In today’s constantly evolving labor market, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is a must-have. But has it always been this way? Yes and no. RPO trends have grown and evolved over the years.

Businesses have always received hiring assistance from third parties. Referrals, for example, were used prior to the Victorian era. However, organized RPO didn’t become a common concept until the 1970s tech boom in Silicon Valley. Tech companies were growing too quickly to get the talent they needed, so they hired RPO firms to help. Back then, many RPO firms simply sold them lists of potential candidates.

After the dot-com bubble burst, human resources outsourcing (HRO) became common due to low overhead costs. RPO became more popular as businesses realized that outsourcing costs less overall, and RPO firms also took on more traditional HR tasks, like screening candidates.

In 2019, RPO firms rose in popularity to navigate the tight labor market. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 changed the working world drastically. Consequently, it expedited certain RPO trends that had been progressing at a moderate pace. 

Read on to explore RPO trends for the coming years—and learn how to make the most of them.


Total Talent Acquisition

The pandemic forced nonessential workers to remain home for an extended period of time. The flexibility of working from home appealed to them, especially parents. In fact, 54% of professionals who worked from home said they wanted to continue after the pandemic was over. Consequently, the number of freelancers and contractors is expected to grow. 

Now, RPO firms are helping businesses hire for flexible roles alongside full-time positions. Flexible employment options will attract more qualified candidates, helping RPO firms identify candidates who fit your roles the best. Plus, flexible employees help your core team weather uncertain times, like recessions. 

In the future, total talent acquisition will be one of the fastest accelerating RPO trends, increasing both RPO firms’ and also your brand’s agility.


Advanced Technology Solutions

Technology is continuing to advance throughout the business world—automation and AI in particular. Cutting-edge software has helped RPO firms produce data-driven strategies, results, and improvements. 

As technology continues to advance, RPO firms will use more advanced software throughout their operations. New recruiting software will help RPO firms identify qualified candidates faster than ever before. 

Ultimately, RPO firms will be more useful than ever with combined help from cutting-edge technology and expert team members.


Virtual-Focused Hiring Processes

Remote work is here to stay—and so is remote recruiting. Candidates will expect the application process to be through online tests, web forms, paperwork, emails, phone calls, and video calls. Candidates applying for remote roles will expect an entirely online process. 

RPO firms will be refocusing their resources on virtual hiring tools. Your team can expect your RPO firm to push more candidates to the final round of interviews since video calls are less time-consuming than on-site interviews. 

New virtual-focused RPO hiring processes will help increase hiring speed and the talent pool your brand draws from but should consume fewer resources overall. 


Top-Notch Candidate Experiences

Many of today’s biggest industries, like healthcare and technology, are experiencing labor shortages. Businesses in these industries need to stand out to ensure candidates are applying for their in-demand roles.

Providing a top-notch candidate experience will be a key RPO focus in the coming years. They will swiftly identify, recruit, and vet candidates, ensuring that they have a seamless experience. They’ll communicate with interested candidates quickly, so no candidate feels out of the loop. 

Ultimately, RPO firms’ focus on top-notch candidate experiences will help your business maintain a competitive advantage over the tightening talent market.


Hiring Process Transparency

Candidates use the phrase transparency more often now. They want transparency in everything from their interview status to future job responsibilities. According to a survey, 23% of marketing leaders believe transparency helps close the wage gap, 21% believe it creates more trust, 20% think it boosts recruitment and retention, and 19% believe it increases productivity.

RPO firms will provide more transparency to candidates to reassure them that your team will be transparent later on, too. Expect your RPO firm to encourage your business to provide more transparency into your hiring process and open role details. 

Transparency is a powerful RPO trend that will help attract—and maintain—high-quality candidates to your business.


Conclusion: RPO Trends for the Coming Years

Post COVID-19, RPO trends accelerated at a drastic pace. We expect RPO to continue to grow and develop, ultimately helping your business maintain a thriving and qualified workforce.