Dec 2, 2021 5:32:12 PM | 3 Min Read

The History of RPO And What the Future Holds

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The History of RPO And What the Future Holds

According to an article written by's President of Talent Solutions, Steve O'Brien, the RPO industry is heading in a very revolutionary direction.  The traditional molds of RPO are being broken, and it is an exciting time full of change and innovation.

The History

Recruitment Process Outsourcing was birthed from the tightened recruitment budgets in the early 2000s.  Leaders of the Corporate world were trying to come up with a solution for costly in-house recruitment initiatives, and instead, lean on external partnerships to attract candidates.  This was the beginnings of RPO, and the interest in it has continued to grow.

In 2008, when the economy collapsed for the second time in 10 years, it paved the way for RPO to flourish.  More financial backing was available to the RPO industry and RPO providers began to compete for who could provide the most value, quality, and specialization.  Each firm offered unique expertise and niches that others did not have.  The firms were able to grow during this time and more and more companies adopted RPO into their hiring process.

What Does the Future Hold for RPO?


Technology is going to be the focus for future RPO.  O'Brien addresses the changes in the RPO industry as three different channels:

1. The First channel:  The Mega Provider BPO solution 

The driving force in this channel is cost.  Technology is relied heavily on in this channel to make the process more efficient and cost down.  The process is at the top of mind instead of the recruiter and has limited customization.

2. The Second Channel:  Traditional RPO

Many RPO firms are still providing a huge value to their customers with the traditional 3 year contract model.  The traditional RPO consists of a balance between customization, process, and recruiter experience.  The leading RPO providers maintain an advantage over BPO solutions by staying a step ahead in technology and balancing investments in order to not become process focused.

3.  The Third Channel:  Agile Recruitment Services (ARS)

O'Brien says that ARS was born out of an age of budget growth and a competitive employment market.  Both large and mid-size companies have increased interest in building a strong talent acquisition team internally.  However, this internal team is stemming from an external partnership.  The difficulties of keeping up with current trends of TA technology, candidate experiences, hiring spikes and fending off agencies have drove agencies toward an ARS type of partnership.

These partnerships have developed into short contracts and more targeted approaches when seeking talent.  The ARS approach is focused on project agility, light implementation and sales processes and organizational designs that are specific to the smaller volume and optimized partnerships.

While ARS is growing exponentially, BPO and traditional RPO are not going away.  All of these services have their own benefits for the future of recruiting, but O'Brien says that we will continue to see a rise in the ARS's shorter contracts and more specialized approach to recruiting.

endevis has evolved into a national talent & workforce solutions provider with offices throughout the nation. With a focus on healthcare, engineering, and IT staffing, the organization has won a handful of awards across its Professional Direct Placement, Professional Contract Staffing, and Recruitment Process Outsourcing Solutions. For more information, please email

Topics: Talent Acquisition, Workforce, Recruitment Process Outsourcing

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