top of page

8 Questions You Should Ask An RPO Provider Before Hiring Them

Updated: Apr 25, 2022

When you’re looking for an RPO provider, it can be hard to know where to start. There are so many different recruitment process outsourcing providers out there and they all provide a range of services. That’s why it’s important to do your research upfront.

Here are 8 questions you should ask an RPO provider before hiring them to make sure they have the right experience and expertise to meet your needs.


Organizations now have to contend with the scarcity of talent and in some cases, resources and budget limitations within their talent acquisition function. This is why your ability to attract and engage the right talent in the hiring process can make a world of difference, regardless of your industry or organizational size.

Most agencies use an external provider of RPO solutions to combat these challenges and to help them stay competitive in a highly competitive job market by providing their recruiting expertise, and recruitment marketing knowledge to give their clients a competitive advantage when seeking the best talent for their talent pipelines.

But all RPO providers, as well as RPO models are not the same. So, there’s still a need to engage the right recruitment process outsourcing provider, to ensure maximum benefits and a competitive edge.

Having a thorough understanding of your recruitment challenges is the first step. This will then make it easier to hire the right RPO solutions provider with the expertise, experience, and capacity to meet your recruitment goals.

What is an RPO

An RPO provider is a specialized recruitment process outsourcing firm to which agencies can delegate (outsource) part or all of their talent acquisition functions.

Organizations these days are turning to recruitment process RPO providers for some or all of the key aspects of their talent acquisition needs. With a highly specialized recruitment process outsourcing RPO firm, the benefits can range from;

  • advanced and extensive candidate sourcing,

  • more robust expertise that guarantees a higher-quality talent acquisition process

  • application artificial intelligence of the latest recruiting technologies into the hiring process

  • reduced costs, and

  • faster time to hire, etc

What to Ask an RPO Provider

Choosing a recruitment process outsourcing RPO provider is not as easy as just going with the next available option.

To make it worthwhile, organizations have to engage providers who can perfectly meet their hiring needs. Considering the differences in RPO models, as well as the varying degrees of experience, expertise, and capacity, among different RPO providers, we’ve outlined eight (8) of the most important questions to ask your RPO provider below;

What do they know about my hiring needs?

You don’t want to engage an RPO provider with little to no knowledge of your business objectives, internal talent acquisition team, recruiting process, and hiring needs. Is their knowledge of your business landscape, hiring volumes, brand/cultural values solid enough to help them devise a personalized RPO solution to meet your key needs?

How do you plan to improve my performance?

There are many benefits to engaging a recruitment process outsourcing provider. Will the provider help you reduce costs? Are they looking to boost candidate quality or better your hiring process or employer brand? Will they focus on boosting internal mobility, employee engagement, or candidate experience? Whatever the plans or focus are, it makes sense to know and establish metrics for future assessment.

How will they manage and control costs?

Don’t engage an RPO solution provider until you get a clear insight into what costs are covered or not. From services costs to product/technology costs, management fees, etc, you should have a grasp of the RPO cost structure, the cost per hire, as well as the time and cost savings expected.

What happens when business conditions change?

Business conditions are prone to change.

So, when outsourcing recruitment, you need an RPO partner that can easily help scale talent acquisition up or down, as required. Does your prospective RPO provider work with a one-size-fits-all approach, or are they flexible enough to adapt to your hiring needs at any particular time? Is there an escape clause in the contract? Does the engagement include a shared risk model to manage operational and hiring costs when business conditions change? All of these need to be known.

How specialized is their expertise?

You will have to decide between engaging big recruitment process outsourcing agencies

that can source for a broad range of roles or a boutique RPO provider with better experience sourcing for specialist roles for your industry or region. Questions related to

this will help ensure reduced hiring costs due to the greater expertise and experience as well as landing the right clients for the long run.

Who manages key performance metrics?

You must have established certain performance and financial metrics to gauge the performance and results of your RPO partner. A Service Level Agreement and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are two important areas of a contract that focus on performance metrics. Usually, the business unit leadership and/or the talent acquisition team leadership are in charge of maintaining oversight for this process. It’s however, important to factor into the contract the nature of this assessment as well as the time and resources needed to manage this strategic partnership and the outcomes.

Where does the RPO provider operate from?

This is most important if your organization is big on local company expertise with regard to recruiting talent faster, and addressing their recruiting challenges. The same goes for when you’re looking to integrate the RPO team into your office. Will the team of recruiters work in a fully outsourced model (enterprise rpo), hybrid model, or fully remote to support your recruitment processes to address your workforce planning gaps?

A workforce plan integrated with a business process outsourcing provider will help create targeted talent management interventions to ensure that organizations have the right people - with the right skills at the right places at the right time - to meet their objectives.

A global agency looking for RPOs would consider RPOs with a global footprint to meet its global hiring demands.

What is their track record in recruitment process outsourcing?

Finally, you want to be sure of your RPO agency before entering a contract with them. You need to ask questions that give insight into their reputation and experience. Ask how long they’ve been in business. Consider asking for client testimonials or case studies. What is their track record of sourcing high quality talent and how do they measure this? By asking these questions, you will gain a better understanding of their past performance and will be in a better position to make a final decision.

Boutique vs Big RPO Provider

As mentioned earlier, hiring managers and talent leaders need to make a choice between “small” boutique RPO agencies and big RPO providers. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages in both cases.

With a small boutique agency, you’re often dealing directly with someone who would be involved in your recruitment process outsourcing services. With a big RPO provider, however, the bulk of the work might be outsourced to another partner - who might not have a solid knowledge of your business goals and recruiting challenges.

While you might need a big RPO provider as a big company with a large footprint, bigger is not always better when it comes to recruitment process outsourcing, especially if you’re looking for specialized solutions regarding your industry or location.


Regardless of what RPO model you’re looking for or whatever your business goals are, it’s always important to engage an external service provider with a solid understanding of your talent acquisition needs.

Such an RPO partner should also be capable and experienced enough to meet or exceed your expectations. To determine whether a particular organization is a right fit for your company, you might have to ask questions and compare two or more RPO providers. With this information, you will have a clear picture of the type of RPO provider you are looking for and what to expect in terms of results and outcomes.

Need customized RPO solutions for your business?

Here at Accendi Group, we offer tailored solutions for companies to optimize their human resources and talent management practices and reduce their people risk management issues.

For recruitment process outsourcing, we offer a flexible solution suitable for a broad range of clients by first understanding your business objectives and hiring needs.

This helps us devise RPO solutions personalized to help you attract and engage the right talent at a reduced cost within the shortest possible time - all while helping you build/maintain a strong employer brand. For more info, visit our recruitment process outsourcing page to learn more.

For more info, visit our recruitment process outsourcing page to learn more.

This article was written by Consultant, Crystal Mano.

32 views0 comments
bottom of page