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Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO): Everything You Need to Know

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

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Finding the most suitable talent for your organization is challenging, especially in today's competitive market. It requires time, resources, and effort to spread the word, shortlist candidates, conduct multiple rounds of interviews, and more. What if there was a way to simplify the process and uncover the top available talent? 

Think Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) – when you outsource your recruitment processes, you hire recruitment service providers to handle everything, from finding people and talent acquisition to ensuring they're a great fit. Whether a small company or a big one, RPO can be customized to fit your needs.

The following sections of this article will answer what is an RPO and dig into its benefits, pitfalls, expenses, and even how it compares to standard employment services.

What is Recruitment Process Outsourcing?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing, or RPO, is a tactical practice in which an organization's recruiting processes are delegated to an external service provider. The primary goal of RPO providers is to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the hiring process, resulting in better identification and talent acquisition.


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How Does RPO Work?

RPO recruitment works through different models, each tailored to a specific organizational need. Here are the primary RPO models:

End-to-End RPO

An end-to-end RPO service provider is a full-serve recruitment solution that covers the entire recruitment process. Think of it as hiring a wedding planner to organize your big day. Just like they handle everything from finding the perfect venue to managing the guest list, an external team manages the entire hiring process in this RPO. They create and post job descriptions, manage talent acquisition, and ensure the new employees settle in smoothly.

On-Demand RPO

On-demand RPO is a flexible recruitment outsourcing model where you can outsource processes based on your preference, wholly or partially. Imagine throwing a surprise birthday party and needing extra hands for decorating and setting up. On-demand RPO is like having a group of party helpers who jump in when you need them. If you're swamped with many applications, these service providers can quickly sift through them and find the most promising ones.

Project RPO

Let's say your business suddenly gets a massive project that requires specialized skills. It's like a software company getting a big video game project. They might need game designers, programmers, and artists for a limited time. That's where Project RPO comes in. It involves hiring specialists for a short-term project where external experts help you in talent acquisition with the skills you need, just for that particular project.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing Pricing

The RPO provider pricing varies but generally follows the following structures:

Cost Per Hire Model 

This model charges a fee for each successful hire made through the RPO service. It offers transparency and ensures that you pay only for tangible results.

Management Fee Model

In this model, a fixed management fee is charged based on the scope of services provided. This model is well-suited for ongoing or comprehensive RPO engagements.

Cost Per Slate Model

This model involves paying a fee for presenting a shortlist of qualified candidates, regardless of whether a hire is made. It's suitable for organizations looking to maintain control over final hiring decisions.

Benefits of Recruitment Process Outsourcing

RPO providers bring several advantages to the table:

Time and Cost Savings: RPO eliminates the need for in-house recruitment efforts, saving you time and money on sourcing, screening, talent acquisition function and administrative tasks. This lets your HR team focus on core business activities and strategic initiatives.

Access to Expertise: An RPO provider is a recruitment expert, equipped with the latest tools and strategies for talent acquisition. Their specialized knowledge ensures that your organization identifies top talent more efficiently and with a higher degree of accuracy.

Scalability: RPO can be scaled up or down according to your hiring needs, ensuring flexibility and adaptability. Whether experiencing rapid growth or facing a hiring lull, RPO adjusts to your requirements, preventing overstaffing or understaffing issues.

Quality of Hire: RPO providers focus on sourcing high-quality candidates, improving the chances of making successful hires. By employing rigorous assessment methods and comprehensive candidate evaluations, RPO providers increase the likelihood of finding candidates who are skilled and fit well within your organizational culture.

Technology Integration: RPO providers often use advanced technologies to streamline the hiring process, such as applicant tracking systems and AI-powered tools like S. These technologies automate repetitive tasks, enhance the efficiency of candidate screening, and provide data-driven insights for better decision-making.

Also Read: Advantages and Disadvantages of Outsourcing Payroll Services

Disadvantages of Recruitment Process Outsourcing

While RPO offers numerous benefits, it's essential to be aware of potential drawbacks:

Loss of Control: One potential drawback is the relinquishment of direct control over hiring decisions. Entrusting an external provider with recruitment processes could make it challenging to have immediate influence over candidate selection and final choices.

Cultural Alignment: There is a possibility that the RPO provider may not possess a comprehensive understanding of your company's unique culture. As a result, there could be instances where candidates recommended by the RPO may not align perfectly with your organization's values and work environment, potentially leading to cultural mismatches.

Initial Investment: Engaging an RPO provider requires an initial investment, which could concern smaller businesses operating with limited budgets. The upfront costs associated with setting up the partnership require careful financial planning to ensure that the benefits gained from RPO outweigh the initial expenditures.

How Much Does RPO Cost?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) costs can vary based on many factors that tailor the service to meet your organizational needs. These factors include the chosen RPO model, the extent of services required, the degree of customization necessary, and even the geographical location of the chosen RPO provider. 

Moreover, the scope of services is pivotal in determining costs, as more comprehensive RPO arrangements encompass various tasks and responsibilities. This flexibility of RPO pricing enables organizations to find a solution within their budget and hiring capacity. Lastly, as discussed above, several RPO models have their own pricing structure. 

Also Read: Cost of Hiring a New Employee

RPO vs. Staffing Companies

While both an RPO provider and a staffing company play a role in recruitment, they differ in scope and approach. Let’s see how they are different.

RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing)

RPO involves partnering with an external provider to manage some or all aspects of the recruitment process. This strategic partnership goes beyond simply filling positions; it aims to enhance the entire recruitment lifecycle.

Considerations for RPO:

  • Cost: While RPO can provide long-term value, initial costs may be higher due to the comprehensive services offered.
  • Control: Organizations might relinquish some direct control over the hiring process to the RPO provider.

Staffing Companies

Staffing companies, often known as temp agencies or recruiting agencies, specialize in finding employees to fill specific roles, which are generally temporary or contract-based in nature. These companies have a pool of individuals with various skill sets and experiences. When you contact such an agency with your hiring requirements, they find you a suitable candidate and manage talent acquisition. The people hired by staffing agencies do not join you as an employee; they are on the staffing agency's payroll.

Considerations for staffing companies:

  • Limited Focus: Staffing companies primarily focus on filling positions quickly, with less emphasis on long-term cultural fit.
  • Short-Term Solutions: While staffing companies excel at addressing immediate needs, they might not be as effective for long-term strategic hiring.
  • Candidate Quality: Depending on the agency, quality and alignment with company values might vary.

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Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) presents a strategic approach to tackling the challenges of the talent acquisition process. With various models and pricing structures available, businesses can choose an RPO solution that aligns with their specific requirements. While RPO offers numerous benefits, it's important to weigh them against potential drawbacks, the most important one being the upfront cost.

Found talent you want to hire in another country? Partner with Skuad as your employment and payroll platform to hire, onboard, and pay them compliantly With Skuad, your business will stay 100% compliant with local employment laws in the country you hire in. So build, manage, and pay your global workforce with Skuad. Book a demo today.


What is the difference between RPO and BPO?

RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) is concerned with the outsourcing of recruitment-related operations, whereas BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) is concerned with the outsourcing of a wider variety of business services to external providers.

Is an RPO only for large organizations?

No, RPO can benefit organizations of all sizes. While large corporations might opt for comprehensive RPO solutions, smaller businesses can also choose on-demand or project-based RPO services that suit their needs and budgets











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