPO, including end-to-end, project, hybrid, ROD, and contingent ROD. Each type is tailored to meet the specific needs of your company.

  • RPO cost models include cost-per-hire, cost-per-resource, transactional-based, and hybrid. RPO software is a type of recruitment technology used to automate, track, and manage the recruitment process.

  • AI and automated RPO software solutions speed up the recruitment process and boost efficiency.

Recruiting goes beyond simply acquiring talent to contract. It can also include your recruiting methods, processes, workflows, and management. Recruitment is a partnership that helps save you time, money, and resources. It also gives you access to a broader talent pool and the technologies needed to quickly find the candidates you need when you need them most.

If you’re looking to improve your business through recruiting, then RPO might be the answer you need. RPO is a recruitment process outsourcing model that helps you quickly find the right candidates for your company.

RPO is an essential part of the recruitment process, and all businesses of all sizes can benefit from it. RPO allows organizations to find the best talent for their company.

However, you should know a few things about RPO before deciding whether it’s right for you.

  • What it is
  • How it works
  • Why you might need it
  • Types of RPO options
  • Cost models
  • RPO software
  • How to choose a suitable RPO model

RPO can help any business find and hire top talent quickly and efficiently. By outsourcing your recruitment process, you have access to a broader pool of candidates and technologies that can help you quickly identify qualified candidates. Additionally, RPO can save your business time and money while improving your bottom line.

what is rpo

What Is RPO?

Recruitment process outsourcing is a great way to find the best talent for your company. However, it’s different from simply outsourcing talent from staffing agencies. RPO is more exclusive and involved and assumes the recruiting responsibilities your business assigns them.

Like a staffing agency, an RPO partner specializes in talent acquisition and retention while focusing on finding the best candidates to fill the roles you need. Each candidate goes through a recruitment vetting process to ensure they are the most skilled candidate for the position and the best fit for your company’s culture.

Outsourcing your recruitment process saves your company time and money in finding the right talent for each job. RPO is a great way to improve your business!

How does rpo work

How Does RPO Work?

Finding the right RPO to accommodate your company’s needs is essential. So, the process typically begins with a detailed consultation to ensure that the RPO partner understands your business, what roles you need to fill, what you’re looking for in each position, what kind of talent is required, and which recruitment processes you need help with. Then, your RPO partner creates a unique recruitment strategy tailored to your company’s needs.

Once the strategy is in place, your RPO partner can begin the “sourcing” process; this involves finding potential candidates, identifying their skills and qualifications, and vetting them to ensure they are the right fit for your company. Searching for suitable candidates goes beyond the typical online job boards, too! Your RPO partner can use social media, job fairs, referrals, and more to reach the best talent.

Once you have found the perfect candidate, your RPO partner can help with onboarding, managing paperwork, conducting interviews, and helping you make a competitive offer. RPO simplifies what was once an extensive recruitment process into one that is streamlined and efficient.


Recruitment process outsourcing is sometimes confused with business process outsourcing (BPO). While they have similar names, they serve two different purposes. 

BPO focuses on automating administrative tasks such as payroll, customer service, and accounting processes to save your company time and money. 

On the other hand, RPO focuses solely on finding the best talent for your business. It partners you with a recruitment specialist who helps you find suitable candidates for your positions and can help manage some or all of your company’s recruitment processes. As a result, RPO simplifies what was once a more complex process, saves you value in time and money, and can benefit businesses of all sizes.


Recruitment process outsourcing is sometimes confused with a managed service provider (MSP). An MSP provides a vendor management system that helps you manage your external vendors. Instead of working with talent acquisition and recruitment processes, MSP simplifies the process of managing vendors and ensures that vendors are working efficiently for your business. 


Why Do Companies Use RPO?

Recruitment process outsourcing is an excellent choice for companies of all sizes and industries. It does what would generally be a very lengthy recruitment process in considerably less time and money.

