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How Does Contingent RPO Work?

Nearly 6 million people in the United States are classified as contingent workers. They are contractors, temporary employees, consultants, freelancers, and seasonal workers. In every industry, contingent workers answer call center phones, create marketing assets, operate cash registers, write ad content, drive trucks, develop websites, design landing pages, sell products, and more. Even Santa uses contingent workers to fill his sack with toys in time for Christmas. (Where do all those elves work the rest of the year? Keebler?)

Finding these non-traditional workers isn’t always easy, especially if you need to hire a lot of them quickly. Outsourcing is a great solution for many companies, with options that generally fall into two categories:

  • Contingent Search – Promises to hire quickly, but at a steep price and with no guarantee of quality
  • RPO – Promises better quality of hire, lower cost, and an emphasis on cultural fit, but usually focuses on the permanent workforce

But there’s a third option that has been gaining in popularity over the past several years. It’s called Contingent RPO.

What Is Contingent RPO?

Contingent RPO is a hybrid model that blends the value of RPO with the flexibility and temporary nature of the contingent workforce. Contingent RPO supplies contingent labor using recruiters dedicated to your company. Unlike contingent staffing, which prioritizes speed at all costs, RPO emphasizes (in addition to accelerated time-to-fill):

  • Recruiting Partnership – The goal of RPO is to come alongside you, get to know your business and your needs, and meet those needs with customized solutions. During the engagement, you work with a dedicated team that is committed to strategically recruiting the best candidates for your business context.
  • Cost Savings – Staffing agencies have one goal: to hire quickly. With contingent RPO, you still get faster time-to-fill, but you also drive down recruiting costs with lower cost-per-hire, improved efficiency, and better long-term results.
  • Quality and Cultural Fit – Finding the right person for the job is a key goal of RPO. In a contingent model, that means the temporary workers you hire will still fit within your company culture and will have the skills and credentials needed to do excellent work.
  • Employer Value Proposition (EVP) – Today’s workers expect more of their employers. Your EVP frames the way your employees perceive you, and that starts with the recruitment process. Contingent RPO supports employer branding and a positive candidate experience. And because you’ll be hiring people that fit your culture, the RPO model sets them up for long-term engagement and satisfaction.

How Does Contingent RPO Work?

Contingent RPO emphasizes quality of hire, while also delivering the quantity of candidates you need for high-volume hiring initiatives. Here’s what that means for you:

  • You work with a direct sourcing team. Unlike staffing agencies, the contingent RPO model provides a dedicated team of recruiters who know your company and your industry. You benefit from the provider’s candidate networks and recruiting technology, and you can leverage existing pools of known talent to find the best candidates.
  • You get to keep the candidate database. The candidate database belongs to you at the end of the agreement, which means you retain the data for candidates not hired. If you want to reach out to them in the future, you have them on file. It also means, the RPO provider can’t offer candidates that have been sourced for you to your competitors.
  • You can emphasize qualitative metrics. Staffing agencies get paid when they place someone, and clients will often work with more than one staffing agency at a time. That makes fast placements the highest priority – if the agency doesn’t act quickly, they don’t get paid. By contrast, contingent RPO has the freedom to focus on qualitative metrics like skill, candidate experience, and cultural fit. You get better quality candidates while reducing your total cost of hire.
  • You can fill specialized roles. If you’re looking for a contingent SQL specialist or web developer for a project, you can’t afford to hire the wrong person. Your project timeline, budget, and outcomes are at stake. Contingent RPO is the best solution for filling those highly technical positions with people who do quality work.
  • You can plan for the future while also hiring quickly. RPO is built for the long-term. Even in a contingent model, RPO positions you to build sustainable talent pipelines and hire candidates with the potential to segue into full-time roles.

Are there times when a staffing agency is the best choice? Maybe, but only if you understand the drawbacks. If you’re looking for quality of hire, cost savings, and a hiring experience that supports your employer brand, then you need a proactive recruiting partner. That’s what contingent RPO can do for you.
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