Recruitment Process Outsourcing is a rapidly growing industry that is
polarising the sector. Some believe it will be a good thing, while others are as
adamant it is a new form of competition which should have recruiters scared.
We look at what it all means.
There is no doubt most Australian and New Zealand businesses are feeling the pinch of a market where margins are lower and quality candidates are becoming harder to find. So is the solution outsourcing recruitment offshore, or does the outsourcing of recruitment represent another level of competition in what is already a fiercely competitive sector?
Beepo, an Australian-owned outsourcing company operating out of the Philippines, added recruitment to its list of services four years ago, which also include outsourcing professional services, manufacturing, software and IT as well as retail.
“There is no endless supply of people and capital to run a business successfully, so some companies look to outsource some functions as a way of saving money and ensuring the processes are done professionally,” Beepo’s founder Aimee Englemann says.
“Recruitment is a reasonably new addition to services which can be and are being outsourced. It is a way of saving a company time, money and other resources which allows their recruitment processes to be professional and ensure the best outcomes.
“All businesses face constraints, whether it be time, money or resources. Outsourcing recruitment processes allows them to focus on the goods and services they deliver, while professional recruiters manage the recruitment process for them. When it is done properly, it becomes a win-win situation for everyone.”
Aimee said Beepo now works with a number of Australian firms who have made the decision to outsource recruitment tasks. Despite this, she insists outsourcing recruitment is not a threat to the sector.
“I don’t see outsourcing recruitment as a path to redundancies for those working in recruitment,” she says. “By combining the resources of recruitment companies with outsourcing companies, there is an opportunity to fuel businesses with the best staff for them.
“It allows organisations to let their in-house staff focus on what they do best, to be as effective as possible while providing an extended level of service allowing for a quicker turnaround in the employment process.” Englemann says she had one client who began outsourcing 20 per cent of the recruitment process before building that
up to 80 per cent within 18 months.
She describes that 80 per cent as “the grunt work” of recruitment, with the final hiring decision left to a company’s HR, recruitment or senior manager.
“That is critical to what we do,” she says. “The final decision is not up to us. We simply provide all the lead-in work by managing the process from listing job ads, profiling candidates, doing due diligence on resumes including background and social media checks and even the onboarding process.”
The biggest roadblock for companies outsourcing recruitment is pre-conceived perceptions, which Englemann insists are usually based on call centre experiences with telcos, insurance companies or banks.
“But that’s not what the whole outsourcing industry is all about,” she insists. “The quality of the staff is very different to those call centre type of experiences which simply would not be effective for recruitment
“We recognise that and have staff dedicated to working on recruitment. My challenge to businesses is don’t let perception hold you back because this could be something that will really help and be transformative for clients and candidates.”
Englemann explained that successful outsourcing of recruitment tasks came down to the level of training offshore staff receive and how engaged the local team is in communicating their needs, culture and expectations.
“It does take a long time to train some staff offshore if you want the job done properly,” she says. “If you don’t invest in the initial training and set-up, it can go pear-shaped very quickly. That’s why it’s so important to communicate with your onshore and offshore teams.
“You want the Australian team and Philippines team to be one team. You want them talking to each other; they can’t be faceless team members. Getting integration right is essential to the success.”
Englemann says advances in technology have assisted the outsourcing sector, with heavy use of cloud-based technologies in offshoring outfits.
“The combination of people and technology is very powerful and you don’t need those people to be sitting next to you to get the most out of it,” she says. “When used well, it can improve the candidate experience and efficiencies, which is of benefit to everyone involved in the process.”
Manzur-Ul Alam, Australian Director of Tardis Group, said there had been a steady and rapid increase in the demand for recruitment outsourcing services from Australian companies since the early 2