Job offers, clearances and contracting

The selection process continues after interviews. It includes clearance checks such as:

  • references
  • garda or police clearance
  • occupational health
  • qualifications and professional registration

The recommendation to proceed through the selection process can be withdrawn if candidates fail to provide proof of their claimed qualifications, training, or experience.

Offering a post

Send candidates a results letter after interviews, and if successful, their place on the panel.

When a position becomes available, compare the candidate's application form to the eligibility criteria for the position to ensure they meet the requirements.

Offer the post to candidates in order of merit.

You can adapt the job offer template (permanent post) to suit your specific role.

Tell the candidate which documents they need to provide. This includes, if relevant, proof of:

  • qualifications
  • professional registration
  • work authorisation

It is the candidate’s responsibility to provide the correct documentation.

Ask the candidate to sign the acceptance of office form and return it to you. Give them a set time, for example 3 days to accept the offer.

Allow candidates with disabilities, or other reasonable accommodation needs, more time to evaluate factors such as the physical workplace or the availability of public transport. This will help them decide whether or not to accept the offer to proceed.

Contact candidates directly if they have not responded before the set time to accept the offer to proceed.

When you receive the signed acceptance of office form, confirm receipt and update the panel to show you have filled the position.

Create a file for each candidate’s documents.

At the end of the process, store the documents as part of a candidate’s personnel file with local HR. 

To assist you, use the candidate file checklist for external candidates.


Once the candidate accepts the job offer, and to ensure they meet the minimum requirements for the post, candidates need to go through a number of checks.

These include:

  • pre-placement health assessment
  • garda vetting or  police clearance
  • reference checks

Pre-placement health assessment 

A pre-placement health assessment (PPHA), carried out by Occupational Health, assesses if a candidate is medically fit to do the job.

The assessment is by questionnaire, and if necessary, a medical consultation. This checks the candidate’s physical and mental ability to do the job safely.

Send a PPHA form to your candidate once they accept the offer of a post, if relevant.

A candidate must fill in all sections of the form and return it to the stated occupational health service, along with any relevant immunisation information.

Usually, a completed questionnaire is used to assess fitness to do the job. However, depending on the candidate’s medical history or the work they will be doing, occupational health can ask candidates:

  • for a GP report
  • for a specialist report
  • to attend for a medical assessment with the occupational health doctor

Occupational Health send a fitness to work certificate, also known as a fit slip, to the recruiter after assessment.

The fit slip outlines a candidate’s fitness for the role and includes any recommendations, for example:

  • fit for employment: proceed to appointment if all other clearances are satisfactory
  • fit for employment: subject to restrictions (a list of restrictions provided, and the recruiter should speak with the hiring manager to determine whether the candidate can meet the restrictions requirements)
  • unfit for employment: post is retracted on occupational health grounds

Garda vetting and police clearance

The HSE does garda vetting clearance on new employees who have contact with children or vulnerable adults.

Candidates sign a statutory declaration which forms part of their application form. Candidates who apply using the online application form, or submit application forms by email, must sign the statutory declaration in person when they attend for interview.

New employees who will have contact with children or vulnerable adults must not take up duty until:

  • garda vetting clearance is complete
  • HSE is satisfied that such an appointment does not pose a risk to clients, service users and employees

Get further information on the garda vetting process from the National Vetting Bureau.

Local recruitment campaigns will involve local garda vetting, together with the Garda Vetting Liaison Office (GVLO).

Email for more information and guidance.

Candidates who have lived abroad for 6 months or more

Candidates who have lived outside the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland for 6 months or more after their 16th birthday must provide security clearance for each country they have lived in.

The date of the security clearance must be after they left that country and cover the entire period of their residence.

If they are still resident outside of the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, a current security clearance is acceptable. A further security clearance is required once they have left that county.

Getting security clearances from other countries is the responsibility of the candidate and can take a long time.

Medical consultants overseas clearances

The requirements for overseas security clearances are modified for medical consultant appointments. This is because many medical consultants require overseas training as part of their basic and speciality training.

Recruiters should get security clearance from other countries where the candidate has lived since they turned 18, covering the past 10 years from today's date.  They do not have to check for security clearances for the entire time since someone turned 18.

In situations where convictions occurred within the previous 10 years, additional police clearances going beyond the 10 years is required.

