Katie Carpenter

Quadel’s Katie Carpenter uses her industry experience to help clients improve program performance and quality of services.

Staff turnover is typical for public housing authorities across the country. When a leadership position such as an HCV director experiences turnover, program performance may be affected negatively. When hiring and onboarding a new HCV director, there are a few important steps executive directors and board Members should consider.

Quadel’s Katie Carpenter provides her thoughts on how to navigate the process using best practices.

Create Accurate Job Postings

Because the affordable housing industry is a niche and technical industry, it may be harder to find qualified candidates with the required experience. Carpenter suggests specific job responsibilities should be solidified before posting the job opening. Using keywords will help agencies match with the right candidates.

“Open positions are often advertised in categories that do not adequately describe what a Housing Authority does.  Housing Authorities are often categorized as governmental agencies or non-profits.  Job titles can be misleading. This can be confusing to individuals who are not familiar with (housing authority) titles and may hinder individuals from pursuing employment,” Carpenter said. “Oftentimes a job offer is accepted without knowing the specifics of the responsibilities. The interview process should include real scenarios to show individuals what is to be expected. This will reduce turnover and help hire individuals with the proper qualifications.”

Consider Agency Representation and Public Image

Carpenter noted that while the HCV director is largely responsible for departmental operations and HUD compliance, the director may face public scrutiny. It is important for Executive Directors and Board Members to consider how a candidate would represent the PHA, as needed.

“Different from Low-Income Public Housing, the HCV program is public-facing. The units in the HCV program are all privately owned and Housing Authority staff must work with public landlords. It is common for housing issues to be reported to the media or local HUD office,” Carpenter said. “While it is not always in a job description, the ED and Board Members should hire an applicant who will represent the agency well within its community.”

Have an Onboarding Plan in Place

One of the most common mistakes executive directors might make when onboarding a new HCV director is not having a plan in place prior to the hire. It’s important the director is exposed to all levels of the department and organization in order to be successful. Executive directors should determine all onboarding tasks ahead of time.

“It should include important documents to read/review, training, and reporting timeline. The onboarding plan could include job shadowing with all positions to understand how each process fits into the broader picture of the HCV department,” Carpenter said. “From the application being filed to the applicant being housed, the director should know the process and understand how and why it is completed the way it is.”

Quadel can assist with HCV director onboarding or mentorship. For more information, contact htroyer@quadel.com or info@quadel.com.