KSF and competency based recruitment


19 / 01 / 2009

This ensures that staff recruited to new posts have the appropriate competencies and has enabled the trust to identify training requirements as part of the recruitment process.

  • SHA region
  • The organisation
  • What we did and why
  • How we did it
  • The results and next steps
  • Contact details and further information
  • SHA region

    NHS East of England

    The organisation

    Suffolk Community Healthcare (SCH) is the provider services arm of Suffolk Primary Care Trust, and consists of approx 1800 community based staff. The services provided include: community hospitals, local health care teams, children services and specialist services such as dental, prison healthcare and podiatry. The services are provided across Suffolk, which has a large rural population. The trust is currently moving towards becoming an arms length trading organisation.

    What we did and why

    The trust has successfully integrated the Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) into competency based recruitment. This was introduced in response to a major change initiative to ensure that staff recruited to new posts had the appropriate competencies. This also enabled training requirements to be identified as part of the recruitment process.

    Competency based recruitment is considered as standard practice within many organisations and can clearly identify an individuals competencies and development required for a post. This ensures more robust recruitment and enables training needs to be identified at an early stage. It can also reduce the number of inappropriate appointments and reduce the cost of recruitment by ensuring the right people are appointed.

    How we did it

    The trust changed its overall recruitment process, so that:

    • All jobs, before being advertising, are required to have a KSF post outline.
    • All the internal recruitment paper work for managers has changed to reflect, the six core KSF dimensions; one specific dimension; as well as qualifications, skills and knowledge. This means that as managers interview they record answers against the KSF dimensions and score against the dimensions. Managers have to have a full understanding of the different levels within each dimension. The trust recommends that in the early stages of using this process managers take a KSF guide with them to the interview.
    • Internal application forms reflect the KSF dimensions. Staff were asked to give examples of how they met the KSF post outline as well as providing a CV. This differs now that the trust use e-REC (an electronic recruitment system) as the standard on-line job application doesn't enable candidates to provide sufficient information relating to the KSF.
    • Interview questions include each KSF dimension, so that a candidates competency is by asking for examples of what the individual has done. The interview questions covered the 4 levels of each dimension.
    • Training was given to all employees that were affected by changes to the recruitment process, including examples of competency based application forms. On-going training now exists for line managers.

    The results and next steps

    These initial changes in process were introduced within a two month timescale. They are now embedded within the overall recruitment process.

    The initial obstacle had to overcome during the change period was that a number of staff did not have a KSF post outline and they felt that they may be put at a disadvantage in the recruitment process. This was overcome by ensuring that they attended the training session and gained an understanding of how the KSF was going to be used.

    The trust brought the senior team on board by selling the benefits of competency based recruitment, namely:

    • it ensures evidence based interviews that clearly determine an individual's competency;
    • the ability to identify, at an early stage, an individuals training needs;
    • reducing inappropriate recruitment; and
    • saving money by achieving more appointments from the first selection.

    Although the new recruitment process has been in place for over a year, further evaluation work needs to take place to look at recruitment responses and appointments. A KSF project officer has just been appointed to take on this work and evaluate the success of the project. This will be based on:

    • number of inappropriate appointments that have led to informal capability
    • number of training needs identified within first 6 months
    • number of training taken up within first 12 months
    • number of managers attending competency based training sessions

    Contact details and further information

    For further details about this project please contact Rachael Beard, Head of HR and Corporate Services, email rachael.beard@suffolkpct.nhs.uk or telephone 01449 618233

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