By: Lisa Blenis on August 24th, 2017

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Recruiting Services: The Differences Between RPO Vs. Retained Search

Talent Acquisition

Are you in over your head with recruiting? You are not alone! Attracting and hiring talent is a top challenge for CEOs and leaders across the world.

Which Recruitment Services Model is Best for Your Business?

If you are thinking about utilizing a third-party recruiting firm, you are probably trying to understand the differences between the recruitment models. At Helios HR, we offer two core models Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) and Retained Search. In this article, we will explain what each recruitment model is and the scenarios on when you may utilize them for your business.

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Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

In a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) services contract, your business would delegate all or a part of the recruitment process to the recruiting firm you partner with. At Helios, we would pair you with a dedicated recruiter (or team of recruiters depending upon the number of open positions) who would serve as an extension of your internal Human Resources/Recruiting department. We not only assist you in recruiting and hiring the right people in your positions, but we also work with you to strategically improve your recruiting program. Our certified recruiters are Talent Acquisition consultants who will partner with you to ensure your recruiting function is efficient and effective for your business goals. 

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 or visibility internally in your 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 also a great solution for HR departments that need to supplement their existing recruiting team to ramp up their recruiting efforts quickly. It can also be cost-effective if you have multiple vacancies at any given time or for those with fluctuating recruiting needs.

Retained Search

A retained search recruiting contract is best suited for more senior-level roles and hard-to-fill positions. At Helios, we specialize in retained search for HR leaders given the nature of our business. However, we also have a wide-depth and expertise in executive search, IT, and operational positions, for example. Retained searches are typically conducted based on an individual job role vs. multitude of positions like an RPO due to the highly customized approach. Similar to RPO services, a retained search is purchased on an as-needed basis, providing a lot of flexibility for employers.

At Helios, we start each retained search with a requirements analysis to analyze the position profile, understand the role and requirements, become familiar with the business culture and goals. 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 time frame, we will place another candidate in that position at no additional cost.

Hopefully this article helped you to better understand the primary differences between two common types of recruiting services: RPO and Retained Search. Contingent recruiting is also another type of recruiting service frequently offered in the market.

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