NHS Recruitment Process Guide: All You Need to Know

The NHS recruitment process is notoriously thorough; although this has the disadvantage of also making it notoriously long.

With widely reported staff shortages, and ever growing pressures from all sides, it’s more important than ever that NHS recruitment is as planned and well-organised as can be.

Here’s everything you need to know about NHS recruitment, and how to make it as efficient as possible.

How Long Does NHS Recruitment Take?

The processes needed to Hire NHS Top Talent can be lengthy. It’s not uncommon for NHS recruitment processes to take as long as six months. 

Here’s an example of an NHS Recruitment Process Flowchart.

What is different about the NHS recruitment process?

So, why does NHS recruitment take so long? The differences in the NHS recruitment process contribute to making it longer than most. These differences include:

  • Rigorous pre-employment checks to ensure all potential staff are properly qualified
  • The need to juggle recruitment with maintaining regulatory compliance, while simultaneously lowering costs
  • Occupational health checks, DBS/CRB checks, and right to work checks
  • Confirmation that candidates are registered with professional bodies

While other recruitment processes may include several of these checks, the NHS is distinct in requiring almost all available checks to be carried out on applicants prior to employment.


Learn more about Oleeo’s Applicant Tracking Software for the NHS


What Are the Stages of NHS Recruitment?

Once an advert for NHS Job Vacancies is made public, applicants usually have between 1 and 2 weeks to submit their application.

NHS managers then review the online applications, and begin the process of shortlisting candidates. This process can take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks.

Shortlisted candidates are invited to interview, while unsuccessful candidates are informed that their application won’t be proceeded with at that time. The official time period for sending out the time and date of interviews is one day.

An NHS interview typically lasts 30 to 45 minutes, and consists of applicants answering NHS interview questions from a panel of interviewers.

In the next step of the NHS job offer process, candidates are typically notified of the results of their interview within a week. Successful applicants receive a conditional offer letter at this point.

Once an offer has been formally made, applicants undergo an NHS employment check. This is carried out by their assigned hiring manager, and should be completed within ten days of the applicant receiving their conditional offer letter.

NHS employment checks include:

  • A DBS/CRB check to check whether the candidate has any criminal convictions
  • Health checks
  • Qualification checks
  • Employment history checks
    • References
    • Relevant experience
    • Reasons for dismissal

Providing that the results of these checks are satisfactory, the candidate will then join their assigned post. The statement of terms and conditions are issued eight weeks after they begin working in their post, at which point the candidate is officially selected as an employee of the NHS.

5 ways to make the recruitment process faster

There are a few ways that the NHS recruitment process could be sped up:

  • Advise applicants of the hiring timetable from the offset
  • Make applicants aware of everything they’ll need throughout the recruitment process so they can have it ready. This includes:
    • Acceptable references
    • Acceptable photographic ID
    • Properly filled out CRB/DBS application
  • Introduce online facilities for carrying out interviews, inductions, etc.
  • Provide regular updates on the recruitment process to keep applicants engaged
  • Utilize automated, AI powered recruitment software to communicate with candidates 

4 ways to speed up the NHS shortlisting process

As we mentioned in the previous section, one of the most effective ways to speed up recruitment in the NHS is to speed up the shortlisting process. There are a few steps that can be taken to achieve this:

  • Automate pre-employment document verification
  • Implement pre-screening criteria to weed out unqualified candidates early in the process
  • Automate right to work checks
  • Integrate your recruitment software with services such as NHS Jobs for quick access to a deep talent pool


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What Responsibilities Fall to HR Professionals When Recruiting NHS Staff?

HR professionals assume many of the responsibilities involved in recruiting NHS staff. These include:

  • Approving job advertisements
  • Reviewing job applications
  • Ensuring compliance with the NHS Recruitment And Inclusion framework
  • Inviting applicants to interview
  • Arranging interview timetables
  • Compiling and distributing interview packs
  • Drafting and sending requests for references
  • Drafting and sending formal offer letters
  • Creating employee personnel files upon hire

NHS Recruitment Process Made Easy with Oleeo Software

Oleeo’s NHS recruitment software is designed to provide end-to-end talent acquisition for the NHS, helping you to hire the right person for the job quickly, every time.

Pre-screening criteria can be implemented to reduce the time spent sifting through unqualified applicants, while automated, personalised communications help you to keep applicants informed throughout the process, with minimal time investment on the part of your recruiters.

Oleeo Recruit for NHS provides an unrivalled user experience, and is fully mobile optimised so that it can be used even while on the move. 

Perhaps most importantly, Oleeo puts the emphasis on helping you to Attract Diverse Talent to the NHS, helping you to hire the most innovative, most profitable teams possible.


Book A Consultation today and see what Oleeo can do for you when it comes to hiring for the NHS.


FAQs About NHS Recruitment Process

1. What types of positions are available within the NHS?

A wide variety of positions are available within the NHS. These include doctors, surgeons, and nursing positions such as adult and children’s nurses, mental health nurses, and theatre nurses.

Other positions include ambulance service team members, allied health professionals, psychological professionals, public health experts, pharmacy technicians, and administrative staff such as clerks,  receptionists, and switchboard operators.

2. What are the basic requirements for working in the NHS?

The basic requirements for working in the NHS vary depending on the role.

For example, administrative roles typically require moderate to high grade GCSEs and/or relevant work experience, while nursing roles typically require a nursing degree.

3. Is there any training provided for NHS staff?

Yes, training is provided for NHS staff.

Continuing professional development (CPD) schemes provide courses, workshops, e-learning, and on-the-job learning.

4. What are the pay and benefits like for NHS employees?

The NHS pay structure is ‘fair and transparent’, with pay varying from role to role.

In terms of benefits, NHS employees receive one of the most generous pension schemes in the UK, alongside paid sick leave, NHS discount schemes, access to training courses, and a minimum of 27 days annual leave plus bank holidays.

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