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Joining the NHS

On this page you’ll find information about the job application process in the NHS as well as some useful hints and tips about how to make your application successful.

Brought to you by NHS Careers

Job hunting

Each trust is responsible for its own recruitment of staff. The vast majority of employers now advertise their job vacancies on NHS Jobs, the online recruitment website for jobs in the NHS. As an applicant, you can search and apply on-line for vacancies that match your own preferences. You can also register with the site and be notified by email, when matching vacancies arise.

If you don’t have access to the internet at home or at work, you may find that your local library, community centre, careers centre or internet cafe can offer you internet facilities. Vacancies in the NHS are shared with Jobcentre Plus and you will be able to access details through your local Jobcentre Plus office, at the job points or alternatively you can log on to

Trusts often produce a job vacancy bulletin - and you may be able to pick one of these up from a trust’s reception point. Most trusts have their own website and these usually provide links to job vacancies. Vacancies may also appear in local newspapers, periodicals and relevant trade press.

Making applications

When employers are advertising job vacancies, they will produce a job description (an outline of the job, including a summary of the main tasks and responsibilities) and a person specification (the type of person they wish to attract, including essential and desirable criteria).

Job vacancies are usually filled through open competition, so you need to ensure that you read the job description and person specification fully, before making your application. In orders to be short listed (invited for interview) for a position, candidates must meet at least all the essential criteria outlined in the person specification.

Pre-employment checks

Your new employer will carry out a series of pre-employment checks before you are able to start work.

  • Verification of identity: The employer will request a combination of photographic and non-photographic documents to verify your identity.
  • Right to work checks: Most overseas nationals who do not live in the UK or European Economic Area (EEA), but want to work in the UK, will be required to provide evidence of a sponsor and have a valid certificate of sponsorship. It is the responsibility of the UK employer to issue you with a certificate of sponsorship. Visit the UK Border Agency website for more information.
  • Qualification checks: Qualifications relevant to the position you have applied for will be verified once a job offer is made.
  • Registration checks: Before appointing a health professional, the employer will check whether you are registered with the relevant regulatory body and whether any special conditions apply. Please see the website links section for contact details of your relevant professional body. They have in-depth information about registration for each profession.
  • Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks: Employers may ask for a CRB check depending on the type of work you will be doing. The CRB disclosure will reveal if an individual has a criminal record. The employer will then make an informed decision on whether or not to appoint that individual.
  • Reference checks: In order to check previous employment history, references will be requested by the employer with your consent. They should be obtained in writing by an appropriate person, for example someone with management responsibility, and should be fair and objective.
  • Occupational health checks: Each NHS employer will give staff an occupational health check. This is to ensure that you are fit for work and so that your employer can provide you with any adaptations for you to do your job, for example a special chair, keyboard etc.