What worked in favour of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is the quick transition to flexible means of delivering work last year. Obviously, technology played an important role here. The approach of these RPOs, driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) has already made recruitment a smooth process. COVID-19 did lead to contraction in the market, but the sector is expected to bounce back quickly as business has become usual in many countries. As per the Everest Group and Grand View Research, the growth projections are 16 and 18.5 per cent.
Despite a host of benefits, there are a few minor concerns that still need to be addressed. Technology lacks human emotions or empathy. It is, after all, an algorithm. Often, increased use of the same can make the whole recruitment process seem mechanical. While technology has helped RPOs get better results, there are minor rough edges that could be worked upon.
Lakshmanan MT, chief human resources officer, L&T Technology Services
Lakshmanan MT, chief human resources officer, L&T Technology Services, is quite upbeat about the prospects of RPO. He is also amazed at the way technology has aided the scanning of huge volumes of resumes in a week. “I think there are many RPO systems using high-end technologies, including AI and ML-based resume searches. They also have video-interview platforms, where these can be recorded for future use. It is now moving beyond resume parsing and AI ML-based parsing to actually pick the required set of resumes with the skills and competencies required. Ten years ago, if one had to process a million CVs, it took several months to do it. Now, it is being done in a matter of weeks. The time taken to scan resumes has reduced significantly. Through hackathons, skill levels are getting sorted.”
But Lakshmanan does admit that the challenge is actually about the human interface. “The use of external assessors to assess candidates may not give one quality according to one’s liking. However, with these hackathons and ranking of candidates, those rough edges are smoothening out. I never imagined a million applications could be processed to make 80 selects in a week.”
Anil Mohanty, head – people & culture, Medikabazaar
There needs to be an alignment of goals with the partner company for an RPO to benefit from employing high-end tools. The possibility of a culturally fit candidate getting overlooked is also quite large. So, it is imperative to define understanding between the organisation and RPO partners regarding the demands of a role. Anil Mohanty, head of people and culture, Medikabazaar, feels technology has all the capabilities in the recruitment process starting from sourcing to onboarding. However, there is a lack of adaptability. “If the requirements are well defined and people adopt positively, then there is no challenge. However, every system takes four to six months to stabilise, and hence, may delay the process.”
Mohanty also asserts that with AI-based tools, hiring teams can source, screen and schedule interviews. Augmented intelligence will allow the recruiters to be more proactive in their hiring, help determine the candidates’ culture fit and improve the quality of hire through standardised job matching. “These tools were there earlier as well. However, during and post COVID, dependency on technology has increased, and hence, adoption has become easy,” he explains.
Of course, RPO has been a big help for organisations, and since they keep updating themselves with newer technologies, the process is getting smoother. A little tweak here and there will definitely make this experience a lot better than what it is now.