A few years ago I speculated about the future of recruiting. I consulted my Magic 8 Ball for clues to the future and it warned that life as we know it would evolve into one where a Recruitment Processing Outsourcing (RPO) model would become more prevalent. During the years of a soft economy, corporate recruiters have been scaled back, staffing personnel have been assigned to other non-recruiting tasks within HR, and fill-in contract staffing jobs have essentially dried up. Coming out of the recession has seen resurgence in the need for company growth, but there is still a great deal of uncertainty about committing to an increase of in-house staffing resources.
Even though I predicted the emergence of RPO’s, I was somewhat surprised to learn that a former client, a $50 billion global corporation, had recently made a significant commitment to outsource their recruiting activities to the RPO arm of a large search firm. Total ownership of the recruiting process had been ingrained in the culture of this company, so this was a major departure from old school management thinking. The Magic 8 Ball was right. There are signs that this is only the next step in a significant trend. It not only impacts the in-house recruiting model, but also tests long established relationships with third party recruiters. As time goes on, can anyone professing to be a recruiting professional remain unaffected by such changes? To assume that today’s world will go on forever could be very shortsighted.
Installing an RPO is not a simple plug-and-play solution. There are very good reasons for this trend to continue, but it cannot happen without a significant effort to make it seamless. The following characteristics need to be considered in evaluation of any new recruiting solution.
This is not a one-size-fits all solution. Small entrepreneurial companies would need to grow into a need that would support outsourcing of recruitment. Large companies would be wise to roll out such a transition in a phased approach after committing to the process. In either, a key to success is 100% agreement in client-RPO communications effectiveness. We all need to begin thinking what role we will play in this new world. Where will this go next?