So you wanna be an…RPO Recruiter

Looking for a TA career change but not too sure how to get there? Our ‘So you wanna be a…series of articles takes a look at some of the more niche TA roles and digs deep into the who, how, and why behind them. We chat with some of your favourite TA leaders in that space to find out how they got started, what their role really looks like, and what tips and tricks they have for other TA superstars looking to get a foot in the door.

Sadie Knapp
Sadie Knapp

In this issue, we sat down with Sadie Knapp, Talent Acquisition Partner @ Verizon Media – Powered by Talent to find out what really goes on in the life of an RPO Recruiter.

Let’s start with the basics. What is an RPO Recruiter?

We all love an acronym (I work in media, so I’ve learnt the hard way), so firstly RPO stands for Recruitment Process Outsourcing. An RPO is when a business transfers all or part of its permanent recruitment to an external provider. An RPO provider can act as an extension of a company’s HR or recruitment function, sitting on site with the client providing a holistic hiring solution.

I work within Talent’s onsite team (Talent Solutions) who specialise in RPO for digital, media and technology businesses across APAC & EMEA.

My current role as an RPO recruiter is working on site for global digital media and Adtech organisation, Verizon Media. I manage their full end-to-end ANZ recruitment life cycle, as well as working on employer brand uplift projects and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

RPO’s are a great framework for a variety of different business models such as, scaling businesses who may need on/off recruitment solutions, businesses that may be starting to build a function from scratch, or those remodelling an existing recruitment function and need external consultancy to help shape this. Each solution is created bespoke for the client because no recruitment model is a one size fits all.

You sit in the offices at Verizon and act as an in-house member of their Talent Team. What type of relationship do you have on a day-to-day basis with Talent International as the RPO?

I am incredibly lucky to be a part of two amazing businesses.  Although being fully embedded onsite with Verizon Media, I have the flexibility to lean into Talent whenever I need. We have regular team meetings to share talent market and account insights (usually over a virtual glass of wine).

Importantly in today’s market, I can tap into wider candidate networks through Talent. Whether from my immediate team members working on other RPO’s, Talent recruitment agency and their database, or our dedicated offshore sourcing team that has an “always on” sourcing capability. These are channels unavailable to traditional inhouse recruiters.

Additionally, Talent supports Verizon Media in managing all their ANZ contractors. I act as the onsite support to contractors for payroll queries so regularly speak to the Talent finance team to ensure we get all the lovely contractors paid on time. I also have support from the Talent HR team, which I can leverage for a variety of different updates on employment law and regulations such as award rates and strategies for onboarding & engagement.

I also couldn’t forget the exceptional marketing team at Talent whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with on employer brand projects for Verizon Media. Defining and developing an employer brand to cut through so many businesses yearning for the same talent is key right now. Working alongside the Head of Marketing at Talent, we developed an ‘Employee and Personal Brand LinkedIn Workshop’ for all senior stakeholders at VM. The LinkedIn activity and passion across the business has doubled since. Verizon Media’s people have daily success updates, it’s so great to see them speak about this more to their network and off the back of this drive higher candidate referral and application rates. Win win!

Does it feel like you have two sets of bosses to report to? Are their priorities different?

I see my boss as one singular and that being my boss at Talent, however I see the TA Lead and all Senior Stakeholders at Verizon Media as my clients. My job is to provide Verizon Media a spot-on recruitment service, but also to embody their employee and cultural values as a business and ensure I showcase that whilst engaging talent externally.

My boss and I have a great working relationship. We are consistently working on how to best develop my learning and career growth, as well as offering me support whenever needed.

Have you found that as a service provider there are certain things you do that you haven’t seen in-house functions do?

Yes, most definitely, as a service provider our priority is to ensure we find and adapt a solution that works through a transparent partnership with Verizon Media. We have a unique external viewpoint looking in on the company and can provide more market insights, hiring data and business critical feedback that result in change. This isn’t always possible to see (or speak out about) when solely inhouse.

Rolling out a nimble recruitment tech stack selection quickly and seamlessly for clients through Talent’s pre-existing tech partnerships is also a huge advantage. In house functions often struggle to understand and commit to the best tech for their hiring needs but with an external provider, you can access but also trial and test a multitude.

Also, the backing of Talent recruitment agency for free again this includes further access to great candidates, HR and marketing support, hosting industry events…the list goes on.

What type of interactions do you have with the broader business? Is it harder to maintain meaningful interactions as an external service provider?

In the two years onsite at Verizon Media I’ve had the pleasure to work with pretty much all the senior stakeholders in the ANZ business, which has allowed me to develop a deep understanding of their working styles and their individual recruitment and people needs. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with their local marketing & IT teams, right through to global Verizon Media divisions across APAC and EMEA. While operating onsite I feel as though I am a Verizon employee and am treated as such. This has included attending their yearly strategy conferences, Christmas and leaving do’s as well as winning the Verizon Media monthly employee awards!

The most meaningful interaction for me personally though has been finding top talent for the company, seeing them join, and flourish into quite simply the best in the market. Verizon Media’s consistent success is down to its people, and I take pride in knowing in my helping to acquire some of those people, I have also helped a great business become even greater.

Why would be it compelling for someone applying for a role to work onsite via an RPO rather than applying to self-managed teams? Are there benefits to working via an RPO?

For me working for Talent, I’ve not just learnt about Verizon Media but several other businesses and their recruitment models through my counterparts in the Talent Solutions team, including the positives and what steps to take to help those that need development. The insight this has given me into how agile and adaptive a recruitment solution can be, has advanced my personal development tenfold compared to if I had worked straight onsite for a singular business.

We also have so many new and exciting accounts coming onboard which gives huge career development opportunities under just one business. So many TAs hop from one company to the other but I’m excited to see how my career journey develops with Talent.

Sadie’s Cheat Sheet for Aspiring RPO Recruiters

What are some of the actionable things you can do if you want to be an RPO Recruiter? Here’s some suggestions from Sadie of who to follow, what to use, and where to seek out your info.

Industry experts and influencers to follow

I get a lot of support from Talent in sharing recruitment thought leadership and driving those discussions, but Hung Lee, Recruiting Brain Food is an absolute must subscribe.

Absolute must-use productivity and tech tools to make your life so much easier

I’m a big Jobadder fan, but also Lusha to obtain candidate contact details and Calendly for quick appointment scheduling. I also swear by Canva for employer brand imagery, and not forgetting the Talent agency recruitment database!

Newsletter and event recommendations to keep the brain ticking over and your network fresh?

Understanding the market I recruit in is important. Media and AdTech is constantly evolving so I sign up to all the key industry publications and their email subscription services such as B&T, Mumbrella and Adnews.

Additionally, Talent have produced some fascinating reports on current recruitment topics, an absolute must read is the Global Digital & Technology Hiring Snapshot. There are some great stats which I’ve utilised with hiring managers at Verizon Media to take them on the full recruitment journey and develop their market understanding too.

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