Companies often use RPO because it helps them find the best talent quickly, provides competitive offers to those candidates, and manages their entire recruitment process from start to finish. Additionally, RPO can help streamline your hiring process and optimize it for greater efficiency and success.

Overall, RPO offers an excellent solution for companies looking to find the best talent quickly without sacrificing quality or their budget. By leveraging the expertise of an experienced recruiter, you can be confident you are getting the best fit for your company in a fraction of the time.

RPO vs. Traditional Staffing Agencies 

RPO is very different from what a traditional staffing agency provides. Traditional staffing agencies take over all of the recruitment tasks for your business, including job postings and sourcing candidates.

On the other hand, RPO offers an end-to-end solution tailored specifically to your company’s needs. It helps you find the best talent and assists with onboarding, paperwork, and offer management. It simplifies what was once a drawn-out process into one that is streamlined and efficient.

Types Of RPO

As with other things in life, you have many options with recruitment process outsourcing. It does not offer a one-size-fits-all solution but customizes recruitment process solutions to fit your company’s needs. So, you’re getting what you want and need that fits your business, recruiting model, and methods.

Let’s go over each type of RPO in more detail to give you a broader picture of what the service can do for you.

End-To-End RPO

End-to-end RPO provides a comprehensive, full-service solution. It assumes complete control, management, and responsibility for the recruitment process. Therefore, it is ideal for companies with significant hiring needs that need assistance with every step of their recruiting process.

An end-to-end RPO solution benefits companies that need to quickly onboard and manage many employees. It eliminates the need for your team to manually manage recruitment processes, saving you valuable time and money.

Project RPO

Need something smaller and a little more specific? Project RPO might be the solution you’re looking for.

Project RPO is similar to end-to-end RPO but works on a much smaller scale. It focuses on specific projects or campaigns and provides recruiting support for a set amount of time.

Project RPO benefits companies needing help with specific recruitment tasks over a short period. It’s also an excellent choice for companies that do not have the resources or need to dedicate staff members to recruitment projects.

Hybrid RPO

For those looking for a mix of end-to-end and project RPO, there is a hybrid RPO solution to accommodate a blended need.

Hybrid RPO involves a partnership between your business and an external recruitment expert, with both parties taking on specific tasks. Think of the hybrid model as a kind of recruitment compromise. Your company manages some recruitment tasks while the RPO manages the rest.

A hybrid model benefits companies needing help with end-to-end recruitment but already have some internal resources, such as a knowledgeable HR team.

ROD (Recruiter On Demand)

Recruiter On Demand is the newest type of RPO and one of the most cost-effective solutions available. It works on an as-needed basis, so you pay only for the specific recruitment services you need.

ROD is an excellent option for organizations that don’t need full-time recruitment support or staff members to manage recruitment tasks. It’s also an ideal solution for companies that need help with ad-hoc recruitment projects.

Contingent ROD

Contingent ROD is very similar to Recruiter On Demand, as mentioned above, but it also offers the option of contingent staff; this means you can choose to outsource an entire recruitment process and hire a contingent worker to manage it for you.

Contingent ROD is excellent if you’re looking to hire on a large scale. It’s also a perfect solution for companies needing help with recruitment projects but lacking the resources to manage them from start to finish.


Finally, some organizations want and need the best of both worlds: recruitment process outsourcing and managed service provider solutions. RPO and MSP solutions blend recruitment processes and technology to give you an all-encompassing solution for your hiring needs.

RPO + MSP is ideal for companies that need a comprehensive, end-to-end recruitment solution. It’s also an excellent choice for companies wanting to leverage the latest technologies in recruiting and staffing practices.

No matter what type of RPO fits your business needs, it simplifies the recruitment process to save you time and money. So, how much money can RPO save you? The answer depends on the specific solutions you need, and we’ll cover this next.

common types of RPO

RPO Cost Models

So, how much will an RPO solution cost? It is a common and fair question, especially when you need a solution that saves you more money than your in-house recruiting costs or you’re looking for a way to reduce recruiting expenses. Yet, the answer isn’t easy.

