RPO & StaffingTalent Acquisition

The Baker’s Dozen: Recruitment

The Top 13 RPO providers

by Denise Doig

Since 2003, HRO Today has compiled a list of the top recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers. RPO covers a wide space in HRO. On a broad level, RPO includes recruitment, staffing, and search. But a closer look reveals the related areas that make up RPO: sourcing; screening; testing; interviewing; background checks and drug testing; hiring; coordinating offer letters; on-boarding; maintaining applicant tracking logs, requisition, and candidate files; and training all fall under the full-service RPO umbrella.

As our faithful readers already know, making lists is one of our favorite pasttimes. So its no surprise that this year we have kicked it up a notch. As RPO gets bigger and better, so does our coverage of the market. In the past, listings of the 13 major RPO players included the usual suspects and excluded some interesting up and comers. During our first year, we identified the whales in RPOs water, and even left some space for the guppies. Last year, we expanded on this concept by contacting providers who offered nationwide RPO services, had at least one major client, and placed, at a minimum, 100 employees through RPO. We also surveyed buyers to find out what their needs were.

This year, we upped the ante and decided that 2005 would be the year of the Bakers Dozen. This time around we have taken a more scientific approach. By including actual rankings with real numbers, we have compiled the top 13 full-service RPO providers some new, some old. These are the 13 outsourcers who are engaged in areas of full-service RPO. We contacted 23 recruitment providers to gather some key data and facts about themselves and their major competitors, which helped to determine the final 13. We also included some interesting user feedback, a variety of case studies, a look at what to expect for the future of RPO, and an introduction to the new RPO associationthe RPO Alliance.

Methodology: This list was developed by contacting 23 of the largest RPO providers and requesting the following information: number of full-service RPOs that they executed in 2004; estimates on the number of full-service RPOs their top 10 to15 competitors executed in 2004; and a ranking of their top 10 to15 competitors by market size. For those companies that could provide us with accurate audits of their 2004 recruitments (required for publicly traded companies under Sarbanes-Oxley), that number was the final number used in determining the rankings. For those companies that were privately held and could not provide independent audits, we averaged the number they provided us with the overall average of their competitors estimates (industry average) to determine a final number of employees placed through RPO. We then compared their rank based on the average number of employees recruited with their rank based on their competitors estimates of market share. This enabled us to ensure that, although the final number of recruited employees may not be exact, the RPO companys relative rankings within the list are. 


Employees Placed Through RPO: 28,000


Kenexa is a global provider of employment process outsourcing (EPO) offering outsourcing, employee research, and software to help companies hire and retain a productive workforce. Kenexa manages staffing operations and recruiting campaigns for Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies, managing some of the employment process or the entire staffing processes. Kenexa provides single-source accountability rather than partnering with external sub-contractors, avoiding potential issues that can arise from the use of multiple providers. Kenexas EPO strategy reduces operating costs, focuses on the core of the business, creates a variable cost structure, improves quality, expedites speed to market, fosters innovation, and accesses best in class expertise and technology.

RPO Client(s): Schering Plough, StorageTek, Corning, Microsoft, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA

Services: Requisition Development, Sourcing, Screening, Process Management, Administration, Skills Testing, Behavioral Assessment, Applicant Tracking, Employee Referral Program Administration, Employment Advertising Strategy, EEO Program

Development and Reporting, On-Boarding and Ongoing Retention Programs.

Most Common Metrics: Time to fill, cost per hire, diversity indices, source effectiveness, employee referral, funnel ratios, compensation metrics, and workforce planning metrics.



Employees Placed Through RPO: 15,000


HRfirst, a Kelly Services company, is a recruitment process outsourcing and consulting company that provides flexible, innovative recruitment strategies and technologies that improve and accelerate the hiring process, saving clients time and money.

RPO Client(s): Large companies in a number of different industries including an international beverage distribution company, a Fortune 100 financial services company, and a pharmaceutical giant

Services: End to End Hiring Programs–appointment of a dedicated program team; design and install a customized candidate sourcing strategy; hiring process re-engineering; recruitment technology assessment and recommendations; integrated applicant tracking and requisition approval processes; management of all candidate and hiring community communications; candidate offer management; conduct all post-offer screening activity; establishment and management of hiring program partners; and complete ongoing management of client hiring program. Customized Mission Critical Hiring Projects–augmenting the clients internal recruitment function; outsourcing of hiring for specific skill sets or geographic regions for clients (usually for a specified time period involving volume hiring conditions); consulting and program management services; technology consulting; workforce planning consulting; assessment consulting; management of client employee referral programs; management of campus recruitment programs; management of leadership development programs; and design and management of employee retention programs.

