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Webster’s Dictionary describes it as Railway Post Office – so even they don’t know what it is.

Most of the articles I have read talk about what RPO or recruitment process outsourcing is, from the perspective of the solution provider. I’d like to try and articulate what it is to you, the buyer.

Outsourcing part or all of your recruitment function in the same way you would outsource IT support, HR consultancy, building maintenance etc. So why is it often so much harder to convince a business that this type of outsourcing is a smart move compared to the others?

*insert silver bullet sentence here*

I can’t be sure but here’s my attempt to explain it.

IT support is business-critical no matter how large or small you are, website management, email security, network support and typically the demand exceeds internal resources or that resource wishes to focus on strategic progression instead of day-to-day IT issues.

Equally, this world of technical dark arts can feel very alien to the recipient, we share our screen and let an expert do their work. Dealing with electrical or mechanical maintenance in your offices, there is a general acceptance that we don’t have the relevant qualifications or experience to stop us from getting electrocuted.

Then we come to recruitment, low barrier to entry, a market that has seen the addition of c.40,000 agencies in the past 20 years. Are we left with the impression that anybody can do it?

Probably, so we must be better at articulating our value and I have absolutely no doubt that there is value to be had.

Anyway, back to what it means to you if you choose to outsource your recruitment in some way. In a similar way that a branding consultant brings your thoughts to life, I believe a quality outsourcing provider builds a process and experience that would be time-consuming and costly to deliver internally.

Taking away all of the headaches that come with a supply chain review, process mapping/documenting, technology investment etc. The results of which create a fantastic function that the client sponsor should have credit for. In most cases, there will be a cost-saving delivery which, if you work in procurement, will often be a prerequisite for buying any solution.

Beyond the headline savings, training and process documentation I believe the most exciting part of an outsourcing relationship is “what else”. What can we build that attracts apprentices, graduates and “second jobbers”? How do you make career paths across the business transparent, what educational commitment can be made from both employee and employer to achieve a long-term career goal?

Outsourced providers bring experience, and economies of scale but, perhaps most importantly, they bring a cross-section of expertise that creates a true recruitment function. One that understands it’s about you, your business and aiding its success.

Maybe we can help you build recruitment 2.0 in your company and take a good few items off your to-do list….

If you want to learn more about how Hintel can support your hiring process, you can email me directly at

Pete Sheppard