ARGO RPO Yourself

This past weekend Barbara, my wife, and I went to see the Ben Affleck movie, Argo. Based on true events, Argo chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis-the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, a CIA “exfiltration” specialist named Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) comes up with a risky plan to get them safely out of the country. Argo

The movie is about deception, bluffing, lying and trickery in order to save the lives of the six Americans. The CIA sets up a phony cover story for the six embassy staff around the making of a science fiction movie, Argo.  For the ruse to be successful, the six Americans need to pose as Canadian film makers scouting Middle East movie locations as their exit strategy from Iran.

So what does Argo the movie have to do with RPO? Well, as RPO has gained popularity, some opportunistic RPO providers have taken a page from the CIA’s play book when it comes to using smoke and mirrors. Their near term goal seems to be: “fake it until they make it.”

Here are the top 5 ways that some less honorable Recruitment Process Outsourcing firms are deceiving the buying community:

  1. They are advertising “dedicated resources” for their clients, but many critical services, like sourcing and screening, are really being transacted by a pooled groups of workers who may or may not have much specific industry or client knowledge.
  2. While clients are paying for recruitment marketing and should have ownership of all candidates, the reality is that some RPO service providers are co-mingling client databases (and creating compliance issues).
  3. In the RPO world, we tell our clients that we are promoting their employment brand exclusively; however, more often than not, I’ve observe that RPO firms are either advertising under their name or co-branding with their clients. The only way to be true to the essence of RPO is to use the client’s employment brand. Anything that deviates from this formula dilutes the success of RPO.
  4. At Pinstripe we work diligently to fully integrate in to our client’s world. However, not all RPO firm make this effort and, if fact, I have been told twice in the past few months about service providers flatly refusing to take this strategic approach. I’ve even heard recent stories about RPO firms that decline to use their client’s applicant tracking system even though it creates data integrity and compliance problems.
  5. Pipelining, social recruiting and building talent communities is a very hot topic right now and every RPO company  is saying “we do that!” but the reality is that few RPO service providers really are intergating long-term talent attraction strategies into their programs. One can speculate why, but I believe it has to do with the cost per hire pricing model (and I plan to write more about this in a future blog post).

In conclusion, there are many good RPO services providers (beyond just my employer, Pinstripe,) who are true to their RPO word and deliver on their talent acquisition promises with no deception whatsoever. Unfortunately, not all firms fall into this category and all I can do is hope that these “Argo” RPO companies have the same success as the actual rescue operation but I doubt it.

Post contributed by Barry Diamond. Follow me on Twitter @bddiamond


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