What are the biggest challenges when outsourcing recruitment?

4 min read

Here is a list of some common pitfalls when outsourcing recruitment.

While an RPO solution is one of the most popular types of recruitment outsourcing models used, it’s also one that has been associated with anecdotes of unsuccessful partnerships between providers and buyers. An RPO solution can be highly successful as it acts as an extension of an internal team while being fully scalable and flexible. If executed well, it can cut costs by up to 25%, help improve internal processes, boost employer branding as well as reduce time-to-hire.

When engaging with an RPO for the first time, if you overlook or assume certain details it could lead to RPO partners not meeting expectations. These can happen very early on in the process and impact the entire programme.


If you’re considering outsourcing your recruitment, check out our list of the 4 most frequently encountered challenges and how best to avoid them.


1. Bigger Picture

The first challenge to look out for is the lack of understanding of the overall business strategy & objectives on the part of the supplier. It’s crucial that your provider can see the full picture in terms of the organisational goals as well as the general talent strategy. A lack of clarity here could lead to the provider being less proactive and effective in areas that could be of significant importance to your business.

To avoid this mistake, ensure that all elements of the recruitment process are discussed & agreed in advance with your RPO provider. Talk your RPO partner through your talent strategy, the company’s growth plans and vision for the upcoming months or years. An RPO acts like an extension of your internal team so offer your new team an “induction” just as you would to a new hire.


2. The provider might neglect one of the elements of the process during execution


This issue may arise especially if you decide to work with a less experienced provider. While following process and acting “by the book” will often result in achievement of set goals, in certain cases, your provider should be proactive and able to foresee and minimise any risks which may occur. Failure to double-check any elements of the overall process may have a negative impact on the performance of the RPO solution in the long run.

For example, if the supplier doesn’t expect a high volume of applications for a certain role, they therefore aren’t prepared to deliver quality service to all candidates should the applications suddenly go up for unforeseen reasons. Without a back-up plan this would have a negative impact on the organisation’s employer brand.


3. Loss of control over the recruitment process

For some companies, the idea of recruitment outsourcing might be associated with losing control over their talent attraction & recruitment process. Experienced RPO suppliers will be used to these concerns and will provide reassurance where needed.

It’s also worthwhile explicitly agreeing the scope of the services with your supplier in advance of signing a contract. Clearly define where your providers responsibilities begin and where they end, your communications plan, an escalation process, reporting on SLAs & KPIs and the handover process in case of a termination. This approach will ensure you remain involved in how the function is run during the partnership


Final Thoughts

An RPO solution is one of the most popular ways of boosting the effectiveness of your recruitment function while cutting costs. Despite that, in order to be successful, the RPO programme must be well-planned & executed. Issues and oversights can be avoided if both the RPO provider and company collaborate closely and build their relationship on trust and ongoing communication.


If you're wondering if RPO could be the right choice for your business, contact us via this form to arrange an informal chat. Our experts will be happy to talk you through different possibilities and help you evaluate if recruitment outsourcing is something that could suit your business. 

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