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RPO vs. Retained Search: What’s the Difference?

Posted on August 24, 2017
Lisa BlenisWritten by Lisa Blenis | Email author

Which Recruiting Model is Best for Your Organization?

Now that your organization has decided to seek assistance with your recruiting initiatives through an outside recruiting firm, there are additional decisions to be made. Clients often ask, “Which recruiting model is best for our organization?”

Your choice may be a function of many factors, including:

  • the number of vacancies you wish to fill
  • the urgency to fill those positions
  • how involved you wish the recruiter to be in the process
  • the flexibility required and
  • budgetary constraints

Helios offers a number of talent acquisition services, including recruiting assessments, sourcing, permanent placement, executive search, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), and recruitment training. Two of the recruiting models often chosen by our clients are RPO and retained search.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

In a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) arrangement, your organization delegates all or part of the recruitment process to us. Our recruiters function as an extension of your internal Human Resources department, and as such, we not only assist you in placing the right people in your positions but also work with you to strategically improve your recruiting program. Our recruiters act as consultants with the goal of ensuring your talent acquisition initiatives are efficient and result in good hires.

The recruiter in an RPO model is a collaborative partner and is often on-site, working side-by-side with employees, meeting with managers in person, and attending department meetings. We may use recruiting tools and techniques that are already established within an organization, or we can offer new and more advanced tools and technology.

In an RPO model, we have the expertise and the bandwidth to work on multiple positions simultaneously, to proactively source, and to build candidate pipelines. Your organization “owns” the candidates that are sourced via an RPO arrangement, so we are essentially expanding your candidate database.

Perhaps the most advantageous aspect of an RPO is the flexibility it offers. At Helios, RPO services are offered in chunks of time. Thus, you can fluctuate the hours purchased within a given time frame based on your organization’s changing needs. The services are scalable, minimizing cost and risk.

Our level of involvement in the internal organization is also up to you. We can support recruiting efforts remotely, be on-site, or create a hybrid model. We also have the flexibility to use our own recruiting resources (ATS, job boards) or use the ones you already have in place.

An RPO is a good choice for an organization that is not ready to commit to employing a recruiter full-time but wants engaged, collaborative, and strategic recruiting support. It is a great solution for organizations that need to ramp up their recruiting efforts quickly or those that have fluctuating recruiting needs. It can also be cost-effective if you have multiple vacancies or have ongoing needs.

Retained Search

A retained search arrangement works well when an organization has an immediate individual need, as retained searches are typically specific to individual openings. Thus, there is flexibility in this type of search as well because services can be purchased on an as-needed, position-by-position basis.

Retained search allows a great deal of customization. We conduct a requirements analysis, during which we analyze the position profile to understand the role and required skill set, become familiar with the unique needs of the company, and understand the company culture and future growth initiatives. The development of a candidate profile then serves as a basis for our recruitment strategy.

Advanced analysis such as compensation benchmarking is provided, and an in-depth resume calibration process is also an important component of the retained search process. During the calibration process, we elicit your feedback on sample candidates, enabling us to narrow the search and focus on the unique qualifications and experience the organization is seeking.

Through a retained search, your organization can also leverage our ability to access an extensive pool of qualified and available candidates in our network. In addition, there is a guarantee period during which you are assured that should the hired employee voluntarily leave the company or be released within a given timeframe, we will place another candidate in that position at no additional cost.

Depending on the flexibility desired and the issues currently facing your organization, such as budgetary constraints and the urgency of your recruiting needs, one of these recruiting models may be the right choice for your organization.

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