Jimmy Roa – Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Ep 193 Jimmy Roa

Host Derek welcomes Jimmy Roa, the Chief Executive Officer of Sysgen RPO. Sysgen RPO is a leading offshore Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provider based in the Philippines. Our goal is to provide you with unparalleled recruiting support utilizing skilled and accomplished recruiting professionals.


  • Sysgen started in 1991 as an IT or software development company. They ventured into IT staffing for the domestic market in the Philippines during the Y2K era, when companies including Accenture, where building their Y2K projects.
  • Seeing the potential in recruitment outsourcing, Sysgen, with the leadership of Jimmy, ventured into a full RPO, servicing US based staffing companies. Sysgen recruits US based candidates to fill up job vacancies in US companies. The target market are big staffing companies who are human resources providers for end clients like Accenture, AT&T or Verizon, and other US companies who are outsourcing their staffing requirements.
  • Jimmy says they are helping US staffing companies with their enormous recruitment workload. Most of all, this translates to cost efficiencies for the US staffing companies. The Filipino recruiters and talent searchers have unlimited access to US database, cloud applications and other Internet capabilities to help them find the best fit for the requirement of the US staffing company, or their US client.
  • Jimmy’s Filipino RPO staffs or recruiters are trained to US standards and can communicate effectively with the American accent such that even if they are sitting in the Philippines, they truly represent their US clients. They support their client in the formulation of the Job description and in vetting candidates.
  • Outsourcing services are not only limited to staffing and recruitment. Sysgen also offers IT services to companies in the US, UK or Australia through their offshore staffing division, maximizing revenue for their IT staffing business.

Key Points:

  • Recruitment Processing Outsourcing, RPO, is one field of the outsourcing industry that focus on providing services for offshore staffing companies.
  • Strong English communication skills is highly important for RPOs as recruiters represent offshore staffing companies, do outbound calls, interviews, and prequalify potential candidates.
  • RPO services require specialized skills, training and supervision to deliver offshore recruitment standards.





[read more=”Read Full Transcript” less=”Hide Transcript”]

Hi, and welcome to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator Podcast. This is Episode No. 193 and my name as always is Derek Gallimore.

So today, I am talking to Jimmy Roa of Sysgen RPO. So, I’m very familiar with most things BPO, which of course is outsourcing, and I stand back and really learned a huge amount today about what RPO is and what it does? So RPO is recruitment process outsourcing effectively it’s a specialized vertical[?] of recruitment services within outsourcing. So, Jimmy has been working in recruitment and IT and outsourcing to some extent for the last 30 years. So, he has a wealth of knowledge and information in IT and outsourcing and then more recently in 2013 he entered into the RPO space.  Now if you think of how is this relevant or why is this relevant, I personally learned a huge amount and I came up with maybe half a dozen really fantastic ideas of how I could utilize this RPO service for my business or even white label it and take it to the market.

So RPO is basically, as I mentioned, the outsourcing of the recruitment process and Jimmy here is effectively a US recruiter but sitting in the Philippines. So, again it’s another incredible example of how singular a market place this world is becoming when really there is no disadvantage or any sort of delineation between the recruiters sitting in the US and recruiters sitting here in the Philippines. They’re doing exactly the same job.  And Jimmy even talks about bots that are automation or AI that are actually improving the process of recruitment and every other kind of mass scalable process. So, it’s maybe obvious that I have learned a huge amount in this discussion and I’m sure you will too.

So, this is Jimmy Roa of Sysgen RPO. If you want to get in touch with Jimmy or know any more about anything else we’ve mentioned then go to outsourceaccelerator.com/193. Enjoy!

Hi, and welcome back everybody. Today I’m joined by Jimmy Roa, the CEO of Sysgen RPO.

Hi Jimmy, how are you?

Jimmy: Hey, Derek, hi. Yes, it’s good to be here. Thanks for this opportunity to have a podcast with you.

Derek: Absolutely. Thank you for your time. You’re a busy man. And so, just very briefly, allow me to introduce yourself but it’s really interesting to say because you are the CEO of Sysgen RPO. And now we have a lot of conversation with BPOs, we have a few conversations with KPOs and this is an RPO, which literally stands for recruitment process outsourcing. So, you are the first Jimmy, and I believe you want to deep dive into what that is, but first we want to learn a bit about you and your own journey in the Philippines with outsourcing. So, thank you so much for being with us. I supposed initially are you able to just introduce yourself?


