Understanding Contingent RPO: A Guide for Recruiters and Hiring Managers

Spread the love

Recruiting and talent acquisition can be complex, especially when sourcing candidates for a particular role. One attractive method often used is Contingent RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing). By leveraging contingent RPO services, employers can outsource certain recruitment functions while still having some level of control and management over their hiring process. 

But what exactly is Contingent RPO? In this guide, we’ll explore how it works and dive into its benefits so recruiters and hiring managers to understand why it’s an important option in modern recruiting strategies.

What is Contingent RPO?

Contingent RPO is a recruitment process outsourcing model that allows companies to quickly fill open positions with specific skills and experiences on a flexible, pay-as-you-go basis. This type of RPO will enable businesses to outsource their recruiting processes without committing to long-term contracts or retaining full-time recruiters. The difference between traditional and contingent RPO is that the latter offers businesses more flexibility for short-term projects or peak times.

The key characteristics of contingent RPO are:

  • Agility
  • Cost-efficiency¬†
  • Reduced risk
  • Scalability
  • Flexibility

With this type of recruitment model, businesses can quickly adapt to ever-changing market conditions and scale up or down depending on their needs. Additionally, this option offers minimal financial commitment while providing top-tier recruiting services tailored to the company’s requirements.

Contingent RPO stands out from staffing agencies in three primary aspects – expertise, speed, and efficiency. The expertise that comes with contingency recruiters provides firms with access to skilled professionals who focus specifically on personalized searches for particular positions within narrow timeframes.

Advantages of Contingent RPO

Contingent RPO offers companies several advantages over traditional recruitment models and staffing agencies. First, we will discuss the advantages of implementing contingent RPO into your recruitment strategy.

  1. Cost savings are one of the primary reasons that companies choose contingent RPO, as they provide a minimal financial commitment for short-term projects or peak times. Contingent RPO also gives businesses the flexibility to quickly adapt to ever-changing market conditions and manage their staffing needs according to their current requirements.
  2. Faster time-to-hire is another primary benefit of using contingent RPO, as dedicated resources are available on an as-needed basis meaning that the recruitment process can be completed much quicker than with permanent staff. Additionally, businesses get access to specialized talent pools allowing them to fill open positions quickly with experienced professionals with specific skills and experiences.
  3. Lastly, contingent RPO results in an improved candidate experience which is essential in today’s competitive job market. By utilizing rigorous pre-screening processes tailored to their requirements, companies can more efficiently identify top-quality talent who meet their qualifications.

How Does Contingent RPO Work?

Let’s explore how contingent RPO works so you can make an informed decision on whether it’s suitable for your organization or not.

The process of Contingent RPO

Typically includes sourcing, screening, interviewing, and onboarding candidates. Depending on the service level agreement with the client organization, the RPO provider may also provide additional services such as background checks, reference checking, and drug testing. The overall objective of Contingent RPO is to help organizations fill their specialized roles quickly and cost-effectively.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) used in Contingent RPO

Include time to hire, cost per hire, quality of hire rate, and applicant conversion rate. These metrics are essential for measuring the effectiveness of the recruitment process and help determine whether or not adjustments need to be made to optimize performance.

Best practices for implementing and managing Contingent RPO

  • Setting clear expectations with all parties involved.
  • Clearly defining roles and responsibilities.
  • Establishing a timeline for recruiting activities.
  • Selecting appropriate KPIs.
  • Providing feedback on candidate qualifications.
  • Staying informed about industry trends.
  • Evaluating each member of your team individually.
  • Creating an efficient onboarding program.
  • Continuously monitoring results against established goals.

Contingent RPO FAQs

What is the difference between Contingent RPO and traditional RPO?

Contingent RPO focuses primarily on non-permanent staffing, whereas traditional RPO involves a broader range of permanent personnel. Additionally, in traditional RPO, the client organization manages most of the recruiting process, whereas Contingent RPO involves outsourcing these responsibilities to an external provider.

How is Contingent RPO different from using staffing agencies?

Staffing agencies only provide sourcing and placement services for temporary employees, while Contingent RPO includes additional services such as onboarding, background checks, and drug testing. Furthermore, terms of service are usually more stringent in a Contingent RPO setting than when working with a staffing agency.

What are the benefits of Contingent RPO?

The primary advantage that organizations gain through implementing a successful Contingent RPO program is access to qualified talent quickly and cost-effectively, enabling them to fill specialized roles in a much shorter timeframe than they would have otherwise. Also, due to its scalability, it can be easily adjusted based on current needs.

What types of organizations can benefit from Contingent RPO?

Organizations that require short-term hires for specific tasks or seasonal work are especially capable of finding value in adopting a contingent model for their recruitment process. These include sectors such as technology and healthcare, where specialized skills are needed for short intervals.

What is the typical cost structure for Contingent RPO?

Since each situation has different requirements, fees associated with using this model vary significantly depending on performance objectives; the complexity of the recruitment process; desired timeline; etc. Generally speaking, charges are updated based on candidate placements or other agreed metrics by both parties to ensure that goals are met without exceeding budget limits set forth by management.

How long does it take to implement Contingent RPO?

The time required for successful implementation depends on factors such as the size/complexity of recruitment-related activities, number/types of stakeholders involved, nature/urgency level related to requirements, etc. However, it typically takes two to four weeks for all parties to become knowledgeable about how all processes need to be executed before actual recruitment activities begin.

How is the success of Contingent RPO measured?

Established KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) – such as time-to-hire speed; quality candidate pool sizes; applicant conversion rate; and cost-per-hire ratios – enable stakeholders to measure whether stated objectives have been met efficiently and promptly during the implementation stage, ensuring maximum return on investment (ROI).

What are the key challenges of Contingent RPO and how can they be addressed?

To successfully implement a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), planning is key to overcoming challenges such as employee commitment and compliance requirements.


This guide has provided an overview of the basics of contingent RPO services, including how decisions are made and workflow processes. You must be mindful of which recruitment services provider you work with regarding contingent RPO. 

Gables Search Group offers a comprehensive suite of services, from candidate sourcing and targeted marketing campaigns to background verifications and offer management. Call us today if your organization wants to explore contingent RPO as a recruitment solution. We will work with you to develop the right strategy tailored to your organization’s needs and provide expert guidance throughout your recruitment journey.