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Winning Recruitment Tenders

Winning Recruitment Tenders

Monday 13 January, 2020

Approached by a recruitment agency having won some Local Authority and Housing Association work they were struggling to move up to the next level.

Complete Tenders were approached by a recruitment agency where they had won some Local Authority and Housing Association work but were struggling to advance from being a Tier 2 supplier. Tier 1 suppliers picked up all the lucrative recruitment work, leaving them with the residue of the contract. Recruiting for the night shifts is always tougher and with tight margins to start with, this was not a viable long-term strategy for building their recruitment business.

Studying the feedback from the previous tenders they had submitted, we realised they were scoring low on processes and methods. In fact, they did have very good systems, but they were not documented and evidenced in a way that made them look robust or appropriate to the buyer. Working with their subject experts, Complete Tenders was able to rewrite their methodologies and process statements and present their evidence in way that clearly chimed with the buyer.

The net result was that they moved from a score of 2/5 on these sections in their tenders to 5/5. They won their first Tier 1 contract to supply social care staff on a London borough framework.

To ensure success, Complete Tenders followed these important tips for winning recruitment tenders:

Choose the right recruitment tender

You need to read through the tender specification thoroughly, so you understand precisely what is being asked for and what you are going to commit to under contract. One issue that frequently causes confusion is the lack of detail in tender descriptions.  When the notification says ‘providing social care,’ does that mean ‘recruiting social care staff’ or does it really mean ‘providing a social care service?’ Further investigation is therefore critical.

You also need to consider the scope.  Think about the geography.  If the buyer requires recruitment across the UK, and you currently operate in one county, can you realistically demonstrate the right capability?

Ensure your recruitment systems and processes are properly documented

As risk averse organisations, public sector authorities look for very thorough and detailed explanations with evidence of precisely how you will deliver the contract. So your answers to these questions need to clearly answer these points. It is not enough to say ‘a staff members does this.’ The issue is how. What process do they follow? How do you ensure they are compliant? What is the backup plan if things fail? How do you learn from your mistakes? If you are not sure that your documentation is robust enough, our experienced Tender Writers can help you. 

Collect strong evidence of your previous experience

Again, public sector organisations are both risk averse and committed to ensuring quality and value for the end user, i.e. the public.  As such, they must be transparent to show how they have come to their award decision, so providing good evidence and case histories of what you have done for other customers is crucial. But it is not good enough to simply provide a ‘sales story’. You need to provide the details and processes you used, with facts and statistics to back it up. If you haven’t got this evidence, then start collecting it now.

Provide a clear plan for delivering the solution

You will nearly always need to provide a plan of how you intend to fulfil the contract. What are your candidate attraction tactics? How will you handle the volume of staff required – especially if it is seasonally variable? You may need to provide a“fill-rate trajectory” and break this down into the different roles required.  How will you ensure you continue to meet staffing demand?  How will you ensure the staff you recruit are compliant and remain so throughout the length of the contract?  Specialist staff will often need to be certified to a certain standard, e.g. NMC for nurses, NICEIC for electricians, so how will you monitor these certifications to make sure they’re not out of date?

Have robust compliance and safeguarding processes

These two criteria are very important for a public sector recruitment contract.  You need to be able to clearly detail your governance and compliance processes.  How do you ensure your mandatory staff training is up to date? What are your processes for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults? Are the responsibilities for the staff you supply clearly set out to them? What experience have you had where you can demonstrate this in action? Again, these processes and policies need to be clearly explained in an appropriate fashion.

Give extra value for money

Public sector tenders are awarded based on ‘best value for money,’ defined as MEAT (Most Economically Advantageous Tender).  So how can you demonstrate that you will provide the best value for money?  This is where innovation becomes important. How can you show that by doing things differently you can go ‘beyond the expected’. Ideally you want to be able to example how your recruitment services not only delivered the right staff, but also saved your other customers money and time, improved their compliance and customer service scores and reduced their complaints.

Being successful

Following these tips and answering the above questions is not a quick and easy task, but the rewards of a successful recruitment tender can be transformative. So, it is worth ensuring that you put your business in the best position to win.  You may not have the time or expertise in-house, which is why Complete Tenders offers a bid management and tender writing service that does the whole thing for you.

For more information on recruitment tenders or to search for live recruitment opportunities, visit our recruitment tenders page.
If you’d like more advice on winning recruitment contracts, give us a ring on 01707 244713 or email us at

AUTHOR: Karen Shuttleworth - Tender Writer - Complete Tenders

Karen helps customers win contracts by understanding their business from a technical perspective and writing tender responses tailored to them.

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