Jimmy: Sure, sure. So, my name is Jimmy Roa. And I’m the CEO of Sysgen RPO. I’ve been I the recruitment business for the past 27 years. We’ve been providing staffing and recruitment services here in the Philippines. Our focus has always been in IT. Now in 2013 we decided to enter the outsourcing field. We decided to focus on the RPO field, which is basically a Recruitment Process Outsourcing. So, since 2013 we’ve been providing support to staffing companies specifically in the US. What we do is that we provide them with sourcers and recruiters here in the Philippines and the service we provide is really looking for candidates to fill up the jobs that they have there in the US. Now, most of the time it’s misunderstood by some people. They think that we’re sending Filipinos to the US, but that’s definitely not the case. What we’re doing is that we’re providing candidates who live in the US and who are looking for jobs in the US. So that’s a form of outsourcing but specifically for recruitment. We were created basically to provide support to staffing companies.

Derek: Fantastic.

Jimmy: That’s basically it.

Derek: And it’s difficult for some people to get their hands around isn’t it? Even I, when I’m standing in the Philippines, or certainly when I’m standing in London and I had a London company with my back office in the Philippines. It was effectively a hotel company, but we had 70% of the staffing here in the Philippines and people just couldn’t get around, their heads around the fact that you’re a hotel but you’ve got 70% to a staff in the Philippines and then like a booking service.

It can be quite complicated sometimes, isn’t it? So, I really want to deep dive with you. But first of all, what is your origin story? So, you said that you were in IT recruitment previously. Now when you said that, was that sort of recruiting for domestic IT needs within the Philippines or has it always been a foundation within the kind of IT needs of the outsourcing industry?

Jimmy: When we started in 1991, when we incorporated Sysgen, which is really the original company, we originally started doing software development. But after a few years this was specifically when the Y2K era came along. So, for clients we’re really asking whether we could provide them with IT teams, IT staff, and since at that time we knew how to wear and how to get good people, you know, we thought it’d be a good idea to enter that service.

Derek: And that was a domestic market. Yes?

Jimmy: That was a domestic market. That’s correct. So, at that time though, that was about 1996. We started servicing companies like Accenture and you know, some of the other large companies. So that shifted our focus into recruitment and staffing. But the focus was always in IT.

Derek: Right. Okay. So, it’s effectively just finding the staffing and with Accenture. I mean, to get people perspective out there. These companies are just ginormous and they’re actually recruiting all that is out there because they can sometimes take on client accounts that need 3000 people hired and trained within the next month or two kind of thing. And we spoke to a previous guest who ran Teletech and they expanded in about five years from 60 people up to 24,000 people. So, the scale of recruitment for a lot of these people that you mentioned, like Accenture, it really is an absolute science, isn’t it? So, were you looking for IT for Accenture themselves, were they on back end or was it staffing solutions for their own clients?

Jimmy: This was in 1996, so this was like more than 20 years ago. We were basically creating teams to work on their Y2K projects. That was the start. And then from then on, we started doing recruitment for other skills and other roles but very specific to IT. So, skills like testers or developers or project managers or business analysts and BI analysts. Since then we’ve been working in all sorts of IT positions. Right? And we’ve been providing that service to clients here domestically. Like I said, in 2013, we evolved into an offshore RPO company, so we focused on that now and the skills that we have as recruiters is something that we can also apply to our clients in the offshore RPO field.

Derek: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, yes, let’s talk about the RPO then, just to take it back to basics. What is an RPO and you were highlighting before that you are sourcing Philippine base for a foreign company requirement, is that right?

Jimmy: No, no. I’m sorry, I might have confused you. We worked with staffing companies in the US. Staffing companies in the US have their jobs and they need to fill up those jobs in the US.

Derek: All right.

Jimmy: From the Phillipines, we try to source and recruit candidates who are also located in the US.

Derek: Right. Okay.

Jimmy: So, we’ve got access to different databases in the US. We’ve got access to the job boards. We go through the Linkedin, Indeed, trying to find people who are a good fit for the jobs that those staffing companies need to fill up in the US.

Derek: Right? Okay. So thankfully you’re almost a US recruitment firm, but your sitting in the Philippines. And you are working alongside what sort of clients, are they the big recruiters like the Accenture’s based in the US?

