How to get the most out of your RPO provider

It’s an old management adage that you cannot manage what you cannot measure and this is fundamental in recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). Service level agreements and key performance indicators are the very fabric of any RPO contract and it is important to monitor whether or not your supplier is meeting these expectations on a regular basis.

Most metrics focus on efficiency – for example time to hire and cost per hire. Look at how efficient in-house processes are: how many interviews do you conduct per vacancy, for example? A good RPO provider will be able to benchmark these metrics against other organisations, including your competitors, and suggest how these processes could be made more efficient.

A relationship based on saving money or time alone may not improve your recruitment proposition, however, so think about introducing more intangible goals. These might include the quality of hire (based on line manager comments once a new start has completed their probation) or how reducing reliance on agencies has improved your organisation’s visibility in the employment market.

Here is a list of potential metrics:


Cost per hire. Compare this with the cost of in-house advertising, using recruitment agencies, paying for employee referrals and line managers’ time.
Time per hire.
Reducing the number of agencies used or the number of hires through agencies. Your RPO supplier can help you draw up a preferred supplier list.
Reducing time per CV. Applicant tracking systems can sift out unsuitable applications.
Reducing the number of interviews, if appropriate.
Reducing the number of applicants who drop out during application process.
Improving conversion rates from sourcing to job offer.
Increasing the number of applicants per role. This is particularly important in areas where skills are in short supply.
Increasing new hire retention.
Improving diversity of candidates.

Less tangible metrics:

Quality of hire. Feedback from line managers can help measure this.
Improved employer brand.
Improved talent pool.
Risk reduction, for example, making processes more legally compliant.

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