What is RPO and why should Startups be using one?
11th November 2021

The current recruitment market is tough. Staffing is one of the biggest challenges faced by companies at the moment. For Startups and SMEs, competing with large and established companies with bigger budgets and tighter processes makes this even more difficult. RPO is a solution that can really help these companies have a fighting chance at securing the best talent and, in many ways, is the best option for Startups needing an agile solution to their hiring challenges.


What is RPO? 

RPO is the new buzzword in the recruitment industry but is a concept that has been around for decades. Also known as RaaS, RPO is the act of outsourcing your recruitment process to an external company. An RPO company can take on everything from setting your hiring strategy, EVP, interview process, sourcing candidates, and the actual act of managing candidates through your recruitment process for you.


What are the benefits? 

Unless you work in recruitment, chances are it’s something you endure rather than enjoy. It’s time-consuming, expensive, and hard to be successful if you don’t know what you’re doing, particularly in this current market. Engaging an RPO can solve many of these issues for you. It offers you a flexible and scalable solution that brings you recruitment expertise, saves you time, and is cost-effective.


Why is RPO a good solution for Startups? 

Typically, RPO has been reserved for larger companies doing mass recruitment drives. However the market is shifting, and companies like TOTUS RPO are now making this available to the Startup and SME market. There are many reasons you should be considering using an RPO, including:

  • Getting the right strategy and process – Your first 10 employees make or break a business. When you’re a small company, getting the right people into the right positions is essential to your success. Working with an RPO gives you the opportunity to build a solid recruitment strategy, planning who to hire and how.
  • Time-saving – typically smaller companies won’t have enough consistent recruitment to warrant an in-house team, so the admin that comes with a recruitment drive will fall to someone who, likely, won’t have recruitment within their job description. For rapidly growing small companies, outsourcing your recruitment allows you to focus your time on your passion and the areas of your business you’re good at!
  • Cost-saving – being a small company without an in-house team, you’ll likely not have the time nor knowledge to build an effective direct-hiring campaign, meaning your new hires will come with pricey agency fees attached. Working with an RPO gives you access to direct candidates you wouldn’t have had before, plus working on a retainer basis will usually overall lower your recruitment costs.
  • Flexible and scalable – As a start up, you need an Agile solution that can change as quickly as you do. RPO is flexible to what your business needs now, plus is changeable if your recruitment needs fluctuate throughout the year.


What are the alternatives?

If you’re not sure if an RPO solution is for you, here are some alternatives to consider:

  • DIY! – managing the process on your own gives you a great sense of control over who you are getting into your business. However, with the time that is needed to put into a recruitment campaign, as well as the expert knowledge needed to be successful, this is often not always realistic.
  • Working with Recruitment Agencies – these are a great source of candidates, especially if you are looking for specialised or highly sought after staff. But working with agencies can be very expensive if you use them for all of your recruitment. Managing multiple agencies is also time-consuming, plus knowing the good from the bad can often be trial and error.
  • Hire an in-house team – hiring someone internally to manage your recruitment can be a great solution if you have a consistent level of recruitment month to month. You have an internal person who truly understands your culture and is able to dedicate their time to your process. However, if you have an unsteady level of recruitment it’s difficult to commit to a permanent member of staff. Also, if the majority of your recruitment is in a specialist field such as tech, you will likely still need to pay agency fees for most of your roles, which can mean essentially doubling up on your recruitment spend.


TOTUS RPO was set up specifically to help startups and SMEs like you. If you’d like to learn more about RPO and if it’s a good solution for your business, reach us at [email protected] or visit our virtual expo booth at Venturefest Oxford on 25th November.

About the author

Rebecca is the Client Director of TOTUS. She has worked in the recruitment industry for almost 10 years. She works in partnership with Startup clients to build, manage, and advise on their recruitment strategy.

Latest news

The future of Venturefest

The future of Venturefest

After 23 years of successful operation, Venturefest Oxford is entering a new era. READ MORE

Research, industry, and AGI

Research, industry, and AGI

A transfer of knowledge to industry is a good thing:  One purpose of a university is to benefit society by disseminating knowledge, and one way this can be done is by commercialising research. Universities and research institutions are a dynamo for entrepreneurship, and for innovation in large companies. READ MORE

For success in product development – start at square zero

For success in product development – start at square zero

When it comes to the commercial success of a technology-led product, there are a number of factors that come into play along the development journey. Have the regulatory requirements been met? Can the design be produced at a viable cost? Is it possible to ensure the quality of the manufacturing process? The list goes on. READ MORE

Make connections that lead to new investments, new businesses and new ideas in the high-tech sector in Oxfordshire.