Recruiting new employees can be a time consuming, stressful and demanding activity - luckily, that’s where recruitment agencies can help.

But, when is the right time to engage with a recruitment agency?

Your business is growing; as a housing association or charity, you’re now in the position to bring more people on board to widen your offering and help you get closer to your ultimate cause. And that is fantastic. There’s no better feeling than bringing new, passionate and talented people into your expanding team.

But… It can bring with it an added stress to the already stressful task of, well you know, running a business. Which is where recruitment agencies come in.

When is the right time to engage with a recruitment agency? If you’re understaffed, need a quick turnaround, are struggling to find the right person and find yourself competing with private sector employers, then the time is NOW.

Before you run for the hills screaming ‘NOOO’ at the top of your lungs, read on and find out how the recruitment industry has evolved and transformed in recent years, and how a recruitment agency could be the answer to all of your needs.

Why should housing associations and charities use a recruitment agency?

Good question! The simple answer is that it can save you time and money while giving you the opportunity to connect with wider pools of people (especially those that you may never have considered before).

Social housing HR recruiter thinking

Statistically, you have access to higher levels of talent when you take advantage of a recruitment agency. Recruitment agencies have instant access to entire databases of individuals from all different walks of life, professional backgrounds and competencies. It’s like being a kid in a candy shop - the choice is enormous and pretty damn exciting to be a part of. And when you’re heading up a housing association or charity, you need to make sure that your staff are the crème de la crème.

Frequently, you’ll find that your requirements for a role are very specific; you may not know where to even begin with this particular niche. A recruitment agency - on the other hand - will understand the candidates that sit in that niche and will have a database dedicated purely to them. Winner!

This, as a result, will save you so much time. Time is money, and the hours you spend trying to pinpoint how to find candidates who are the right fit could be handed straight back to you. No stress, no long evenings spent staring blankly at a desktop and no more fidgeting around your "to do" list to block out a slice of time to slot it all in.

A big misconception around recruitment agencies is that the work starts and ends with the job advertisement. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A quality recruitment agency will of course advertise the role and seek out appropriate talent, but they will also:

  • Shortlist candidates and screen all applications for the most suitable recruits
  • Offer additional services, such as psychometric tests
  • Give potential recruits all the information and assistance they need throughout the process
  • Interview candidates
  • Negotiate salaries

You see? They really are all singing and dancing, and they can relieve a huge amount of pressure (all within budget).

Why choose a recruitment agency over in-house recruitment?

Agencies tackle the recruitment challenges that many charities and housing associations face when searching for their perfect employees.

First of all, agency specialists are dedicated to recruitment 24/7, compared to a substantial portion of housing associations where there won’t be one specific person purely for recruitment. That means you’ve got eyes and ears on the job all the time. As a result, the HR or line managers who are normally handed the responsibility of recruitment, to get back to doing the job that they were employed for in the first place.

And the simple truth is that sometimes jobs are just really tough to fill. Something that we were recently called in to support with Monmouthshire Housing.

Monmouthshire Housing Association logo

The Moxie Case Study: Monmouthshire Housing

Monmouthshire Housing has a fantastic HR team who, time and time again, have brought in sterling talent to their tight-knit team. However, when two particularly difficult jobs came up to recruit for, they found themselves with empty roles. It was a big job that required a lot of time; something that Monmouthshire Housing didn’t have. And so Moxie came in and took total control of the entire process. We started by getting to know the business, the team (and the individual personalities) and the values behind everything they offered. We then pinpointed the additional value that the job would bring potential applicants, away from the salary. Then? Well, then came the juicy part. The recruitment strategy! The end result was two brilliant candidates from spaces that the team hadn’t considered before. They’re now integral members of the organisation and are seriously flourishing.

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Newport City Homes logo

The Moxie Case Study: Newport City Homes

Similarly, Newport City Homes already had a fantastic in-house recruitment specialist… But let’s face it, some roles are a pain in the peach to fill. The role in question was incredibly niche and was coming up against: a low response rate to the job advertisement, a struggle to attract the right candidates, and difficulty competing with private-sector salaries. The delay in recruitment was resulting in: added pressure on their sole recruitment specialist, the entire HR team, the procurement department and management, as well as delays in completing and starting time-sensitive projects. Clearly, this couldn’t continue. We prioritised really getting to know the niche and making sure we were diving into the right applicant pools and spending valuable time with the candidates so that they were well informed and excited about the organisation before they even stepped in the first interview. The work ended in a two-week turnaround from the first chat to an accepted offer from the perfect-fit employee. We’d say that’s a top-notch job, all round!

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What should you look for in a recruitment agency?

Essentially, you’re looking for someone who will dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. An agency that will really listen to your individual needs, and build a plan based around that. Go in with the right questions so that you can come away with all the relevant information for you to make an informed decision, and ask for recommendations from your trusted community.

You should also check that the recruitment agency offers everything that you need. As a base, you should look for the following features in their packages:

  • A varied talent pool that fits in with your specific industry
  • A shortlisting process that takes care of all the pesky details (the last thing you want is to be worrying about DBS checks and references, right?)
  • Candidate support and care, with a process that supports them every step of the way (from interview prep to employability advice and constructive feedback)
  • A system for handling negotiations in an honest, structured way

Here at Moxie, we offer all of this and so much more.

Our mission is for you to see us as your recruitment rock - whatever you need, we’ve got your back. We’re a one-stop housing shop, and have a human-centred approach to everything we do. We’re people people… You can count on us to find you the best talent so that your entire organisation can thrive.

Keen to find out more about how we work (and more importantly, how we can make your teamwork even better)? Check out our ‘Employers’ page or get in touch for a free consultation. We’d love to chat!