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On-Demand Recruiting vs. Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Even if you have a solid recruitment plan in place, what happens if you’re forced to hire rapidly to meet new, unexpected hiring goals? Are you capable of quickly adapting to market changes right now? If you’re not sure how to answer, you’re not alone. It’s common for companies with even well-functioning human resources and hiring teams to find themselves adrift when a company’s hiring needs start to pivot in method or volume.

Two popular solutions designed to fill in the gaps are on-demand recruitment and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). Read on to learn why they are different and which is right for you. 

What is on-demand recruiting?

On-demand recruitment is there right when you need it and doesn’t need to be retained when you don’t. It’s a flexible, outside recruitment option for companies who needed new hires yesterday and may not want to keep these services once they have overcome their current hiring obstacles. These outside recruiting services act like any other, but your interaction with them ends when the hiring project is done. 

How does on-demand recruiting work?

The most common process includes a brief consultation meeting to find out your exact hiring needs and obstacles. Then, the on-demand team goes to work to recruit, vet, and interview the most qualified candidates. The entire project may take just a few weeks, and when it’s over, your relationship with the on-demand team is paused until you need them again. 

Pros and cons of on-demand recruiting

As you can tell, on-demand recruiting has some unique traits, and it can be ideal in some situations. The benefits of this model include:

  • Supplements your existing internal HR roles without the need for your to bulk up your own hiring managers and teams
  • Can be used just when you need it, and not when you don’t
  • May bring in quick hires ideal for seasonal hiring and similar staffing fluctuations
  • Hourly or project-based hiring to help you budget better

The downsides are tied to the nature of external recruiting teams. They include:

  • No long-term relationships outside of each project
  • Recruiting teams may not get the chance to understand your culture or mission
  • Lack of collaboration between managers, employees, recruiters, and HR teams
  • Often inflexible hiring processes that are fine-tuned to the recruiter’s methods, not yours

What is RPO?

One other option is recruitment process outsourcing (or “RPO”). These outside teams or agencies can assist you with as much of your hiring as you want, whether it’s just the sourcing or recruiting process, or even with consulting for your internal teams. It’s an adaptable choice for those who want to maintain more control over hiring and staffing practices. 

How does RPO work?

Like on-demand teams, RPO providers will consult with you, but in a more engaged and prolonged fashion. They are ideally going to be part of your culture as they work to see how you currently hire and what unique challenges your industry deals with. They can collaborate with your teams throughout the talent acquisition process and even provide metrics of how the hiring is going so you can continually adapt your hiring practices. 

Pros and cons of RPO

What are the benefits? How do they compare to the in-demand? The perks of RPO solutions are:

  • Potentially better hires from having an understanding of your employer branding and goals
  • Long-term partnership for all your ongoing staffing needs
  • Flexible, scalable benefits that you can use as you see fit
  • End-to-end recruiting support

There are some drawbacks to consider, including:

  • Potentially more expensive service costs and a contract
  • Will require you to be more involved
  • May take longer to hire when you add in the onboarding of the agency

The main differences between RPO and on-demand recruiting

Both options have some overlap, as they can free you up from having to do all the hiring yourself. They both can grant you access to a new network of candidates, too, since they do this every day and often know the best places to look for workers in your industry. How they differ, however, is important. You’ll want to really consider your hiring goals and how you see them evolving over the long term.

On-demand is more “on or off”

The main difference is that on-demand is like a faucet that you turn on and off. You may go months (or even years) without hiring new and won’t have much of a relationship with the on-demand team. This can lead to distance or even a lack of understanding of your business when it comes time to turn that faucet “on” again.

RPO is more flexible and scalable

RPO services, on the other hand, are flexible and provide scalability, so you can increase or decrease their involvement as needed. But they are always there in some capacity. Whether you use them to help analyze skills gaps or have them update your job descriptions and internal interview practices, their consultant approach is a more steady presence. You may even consider them an official part of your team.

When should you choose RPO vs on-demand recruiting

If you’re fine with the way you’re currently hiring and simply want to get a quick bump of talent volume and get it done quickly, you may be a good match for an on-demand recruiting team. They exist to get hires and get them fast. They can also fill in occasional gaps when it’s not as important that a hiring team knows your business inside and out. 

If, on the other hand, you are looking more for a partner that can help relieve your teams of their heavy hiring tasks and even lend their expertise to your internal processes, an RPO team may be the better fit. Their focus on collaboration ensures you don’t have to keep your hands completely off the hiring process. They can stay informed of your goals, even when you’re not actively hiring, so that they are ready to re-engage candidates without missing a beat.

Add in the metrics and reporting possibilities that so many RPOs offer these days, and the bottom line is that you may consider them more of an overall business consultant than just a hiring function. 

At Comeet, we provide the best of both worlds with our Elastic Recruiting model, which offers lower performance fees, a streamlined platform, and much more. Read more about how Comeet can help you with your hiring needs today. 

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Adrienne Smith

Adrienne Smith

Adrienne Smith is a content strategy consultant working with high-growth businesses on their brand messaging, content strategy, and content creation. A digital nomad, she's exploring the world's cultures and cuisines as she works.

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