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Recent changes by the Government to deal with the ever-growing 'housing crisis' have affected all of us working in the sector. The demands placed on Registered Providers to prepare tenants for legislative changes such as Universal Credit and The Bedroom Tax have had a large impact on you, the Housing Manager.
You and your team of front-line staff are the face of your organisation. You need someone who will represent you, your service and your brand in a way that will appeal to various stakeholders, from tenants to local authorities. These changes call for a new breed of Housing Officer: what we're calling the Housing Hero.
They manage your properties, reduce your arrears, deal with ASB, and promote community development, as well as preparing residents for what's to come. The Heroes help tenants find work, offer them money-management advice and even develop their digital skills.
The need for an officer who has the experience and enthusiasm to deliver what is needed has created a new demand in the market, and Registered Providers have to compete for the best candidates. To help you attract and retain best candidates we’ve put together our top three criteria:
1. Employer of Choice
Whether it's for a temporary or permanent role, employers are no longer calling the shots. On average, we are seeing candidates being interviewed for – and in many cases offered – three vacancies at a time. Just as your first impression of a candidate has a big impact, a candidate's first impression of you is key. Their impression will be formed from your website, the way residents are being dealt with, or even how welcoming staff are when they come to the interview. In addition, candidates will seek a good package; clear training plans and career paths, so offering a candidate a role is simply not enough nowadays.
“I turned down the offer from one HA because the offices were a mess, and the receptionist was rude." John, a Housing Officer candidate with two year’s experience
2. Commercial Core
In the majority of cases, our brief from our clients is, “we need someone who is commercially driven”. These officers are rare and, as mentioned, in demand. They are attracted to like-minded organisations who also operate in a commercial fashion; that have a clear dress code, offer benefits and reward schemes. It's not enough to want someone commercially minded; organisations need to demonstrate that their environment is one in which these individuals can thrive.
“80% of our candidates expect to be targeted with bonuses that relate to their revenue stream.” Jas, Oyster Recruitment Consultant
3. Sell Reality Well
Working in housing is hard. The demands placed on providers is greater than ever, and it is crucial that when interviewing you sell your organisation and the role well. We want our candidates to convince you that you need them, but in turn, they need to be convinced that you are the right organisation to join. Be honest but be positive. The person with the right attitude and personality will thrive in the most difficult of situations.
It's essential you brief the recruitment agency well – warts and all – about the expectations and challenges of the role. In turn, when the agency has the correct information they can recruit far more effectively.
We've seen many successful clients embrace the three recommendations listed above, resulting in excellent offer-to-placement ratios. They have a great retention rate and an exceptional reputation as an employer.
You too can benefit from the new breed of Housing Heroes, by contacting
Jas on: 020 7766 9000/ Jaspreet.Kalsi@oysterpartnership.com