There’s no flat industry-based fee for specific RPO services, nor is there a price range specifically designed for small businesses or large enterprises because your RPO solution is customized to meet your company’s particular needs. This way, you get only those services you need. So, the RPO solution cost depends on your company’s needs and goals and the recruitment provider you choose.

Therefore, there are four general pricing models: cost-per-hire, cost-per-resource, transactional-based, and hybrid. Let’s go over each one.


The cost-per-hire pricing model is the most common and most straightforward in RPO. Under this model, you agree to pay a fee for each new hire recruited through the RPO provider. This type of pricing is ideal for organizations looking to hire many employees.


Cost-per-resource is similar to the cost-per-hire pricing model, but it charges you based on the number of resources (e.g., recruiters, HR specialists, etc.) used to fill your position. This pricing is best for companies with a specific number of hires they want to make and know what resources they need to make those hires.


The transactional-based pricing model charges you for every recruitment task or service completed by the RPO provider. This type of pricing is ideal for companies with many ad-hoc recruitment needs or who prefer avoiding long-term contract commitments.


The hybrid pricing model combines elements of the cost-per-hire and cost-per-resource models. However, under this model, you agree to pay a fixed price per month in addition to paying for each new hire recruited through the RPO provider. This type of pricing is ideal for companies wanting a combination of end-to-end and project RPO services.

What Are RPO Companies?

RPO providers are companies that offer recruitment process outsourcing solutions. Unlike in-house recruiting, which relies on the company’s employees to recruit new hires, RPO providers use their staff of expert recruiters and other professionals to fill open positions and help manage other recruitment processes and workflows, so you don’t have to.

There are many benefits to choosing an RPO provider over in-house recruiting. For starters, RPO providers have the resources and expertise to quickly and efficiently fill open positions; this saves you time and allows you to focus on more important things like your business and customers.

RPO providers also have an expansive selection of pre-screened job seekers, which can be challenging to find through in-house recruiting. So, you don’t need to spend hours searching for and vetting suitable candidates.

Additionally, RPO providers can save you money by streamlining the recruitment process using all their resources, knowledge, skill, and RPO software. Faster recruitment time means you’ll find suitable candidates sooner.

They are also experts in HR compliance, so you can be confident that all hiring processes will meet legal requirements.

What Is RPO Software?

RPO software is a type of recruitment technology used by RPO providers to automate, track, and manage the recruitment process. It helps recruiters and hiring managers quickly:

  • Identify the best candidates for open positions
  • Streamline candidate communication
  • Maintain organized records and documents of all recruitment activities
  • Improve workflow efficiency

RPO software can be used with onsite and remote employees, making it a valuable resource for companies of any size and type. With RPO software, you can ensure that all recruiting processes comply with HR regulations, protect from data breaches, and efficiently find and hire suitable candidates.

Top 5 Features Of RPO Software

There are five main features to look for when choosing RPO software.

  1. Single Sign-On
  2. Search
  3. Resume Parsing
  4. Integration
  5. Reporting & Analytics

Single Sign-On

With a single sign-on, you can easily and quickly log in to all your recruitment software and tools from one central location; this saves you time and hassle and makes it easy to keep track of all your recruitment activities.


You can easily find the most qualified candidates for your positions with the right search features. No more wasted time and hassle.

RPO software can automatically parse resumes and extract the details you need from job seekers; this makes it easy to quickly review each candidate’s background and experience so you can make faster, more informed decisions about who to hire.

Resume Parsing

Resume parsing allows recruiters to quickly and easily identify qualified candidates, saving more time and money. Additionally, resume parsing can help ensure compliance with HR regulations by automatically screening resumes for keywords and providing that only qualified candidates are forwarded to hiring managers.

Integration Options

Integration is critical when selecting RPO software. You want your recruitment technology to seamlessly integrate with other HR tools and systems like applicant tracking systems (ATS), payroll solutions, performance management solutions, and more.