Most Common Metrics: Cycle time to hire, requisition span, aging, diversity of applicant flow, cost per hire, effectiveness of hiring source, and client and new hire satisfaction.



Employees Placed Through RPO: 12,000


Spherion is a publicly traded corporation with more than 2,150 recruiters operating throughout 700 locations in the United States and Canada. Their broad-based experience in staffing, recruiting, and workforce management is founded on an in-depth understanding of the workforce and the issues that drive performance. It is these core competencies that Spherion offers to clients who want to more effectively plan, acquire, and optimize talent to improve their bottom line. Spherion has the ability to deploy various RPO delivery models, ranging from low-touch engagements based on standardized sourcing and recruiting workflows, to co-sourced and high-touch models consisting of customized hiring processes, Spherion or client-specific technology, and potential full ownership of an end-to-end hiring process. Their flexibility is further enhanced by the ability to work within multiple technology environments, including Brass Ring, Peoplesoft, eRecruit, Taleo, Recruitmax, and others. Spherion has been delivering clients BPO since 1990 and RPO solutions since 2001.

RPO Client(s): Eastman Kodak, Agilent, Citrix, 180 Connect, W. W. Grainger, Capital One, Cisco

Services: Solution Consulting Methodology and Business Case Development, Due Diligence and Implementation, Sourcing and Pre-recruitment Pipeline Services, Screening, Assessment Testing, Behavioral Interviews, Scheduling and Interview Administration, Background Investigation and Compliance Management, Offer and On-boarding Management and Orientation Training, 24/7 Report and Analysis Platform, Process and Performance Management, Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Technology Integration Policy, Total Workforce Acquisition, Account Governance.

Most Common Metrics: Source effectiveness; time to fill; interview to hire ratio; offer acceptance rate; time to start; diversity; pay rate analysis; user satisfactionresponsiveness, addressing problems, documentation, slate quality, candidate experience; business relationsease of doing business, account management, account support; and cost containment and cost reduction goals.



Employees Placed Through RPO: 8,300


Hyrian provides nationwide, end-to-end, long-term RPO programs exclusively to Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies. Hyrian covers the entire recruitment process from job design, requisition management, sourcing, applicant screening, background checking, and on-boarding, and even post-hire employee retention. Their programs are transformational rather than transactional in nature, allowing companies to improve the quality of hires as well as service levels to hiring managers and candidates, while reducing cost. Hyrians Distributed Recruiting model combines supply chain, capacity planning, assembly line, and quality-control practices adapted from the manufacturing industry for a scientific and proactive approach to large-scale, complex recruitment. Because Hyrians programs are all large and long-term, they are all custom-built, seamless, and branded for the client.

RPO Client(s): UnitedHealth Group, American Express Financial Advisors

Services: Strategy, Sourcing, Screening, Selection, and Start. Represent approximately 30 discreet steps in the hiring process.

Most Common Metrics: Overall cost (staffing efficiency ratio), cycle time (requisition approval to offer acceptance), offer-toacceptance ratio, source effectiveness, hires per month, and requisition agings. Additionally, Hyrian maintains an internal quality assurance department to measure the quality of processes. Quality assurance staff gather satisfaction data from the end-user (hiring managers) for reporting on recruiter responsiveness, professionalism, speed, flexibility, and overall service level.



Employees Placed Through RPO: 5,350


Yoh HR Solutions is a unit of Yoh, a leading provider of high-impact talent and outsourcing services in the United States with more than $415 million in total sales. Operating from more than 80 locations in North America and Europe, Yoh delivers long- and shortterm temporary and direct placement of technology and professional personnel, as well as managed staffing services, for the telecommunications, scientific, information technology, and engineering communities.

RPO Client(s): General Electric (Yoh currently supports five business clusters representing nine major business units in more than 200 domestic locations), Andrew Jergens Company

Services: Recruitment Strategy Design, Job Posting, Sourcing/Mining/Networking, Advertising, Recruiting, Slate Development, Interview and Travel Logistics, Candidate Data (EEO-1) and ATS Administration, Visa Processing, Job Folder/Candidate Disposition, On-boarding/Orientation, HRIS On-boarding, HRIS Administration, and Co-op and Intern Program Management.

Most Common Metrics: Cost per hire, cycle time to fill, and percentage of candidate diversity per slate.



