10 ways to spend less on recruitment

Independent procurement consultant Naomi Clews provides her top 10 tips on how to save money on recruitment 

Many opportunities exist for schools to stretch their recruitment budgets further – here’s the lowdown on 10 of them!

1. Baselining
Knowing what you spend, and with whom, is the first step to managing recruitment spend – identifying not only your largest spend (Pareto 80/20 rule) but also those one-off, high value spends, eg. executive searches. Schools should also regularly check timesheets and invoices to ensure they are correct.

2. Working collaboratively
Avoid bidding wars by working collaboratively with schools in your area. Put ‘game theory’ and zero-sum gains (one person’s gain results in losses for other participants, or the joint actions of groups result in collective payoffs) into practice by agreeing and implementing collective agreements – eg. ceilings on workers’ pay and commissions paid to suppliers.

3. Commitment contracts
Rationalising your supply base – working strategically with a smaller number of suppliers – facilitates demand aggregation. A ‘mini-competition’ under a framework agreement can be used to create a preferred supplier list (PSL) which is easier to manage, achieves better value for money and makes you more attractive to suppliers – and more likely to get first refusal on candidates at short notice.

4. Benchmarking
Benchmarking suppliers’ commissions (under a framework) provides an indication of the lowest cost of supply – but not all frameworks are created equal; some are better at motivating suppliers than others. Framework owners, typically, charge suppliers between 0.5% and 10% of their framework turnover in return for a place on their framework. Ultimately, these fees are passed onto customers. The majority of frameworks are free for schools to access, therefore allowing schools to benchmark framework owners’ supplier fees.

5. Negotiating
A mini-competition is a formal opportunity to negotiate prices down from those published under a framework. Working collaboratively, schools can present an attractive proposition to suppliers. Negotiating percentage finders’ fees, commissions, claw backs, payment terms and added value benefits are all opportunities to reduce recruitment spend.

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6. Sustainable pricing
Low prices may appear attractive but, if supplier margins are unsustainable, or workers’ pay rates too low, suppliers may be unable to attract candidates to the position. A robust service level agreement (SLA) will help schools manage suppliers who continually underperform, bringing such contracts to a swift conclusion.

7. Outsourcing
Outsourcing your recruitment activity to a third party provider can reduce administration (one consolidated monthly invoice), facilitate direct engagement and provide enhanced management information for greater visibility of spend.

8. Claw backs
Permanent recruitment finder’s fees are charged as a percentage of the candidate’s salary. It’s pertinent to negotiate the reimbursement of a percentage of the fee paid, and/or a free replacement, in the event that a candidate leaves before the end of the claw back period, or fails their probation.

9. Pitfalls to avoid
Adhering to contractual Ts&Cs will reduce the risks associated with incurring additional fees, such as hiring a temporary worker (temp-to-perm fees), switching a temporary worker to another agency (temp-to-temp fees) or recommending a temporary worker to somebody else (temp-to-third-party fees). Situations can also arise where supplier one sends a candidate CV, and later you hire that same candidate through a second supplier; supplier one charges you an introduction fee, resulting in you paying twice for the candidate.

10. Creating a great place to work
The biggest money saver of all is avoiding the need to recruit by maintaining a happy and motivated workforce!

Naomi Clews Consultancy provides advice and training to schools and academies on saving money, funding proposals and developing procurement skills.

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