With continuing pressure on funding, housing associations aren’t always able to offer high salaries, but there is much they can do to entice the cream of the crop.

  1. Recognise your internal challenges and objectives

Even before you engage with recruitment experts, think about the volume, scale and scope of the problems you are facing and identify your priorities. For example, if you want to reduce the amount you spend on temporary members of staff, consider what is driving the demand. Organisations often find themselves hiring temporary staff because they are can’t attract the right people on a permanent basis, perhaps due to a lack of understanding of the candidate marketplace.

Once you understand the problem you will be in a much better position to work with your recruitment services provider to explore what is preventing you from reaching and attracting the right candidates.

  1. Avoid reactive recruiting

Organisations that reactively go to market to fill gaps may find that they attract few suitable candidates. Failure to recruit or ‘panic buying’ from a very limited batch potentially leads to long-term quality and delivery issues as well as additional costs in terms of management, staff turnover and additional recruitment expenditure.

Suppliers under the framework can offer you a recruitment partnership. This means they will engage with you at a high level and offer advice, guidance, skills auditing and market intelligence to help you fulfil the needs of your business plan and strategy. This proactive approach will help you position yourself more effectively in the marketplace and get the right people at the right time.

  1. Think carefully about the job role

Organisations sometimes start with a shopping list of 100 things they want from a candidate and then unsurprisingly struggle to find candidates with 100 skills.  Your recruitment provider will help you identify the fundamentals, develop the job specification and offer insights into the marketplace so that you create a targeted and focused approach that finds appropriate candidates.

  1. Articulate your employer proposition

A recent survey by Hays revealed that salary isn’t the only the only factor that attracts candidates; factors such as the working environment, diversity, management style and flexibility are all crucial ‘pull’ factors. Let candidates know why it is great to work for you – your employee benefits, career development opportunities, public service ethos – and articulate that proposition in a compelling fashion.

Some suppliers on the framework will build micro sites that help you reach out to people and articulate why you are an employer of choice. These sites might, for example, feature videos from the CEO, frontline staff, partners and service users that give prospective candidates a real feel of what it is like to be a part of your team. Express yourself creatively and show what makes you special.

  1. Choose the right supplier

Choose a recruiter that understands the sector you are working in and has the reach, expertise and tools to help you achieve your aims. Before drawing up your tender, speak with suppliers to find out what they offer, how they work and to get some insights about the challenges, constraints and parameters that exist within the relevant recruitment landscape. This information will then inform and shape your tender to ensure you go to market for solutions that will help you to overcome your recruitment and resourcing challenges.

  1. Communicate and engage

Open and honest communication with your recruiter is vital. Explain where your recruitment issues lie, ensure the main stakeholders in your organisation are willing to meet and share information and be clear about what you want. This level of ongoing communication and engagement will enable suppliers to perform well and meet your needs over the lifetime of the framework.

With thanks to Matthew Lewis at Hays, http://www.procurementforhousing.co.uk/frameworks/hays/, and Jennifer Radcliffe at Eden Brown Synergy, http://www.procurementforhousing.co.uk/frameworks/eden-brown-synergy/

The current Recruitment Framework was launched in July 2015 and is available until July 2019.  It includes seven lots, each focused on specific recruitment services or employment sectors. All suppliers servicing the framework have specialist knowledge of the market.