Integration of RPO software with other business systems and platforms streamlines the recruitment process further. You’ll quickly and easily access your CRM, applicant tracking system, and other HR solutions with integration options.


Reporting and analytics allow recruiters to track the success of their recruitment efforts; this helps recruiters make informed decisions and find the best candidates for open positions more quickly.

Real-time reporting and analytics are essential for tracking the success of your recruitment efforts. RPO software should provide accurate reports that give you visibility into what’s working and what isn’t working.

Choosing an RPO software with these five key features will streamline your recruitment process, reduce costs, and ensure you meet all HR regulations. In addition, taking advantage of the latest technology will help you find the candidates you need for your open positions and ensure that your recruitment process is efficient and compliant.

What Are AI & Automated RPO Software Solutions?

AI and automated RPO software solutions speed up the recruitment process and boost efficiency. These tools use AI algorithms to automate resume screening, interview scheduling, candidate assessments, background checks, and more. Automated RPO software can also quickly identify qualified candidates who have yet to apply directly.

AI and automated RPO software solutions also significantly save time and money, reduce errors, and increase compliance with HR regulations. As a result, you can quickly identify the best candidates for your open positions using these technologies.

With all the benefits of RPO software and AI and automation tools, it’s no wonder why companies are turning to RPO providers for their recruitment needs. RPO providers offer an efficient solution that saves time, money, and resources while ensuring that all your hiring processes meet legal requirements. In addition, with the help of RPO software, recruiters can quickly find the right candidates to fill open positions.

Choosing The Best RPO Model For Your Company

When choosing an RPO model, consider what type of recruitment you need. RPO solutions, such as managed services, project-based recruiting, and end-to-end solutions, come in different forms.

Managed services are perfect for companies needing ongoing support, while project-based recruiting suits organizations with a specific recruitment goal or timeline. End-to-end solutions provide an all-inclusive package of recruiters, technology, and processes that can accommodate any size of business.

No matter what type of RPO model you choose, ensure the provider complies with HR regulations, offers an easy-to-use platform, and tailors solutions to your company’s unique needs.

Also, look for providers who offer comprehensive reporting capabilities so that you can track the success of your recruitment efforts. By choosing an RPO model that meets all your business needs, you can ensure a successful recruitment process and quickly fill open positions with qualified candidates.

With the right RPO provider, you’ll be able to save time and money while finding the best people for the job.

Final Thoughts 

Using RPO has many benefits, such as reduced costs, increased efficiency, and compliance with HR regulations. In addition, choosing the right RPO model and provider can ensure a successful recruitment process.

RPO goes beyond basic talent acquisition and includes a customized process for your company. RPO can be as complex as you need, such as end-to-end RPO, but it also works for smaller, ad-hoc recruiting projects.

No matter what type of RPO fits your business needs, streamlining the recruitment process can save time and money. With RPO, you will no longer have to worry about inefficient resource use or settling for second-rate candidates. Instead, you are sure to get the right person for the job every time.

The right RPO provider should offer an easy-to-use platform, comprehensive reporting capabilities, and the ability to find qualified candidates quickly. With the help of RPO software, you can streamline your recruitment process and save time and money while ensuring you meet all HR regulations.

When it comes to recruiting, using RPO is an excellent way to get ahead of the competition and take advantage of the latest technology. You’ll find the right people for the job by taking full advantage of what RPO offers.


What does RPO mean in recruiting?

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is a type of outsourcing where an organization transfers some or all of its recruitment process to an external service provider. RPO can help reduce recruitment costs, speed up the hiring process, increase access to a larger pool of candidates, and improve the quality of hires. RPO providers work closely with their clients to develop customized solutions that meet their recruitment needs, and they can also offer additional services such as employer branding and onboarding.

What is an RPO manager? 

