3 Key Insights When Considering a Project RPO Solution

Many employers start their RPO journey with a project-type engagement. This allows them to test the value of the RPO model on a smaller scope of work with the assumption that it can/will expand into other TA needs. For first-time RPO buyers, project engagements is common and quite logical. And there are many different types of Project RPO models to support the various needs a company may have: 

•Time bound engagements to fill certain roles that are either seasonal or event-based (and not ongoing needs throughout the year).

•LOB-specific engagements to either take on difficult TA challenges within a certain hard-to-fill job profile or geography -OR- other time/resource intensive TA challenges so that internal TA can focus more on the hard-to-fill needs.

•On-demand engagements that provide TA resources to fulfill overflow of requisitions. 

But while project-based RPO may be focused on a smaller area of need, it’s still critically important to get it right. Companies certainly need to think carefully through the focus of the scope of work (the what) and their process to execute in partnership with the RPO provider (the how). However, the most important question to get to is the “WHY” In other words, what is this TA leader’s real motive and reason to outsource this particular project? The biggest mistake companies can make is to marginalize this question of “why”. And with smaller/shorter RPO engagements, sometimes the deeper penetration of the business case is just not considered heavily enough.  A good RPO provider should be treating this pursuit with similar depth and discovery as they would with a multi-year, end-to end, and large scale engagement. 

Here are a few things to consider…

1.Don’t Confuse WHAT with WHY

“We need to fill 100 short-term call center roles,” is not a WHY, it’s a WHAT. Make sure to step backwards and consider exactly why you can’t absorb this TA work currently. Is it a lack of recruitment resources? And if so, is it your inability or disinterest in acquiring these resources to do this work? Or is it a lack of demonstrated in-house recruitment expertise in this hiring profile or geography? OR is it a time sensitive motive where the work needs to be completed much faster than your current team can do it themselves? OR is there a demonstrated weakness in a particular process function relating to this group of hires? This “why” rationale is very important for both the client and RPO provider to understand so that the new solution can be built to not only fulfill the hires in scope, but also address and help with any of these internal TA challenges.

2.Hold High Standards for Your Motive

The right questions need to be asked to explore the “why” behind any new RPO Project engagement. This will set up the foundation for expectations - which is the real key to success. There are most definitely better and worse types of motives. A good motive to outsource project work will typically involve a lot of transparency with what is and is not working in TA and will fully address the “why”. It will also tend to focus on a desire to transform (improve functionally) in addition to the need to transact (fill jobs). In contrast, motives that don’t communicate any TA functional areas of improvement or are solely driven by a single tactical objective are less ideal.  These types of incomplete motives can/may have an adverse effect on the provider’s ability to succeed. 

3.Peek Into the Crystal Ball

When hiring an RPO provider for Project-based RPO, it’s best not to take a completely “wait and see” attitude regarding future expansion. Understandably this happens quite a bit with first generation buyers who are not sure yet of the value. But rather than take an overly hesitant and short term perspective regarding growth of the engagement, a bit of measured optimism can be very beneficial. Assume the engagement will go well and then ask yourself what else you would outsource next to the provider. Having this thought out upfront will not only allow you to move faster in expanding scope when/if the time comes, it may also have a direct impact on the why and what with your decision making in the initial launch. There are often experiential dependencies at play whereby the provider must take on a certain type of work before taking on others. Therefore, we recommend minimally planning out the “phase 2” aspect of any new RPO relationship and use this to influence your initial engagement parameters.

In summary, just because your RPO Project engagement is smaller or shorter, doesn’t mean the diligence involved in the decision and planning should be sacrificed.


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Seven Step RPO is part of the Motion Recruitment Partners LLC family of innovative recruitment companies