Skywalk Group is a Cedar Rapids, Iowa based professional services firm that specializes in the areas of
human resources management, organizational development and training, and recruiting.
Our team has extensive experience providing critical HR strategy and support for companies of all sizes.
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According to the RPO Association, three quarters of employers plan to hire in the next year and half of them are considering RPO – outsourcing all or part of the recruiting process. Choosing the right RPO partner is critical to successful results. There are a number of factors to consider when evaluating the right potential partner. UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WANT TO CONSIDER RPO – You may need to decrease the time it takes to fill positions, increase the quality of candidates or build a stronger employment brand. The reasons can be numerous, but it is essential that you understand why so that you can set goals accordingly and measure potential providers based on your needs. Significant cost savings is often a result of an RPO program; however, it should not be one of the primary reasons. IS EVERYONE ON BOARD – Not only does your management team need to be on board with the idea of RPO, in order for the process to work they also need to be on board with the vendor that is chosen. Have key managers sit in on some, or all, of the meetings or conference calls with potential vendors and listen to their input. WHAT IS YOUR POTENTIAL RPO PROVIDOR’S APPROACH TO RECRUITING – Ask them what their method of operation is. When they first get a requisition from a hiring manager, what is their strategic approach? You will want to hear them talk about how they will connect with the manager to find out what key skills and experience are really needed as well as what personality fit will be best. Listen for them to describe specifically how they would develop a recruiting plan. If they talk about a long list of the places they will post the position, go speak to another vendor. You want to partner with a provider that is an expert at sourcing and recruiting, not posting and praying. HOW WOULD THEY SUPPORT YOUR NEEDS – Once you have given prospective firms what your hiring outlook is, ask them specifically how they will support your organization. How many people will they put on your company to support you? What roll would each person play? Who would handle day-to-day direction of your account? ASK WHAT THEIR CLIENT ON-BOARDING PLAN WOULD BE - You want to find a business partner that will take the time to set up the process and relationship correctly. An experienced business partner will first want to take some time to completely discuss your current hiring process and how they will integrate into that process. If changes need to be made in the hiring process, an experienced partner will outline recommendations with explanations of why the changes will enhance results. How will the provider get to know you and your managers? What are their thoughts on taking over searches in process? Look for a provider that has a well-defined approach to getting you set up for success. WHAT DO THEY SPECIALIZE IN – Does the potential provider specialize in any particular type of searches? If they do, will they be able to handle your needs outside of the specialty? A large number of outsourced recruiting providers do not specialize, and there are a number of benefits to considering a firm of general recruiting experts. In those cases ask specifically how they would recruit for your typical needs. PRICE – How does the potential provider price their service? Some outsourced recruiting providers bill on an hourly basis for their services allowing your costs to fluctuate with your needs. Firms may also charge a flat monthly fee. There are also fee-per-hire approaches as well as hybrid arrangements such as a flat monthly management fee with a per hire cost. What you want to see out of a firm is one that will structure the pricing model in whatever way makes the most sense for your organization and situation. WHAT TRACKING & METRICS DO THEY PROVIDE – Ask how often you will receive reporting and specifically what reporting will be provided. Look for an organization that will provide you with an overall weekly report on activities as well as a review of the metrics associated with the goals that have been set. These metrics should be provided and reviewed monthly, quarterly and annually. Additionally, these metrics could be broken out by region, location, department and even specific manager. You will also want to feel comfortable that firm can provide you with solid guidance on what metrics should be measured to line up with your desired expectations. HOW THEY WOULD SELL YOUR COMPANY & SELL RELOCATION TO YOUR LOCATIONS – Based on what the potential provider knows about your company, ask them specifically how they would sell it to someone who has never heard of your firm and not expecting a call about potentially working there. Also ask them how they would sell relocating to your market(s). Look for a provider that can articulate why your company is strong. Have they researched the local Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development or school district sites to sell someone on relocation? LOCATION OF THE STAFF – Are the recruiters domestic or offshore? How will they adjust their recruiting style and hours to accommodate supporting your locations in different times zones? Some firms will work their normal hours; however, you will want a provider that is accustomed to having their recruiters adjust their schedules to reflect the market and industry they are recruiting for. HOW WILL THEY SOURCE YOUR POTENTIAL CANDIDATES – What would their sourcing strategy be? How do they use technology and how will they use social media? Beware of firms that focus too much on posting positions to numerous sites. ASK TO VIEW LINKEDIN PROFILES OF MEMBERS OF THEIR RECRUITING TEAM– This information is easily out there to find, so beware of a provider that is hesitant to cooperate. You want to make sure the profiles show true recruiting and sourcing experts. Look for solid tenure and how they sell themselves. A recruiter who can’t feature their own experience in an exciting and sellable way will not be able to make your positions exciting or sellable either. WHAT IS THEIR ABILITY TO SCALE WITH YOU – If you suddenly decide to grow, or pull back on hiring, what is your potential provider’s ability to scale their support up and down with you? IS YOUR POTENTIAL PROVIDER OPEN TO A TEST RUN – Look for a partner that is open to proving their capabilities. If they are open to a pilot program, give them several different types of positions to search on, or even one specific location. DETERMINE IF THEY FIT YOUR STYLE - Are the players involved enjoyable to work with? Are they flexible and entrepreneurial enough to adjust to any of your needs…or rigid in their approach? Deciding to outsource all or part of your recruiting may seem stressful, but if you take the time to pick the right partner it will be a tremendously beneficial situation. Your positions will take less time to fill, you will have higher quality of candidates to choose from, your employment brand will strengthen and your managers and HR team will be able to accomplish more.