An RPO manager is a recruitment professional who oversees the recruitment process outsourcing services for an organization. RPO manager plays a critical role in ensuring that an organization's recruitment process is effective, efficient, and aligned with its strategic objectives.

They are responsible for developing and implementing recruitment strategies, managing relationships with stakeholders, analyzing recruitment metrics, leading recruitment projects, managing and training recruitment teams, and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations. 

What is an example of an RPO? 

An example of an RPO is a scenario where a large corporation outsources their entire recruitment process to a third-party provider. The RPO provider would handle tasks end-to-end recruitment services such as sourcing and screening candidates, coordinating interviews, conducting background checks, and even negotiating offers. The RPO provider would work closely with the company's HR team and hiring managers to ensure that the recruitment process is aligned with the organization's goals and values. By doing this, the large corporation can manage their recruitment process effectively, thereby reducing recruitment costs, improving the quality of their hires, and focusing on other important aspects of their business.

How is RPO success measured?

RPO success can be measured using several metrics that help organizations evaluate the effectiveness of their RPO provider. First is Time To Fill, which refers to the number of days it takes to fill a job opening from the time it was posted. A shorter time to fill indicates a more efficient recruitment process. Another metric is Cost Per Hire which considers the total cost of hiring a new employee, including recruitment, onboarding, and training costs. A lower cost per hire indicates a more cost-effective recruitment process.

Quality of hire is another key metric for measuring RPO success. This metric evaluates the success of a new hire in their role and their ability to contribute to the organization's success. Candidate's Satisfaction considers feedback from candidates on their experience with the recruitment process, including communication, responsiveness, and professionalism. Finally, Hiring Manager Satisfation considers feedback from hiring managers on the quality of the candidates presented, the efficiency of the recruitment process, and the overall satisfaction with the RPO provider. These metrics help RPO providers identify areas for improvement and tailor their services to meet their clients' needs.

What type of technology do RPO providers use?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) providers use various technologies to enhance the recruitment process and improve efficiency. Commonly used technologies include Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems, Recruitment Marketing Platforms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) Tools, Video Interviewing Tools, and Collaboration and Communication Tools. These technologies help RPO providers automate tasks, improve collaboration, and deliver better results for clients.

What are the benefits of RPO? 

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provides several benefits to organizations, including improved quality of hires, reduced time-to-fill open positions, scalability, access to larger candidate pools, and cost savings.  Additionally, RPO can help streamline the recruitment process, enabling companies to focus their resources on more strategic activities. Overall, RPO providers leverage their expertise and technology tools to help organizations achieve their hiring goals more efficiently and effectively. 


What is the difference between RPO and a job board?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) and job boards are different recruitment approaches. RPO providers offer end-to-end recruitment services, providing recruitment expertise, identifying high-quality candidates, and streamlining the recruitment process to reduce time-to-fill. In contrast, job boards only offer a platform for organizations to post job ads and receive resumes from candidates. While job boards may be cheaper than RPO, they may not offer the same quality of candidates or recruitment outcomes. Overall, RPO is a more comprehensive and expert-driven solution, while job boards are a simpler platform for job postings.


How does RPO help companies improve the quality of hires?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) helps companies improve the quality of their hires by providing recruitment expertise, a dedicated recruitment team, access to larger talent pools, employer branding, and a streamlined recruitment process. RPO providers use their knowledge and experience to identify top talent, promote the organization's culture and values, and accelerate the recruitment process to find the best-fit candidates more quickly and efficiently.


    About the Author, David Webb

    David is the CEO of BrightMove and is a seasoned technology executive & entrepreneur noted for creating successful businesses. Over his 25+ year career, David has developed multi-platform expertise in the domains of computer science, data analytics & business transformation. Starting in 1995, David worked with his best friend, Jimmy Hurff, to develop one of the world's first Internet job board and resume bank applications. David is the primary architect of BrightMove and has an active role in the product's evolution to this day. From then to now, David has been consistently helping his customers to build great teams, using best practices and world-class technology.

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