This week, newspapers across the world are citing extracts from the journal Astrobiology on the habitability of Saturn’s moon Titan and the Planet Gliese 581g (in the Constellation of Libra) which is just like Earth in its environment and could contain liquid water. This search for new and habitable worlds is but a reflection of the human spirit, for which the World forms its oyster. Relocation to such greener pastures, metaphorically speaking, holds appeal to the aspirations of level-headed business managers too, provided they need not compromise upon efficiency and quality – while cutting the costs down drastically. One such development, as we all know, is the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) opportunity which has since branched out into more avenues like KPO (Knowledge) and RPO (Recruitment) spreading their wings to reach off-shore locations.
The Gamut of RPO Services
Engaging recruiters from overseas is an innovative way to hire talent, manage skill shortages, meet targets and stay ahead of the competition. Off-shoring of recruitment was adopted initially by staffing firms who were multinational players but the trend has changed to include smaller players who are pushing up the growth of this particular strategy. A report by Staffing Industry Analysts predicts a 50% growth in the use of US-based outsourced and India-based offshore recruiters. The important ingredient for success is the ability and resources to focus on the project. This practice is in higher use by staffing companies which serve sectors like pharma, biotech, finance, insurance and IT.
Functions fulfilled by Offshore Recruiters any element of the recruitment process or all of them, spanning the gamut from sourcing and advertising the job to screening, tests/assessments, interview and selection, background verifications, drug testing, offering, on-boarding and orientation. There are jobs like formatting of CVs, database updates of job titles, email addresses and other data; and maintenance or creation of new databases that are being outsourced. The jobs may require services based on and restricted to specific Projects and/or particular Job-roles or may have expanded scope commensurate with the confidence generated by the recruiter’s earlier performance.
As usual, the lower cost of recruiters offshore makes the option really attractive as paying $500 per hire or $1500 per month to the offshore recruiter makes it possible to really ease the pressure on the margins, with little or no impact on service levels or the additional costs of benefits and workers’ compensation. These recruiters are usually hired on monthly contracts which can get extended or terminated as necessary, which helps to keep the costs down in this uncertain economy. They may be willing to handle the sticky parts of the recruiting process or meet the requirements in hiring for the tough-to-fill roles. The adoption of RPO has been recognized to improve the processes as well as their outcomes.
We do not need to work too hard to find the downside to adopting this strategy. It could be the reluctance to share the database or outsource a core competency all the way across the world compounded by concern about the multiple time zones, different/discernible accents and other cultural issues over the communication and interaction. All or some of these could reflect on important aspects like candidate response, productivity, volume of calls and impact the overall efficiency of the process negatively. Failure to establish and share the right standards in coordination, use of tools, recruiting standards could also prove very counter-productive and result in high expenses rather than savings.
A Comparison with BPO:
A comparison between the services provided by BPOs and RPOs bring out some important insights:
As with all other business strategies, RPO needs to be driven with support from the top and commitment at the various levels, if it is to succeed. It is also important to adopt the necessary strategies for success and supplement them with effective SLAs and the tracking of key metrics to improve the chances for success. Sharing one’s internal processes and training the recruiter to incorporate them while being open to adopting innovative developments in the sector, go to clearly demarcate the outcome as a complete success or big failure, as the case may be.
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