Jimmy: These would be staffing companies that are based in the US, right? Our clientele or our target market, are staffing companies in the US who have their own end clients like Accenture maybe or AT&T or Verizon. All right? So, what we do is that we support the staffing company who in turn have those companies as their clients.

Derek: Right? Okay. And the reason why they do that and have partnerships such as yourself and not do it themselves, I assume is that they just need such vast volumes of hires. Is that one of the main reasons?

Jimmy: That’s one. When there’s a big load of jobs that need to be worked on, then the option of outsourcing is always there. Right. Plus, there’s also cost efficiencies involved if they look to the Philippines and hire an outsourcing company here or engage on an outsourcing company to help them find the candidates that they need. To help them find the candidates for their pipelines.

Derek: Absolutely. And so, do candidates realized that they are engaging with a Philippine based company, or in their eyes, is it sort of, are you kind of white labeled and represent whoever you are representing or are you a stand alone?

Jimmy: We represent the staffing companies that we work for. So, when we called candidates, we represent ourselves as being part of the staffing company in the US because we don’t want to confuse them by adding up a second layer and introducing ourselves as being such as an RPO. So instead, we introduce ourselves as being staffing ABCD. Okay? And that we’re working on a job opportunity in New York, for instance, and that we found you and we sourced you, and it seems that based on your resume, you would be a good fit for this job. And then we continue to interview them, prequalify them, fit them, and if we find that they are indeed a good match to the jobs, then we submit them or endorse them to the staffing company.

Derek: Right. Okay. And just going back a little bit again, the evolution of the outsourcing industry. You worked alongside these outsources since back in 1991 doing different functions, but how have you seen the recruitment requirements that the sector evolve predominantly before with literally tens or hundreds of thousands of people. The vast majority of roles where call center a lot of voice, soft sales or customer support and now it’s moving into every outlet a lot more into IT. Also, every other kind of operational function, anything to do with business basically. How do you see the sort of recruitment change in response to that?

Jimmy: AI has come into the picture which basically helps recruiters to prequalify specific candidates. Correct? But in general, human recruiters are still required to actually vet these candidates that are out there specifically or especially when you’re dealing with IT people.

Derek: Right? Right.

Jimmy: Correct? Yeah, it’s easier to use AI or it’s more applicable to use AI for call center agents, but if you go through a different sector for instance like IT, then the human factor is still a big part of the process. It’s still required in other words.

Derek: What is, I mean, I’m actually quite surprised by that and I assume again, if you’re hiring kind of tens of thousands of people, you need to streamline processes, but how does AI have an influence in the recruiting of call center staff? What sort of processes does it take care of?

Jimmy: Sure, sure. Like, you have bought for instance, we send out messages to potential hires, let’s say in Facebook and asked them a set of questions, which really are pre-qualifying questions. So once the bot recognizes one candidate as being qualified based on the initial questions, then it goes through the next stage.

Derek: How do you do that? You just have a bot reaching out to literally kind of any sort of predefined demographic in the US and asking questions and obviously if they respond then that’s a qualification in itself?

Jimmy: Yes, yes.

Derek: Oh, no.

Jimmy: It’s basically setting up profile and the bot will go through, let’s say Facebook and find different people who fit the profile and they send out questions by the bot.

Derek: Wow! That’s incredible. What sort of response rate do you get with that? Is it like 100,000 or one in a hundred or what’s the rate?

Jimmy: I can’t say that I have the right numbers because to be perfectly honest, we don’t really focus a lot on call centers we focus a lot in IT and maybe healthcare in the US, but I have a colleague who I know has used AI for this matter.

Derek: Right. Fascinating. And how do you see this expanding? I mean, I see it the world is already becoming one marketplace now, isn’t it? And it would have been beyond kind of comprehension 30 years ago that you would be kind of a US based recruiter in every way except the fact that you are kind of sitting here. Do you see that more and more normalizing across the industry and, I suppose, would you move into general recruitment, end to end recruitment? Would you expand into other markets?

Jimmy: Well, you know that option is always there. And technology allows us to do that because of all the cloud applications because of everything that’s in the Internet. You know, the different job boards that are available to you. Voiceover IP technology. You being able to call people in the US for instance. It doesn’t even appear that there’s a Pacific Ocean that separates the Philippines to the US. Right? So, you’ve got US numbers, but those numbers are actually here in the Philippines. And when you call, let’s say a candidate in the US, what appears in their phone ID would be a US number.

