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  • Strategic Talent Partners

Retained Search vs RPO: Choosing the Right Recruiting Solution

Utilizing an external recruiting partner has many benefits, but it can be tough to know which recruiting solution is actually best for your organization’s needs.

At CorTalent, we specialize in both Retained Executive Search and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), and we’ve put together this blog to outline the most important things to consider when determining which solution will work for you.

The first things to consider are the level of the position and the volume of hires.

Are you looking to hire a Director of Operations to run your multi-location manufacturing operation? Do you want to hire a VP of Sales to build and lead an internal team of Sales Representatives? In these scenarios, Retained Executive Search is your best bet.

Why, you ask? This level of role requires a more in-depth vetting process provided by Retained Search to understand whether a candidate has the potential and the proven experience necessary to lead such crucial parts of your business.

Alternatively, if you are looking to hire a handful of entry-level Account Managers, a few Technicians, or simply have a mixed bag of entry- or mid-level roles open within your company, RPO is the way to go. With RPO, the candidates you see will still be screened and vetted, but for this level of role the “must-have” list tends to be shorter and more straightforward.

Next, you’ll want to consider your hiring timeline and time investment.

The goal of Retained Search is to fill a single critical role within your organization, and this process typically takes 90-120 days depending on the role. Something to keep in mind is that with a Retained Search project, you are guaranteed a fill no matter how long it takes, and you can rest assured that your team won’t waste time interviewing candidates who aren’t a close match to your ideal profile.

On the flip side, given the level of roles, RPO typically has a faster candidate turnaround time.

So, if you’d prefer to see a higher volume of candidates more quickly, then this is the solution for you. Additionally, RPO offers both short- and long-term solutions, and projects can last anywhere from 6 weeks to 6+ months.

A few final things to consider.

Whether you have an internal Recruiter or Human Resources presence or not, each of these recruiting models can be leveraged to meet your needs.

RPO is a good choice for an organization that isn’t yet ready to hire a full-time recruiter but still wants a strategic and dedicated resource for their hiring needs. RPO can also be beneficial for an organization that already has an internal recruiter but may need additional but temporary recruiting support for a higher-than-normal volume of openings.

Retained Search is typically reserved for higher-level or harder-to-fill positions. For example, you may have an internal Recruiter who has tried to fill the aforementioned Director of Operations role before to no avail. Or perhaps you don’t have internal resources and your Leadership Team doesn’t have the bandwidth to conduct the search for this crucial hire, but they still want to be involved in the selection process.

Each solution has its time and place, but your company’s needs and goals will determine which path will get you the results you are looking for. If you’d like to know more about what the Retained Search and RPO service offerings include at CorTalent and how we can help you get the people part right, click here!


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