How is RPO different from traditional recruitment?

Hiring is an inevitable part of any business ecosystem. Whether you are a small organization or a large conglomerate, there will always be multiple new positions to fill, replacements, and backfills to work on. Here, hiring or talent acquisition teams play a pivotal role in fulfilling these demands.

However, every company has a different approach to hiring talent and utilizing resources. While a few may work in tandem with recruiting agencies; others prefer outsourcing their entire recruitment process to an external party. It removes a significant chunk of time and energy that companies can vest into building their business.

Such firms are called Recruitment Process Outsourcing firms.

They are significantly different from traditional recruitment agencies because of the mindset, strategy, and skills they bring to the table. In short, RPO and traditional recruiting firms are not the same.

Traditional recruiting companies may assist you in meeting your short-term employment objectives. However, if you are considering a long-term association, RPO is better suited.

So, how is RPO different from the traditional recruitment process?

The simple answer is that RPO partners and recruitment agencies have quite distinct recruiting tactics based on offerings of services. How does a company locate great talent? How do they cut and split their service fees? All this and more fall under the purview of differences that we will highlight below.

5 key differences between RPO and Traditional recruitment

Let us examine the fundamental distinctions between RPO and traditional recruiting methods:


The biggest difference between RPOs and traditional recruitment is scalability and capacity building. As an organization, you may face an upsurge or down surge in hiring anytime during your business lifecycle. Having an in-house team may or may not be feasible in such circumstances as it will have cost implications.

Utilizing the services of an RPO will help deal with these uncertainties as they can upscale and downscale their team size to suit your requirement, owing to their large team size. They will ensure the scalability of resources at all times. While working on a retainer and/or per hire basis, they can continue to offer their services to ensure business goes on as usual.

However, a traditional recruiting agency has limited capacity and resources to deal with these uncertainties. Thus, impacting your hiring process, in general. They may or may not be able to cater to such demands.

Talent acquisition

The primary function of recruitment agencies is to place candidates against the positions that have been assigned. They utilize their limited individual networks, job boards, and internal database to source the candidate and place them. Their remuneration is driven by the number of positions they fulfill in a month or a quarter, or on a per hire basis, their hiring slabs differ, in some cases, depending on the client requirement.

However, an RPO is responsible for the entire hiring process, end to end. You can choose to outsource your requirements in case of an upsurge in headcount, completely outsource your recruitment process, or hire them to fulfill a part of your hiring process. They utilize high-end tools, ATS (application tracking system), and infrastructure that extends to a wide network of professionals in the market. They have a large database and can source high-end profiles to meet the company’s requirements. They are specialists in their field and are only result-driven.

RPO analysis and reports

Because conventional recruiting firms are often a short-term solution, there is limited time available to utilize data or conduct in-depth research. Recruiters’ main goal is to fill a position as fast as possible, not to assess how to improve your recruiting process.

RPO companies form long-term relationships with your firm to collect vital data for evaluating your recruiting process. It entails gaining insight into what is working well and assessing areas of improvement. Consistent reporting provides a clear picture of recruiting time and cost, attrition rates, and applicant satisfaction. This in-depth approach will also lead to improved recruiting in the future.

The Employer-Recruiter Partnership

RPO recruiters are better suited for long-term collaborations in which a deliberate approach to building a pipeline of active and passive prospects is used. The RPO regularly evaluates and contacts applicants in the channel to ensure that they suit your needs. On the other hand, recruitment agencies are mostly used in emergencies when companies need a position fulfilled urgently.

They operate on commission and emphasize filling positions in a short period. As a result, their whole business strategy is based on discovering methods to expedite the recruiting process and place as many people as possible.

The Recruitment Process

The services provided by RPO firms involve a thorough understanding of the client’s expectations, their culture, their brand image, and how they can make a difference.

They’re fantastic at making suggestions and coaching you through the interview process.

An RPO acts like an extended arm to your organization and the HR, helping you meet your business objectives. They become part of the process and help you source the right talent from different sources, external or internal.

Finally, an RPO agency’s strategy is more hands-on, evaluating capabilities, enhancing applicant experience, and doing background checks.

On the other hand, a typical recruiting firm is driven by the suggestions, requirements, and concerns raised by the company they are hiring for. Given the nature of the job done by such agencies, which only concentrate on identifying talent for a large number of employers within a short period, your ideas and contributions will be critical. Unlike an RPO, which may either develop or make suggestions for job descriptions, a recruiting agency may rely on you to draft and deliver them.

RPO or Recruiting Firms— it’s all about the people.

To sum up the differences, RPOs and traditional recruiting agencies have a clear distinction, as seen above. From candidate ownership to hiring the best fit, rather than only a replacement; going beyond placements and offering advice, there is a lot an RPO has to offer to any organization, including you. 

RPOs have the skill, will, and the expertise to cater to all types of requirements owing to the specialists they enroll, vis-à-vis a traditional recruiting agency. 

Choosing between the two is business and requirement driven above anything else. It is your choice at the end of the day. 

“Build a lasting brand image, smoothen your recruitment process, and create a dynamic hiring environment that caters to all your requirements.” 

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