Innovative Ways to Source Talent for Your PHA

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Hey there, public housing superheroes!  

We have been listening and this blog is proof.  

We had the amazing opportunity to sit down with some of you and one thing almost everyone agreed on was the overwhelming need for new and fresh talent in our agencies. We did our part to bring you our very best on the subject so there’s only one question to ask before we jump in…  

Are you ready to ignite your agencies with a burst of youthful enthusiasm and innovative ideas?  

In today’s blog, we’re diving headfirst into a world of creativity, energy, and unique ways to source new talent for your agency. And buckle up, because we’re about to take recruiting to a whole new level!  

It bears mentioning, as we embark on this journey… let’s not forget the impact of the infamous COVID-19 pandemic on staffing and recruitment. The pandemic shook the world, changing the way we work, connect, and seek employment. Some of you lost veteran staff members, have experienced unprecedented turnover, and for a myriad of reasons, have been unable to replenish your staffing and expertise levels. You are still trying to recover.  

Feel free to read up on some additional great ideas to help you on your journey to recovery here: PHAs Need COVID Recovery Assistance Too 

But fear not! We’ve got some fantastic strategies to adapt and overcome these challenges while sourcing new and fresh talent for your agencies. 

Social Media Magic  

In this digital age, the power of social media is undeniable. So why not use it to your advantage? Leverage platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect with the next generation of changemakers. Create eye-catching content that showcases the meaningful work your agency does. Highlight success stories and the positive impact your team makes on the community. 

Let’s pause here for just a moment and zero in on one in particular… LinkedIn.  

If you are in business, you need to be on LinkedIn. There are job boards, hiring groups, and tons of networking potential at your fingertips here. You have the opportunity to filter candidates by skills, education, or industry. You can showcase your agency and connect with tons of prospects. Don’t let this impactful opportunity slip through your fingers! 

Job Fairs with a Twist  

Job fairs are an essential channel for recruiting as they provide face-to-face interactions between job seekers and employers, enabling immediate connections and first impressions. They allow you to streamline the recruitment process by giving you the opportunity to pre-select and shortlist candidates based on your in-person interactions. Moreover, job fairs serve as networking hubs, expanding job seekers’ horizons and offering employers a platform to showcase their company culture and brand, attracting top talent.  

Job fairs aren’t anything new, but there is a way to break free from the traditional job fair mold! Your agency can be a dynamic and interactive participant that leaves a lasting impression on potential candidates. Host a booth that gives you the space to engage with talented individuals who thrive on challenges. Embrace technology, showcase your unique programs, the opportunity to help others, and make use of interactive elements to draw people in and create an unforgettable experience.  

A few creative ways to do this might include: 

  • Creative merch: PLEASE do not give out the same boring, corporate merch as the next booth. No one needs that many pens. Consider items that will attract attendees (Snacks anyone?) and then maximize on the opportunity to talk with them and make a connection.  
  • Make a good first impression: Put some effort into what your booth looks like. Use colors that will stand out from the crowd and invest in some dynamic visual elements that make you the belle of the job fair ball. And brag about yourself a little. Pull out those impressive numbers of how many families you have helped and make sure people know you are a valuable asset to the community.  
  • Put your best foot, or rather people, forward: Find the staff members who have a way with people and put them front and center. Don’t man your booth with the person who doesn’t like to start conversations with strangers. When people walk up to your space, they should be drawn into easy conversation and leave with a lasting impression.  
  • Give them something to talk about: Get your name out there. Be a sponsor, be part of the conversations that are taking place, bring something new to the table and we can guarantee people will remember you and talk about what you are doing. Start a new conversation by taking the opportunity to educate people about your programs and what your agency does.  

For a more in depth look at this topic, take a look at our blog: Why Branding Matters 

Remember, you want to stand out from the crowd and leave a lasting memory! 

Rock Solid University Partnerships  

Your local colleges and universities are teeming with young minds eager to make a difference. Forge strong partnerships with these institutions to access a pool of potential talent. Collaborate with academic departments related to urban planning, social work, architecture, and public administration to tap into diverse skill sets. 

Offer internships and co-op programs to students, giving them hands-on experience and a taste of the meaningful work your agency undertakes. When they see the impact they can make, they’ll be drawn to join your team upon graduation. 

Thinking Outside the Box  

Now, let’s venture beyond the usual suspects!  

Hiring the right person for the right job is crucial for the success and growth of any organization. While education and background are essential factors to consider, they should not be the sole criteria for hiring. When you look beyond the resume to understand the unique strengths and qualities of candidates, matching them to roles that align with their skills and interests, it ensures a good cultural fit. By embracing this approach, organizations can foster a dynamic and thriving work environment that drives success and sets the stage for long-term growth. 

Another way to take a creative approach is to consider seeking talent from different career fields that could bring fresh perspectives to your agency.  

For instance, take a look at the wealth of insight available to you through the following fields: 

Social Work and Community Development  

While this one is the most obvious, it bears mentioning. Social workers and those in the community development field have a deep understanding of the needs and challenges faced by underserved communities. Their insights can guide your agency in implementing programs that address social issues, promote inclusivity, and uplift residents. 

Technology and Data Sciences 

Tech-savvy individuals can revolutionize PHAs by introducing innovative solutions. From beneficial new technologies to data-driven decision-making, these experts can enhance operational efficiency and improve the overall quality of life for residents and your agency alike. 

Urban Planners and Environmental Sciences 

Experts in environmental sciences can help your agency adopt sustainable practices and eco-friendly initiatives. From energy-efficient buildings to waste reduction strategies, their insights can create greener and more resilient projects. This is especially valuable in our current climate where so many agencies are looking to expand and diversify their funding through real estate development opportunities.  

Communications and Public Relations  

Communication specialists can help bridge the gap between your agency and the community it serves. 

Their expertise in crafting compelling messages and engaging campaigns can strengthen relationships, increase transparency, and build public trust. 

Law and Policy  

Legal professionals and policy experts can ensure your agency stays compliant with regulations while advocating for policies that positively impact public housing. Their insights can shape inclusive policies and streamline processes. 

Financial Management and Accounting  

Financial experts can optimize budgeting and financial planning for PHAs. They can identify cost-effective strategies and ensure resources are allocated efficiently to benefit the families and the agency. 

Nonprofit and Community Activism  

Individuals with experience in nonprofits and community activism have a deep connection to the needs of local residents. Their insights can drive community engagement, empower residents, and foster a sense of ownership within public housing communities. They will usually have connections within the community that can take some of your programs and ideas, such as FSS and real estate development, to the next level as well… they know a lot of people!  

And this is just the start! By tapping into these diverse career fields, your agency can cultivate a dynamic team capable of tackling challenges from multiple angles. Embrace innovation and be open to fresh perspectives to create a brighter and more inclusive future for your team and your participants.  

Remember, diversity breeds creativity! Embrace the richness of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to create a dynamic team that can tackle the unique challenges of our current societies from all angles. 

Our blog on Diversity to Increase Creativity, Productivity, and Growth goes into some really great detail on why this is so important.  

Don’t forget… 

Finding and attracting fresh talent requires a blend of enthusiasm, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking. Leverage the power of social media to showcase your agency’s greatness, bring the fun to job fairs, build strong partnerships, and dare to tap into unconventional career fields. Don’t be afraid to embrace the energy and fresh perspectives that come with new talent, and your public housing agency will thrive like never before. 

Go forth and energize your team with the brightest young minds. Together, you’ll transform public housing into a beacon of hope and community empowerment. 


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