Top Tips for Effective Recruitment -Toby Lebeter, Consultant

Since Altair began operating in 2011, our recruitment team has placed nearly 200 housing sector candidates in senior executive and non-executive positions across the country. Organisations we have worked with range from housing associations, to the private sector, and the positions we recruit to have ranged from Board Members and Executive Directors to an on-going recruitment campaign for a leadership development programme for BME housing sector leaders of the future. Bearing in mind the high level of recruitment activity we are currently seeing in the sector (roles to which we are currently recruiting can be found here),and the importance of getting it right first time, we have set out our team’s top tips for organisations going out to recruit.

  1. Know your needs
  • If you’re embarking on a recruitment exercise, it’s important to go in with a clear picture of the skills, background and personal style which your organisation needs for the role.
  • It’s also important to consider what your intentions are for the role – is it a long-standing permanent post, or will it be a position responsible for delivering a specific, timed project? If so, you may want to consider appointing an interim manager.
  • If you engage with a consultant to support your recruitment, their role is to help you clarify your requirements at an early stage. As part of our recruitment service, we offer psychometric and personality testing, which can be a powerful tool in helping you assess a candidates’ cultural fit.
  1. Know your environment
  • When considering what you want from the role and post-holder, you will also need to be aware of your operating context – what is the current job market like? How attractive is your organisation (reputation, location and trajectory all matter)? Is your remuneration package suitable to attract candidates of the right quality?
  • If you decide to review the remuneration package for a role when going out to recruit, remember that it’s not just the salary that matters – additional benefits like holidays, pension and health-care will be important for some candidates. The Altair team has extensive experience of remuneration benchmarking and have provided advice on the full range of salary and benefits.
  1. Consider broader background
  • When recruiting to high-profile roles, appointing a known quantity with a career in the sector can seem like the safe and sensible choice; however, it is important to be genuinely open to the potential for new ideas or new ways of working which an out-of-sector candidate could bring, particularly if your organisation prides itself on being innovative.
  • In addition to out-of-sector candidates, consideration should also be given to those without direct experience of the position to which you are recruiting – for example, considering an up-and-coming Head of Service for a Director-level position, or those without first-hand Board experience for a non-executive position.
  • Through our consultancy work and our team’s career backgrounds, we have built up significant in-sector and out-of-sector networks and have seen candidates who may not have appeared a natural first choice go on to excel in senior housing sector roles.
  1. Diversity
  • Diversity issues are rightfully gaining increasing traction in the sector – housing providers need to ensure that their organisations’ leadership incorporates diversity of thought and experience and, most importantly, represents the diversity of the communities which they serve.
  • Challenge your recruiters to find credible candidates from diverse backgrounds. Our experience and track record demonstrate that this is perfectly possible – which is why we’ve signed up to the Leadership 2025 recruiters’ pledge to support clients who want to create diverse Boards and Executive Teams.
  1. Engage with your brand
  • As a recruiting organisation, it is just as important to sell yourself as a potential employer as it is for candidates to sell themselves to you as a potential employee.
  • Recruitment, particularly to senior leadership roles, offers an opportunity for organisations to reflect on the values, reputation and direction of their business. It also provides an opportunity for clients to re-engage with the sector and raise awareness of any initiatives or strategies they have recently embarked on. Recruiting organisations should embrace communications, including social media, to promote opportunities. This not only generally ensures a broad candidate pool, but also raises the profile of the organisation in the sector and region.

As a social housing focused consultancy with a recruitment business stream, Altair is uniquely placed to support you in finding the ideal candidate for your next senior executive or non-executive vacancy. If you would like an informal and confidential discussion about any current or upcoming vacancies – or if you are looking to develop your career– please don’t hesitate to contact Michael Appleby or a member of the Altair team:

Michael Appleby, Markets & Growth Director – 07545 314 749,

Sarah Palmer, Head of Interim Management & Executive Search – 07806 602 933,

Toby Lebeter, Consultant – 07833 227379,