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Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is either an alternative, or a complement to an in-house HR department. RPO’s handle everything from recruiting to onboarding as well other related services you would expect from a full-fledged in-house HR Department. When considering RPO consulting services, the key issue to consider is what do you want this decision to look like when the project is all over? Below are the top 3 issues to work through with the RPO professional before you farm out your HR services.

Understand Your Current Situation

Are you bringing in the RPO firm as an assistant to you current HR department? What specific duties is your current team unable to perform? An RPO firm will fill nearly any HR gap but its up to you to know exactly what the gap looks like and how much it is currently costing you. Gaps in HR resources of technology, talent management, recruiting and onboarding dozens to hundreds of new hires quickly are all valid reasons to make an investment. The critical factor is learning exactly what you need and how much the opportunity loss is costing your company. That way you will know how much is too much of an investment to make long before the first proposal crosses your desk.

Understand the RPO’s Track Record

Prior recruiting metrics must be made available by the RPO representative so that you have an idea of what past performance may predict your future success with them. If these numbers are not offered then you should ask. Some form of measurement must be produced otherwise you asking a firm to deliver objectives that are unpredictable and unknown which puts your company at great risk. If the RPO professional has great ideas but no metrics perhaps there is a reason. Find out why. If the company is new or some other reasonable explanation is offered perhaps they would be willing to offer a discount for the uncertainty and then they can build there business on your success. However, don’t hire for a discount. Hire those you will trust to do your hiring because you believe deeply in the RPO company.

Understand How the RPO Service is to be Rendered and Benchmarked

The beginning point for these benchmarks revolves around your current situation. Much like hiring a handy man to fix a porch, the, “as is” status must be improved upon. Of course your business is more like reconstructing a major part of an estate but never lose the simple idea that your company’s value must be enhanced in the foreseeable future. Ratios to be included by the RPO include interview to hire, cost per hire, source per hire, and time to fill positions. These numbers will serve to keep everyone accountable and on the same page.

The last issue may be the most important, have your accountants project a return on investment based on the most conservative estimates. That way when adjustments are requested you can make an informed decision by the numbers.  By safely running these three bases you should be able to hit a home run.

Julian Hartley consults for, a RPO and Pharmaceutical consulting company.