What is RPO?

What is Recruitment Process Outsourcing?

RPO stands for recruitment process outsourcing. It is a business model whereby a company outsources the management of the recruitment function (in whole or part) to a third-party specialist to drive cost, quality, efficiency, service, and scalability benefits.

The third party RPO vendor is responsible for sourcing, attracting and recruiting talent into that organization. When partnering with a quality provider, RPO can transform your talent acquisition metrics across the board and deliver best practice outcomes for your recruitment function. Engaging an RPO can help you reduce time to hire by 40 per cent and deliver cost savings of more than 50% in year one.

What can you expect from an RPO partnership?

Partnering with a trusted RPO provider can help your business unlock a world of opportunity and transform the way you attract, recruit, and retain talent.

Are you just looking for more information about RPO? Or maybe you are ready to start engaging with one today?

Our comprehensive guide will help you:

  • Prepare for taking the next step in reshaping your talent acquisition function.
  • Tap into our best practices and tips for deciding whether an RPO is right for your business;  and
  • Learn more about designing a successful implementation.

Discover how to get started with RPO by downloading our guide today.


How does RPO work?

Our Hudson RPO quality recruitment outsourcing program blends dedicated recruiters, technology, and best practice hiring processes to transform an organization’s talent acquisition function. Aligned to your hiring managers, RPO solutions drive the end-to-end recruitment process from forecasting to sourcing, assessing, placing, on-boarding, and reporting while utilizing expertise, innovative technology, and key performance indicators.

Through clearly defined processes and deep specialization, RPO solutions can dramatically reduce cost-per-hire, time-to-hire, and attrition, plus measurably improve quality of hire, reporting, and scalability, delivering you a far greater return on investment.

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is a specialty within recruitment where an external provider (i.e. Hudson RPO) acts as a company’s internal recruitment function for a portion or for all of its jobs. The recruiters may work virtually or onsite at the client’s office location on a fully outsourced, on-demand or project basis as follows:

Fully Outsourced (Enterprise or End-to-End RPO): The client outsources all (or nearly all) facets of recruitment from sourcing to onboarding for an entire global enterprise, or within a specific geographic region, division, department or function.

RPO Project: RPO Projects are typically three to six months in duration. They are designed to meet a specific challenge and make a positive impact on your business quickly. RPO projects are often used for new organizational initiatives, reducing hiring backlogs, new product launches, workforce expansion or reorganization, or sourcing to fill your talent database for filling future vacancies

On-Demand Recruitment: Add a seasoned recruiter from our bench to your team for a designated period of time. On-demand recruiters may provide sourcing, recruiting, screening, interviewing or technology services, depending on your specific need.

An end-to-end RPO solution may be used for a single market, country, region, or across the globe. Likewise, the RPO solution may focus on a specific business division, role family (e.g. sales), or encompass all hiring across the enterprise.

A Project RPO solution allows a company to hire a team of expert talent acquisition professionals to quickly fill a specific need within a designated time frame, such as recruitment back-logs, launching a new sales team, meeting an unexpected hiring demand, or talent pooling and sourcing.

An On-demand Recruiter solution is similar to Project RPO, but instead involves having one or two outsourced recruiters join your talent acquisition team for a specific project or time period.

Lastly, you may also leverage an outsourced provider to build your contingent workforce, ensuring you have access to a high quality talent pool whenever needed.

With BPO, a company outsources the management of an internal business function to a third party expert to drive cost, quality, efficiency, service, and scalability benefits. The third party is responsible for hiring the people and is also responsible for their ongoing performance and output.

Examples include outsourcing of:

  • Help Desk Support
  • IT Infrastructure Support
  • IT Applications Development
  • Accounts Payable/Receivable
  • Claims Processing

With RPO, the third party is responsible for placing people into that organization, but does not manage the performance of the people they place.

With HRO, a company outsources the management of parts of the Human Resources function to a third-party expert to drive cost, quality, efficiency, service, and scalability benefits.

Examples include:

  • Recruitment (referred to as Recruitment Process Outsourcing or RPO)
  • Payroll (referred to as Payroll Outsourcing)
  • Employee Assistance (Referred to as Employee Assistance Program or EAP)
  • Training

As outlined above, RPO is a specific service category within HRO, as opposed to BPO.

Reduce cost per hire. Save your organization money by significantly decreasing your average cost-per-hire, often by more than 50 percent.

Shorten time to hire. Reduces your time-to-hire by over 40 percent, lessening your organization’s lost productivity around open vacancies.

Manage fewer suppliers. Tailor your recruitment panel to supplement hiring, helping you drive quality, efficiency, and cost reduction.

Access additional sourcing channels. Many clients are in a niche sector and need scarce skill sets. Leveraging formerly untapped sourcing channels to access additional candidates is one of many benefits of outsourcing recruitment.

