James Chessum, founder of Red 5 People writes a blog for Employability Day ‘ Three things to think about before you start hiring for your Restart team’ 

So that Restart bid came through and you need to mobilise quick?  Whilst the need for building a new team is essential, here are three things to factor in around recruitment to think about:

Look inhouse!

Everyone will be recruiting.  You will be looking for people with sector experience. Ideally top performers and senior leaders.  However, so is the competition (which can be your prime provider, or your supply chain partners). 

Now is the time (if not already) to be having conversations with your top performers, or those who are essential to the organisation to make sure they feel valued and feel they have a place.  Are they happy in their current role and their journey within the company?  Can you utilise their experience as part of the Restart contract?  Is there a progression opportunity for them?

There will be plenty of opportunities in the sector for them now, so the key is to keep your key people (you don’t want to be adding even more vacancies to the list if they leave for another provider).

Finally… look to your current caseloads on the employment programmes you deliver.  There are lots of talented job seekers out there at the moment.  Provide your front line Employment Advisors briefs / profiles for clients / job seekers who could fill those vacancies.  One of the most inspiring Operations Managers I know that we placed within employability was once a Work Programme customer from the finance sector, which she talked about in the interview.  She now heads up 18 contracts with a team of 70 staff.

Employer brand

Employer brand is essential.  We have noticed especially for younger people that they are more cautious about taking on new opportunities and research organisations as much as possible.

We have heard of candidates flatly refusing roles based on a providers Glassdoor reviews (the provider wouldn’t have known this).  Not sure what Glassdoor is? Make sure you monitor and review this page as much as possible. 

Unfortunately with payment by results contracts, some staff will underperform and leave the business.  And people tend to leave more negative reviews than they do positive about an experience.

Some quick fixes include making sure someone from HR responds to negative reviews (and takes on board the feedback).  Growing your profile by ensuring happy staff leave positive reviews.   And always go through an exit interview process for all staff leaving the business.

The interview process

Interviews are by no means a one way street.  Talk about why you are a great place to work. What are the opportunities?  Why do you like working there?  Often interviews can be a series of questions aimed at the candidate, lots of scribbling of notes, and then onto the next one.  If time is short – think about an intro video as part of the application process which is sent to candidates pre-interview. For example you could even have one of your established employment advisors talking for 90 seconds on why they like working there, and what their journey has been like.

One provider we recruit for promoted their top performer to head up their internal recruitment function for JETS.  We had placed her at the provider only 9 months prior, and she actually came from outside the sector. She could really connect with people and talk about her journey.  As well as having a good eye for transferable skills.

And if you do want help or advice on recruiting for Restart – feel free to get in contact with James Chessum at Red 5 People on james@red5people.co.uk / 0203 397 4372


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