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Hiring a RPO Provider: A Three-Legged Stool and the Glue that Holds It Together
October 29, 2015 5:32:58 PM

When my team initially came to me and said, “Jeff, I’d like you to begin writing an RPO blog”, I thought to myself “where do I begin – there’s so much material to cover”.  So I thought about it and decided to begin with some tips on how to select the right RPO provider for your organization. 

As I think back over my Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) experience, a specific conversation comes to my mind.  I was having an intake discussion with our customer’s representative who is now a VP of Business Development for that same customer. I asked him “Neil, what are the key aspects you look for when you’re hiring someone?”  In this case we were discussing a New Product Development Manager.  He replied with a simple answer that I have since applied to both my hires and business decisions, alike.  His response was “my approach to hiring is similar to a three-legged stool in that I look for honesty, teamwork, and proficiency.  The stool cannot support itself without all three legs.”  Later, he added that a “continuous improvement mindset” is a key component as well.  The answer seemed so simple, but it bears further explanation.

  1. Honesty
    First, Neil explained that honesty, on the surface, is interpreted by most people as someone always telling the truth.  But, he felt that one of the strongest examples of honesty was to be true to yourself and the organization in such a way that you are willing stand up in a room and say what needs to be said, even if it is the unpopular thing to say.  These communications should also be delivered in such a way that they do not alienate the audience.  In an RPO provider, look for a partner that assumes accountability, accepts responsibility and is accepting of your feedback, both positive and negative.  The best RPO partners are also the ones that can bring issues to your attention, even when the issue is you (the customer). 
  2. Teamwork
    When you think of teamwork you might picture people playing well in the sandbox together. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.  It is extremely important to make sure that your hire, or in this case, your RPO provider, is a partner. They approach the solution from a team-oriented, holistic mindset.  The journey is not about the customer vs. the vendor.  It’s about what we can accomplish if we have empathy and mutual respect for each other in working together toward a common goal.  Your provider must also mesh with your company’s culture, so they can represent your company in such a way that your culture is transparent to the talent market.     
  3. Proficiency
    Proficiency is just that – someone’s demonstrated experience that they are an expert in their particular field. This information is not gained from someone’s resume or an RPO brochure.  This information is gleaned from personal interaction with the prospective employee, or the RPO provider’s team, and is further verified through credible references, testimonials, and demonstrated results. 

Finally, let’s talk about the glue that holds the three-legged stool together – continuous improvement.  We all realize that no solution, process, or employee is perfect.  Whether you manufacture a tangible product, sell insurance, or facilitate the recruitment of talent for an organization, the methodology can always be improved.  Vince Lombardi once said “perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”  The internal drive that pushes us to relentlessly pursue perfection is what keeps us at the forefront of being a world-class organization by continually improving what we do and how we do it.  Look for a partner that not only identifies areas of improvement, but also presents actionable solutions that will improve your talent acquisition strategy.   

I hope this has given you some useful tips in helping you select the right RPO provider for your organization.  In the meantime, I’ll tip my cap to Neil for his insight some years ago, and wish you happy hiring in your talent acquisition journey.

Interested in learning more about RPO services at MAU?  Download our case study to read about some recent success with one of MAU’s clients.