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Planning for Project RPO

Set smart expectations when considering a partnership for a project RPO solution.

By Maggie Mancini

The last four years have been economically volatile, but conditions are stabilizing, with the U.S. adding 2.7 million new jobs in 2023. ”With the potential for even more job growth on the horizon, many organizations may be unsure of when a major economic upturn will occur and what it will ultimately look like,” says Sandra Zawacki, executive director of client solutions at Sevenstep.  

“While organizations consider recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) a long-term commitment, TA leaders often seek a more flexible timeline. This is where project RPO comes in,” Zawacki says. Unlike traditional, end-to-end RPO, project RPO is designed to scale the volume of hiring for a specific team or business initiative in a shortened, specified period.   

For TA leaders looking to improve their hiring capabilities in a core area, the following are smart expectations to help ensure a project RPO solution achieves recruitment goals.   

Demand a clear knowledge of the business.

“If you have a solutions partner who understands how your business functions and where it’s going, you get the benefit of having an external vendor who can accurately and effectively represent your brand to the candidate base you’re targeting,” Zawacki says.   

When determining whether to engage with a provider for project RPO, organizations should approach their options with clear and detailed expectations. First, TA leaders should have a solid understanding of their own bandwidth needs and ensure that their potential partner is adept at scaling up their existing talent acquisition function.   

Make flexibility a priority.

At the same time, “resource agility is crucial,” Zawacki says. An effective project RPO provider should be able to continually analyze progress and bring in new resources without reinventing the entire strategy.   

Rapid economic and business changes can make hiring predictions unreliable. As a result, organizations looking for a project RPO provider should ask about their assessment and evaluation mechanisms. These, in turn, can help organizations stay ahead of obstacles and barriers to fast-paced recruitment throughout the project.   

Expect a project plan.

When qualifying providers for a project RPO solution, organizations should also search for firms that can communicate their project execution plan, Zawacki says. Asking questions about the kickoff plan can ensure that the provider has deployment strategies that fit the company’s unique talent acquisition needs.   

“Having a clear handoff plan that they can verbalize and outline in a streamlined manner is extremely important because of the differences between project engagement and multi-year engagement,” Zawacki says. “In a multi-year engagement, you may have a three- or four-month runway to get that transformation team involved and get the project kicked off. In a project RPO setting, though, most clients are looking for a much quicker stand up.”   

From the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in the workforce in response to AI, and shifting business strategies, organizational needs are constantly changing. By engaging with a project RPO provider, companies can utilize third-party assistance to rapidly scale recruitment and hiring to meet operational objectives.   

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