By Stephanie Sparks, Content Marketing Manager

When you’ve got open jobs to fill, and you’re struggling to manage the work in-house, third-party vendors can be a great solution. The right partner can help to relieve the pressure on your internal recruiting teams and get new hires in place quickly.

As you begin the search for recruiting vendors, two main categories emerge: recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers and staffing agencies. The two may seem similar at first glance — and both can help with your hiring needs — but the services they provide are actually quite different.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider your options.

3 Key Differences Between RPO and Staffing Agencies

#1: Scope of service

Working with a staffing agency is typically a short-term transactional relationship. When you have a specific hiring need, a staffing agency can identify and submit candidates that match your current open role(s). The agency essentially functions as a go-between, making introductions between candidates and companies without getting involved in other parts of the hiring process. Hiring engagements are usually limited and often operate with a fixed-cost model based on a percentage of the new hire’s salary.

Working with an RPO provider like NXTThing is a long-term strategic partnership. We take a hands-on approach, working closely with your company to understand your specific hiring needs and strategic goals. Then we tailor our approach to meet your objectives. We can easily scale the recruiting solution up or down based on your current hiring needs within the market, providing NXTDay launch capabilities with just a 24-hour implementation time.Our approach successfully blends innovation and technology with personal connections to support the entire hiring process, from sourcing through onboarding. Or we can help with a specific recruiting pain point in the hiring process. We can even help to evaluate your processes and build a recruitment strategy to meet your hiring goals both now and in the future.

#2: Accountability

Staffing agency recruiters typically handle a broad portfolio of clients at the same time. They can pick and choose the vacancies they want to work on, and they aren’t required to stick with a job opening until it’s filled. Agency recruiters typically work on commission, so their compensation is based on making placements — not delivering results for your business.With an RPO provider like NXTThing, you get a higher degree of commitment and engagement.

You’ll work with dedicated RPO recruiters who develop a deep understanding of your business and act as an extension of your talent team. We’re committed to delivering quality results for every client, so we set specific, measurable objectives to ensure successful outcomes — including metrics around time-to-fill, quality-of-hire, and candidate and hiring manager satisfaction.

#3: Candidate experience

When you work with a staffing agency, you have no control over how the agency communicates with a candidate or the experience they deliver. You miss out on the opportunity to leverage your employer brand and build rapport with top candidates in the early recruiting stages. And the transition from the agency to your internal team can be confusing unless it’s handled carefully.By contrast, RPO providers like NXTThing are well-versed in your company’s employer brand and messaging. We interact with candidates under your brand — not our own — to deliver a seamless, on-brand experience every time, without any confusion or disconnect. And because we partner with your company on a strategic level, we can help to optimize your employer brand positioning and ensure that every candidate receives a positive, consistent experience.

The NXTThing Difference

At NXTThing RPO, finding exceptional talent is our focus — but we know that every organization is different. We listen to your challenges and goals, then build a customized recruitment solution for your unique situation.

Our flexible RPO offering is designed to provide the right level of support, whatever your needs may be, including:

  • End-to-end recruitment: We do everything from opening a job through onboarding, including sourcing, scheduling interviews, and communicate with both the candidate and the hiring manager. We screen talent for technical skills, cultural fit, and more. And through it all, we move fast to minimize candidate attrition.
  • Project recruitment: Sometimes you need support in one location, region, or division – or assistance with a particular job function or pilot project. We step in, ramp up, and find the people you need to fill your professional level vacancies. We are always here to assist when and how you need us to.
  • Front-end recruitment support: Our team can use our recruiting acumen to find and assess talent. This source-and-screen service defines and executes a strategy to locate candidates and qualify their skills and experience. These pre-vetted prospects are then advanced to you, so you can move them through your process.
  • Recruiter augmentation: When you are looking for a dedicated recruitment resource, NXTThing has the answer. We can provide you one skilled recruiting professional or a whole team to join your company for as long as needed. This is a great way to bring on a person with specific expertise — without having to find, train, and hire them.


Contact us today to learn more about our flexible, scalable RPO solutions. We would love to discuss how NXTThing can help you drive more successful recruiting outcomes that meet the exact needs of your business.