This is inspired by Jerry's blog on recruiters refusing to work through HR and the rant I had in the comment section. Thanks for the idea, hope I'm not copying!
I've been working through an RPO for about 18 months now. I came from an agency background, but had always been interested in taking the leap to RPO so jumped at the chance to work over at Omni.
RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) organisations come in lots of different models and sizes, we are primarily an off site RPO, so we have the economies of scale of a shared services resourcing team. For some of our larger clients we have an account manager based on site to assist with succession and resource planning, but most of us work out of our lovely Manchester office. Anyway, I digress...
Working as an extension of our clients' HR team, the recruitment phone number on the clients' careers page calls through to our office and a member of the team will answer "Hello [client name] recruitment" depending on which client shows up on the phone manager. This means many agencies will call through expecting to come straight through to the client and be quite surprised to be speaking to an RPO.
Usually when they call I let them do their full picth and then explain, something along the lines of "Thanks a lot for calling. So that you're aware you've come through to Omni, we're the RPO provider for [client] and we manage any agency activity for them if we're unable to source candidates ourselves." This is usually followed by a quick discussion around what kind of candidates they want to supply and how they think they can help. I always make sure I am very polite and friendly to these guys, I hated having to cold call and coming through to someone mean and miserable could ruin my afternoon (I'm sensitive, hence not being a proper recruiter anymore!). If the agency sounded useful I took a note of their details and the relevent account manager would call them back, if they were terrible/rude/pushy I would give them the polite "No thanks" and that was that.
There was of course though, the odd occassion an agency would say something along the lines of "Oh, sorry, we won't work through a 3rd party" and say their goodbyes. Once this happened when an agency was speculatively pitching a candidate in who was "perfect for them and desperate to work there" now if they actually existed (heard this sales pitch many times and have my doubts about whether these magical candidates exist) they missed out. Are agencies putting their policies before the best needs of their candidates. I'm betting the agency didn't then tell the candidate to apply directly.
Now I do understand the logic about why the agencies wouldn't want to work through RPO, some agencies think we will:
I can't speak on behalf of every RPO, but Omni pride ourselves on our partnerships with agencies. Between all our clients we have terms signed with around 280 agencies world wide. Some of these have only just signed with us, some have been working with us since the mid nineties. Each of those agencies is happy to work with us. Let me explain why...
There are probably more reasons, but I can't think of them just now (I'm off to the office curry night in a minute so I've got my mind on the naan bread right now!)
I know this is bound to provoke debate, but I'd love to live in a recruitment utopia where we can all just get along!