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Career Development

​Insights into NHS recruitment

Once you have decided on a career in the Non-Medical Non-Clinical sector of the NHS, the prospect of finding a career in such a large organisation can seem daunting. However, understanding where the NHS are recruiting from and the approach they’re taking to hiring can help ease any concerns you may have.

Where they’re recruiting from:

There is no shortage of choice when it comes to roles in the NHS from administration and clinical coding to estate management and senior healthcare assistants.

To work in one of these fields, the NHS often asks for proven experience in a similar role. For example, if you wanted to work in administration, they would request 2 years of experience in this position, although this does not have to be in a health related industry. The ability to prove you have the necessary qualifications for a demanding role in the NHS is more important than a long employment history.

This is why the NHS often recruit directly from colleges and schools, enlisting young people into their training schemes to ensure that they have the exact specifications for a role in the NHS. These schemes, such as the Step into the NHS programme, produce employees who have an advanced understanding of their field, such as coding. These programmes are similar to an apprenticeship and those who are offered a full time position following the scheme are quickly promoted to managerial positions because of their in-depth training.

Every year the NHS recruits graduates into entry level positions and while some of these graduates have healthcare related degrees, a high level degree in any subject is sufficient to demonstrate your commitment to work. The intention of recruiting graduates is to secure the fresh talent early on, in the hope of developing them into the senior level managers.

Style of recruitment:

While experience, potential and a degree have an influence over whether the NHS chooses you for a NMNC position, there has been a drive recently to focus more on candidate’s personality, as part of their Values Based Recruitment policy.

This policy is designed to recruit people not for their formal qualifications, but for how they fit in with the values of the NHS. With this different approach to recruitment, the idea was to hire people who would fit in with their local NHS and ensure that its values are upheld.

This means that recruiters assess the role, whether that’s an estate manager or a healthcare assistant, to determine what behaviour and personality would best suit these positons. Rather than focusing on candidate’s previous exams, or degree subjects, you’ll find NHS recruiters more interested in finding out about you.

As a result, the interview process has changed from formal, short questions to a more relaxed approach where you’ll be asked about your response to different situations, in order to determine what personality type you are.

In such a large organisation, culture fit is essential because you need to be engaged in what you’re doing, and this will only come if you believe in the values that the NHS stand for. What’s more, this approach can benefit those who have less experience or formal qualifications but are passionate about making a difference to people’s lives.

Indeed, 50% of people in the NHS do not have any formal high level qualifications and have been employed for their interest in the NHS and commitment to proving their skills through other means.

Recruitment in the NHS will always be about finding fresh talent and enthusiastic people to contribute to the success of this national organisation. While the values based approach is relatively new, the ethos behind recruiting people who share the same values as the NHS and are passionate about its excellent service, remains the same.

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