Candidates must complete a statutory declaration in relation to any offences or convictions.

If necessary, the recruiter may request additional overseas security clearances to determine whether the candidate is suitable for that post. 

Candidates are responsible for any costs associated with getting clearances.

Garda vetting can provide useful information on how candidates can obtain overseas clearances.

Reference checking

After the candidate has accepted a job offer, request references from the nominated referees.

It may be appropriate in some situations, such as senior appointments, to get references before interviews. If you intend to do this, include this information in the additional candidate information document.

Remind candidates that a recruiter will request a reference from their current employer if they accept a job offer.

The reference must be from a suitable senior manager.

References for nurses, social workers and all other health and social care professionals must be from:

  • director of nursing or assistant director of nursing for all nurses (if there is no director or assistant director of nursing at the external organisation, a reference from someone 2 grades above the candidate's current grade is acceptable)
  • principal social worker for all social workers
  • service manager for all other health and social care professions

Candidates should not submit references with their application form. Only references sourced independently by the recruiter are considered.

Use the employment reference form to request references. Include the completed forms in the candidate’s file.

External appointments

Prospective employees must provide a full employment and education history. Check for any gaps and ask the candidate to give reasons for the gaps. Record these in the candidate’s file.

Determine at least 2 appropriate referees. 1 should be from the current or most recent employer, where possible.

You can request written and verbal references from current and previous employers, education institutions or any other organisation associated with the candidate.

You can request additional references if you need to determine the candidate's suitability for a post.

References should cover a period of at least 5 years to give an overall view of a candidate’s suitability for the post.

For periods of self-employment, references should confirm the candidate managed their business properly. For example, references from customers or clients, accountants, Revenue.

If a reference is genuinely unavailable, for example, if the person has never worked before or there has been a significant gap between jobs, you can request a character reference to help determine their suitability for the post.

Internal appointments

References are checked at the time of initial appointment with the HSE. For the new post, you will need to check at least 1 additional employment reference.

HSE references must be from a referee at least 2 grades above the candidate’s current grade.

The referee for a:

  • clerical officer must be grade V or higher
  • grade VII must be a general manager or higher grade

You can request further references, if needed, to determine the candidate's suitability for the new post.

The additional reference should provide a view of the candidate's suitability for the new role. It should be from the employee’s current line manager or overall function manager. 

The references do not need to cover a retrospective 5 year period.

Non Consultant Hospital Doctors

Request written references directly from the referees.

The recruiter can request written and verbal references from current and previous employers, educational institutions, and other organisations with which the candidate has been associated..

At least 1 of the 2 references must be from the current or most recent supervising consultant or employer, preferably a HSE employer.

The hospital or CHO must request at least 2 written references for each NCHD appointed.

You can request references from educational institutions if the NCHD has not undertaken a clinical internship during their basic medical training. If the post requires certain clinical skills, the recruiter must be satisfied that a candidate has experience in the clinical skills required, before you make an offer of employment. This is to ensure patient safety.

Reference delays

Sometimes there can be delays in receiving references.

The recruiter should contact the candidate to remind them that it is their responsibility to secure a response or provide alternative contact details.

Where there is a significant delay, or a lack of sufficient evidence to support the candidate’s application, you can decide to withdraw the offer of a post.

Reviewing references

The recruiter must be satisfied that they have a comprehensive set of references confirming a candidate's previous performance and behaviours are appropriate for the post.

If any issues or risks are identified in the references, or if additional information is needed, make every effort to validate this information. You can contact any employer or organisation associated with the candidate. 

Contact the hiring manager to discuss the references' content and identify any risks to the service.

If you identify a risk, conduct a risk assessment on the candidate. Include all facts, findings, and the hiring manager's opinions. Make a decision on whether to proceed or withdraw the offer of a post.

Inform the candidate of your decision and the reason for it, as well as the appeals and complaints process.

Contract of employment

Contracting is the last part of the selection process.

Local Employee Relations or National Employee Relations (NERS) can provide advice during the contracting stage.

Before you prepare a contract

Check that the occupational health, garda vetting and reference checks are complete, and you have all the documents you need.

