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INTERIM STAFFING, CONTRACT STAFFING, OR RPO – WHICH IS BEST FOR ME?

April 25, 2018

By Beth Simpson


The differences between Interim Staffing, Contract Staffing, and RPO can be confusing to most people who don’t spend their days in the staffing world. In what ways are they different, and which do you need for your specific situation? All these options have advantages – they can save your company time and expense, and they can help qualify the top talent that is specific to your need. To choose the best staffing option for you by considering these differences.

Interim Staffing

An interim professional is one who has significant experience in the temporary position you need to fill, but who is not open to a permanent position. They are typically highly experienced professionals who have specific niche expertise and have often previously worked in a similar position on a staff or long-term basis.

For example, if you’re looking for an interim CEO (or chief marketing officer or CFO) who has experience in pharmaceuticals, your interim staffing professional can focus her search on that exact person. Interim professionals typically fill spots that are open for a specific time (for example, six months) due to resignation or medical or maternity leave, buying time for a permanent hire or a leader’s return.

Interim experts are also excellent at leading a temporary project. Experienced staffing teams like Parker Blake have an established network of interim professionals who specialize in a variety of industries and positions.

Contract Staffing

Contract workers can take two forms: they can be specialists who choose to work on a limited-time basis for a succession of employers/clients, or they can fit into the “temp-to-perm” category. Contract staffing is popular among programmers and other IT professionals, and contract workers are the backbone of the “gig economy” that you’ve probably heard about.

They land for a limited time or scope, often the duration of a specified project, and then move on to another contract position. Those who enjoy variety in their work or who want to continue gaining varied experience in a specific role often choose contract work. It’s also a great option for students or for those looking to return to work after an absence. In a situation that is clearly labeled “temp-to-perm” or “temp-to-hire,” the contracted time also serves as a trial period in which the employer can determine if he wants to offer a permanent job to the contract worker.

Like interim work, the contracted time is limited, but contractors are generally in non-managerial, task-specific roles. You might hire a graphic designer for a contract position, but you would not likely hire a chief marketing officer on a contract. A well-rounded staffing professional will have relationships or a network that makes finding vetted contract staffers easier.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

If you need to offload a large part of the recruiting process on a short-term or longer basis, Recruitment Process Outsourcing is for you. Think of it as having a fully-responsible partner who handles a complete section of your recruiting, or almost a duplicate of your best in-house recruiter. With RPO, a company can transfer all or part of the recruitment process to a trusted outside provider.

This might begin with sourcing and go as far as on-boarding of new hires, or any configuration in between. It can also involve methods and reporting. Your RPO provider might work onsite full-time or part-time or be located remotely.

Hiring a staffing firm like Parker Blake using RPO is a big commitment, but it also shifts a great deal of the staffing load onto the shoulders of a partner that excels in the complete recruiting process. If a company is ramping up for a corporate expansion, for example, an RPO partner can be a necessity, not an option.


Parker Blake provides a full slate of interim staffing, contract staffing, RPO services and more. To talk about your individual staffing needs, click here.

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