Improve quality of hire to deliver talent that delivers more, for longer. Studies continually show that high quality hires improve productivity for organizations. Embedded in your business, our RPO programs can provide world-class assessments measure candidate quality to make more informed hiring decisions.

Improve scalability to respond to your organization’s changing needs. An RPO solution allows your organization to flex talent acquisition headcount up and down as hiring needs change.

Gain transparency through reporting. Measure and track performance through regular reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs) and service level agreements (SLAs).

Mine talent data for continuous optimization. With an RPO solution, you’ll have access to talent data with tangible insights to inform your hiring decisions, from talent mapping through to workforce planning. You’ll increase efficiencies, identify process improvements, and better forecast future hiring needs.

Access expertise. Utilizing Hudson RPO’s experienced recruiters as an extension of your team provides accessibility to deep candidate networks and reduces time to engage those candidates.

Scalability and Flexibility: This refers to our ability to increase or decrease the number of recruiters we deploy to a client depending on their recruitment volumes. As the recruitment volumes increase, we grow the number of recruiters deployed. As the recruitment volumes decrease, we deploy the recruiters to other solutions we manage, thereby reducing the cost for the client.

Reduced Time-to-Hire: Measured from the date we receive the new role to the time when a candidate accepts a job offer. We typically reduce the time it takes to recruit a new hire by 30-50%. Hiring good people faster and reducing down time can substantially help productivity.

Cost Reduction: The amount of cost reduction will depend on what recruitment model the client has used in the past and what type of new model they are implementing. If a client has solely relied on recruitment agencies in the past to fill all roles, then cost savings can be in the 30-50% range on a cost-per-hire basis. Clients moving from an in-house model to an outsourced model may not save as much, but they will achieve other benefits (i.e. reduced time-to-fill, scalability and flexibility, increased quality of hire).

Quality of Hire: Hudson RPO has proprietary processes and assessment tools that ensure the optimal fit between the role, person and organizational culture. We start by creating a comprehensive job and person brief, we find talent from a wide range of sources (internal employees, employee referrals, internet, job boards, networks etc.), and we conduct behavioral interviews, psych testing and reference checks to assess candidate fit and make the offer on behalf of the client. We also stand behind the quality of hires we place through offering extended guarantee periods for the period of the placement. This means if the person leaves within this period, we will replace them free of charge.

More transparency around recruitment via enhanced reporting: Hudson RPO will ensure the right technology and processes are deployed to provide the organization with highly comprehensive reports on total recruitment activity, making it far easier to understand what is happening, what is working/not working and how things can be improved.

We have three basic models:

  • Annual management fee, charged monthly, which is tied to the number and cost of recruiters allocated to your business
  • Fee per placement (fixed fee or % of salary) payable on successful placement of the candidate
  • Combined management fee, plus reduced placement fee

Our focus on professional level hires.

Our capacity to source talent globally on behalf of our clients, both in existing and emerging markets such as Africa, China, Eastern Europe, India, Latin America and the Middle East.

Our willingness to custom build solutions that will work for clients – whether it is a full outsource, hybrid model or project, we take time to truly understand the clients’ needs and design a recruitment solution that will work for them.

Our focus on providing excellent relationship management & delivery on a local or global basis as required. In addition to the recruiters deployed to the client, a senior account manager manages the relationship with every client, ensuring their strategic recruitment needs are addressed, as well as their operational needs. Strict SLAs are used to measure our performance and our pricing models underpinning our commitment to deliver quality solutions.

Our experience providing “blended” RPO solutions, where we manage both the permanent and temp/contract recruitment for the client. This is different than most RPO providers who are strong in one category or the other.

Yes, we find and shortlist suitable candidates, but the client retains control of the hiring decision.

Yes, typically our clients co-interview shortlisted potential recruiters with us to ensure they have both the technical competency and culture fit required to recruit effectively for the organization.

We are technology agnostic, meaning while we have experience with a range of different technologies we are not wedded to any one technology. We can work with your chosen technology, or help you choose the right technology, to suit your individual circumstances (i.e. hiring volumes, budget, geographical spread and language requirements etc).

Is an RPO Solution right for you?

We would love to answer your questions and show you how your organization will benefit from an RPO solution. Start by selecting your region to speak with one of our talent experts or complete the form below.

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Asia Pacific

Reach out to one of our Asia Pacific talent experts

Nicki McCulloch


Mia Lin


Lucky Ramanathan


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Christine Kane Headshot
Cristine Kane

VP Solution Design and Technology Innovation

Peter Simandl
Peter Simandl

VP, RPO Sales

Reach out to one of our global talent experts

Nicki McCulloch

APAC Region

Reach out to one of our EMEA talent experts

Lucy McBean

Solutions Director

Rachel Marshalsea
Rachel Marshalsea

Director, Client Solutions, EMEA

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