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Jan Karel Sindorff (Cooble): ‘RPOs should keep doing what they do best’

RPOs have the ambition to move up the value chain. However, Jan Karel Sindorff, managing partner of Cooble, cautions both RPOs and their clients not to get ahead of themselves. “RPOs are better off doing what they know best, running the recruitment engine. At the same time companies should tread carefully with outsourcing their talent acquisition”, he tells ToTalent.

Djaja Ottenhof on July 08, 2021 Average reading time: 3 min
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Jan Karel Sindorff (Cooble): ‘RPOs should keep doing what they do best’

With two decades of experience in talent attraction, Sindorff knows his stuff. In the past ten years he has held leadership roles at several large Dutch corporates including ING and ASML. There he often dealt with RPOs that worked in partnership with talent acquisition. He thinks it’s only in specific situations that outsourcing or partnering with an RPO is a smart move.

“I think they add value when future demand is uncertain and you need a model that is scalable”, he says. “There is also value in them building operational excellence, when a company says ‘we’re going to make a move’.” At that point hiring an RPO can also be an easier decision to make since discussions in organisations about adding people are often more difficult than reserving a budget for a project.

“The reality is that you’re not outsourcing recruitment. What you’re outsourcing is the operations, the filling of vacancies.”

However organisations should be conscious what it is they are burdening themselves with when hiring an RPO, he adds. “As an organisation you should have very tight processes and procedures. At companies where a process description is seen as a guideline it will be very difficult for an RPO to be successful. The reality is that you’re not outsourcing recruitment. What you’re outsourcing is the operations, the filling of vacancies. That’s a part of the recruitment function The filling of vacancies is the end result of a number of other processes.”

RPOs ‘overpromise’

Solving questions that go beyond the operational, are not typically part of the service offerings of RPOs, in Sindorff’s experience. He recalls difficult discussions he had with the different RPO suppliers he has worked with. “Of course we argued about numbers, the qualitative side of the contract, but also about my, and ultimately also their frustration that they were unable to deal with certain issues we had. One of my learnings about RPO is that in some cases they will overpromise on what they are able to deliver.”

“It doesn’t fit the model to put in place senior people that are really capable to deal with the more tactical and strategic recruitment elements or step into non-operational business issues.”

This is in his view a result of the nature of the RPO model. “You see that the operational people have subject expertise, these are not know nothings. But it doesn’t fit the model to put in place senior people that are really capable to deal with the more tactical and strategic recruitment elements or step into non-operational business issues. That’s way too expensive.”

‘Keep doing what you do best’

This is why Sindorff thinks RPOs would be wise to think very carefully about their role and business proposition. “I understand they want to move up a level. Ultimately that creates a bigger dependency on the side of the customer. But they are very good and more than capable in running the recruitment engine and supplying quality recruiters with a focus on the process and the administrative part of recruitment. I would say keep doing what you do best and tell your clients to hire one or two strategic recruitment experts as recruitment account managers or recruitment business partners. This will create a win-win for client and supplier and will lead to hyper focus and more success and mutual understanding.”

Bio: Jan Karel Sindorff

Sindorff is recruitment. His background shows years of recruitment experience at cutting edge organisations like Mars, Vanderlande, VodafoneZiggo, ASML and ING. His main focus is on building and developing a future proof recruitment solution and team.

Sindorff also owns and runs a boutique coaching practice and is managing partner at Cooble, a Netherlands-based full-service sourcing and recruitment agency. With a clear vision of his profession he sets out to build a leading and game changing recruitment department that adds real and visible value to the business. To him, recruitment is a profession for the future and a key activity for organisations that want to become and stay successful over a longer period of time.

As a recruitment professional, Sindorff will always work towards a solution that is able to address all sorts of staffing related questions that need to be handled. A recruitment function that delivers on current demand and, at the same time, is working on the future organisational need, always trying to find the right talent.

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This interview is part of a series of interviews our reporter Djaja Ottenhof has recently conducted about the value of the RPO market in Europe in 2021. Sign up for the ToTalent Newsletter to receive the full white paper The Value of RPO in Europe 2021: How RPO expands in an emerging market upon release.

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Djaja Ottenhof

Djaja Ottenhof

Writer at ToTalent.eu
Financial journalist with a STEM-background
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