Derek: Right? A lot of the Filipinos have American accents as well. And there’s actually no real advantage to be sitting in the US, I supposed, unless you are headhunting a million dollar CEO where it is probably an advantage in having coffee together. There’s really no advantage and actually being in the home country.

Jimmy: That’s true. But even for C level people, we can help them find those people from the Philippines, but actual face to face meetings can be done in the US.

Derek: Right.

Jimmy: Right? In other words, we can source for C level people in the Philippines, come up with a short list of potential candidates, submit that long list to the recruiter in the States and you know, the recruiter now has a list of people that he can target and call and maybe have coffee with.

Derek: Yeah. That’s incredible. So, you do all the warming up and wow, that’s incredible, isn’t it? Wow! And you do this for every role?

Jimmy: Yes. I’d say about 50% of the positions or roles that we work on would be in IT. We’ve got roles that are in engineering and healthcare, and logistics, light industries, light commercial jobs. So, it’s now across the board, different sectors.

Derek: And what’s a good client versus a bad client view here? If an SME comes to you, wanting one person, is that a job for you or you went to kind of hiring?

Jimmy: Yes, yes. The biggest client that we have, we have about 20 people or 20 recruiters assigned to do that client.  And the smallest we have would be something like two recruiters in one account. So, we don’t mind, you know, starting small or big,. You know small fish becomes ultimately big fish and we’re not very, in other words, we don’t discriminate against boutique or small firms.

Derek: And do you only hire within the US? Are you in the position to hire in the Philippines for US firms? Do you do that at all?

Jimmy: We have what we call an offshore staffing division. So, we also have clients in the US for instance, who would need support in terms of network engineering, helpdesk support or even data analysts. So, we have another division here that provides offshore staffing, right? It’s basically let’s say they need a remote network administrator. So, we recruit for that person. We hire that person. We put them in our office, but they’re reporting directly to the client in the US.

Derek: And you actually house them in your office, is that right?

Jimmy: Yes, yes.

Derek: Right. And then do you, I mean not wanting to get too technical. They’re on your books then effectively and then their contracting to the client or are there a number of solutions for that?

Jimmy: Yes, we hire the technical people. We pay their salaries, but they’re actually assigned to a client in the US for example and is dedicated to the work that needs to be done for the US client.

Derek: It’s fascinating, isn’t it? It’s absolutely, end to end journey or so. And then, you know, our audience is predominantly sort of SME. It’s business owners. It’s people that are either outsourcing at the moment or seriously considering it. The options for them are that you can potentially source people now, sort of.

Jimmy: Like I said, since we’ve been in the IT staffing business for 27 years, we have a good network and database of IT professionals here in the Philippines. So, if there’s a company, for instance in the US, UK or Australia who is in need of remote IT people, then we can provide them those IT people via our offshore staffing division.

Derek: Recruitment is an art. It’s a very human function because you’re dealing with a lot of sort of uncontrollable kind of dependencies. But I supposed you had done it in the last 30 years in bulk. Have you got this down to a fine art or a very standardized process or do you see every client, every client’s needs, every candidate as a little bit different?

Jimmy: The process is basically universal, right? Recruitment here is very similar to recruitment, let’s say in the US or Australia. But there are metrics that need to be followed and we’re very data driven in terms of focusing on those metrics and making sure that metrics and SLAs are met. Like for instance, if you want to have one higher, you probably need to provide the client with at least three candidates, right? Now, depending on the position, we probably need to go over about ten candidates to come up with those three interviews or those three candidates, right? So, you know, there’s some science behind it in the sense that when you come up with a recruitment plan, you got to know where these people are, what companies they work for, how easy or how hard it is to find them. And again, if you want to have one hire, then you want to work back and figure out how many people you need to call. So, it’s like sales. It’s like marketing, isn’t it?

Derek; It’s a funnel.

Jimmy: Right. It’s a funnel to make one sale, you probably need to do so many calls. So, it’s the same thing.

Derek: Yes. And in terms of the Jobs specifications, what is your process with that? Do you find you often need to well, with the SMEs and possibly less sophisticated kind of clients? Do you find that you need to coach them in terms of a job specification, in terms of getting all of the details on paper, or do you already have kind of templated roles for standard functions, how does that end of the engagement?

