What Is Recruitment Process Outsourcing?

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  • Written By: Sandi Johnson
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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Recruitment process outsourcing refers to a type of business process outsourcing (BPO) tailored specifically to human resource management tasks. When hiring new employees, human resource personnel must select and screen candidates, match their skill sets with appropriate positions, interview the prospective employees, and send chosen candidates on for orientation and employment paperwork. These steps entail the recruitment process in its entirety. Outsourcing all or part of such tasks to a third party vendor is deemed recruitment process outsourcing.

In the early days of outsourcing business processes, it was not uncommon for companies to use an employment agency or staffing firm to supply temporary employees or to manage the screening process for large groups of workers. Such outsourcing was the first step towards recruitment process outsourcing. Agencies offered companies lists of prospective employees that met certain criteria set by human resource or operations managers. In recent decades, the convenience of outsourcing the recruitment process has resulted in increased demand for additional services, such as background and reference checking, job aptitude or skill testing, consultations regarding improving the hiring process, as well as personality and work style evaluation.


For many companies and organizations, hiring a third party to handle candidate and recruitment management is more cost effective than employing a large human resources department. Using the concept of recruitment process outsourcing saves valuable labor hours, human capital, and organizational resources. Rather than spending a large portion of an organization's budget on finding and screening candidates, the organization can outsource to another business whose sole purpose is candidate attraction and selection. Many such organizations have finely tuned recruitment systems that are able to search numerous resume or talent databases automatically, looking for specific criteria.

Businesses have the option of outsourcing all or part of the recruitment process. A third party vendor might simply offer a list of potential candidates that meet organizational criteria for select positions. Alternatively, the vendor can take on all aspects of human resource management, up to and including job aptitude and skill assessment testing, pre-employment drug screening, and new-hire orientation. In terms of business process outsourcing, handing over the job of processing recruits is one of the most commonly outsourced tasks, next to customer support services, thus offering a wide array of choices tailored to specific industries, organization size, or job description.

Today, the increased demand for recruitment process outsourcing has resulted in vast differences between the employment agencies and staffing firms of the past and today's recruitment process management providers. Professional organizations now seek to identify recruitment process outsourcing as a separate service from staffing agencies. To differentiate the two services, many recruitment process service providers offer to assume not only candidate selection and management responsibilities, but take over the entire human resource department. As such, the service provider is capable of designing better, more accurate recruitment systems to better meet the needs of the organization.


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