King's College Hospitals - working with Jobcentre Plus to shorten recruitment timescales


26 / 11 / 2012

The organisation 

King’s is one of London's largest and busiest teaching hospitals, with a world-class reputation and a strong profile of local services primarily serving the boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. More than 400 doctors, 275 nurses and 750 dentists are trained at King’s each year in partnership with King’s College London. Specialist services are available to patients across a wider catchment area, providing nationally and internationally recognised work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, haemato-oncology and foetal medicine. 

What we did and why

King’s College Hospital's strategic objective was to fill vacancies in roles of high turnover. Their initial target was healthcare assistants and subsequently pharmacy technicians and admin and clerical posts. The organisation partnered with Jobcentre Plus (JCP) in order to deliver a new approach whereby JCP shortened recruitment timescales by providing administrative support and pre-selection events. JCP wanted initiatives that helped move the unemployed into jobs and/or gave the opportunity for interview feedback to achieve that longer term aim. The process is one which has been mutually beneficial adding value to JCP, the trust and individuals concerned.

How we did it 

The organisation used assessment centres for selection purposes as these were deemed to be a better predictor of future job performance than interviews alone. The assessment centres were designed to test individuals' ability and potential as robustly as possible and were held quarterly. JCP provided a dedicated case manager, a venue to hold events, and other resources to help the organisation recruit staff. There were practical tests with minimum standards to reach (e.g. for pharmacy a calculation test) and if the tests were passed, individuals were invited for an interview. This gave candidates the chance to demonstrate their practical skills and JCP provided full support and guidance to the individuals with practice tests prior to formal assessment. Those who did not pass the tests were given feedback by JCP and those who made it through to interview but were not successful were given feedback by both King’s College Hospital and JCP for assistance with future interviews.    

Results and next steps 

King’s College Hospital has been running six assessment centres per year since 2007 and owing to the scheme's success plan to continue with this approach in the future. During 2012 the trust recruited over 50 local people into healthcare assistant positions within the trust. 

Tips for other trusts 

  • Engagement with a key individual from your local JCP 
  • Look at hard to fill/ high volume posts 
  • Find a local champion 
  • Obtain board support as part of your corporate social responsibility programme 
  • Shout loud in your organisation and celebrate your success! 
Contact details

Jemma Harris, Recruitment Manager, King's College Hospitals

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