Employees Placed Through RPO: 5,200


Entrenched in recruitment process outsourcing for more than 10 years, StraightSource brings a tradition of success to the recruitment processfrom pre-hire to post-hire. The company fortifies the HR function with increased value, reduced costs, improved hires, and more control. Their flexible service delivery model is designed to consistently execute a high-quality recruitment process so that client organizations are synchronized to meet ever-changing recruitment and hiring needs.

RPO Client(s): UnitedHealth Group, Express Scripts Inc., Allstate Insurance Company S

ervices: Recruitment Strategy, Job Analysis, Selection Process Design, Selection Process Validation, Candidate Generation, Applicant Processing/Selection, Search, Recruitment Management System (RMS), Recruitment Administration, Background/Drug Screening, EEOC/DOL/OFCCP Compliance and Reporting, WOTC Tax Credit Reporting, Contingent/Temporary Labor Consulting, Metrics/Analysis.

Most Common Metrics: Financial, retention, hire quality, fill rates, cycle time, hiring ratios, and channel effectiveness.



Employees Placed Through RPO: 4,150


The RightThing, Inc. has provided end-to-end recruitment, staffing, and employment process solutions and recruitment process outsourcing services in the HR marketplace for more than 15 years. The RightThing was founded in 2003 by the original Selective Staffing team, which was acquired by Aon Consulting in 1988. The RightThing is focused on assisting organizations in accomplishing their hiring goals and objectives through streamlining the administration of the front end of the hiring process through outsourcing or providing staffing process re-design work. They work as an extension of the clients HR team to meet hiring demands. The RightThing provides exclusive hiring services to Fortune 2000 companies for a wide-range of hiring needs. They have worked within more than 10 industries for 200 client companies to process more than 12 million candidates in North America.

RPO Client(s): Cyberonics, Merck & Co., Kelloggs, Abbott Labs, Waste Management, GE, TAP Pharmaceuticals, U.S. Steel, Sky Financial, Cardinal Health, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Velcro

Services: Staffing, Process Consulting, Candidate Recruitment/Sourcing, Applicant Intake, Screening, Testing, Interviewing, Candidate Correspondence, Data Management/Reporting.

Most Common Metrics: Candidate satisfaction, overall cycle time, hiring manager satisfaction, and interview-to-hire-ratio.



Employees Placed Through RPO: 4,000


Headquartered in Houston, Texas, RES is the recruitment outsourcing division of Bernard HODES Group. RES was an early adopter of RPO and entered the fields of recruitment outsourcing and applicant management in 1983. With outstanding talent, innovative processes, powerful creativity, and state-of-the-art technology, RES produces exceptional results for a wide variety of clients. Whether utilizing RES as a complete recruitment services outsourcing provider, or choosing from an array of project options, buyers are assured of customized, quality service based on best practices.

RPO Client(s): Kellogg Company, The Hershey Company, Comerica, Hexion Specialty Chemicals (formerly Borden Chemicals)

Services: Hiring Process Re-Engineering, Staffing Technology, Recruitment Marketing/Branding.

Most Common Metrics: Quality, speed, efficiency, cost per hire, time to submit, time to fill, fill ratio, and customer satisfaction.



Employees Placed Through RPO: 4,000


This global HR Services company is active in temporary and permanent staffing, outplacement, career services, and HR outsourcing. The Adecco Group operates from more than 6,000 offices in 70 countries and territories, servicing hundreds of thousands of clients and around 4 million temporary associates each year. In 2004, Adecco generated revenues of 17.2 billion euros. The Adecco group is comprised of three staffing and career management services divisions: Adecco, Ajilon, and Lee Hecht Harrison.

RPO Client(s): General Electric, Renault, Robert Bosch, Citicorp

Services: Screening, Testing, Candidate Administration, Requisitions, Hiring, Database Management, Sourcing, Training, Supplier Management.

Most Common Metric: Success rates, attrition rates, process efficiency, user satisfaction, and candidate satisfaction.



Employees Placed Through RPO: 3,500


Futurestep provides specialized services to clients looking to outsource some or all of their HR recruitment functions worldwide. With fully integrated, single-source solutions, Futurestep leverages its proprietary Enterprise Recruitment Methodology, world-class technology, and international brand to transform the clients current processes. Operating as the clients internal recruitment function, Futurestep will work closely with the client to improve the recruiting efficiencies of quality of hire, speed of delivery, and cost containment. Improvements are measured and monitored through real time metrics then tied to strict service level agreements. On an ongoing basis, Futurestep will act as a strategic partner in continuously recognizing best practices to tactically elevate the client internal processes and to promote the company as an employer of choice.

RPO Client(s): Confidential


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