RPO vs Project Recruitment: What's Right For You

By Sophie Richards on 20 January 2021

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  • Defence industry growth requires agile recruitment methods to keep pace

  • Project Recruitment and RPO provide differing, tailored solutions

  • Post COVID-19 and next generation job market require innovative strategies

Australian defence industry companies are being ushered into an unparalleled period of growth, on the back of more than $200 billion in Federal Government military spending.

Defence industry organisations must ensure they adopt a fit-for-purpose recruitment strategy to ensure they can secure the skilled workers required to capitalise on project opportunities.

Two such recruitment strategies include Project Recruitment and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO).

Project Recruitment is appropriate when a requirement exists to recruit a defined number of workers within a defined time. This may include situations where a surge of effort is required and companies don’t have the capacity to meet immediate and urgent recruitment needs.

An RPO arrangement allows companies to fully outsource their recruitment capability when they are ramping up long term services and operations and have a long term ongoing need.

Kinexus Director, Raj Kutty says it’s important to be able to offer differing approaches to solve recruitment issues across the industry.

“Project Recruitment and RPO are two methods offered by Kinexus; both with different aims and outcomes for companies in specialised recruiting environments. Due to the industry’s expected growth, now could be the time to consider moving to a new recruitment arrangement,” Mr Kutty says.

Project Recruitment vs RPO

Both strategies, whilst used in differing situations, are about moving away from just-in-time hiring and a more strategic approach to attracting and keeping the best people.

Mr Kutty says Project Recruitment is best used in an on-demand, task-focused scenario.

“Project Recruitment is not an exclusive arrangement, but is sometimes the right match if companies are running a once-off project and need 30 people in a short period of time, for example,” Mr Kutty says.

“Examples include when a defence award is granted or an engineering change proposal is received; these scenarios usually come with steep ramp-up times when multiple people are required on either a permanent or contract basis.

“Kinexus can do that rapidly, and ensure the company is set, off and running.”

Prior examples include establishing an overseas company with no prior presence in Australia. Under the Project Recruitment model we also provided the first 80 hires for SEA 1000 and helped a UK parent company put together a local team to win and execute a 10 year sustainment project.

Kinexus was also engaged by a defence industry organisation after an unsuccessful recruitment campaign on a specific project, and were able to dramatically improve outcomes by analysing their organisation, their strategy and the market place.

Analysis led to the identification of an area for improvement in the recruitment process, namely the need to train hiring managers in how to effectively communicate their company’s employee value proposition (EVP). The project that had previously experienced very low applications and low interview to offer conversions was transformed once hiring managers were upskilled on how to tell their story.

“It helped them pivot to a more innovative and aligned recruitment strategy that immediately yielded success. Interview training helped increase the number of applicants hired by up to 20 percent and improved the candidate experience,” reflected Mr Kutty.

“Project Recruitment is designed for a surge in hiring, while RPOs are designed for companies that are ramping up for the long term and need a strategic and holistic approach to bring it all together.”

Mr Kutty says RPOs enable companies to gain access to specialist knowledge, which can be tailored to specific business needs over the longer term.

“RPOs are exclusive arrangements that give organisations access to expert analysis and advice, upon which to leverage business decisions - such as analytics, data, demographic information and broader industry research,” he says.“It all feeds into workplace planning when bidding for new projects, to ensure companies can deliver on their promises.”

“In addition to helping our clients win more work from the Commonwealth, our data driven approach can also support diversity. Our not-for-profit female mentoring program TFTC is heavily promoted within the client cohort where we have these strategic relationships. In fact, we have implemented a number of projects with our RPO clients that have focused on strategies to deliver a more diverse applicant stream.

Agile solutions for post-COVID workplaces

As Australia’s only dedicated defence industry recruiter, Kinexus has direct access to a community of over 30,000 security-cleared potential candidates, and every recruitment consultant is an expert in a specific defence domain.

Mr Kutty says this allows Kinexus to offer in-depth insights, rapid mobilisation and tailored solutions, especially in the post-COVID world. “A lot has changed post-pandemic and the workforce and hiring landscape is not going to return to the way things were,” he says.

Post-COVID is all about agility and flexibility. Workers are now required to work independently, be onboarded online and collaborate across multiple platforms. Kinexus have been able to implement these changes, almost real time, with our strategic partners which has led to access to better talent that is more suited to the new norm.

“Companies need a more holistic approach to hiring and managing their workforces as people's workplace expectations have shifted significantly.The post-COVID world, combined with new generations coming into the workforce, will require more creative recruitment strategies. Hackathons and task based tests are going to become a big part of how companies engage that candidate workforce.”

Mr Kutty points to previous client examples to illustrate the benefits of flexible recruiting approaches, driven by deep industry and data insights.

“A company came to us and said they wanted to hire 40 engineers for a project,” he says.“Originally the recruitment campaign was positioned for Adelaide, but through our extensive data and market mapping we identified that they would not be able to secure the required workforce there. Instead, the hiring operation was shifted to Melbourne, and they were able to secure the required workforce in Victoria, to successfully carry out the work remotely.”

“The project would have run into serious issues without that insight and the resulting pivot. Again, our strategic relationship was able to influence a successful outcome.

“If companies have a strategic recruitment partner that can quickly evolve processes to meet fast changing trends, then they can rapidly pivot to meet challenges and opportunities in the growth period ahead.

“Where we have developed strong relationships with our clients and implemented the above we have lowered the fee per placement and reduced the risk around recruitment.”

To learn more about the services that Kinexus offers and to explore whether your business could benefit from Project Recruitment or RPO, get in touch today.


 Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

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