RPO is a specialty within recruiting where an external provider (i.e. Hudson RPO) acts as a company’s internal recruitment function supporting part or all of the client’s recruitment needs. One of the many benefits of this model is to save money by filling open vacancies directly via this team and therefore reduce reliance on third party recruitment agencies.
As an RPO recruiter, one of our key performance indicators (KPI), is the number of direct hires we make vs. hires through a third party agency. However, in this increasingly competitive recruitment market, third party agencies also want to grow and they too have their own targets to achieve which are to gain more work from companies and fill more vacancies. It appears that we have the same challenges and targets, so how do we work together in this market to create a win/win outcome?
Even though our job as an onsite RPO recruiter consists of reducing the use of agencies by filling roles directly, there are roles where the expertise of a third party recruiter is needed. In those cases, the client can benefit from the RPO model by having an experienced onsite team member who can build and manage relationships with third party recruitment agencies.
So, how can RPO recruiters work successfully with agencies when working onsite?
- Be the single point of contact
Having one point of contact within the onsite RPO team and the agency is beneficial for both parties. For third party agencies, one point of contact means:
- Simplification of relationship management requirements
- Improved role and company briefing
- Improved ability to ensure process efficiency and effectiveness, in particular, minimisation of candidate fall out due to long delays
- Point of escalation for resolving issues that may occur
- Build effective relationships
Like many RPO recruiters, I started my career in agency recruitment and I moved in-house because I wanted to be more involved in the whole recruitment process for one client in a global company like Hudson RPO. But what I took from my experience was that maintaining excellent, regular communication is the key to building effective relationships . In order to do this, it’s important to: These actions could be summarised in one word which is to respect the third party agencies work as we respect our clients, our candidates and our team members.
- Ensure you know the key account manager/recruiter for each of your key suppliers and build a relationship with them
- Provide a comprehensive company, job and person briefing that shows you really understand the client and what they want to see in potential candidates
- Respond to their calls promptly
- Be proactive in giving feedback on the candidate profiles received
- Be transparent in terms of recruitment process, fees, number of agencies involved
- Agree on an ongoing schedule of a two way review meeting, which may vary from quarterly to bi annual to annual depending on volume and type of work undertaken
- Provide data that will help the third party agency improve their performance and, ultimately, “share of wallet” with that client. For example, how many roles have they received and placed relative to other agencies? What is their time to shortlist compared to others? What is their shortlist to interview ratios? What are there interview to offer ratios? What is the hiring manager feedback on them? When used constructively this type of information can really help to build trust and a sense of collaboration between the RPO provider and third party agency.
- Act as complementary partners
Rather than viewing third party agencies as “competitors”, onsite RPO consultants should view them as a critical extension of their team’s capability. Even if the RPO recruiter has specific skills in a certain functional area or industry, some specific positions may require the expertise of a third party agency. If we select the right specialist agency then our combined efforts will provide a much better solution for Hiring Managers.In summary, working successfully with third party recruitment agencies is key to the success of an RPO model. Once an onsite recruiter establishes a partnership with an agency based on respect, regular communication and transparency, both parties should act like “one team” in the best interests of the clients and candidates.