Too many job openings and not enough Recruiters! Similar to many other tech companies, our recruiting team was on fire at the beginning of this year, experiencing hyper-growth. We nearly doubled our team size by hiring and developing strong internal talent. However, we still found ourselves in need of additional support to fulfill the high demand of volume and time crunch.
We researched various options and decided to pilot a partnership with Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). Our reasoning was that we needed expert knowledge from recruiters who are plugged into the workflow process, and we needed the RPOs to perform fast within a finite timeframe. At first, the idea of onboarding outside contract recruiters was daunting since we knew that would mean an increased workload for a team that was already operating above 100 percent capacity, but we knew we could not fulfill the needs of the business otherwise.
The RPO recruiters came equipped with their own talent-sourcing tools and were able to manage a full requisition load, supporting us throughout the entire hiring process, and were held accountable by their (the RPOs) direct managers to communicate performance results.
“At first, the idea of onboarding outside contract recruiters was daunting since we knew that would mean an increased workload for a team that was already operating above 100 percent capacity, but we knew we could not fulfill the needs of the business otherwise.”
This was our first time working with RPOs, so we had an opportunity to learn a great deal through the experience. I have highlighted some of our biggest takeaways, which may help others in deciding whether or not to enlist the support of RPOs.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when working with RPOs:
• Spend ample time researching various RPOs - make sure their Recruiters on staff are experts and qualified – aligning with the types of positions you are hiring for
• Find out if the RPOs are familiar with your systems and tools ahead of time — ideally, you will be able to request Recruiters who have worked previously with the same technologies to reduce the onboarding lift
• Invest in exposure and training on company culture — let them shadow experienced Recruiters on your team (to learn how to talk about the culture and sell company benefits), share your past learnings of what the hiring teams are looking for in ideal candidates and which companies to target
• Set them up for success from the start — set clear expectations: defining the objectives and responsibilities and sharing resources and coaches to support RPOs with questions on deliverables and timelines
• Create a cadence and space for feedback — both positive and constructive — to ensure feedback is shared timely
• Include the RPOs in regular meetings — ensure that information is shared transparently, giving them enough insights into the roles they are responsible for and creating space for team engagement and connection
• Be transparent around contract terms and end dates — give the RPOs a week or two heads-up when you know their support and services are no longer needed
• Create a transition plan — Make sure there is a hand-off process established to ensure RPOs can transfer their work to an in-house recruiter seamlessly without negatively impacting the candidate and hiring manager experiences (candidate notes, Hiring Manager intake information, candidate trackers, etc.)
It certainly was beneficial for us to work with a RPO agency during a phase of high-volume hiring. It provided much-needed assistance at a lower cost compared to other recruiting options. However, it added additional stress to the team through additional onboarding and training materials, increased time, and constant feedback, as well as close supervision for at least the first month of service. Evaluating the experience overall, I would say that even though there were drawbacks, it was worth hiring the RPO for our high-volume requisitions.