Jimmy: All right. The whole process starts with a very concise and clear job description. Correct. So sometimes, some clients would create the JD that’s very incomplete. So, we do consulting. We help them out to develop a good JD, job description. Because of the whole process starts from there. If you don’t have a good JD, most of the time you’ll come up with bad candidates. Right?

Derek: Right.

Jimmy: So, with the JD, with the job description, we kind of figure out what “must haves” need to be there. Right? So, I’d say we identify five must haves and then we look for candidates that have all those five must haves. That way, there’s a perfect match and there’s no reason why a candidate would be rejected as long as he or she has those “must haves”, that were specified in the job description.

Derek: Absolutely, yes. The essence really is in the job description, isn’t it? And I find too many employers that don’t want to spend the time getting those right.

Jimmy: It’s very important, very, very important. It’s like those are the specifications of a job. Okay. And the product that you produce should match the specifications. So as an analogy, if you’re in manufacturing, you’ve got specifications, the product you produce need to have the specs.

Derek: Yes. Yes. Are they sort of standardized templates that you can dig into after years of, if you want… I don’t know. This is a problem as an employer. I might not know the ideal, a full stack developer, but you might have better insight than me in terms of what a good job Spec for that looks like.

Jimmy: Sure. You know, all jobs would probably have an existing JD or job description, but, each client would require special needs or would have a few peculiarities that need to be included in that JD.

Derek: Right.

Jimmy: Right.

Derek: Okay. And fees? How do they work? Is it sort of out front? Is that an engagement thing? I mean, what is the standard in the industry and do you kind of for a long…

Jimmy: For offshore RPO, it’s very similar to call center seats. You know, the fees are based on the recruiters that you hire. All right? So, we provide a monthly rate, a monthly fee for each of the recruiters that you hire, right? Like for instance, if you need a recruiter in the Philippines, we can provide you a recruiter for a certain monthly rates, right? And that recruiter will work exclusively for you and will be dedicated to your jobs and will not work on anything else. So, in effect, he becomes an extension of your office here.

Derek: …And these recruiters, they do end to end recruiting, so they know how to kind of tweak the job Spec thing. They know how to search the market, they know how to engage with the candidate, they know how to interview the candidate. They can do all of the end to end tasks typically, isn’t it?

Jimmy: Yes, yes. The JD would call from the staffing company in the states and you can assume because they’re a staffing company themselves. The JD would basically be complete and correct. So, our job would be to look at all the must haves of that JD, go through the different database, go through LinkedIn, Indeed even Craig’s list, job boards like Monster Jobs, CareerBuilder. And call candidates who we think would be a good fit for the JD. And we start vetting them. We start getting their interests, asking about their availabilities, selling the opportunity to them.

Derek: Sure. Fantastic! And obviously with the RPO, with the recruiter that you have sitting in your facilities, they’re guided, they’re not just kind of lean[?] recruiters, but they have your systems, they have your processes, your oversight and the expertise of Sysgen RPO.

Jimmy: We actually have a training department, we have a training manager. As I said in recruitment, there are metrics for each of these steps, right? If, let’s say a recruiter is not able to deliver the numbers that’s required for each step, then we asks the training manager to look into it, and try to develop training courses that will improve the steps for that particular process.

Derek: Fantastic. It’s like a one stop recruitment in a box already, isn’t it?

Jimmy: That is correct.

Derek: Thank you so much Jimmy. It’s been an absolute, delightful insight into the world of recruiting and the world of RPO. So really went to kind of completed that circle for that sector. Then if anybody wants to get in touch with if they want to know any more about Sysgen RPO or Sysgen, the original firm, how can they do that?

Jimmy: Yes, very easy. Just go to the Google search in RPO, you will find us there. I can also leave my number, it’s a US number for clients in the US, give us a call. That number is, 213-8143126. But again, just Google search in RPO and you are going to find us there.

Derek: Fantastic. And we’ll put all of that in the show notes, obviously. Thank you so much, Jimmy.

Jimmy: Thank you so much, Derek. It’s nice, a privilege, thank you.

Derek: Okay, that was Jimmy Roa of Sysgen RPO. I had a fantastic conversation with Jimmy. If you want to get in touch with Butch or want to know any more about what they do, go to our show notes which is at outsourceaccelerator.com/193.

And as always, if you want to get in touch with us or going to ask us anything just drop us an email to [email protected]

See you next time.


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