These include:

  • photo identification
  • birth or marriage certificate, if required
  • signed statutory declaration
  • evidence of registration with a regulator or professional body, if relevant

The HSE cannot employ a regulated health professional to practice in Ireland without appropriate registration. The relevant regulator is the authority for registration and recognition of qualifications.

Where the eligibility criteria requires registration with the relevant professional regulator, you need to check:

Note: Fitness to Practise (FTP) conditions should always be ‘No’.

You will need to print the record for the candidate’s file.

For several other health and social care professions, the Minister for Health is the competent authority.

Preparing a contract of employment

Once the clearance process is complete, check the job specification for:

  • type of contract for the post
  • job title and grade
  • salary scale
  • location
  • reporting relationship
  • hours of work

There are usually 2 types of contract - permanent and specified purpose.

You cannot employ someone indefinitely on a series of fixed-term contracts.

If an internal candidate started on or after 14 July 2003, and has been on 2 or more continuous fixed-term contracts, the total duration of those contracts cannot exceed 4 years.

To assist you in preparing the contract, use the current permanent contract template or specified purpose contract template, available on RQSA Recruitment Network MS Team (PDF, 443 KB, 8 pages).

If you have not used RQSA Recruitment Network before you will need to apply for access.

Agree a start date with the candidate and hiring manager. This date forms part of the contract.

The HSE terms and conditions for contracts of employment database provides guidance on:

  • how to calculate incremental credit
  • starting pay on promotion
  • working hours
  • assigning annual leave

Updates to the database are ongoing. Always use the current version to make sure you are applying HSE HR circulars, memos, pay policies and agreements correctly.

Confirmation of service

You need to confirm what point of the salary scale applies to the candidate. To do this you need to assess:

  • previous service that qualifies for incremental credit
  • If pay-on-promotion rules apply (for a promotional position using Circular 10/71) to determine the pay point on the salary scale

Use the HSE guidelines on terms and conditions of employment to help you.

The first step is to request confirmation of previous service, which must be in writing.

You can use the verification of service form which requests the following information:

  • confirmation of grade
  • dates of employment
  • current point on scale
  • incremental date, if applicable

The previous employer’s HR or payroll department must sign and stamp the verification of service form.

Reckonable service

Reckonable service is determined on a like-for-like basis with the new role. This requires the same or equivalent eligibility criteria.

If the recruiter is not able to determine the like-for-like basis, they will need the full job specification, including eligibility criteria, for the previous role. A member of the profession will assess and confirm the comparability.

If a candidate’s current job title is different to the new role but the qualifications required are the same, they must submit a copy of their current job specification to help with the comparison review.

For example, appointment of a candidate in a professionally qualified social worker position in the HSE and they are currently:

  • social worker band 1 working in NHS
  • probation officer working in the probation service in Ireland

You must compare the verification of service against the application form to ensure that the point on the scale corresponds to the salary scale.

If you do not have verification of previous service, start the candidate on the first point of the salary scale with an incremental date 1 year from the date of appointment.

Incremental credit on appointment

New appointees to any grade start at the minimum point of the scale.

For clerical and administrative grades, apply incremental credit for recognised relevant service (also known as reckonable service) in a similar grade in:

  • civil service
  • local authority 
  • health service
  • other public service bodies and statutory agencies, in Ireland or abroad

A break in service does not affect this provision.

Experience not reckonable for service:

  • private sector experience 
  • self-employed service (except for dentists)

HSE guidelines on terms and conditions of employment sets out the rules for applying incremental credit.

This includes particular rules for:

  • nurses
  • NCHDs
  • health and social care professionals
  • dentists and dental nurses
  • pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians
  • ambulance staff
  • technical services officers

The HSE terms and conditions for contracts of employment database provides a ready reckoner on how to calculate incremental credit.

Updates to the database are ongoing. Always use the current version to make sure you are correctly applying HSE HR circulars, memos, pay policies and agreements. 

Use the incremental credit for previous service form grade to grade to calculate the incremental credit that applies to previous verified service. Include this form in the candidate's file.

Long service increments (LSI)

The first LSI is payable after 3 years at the maximum of the scale. The second LSI, if applicable, is payable after a further 3 years. The third LSI, if applicable, is payable after a further 3 years’ experience.

An employee’s aggregate recognised service outside the Irish public health service is reckonable for LSIs. This means an entitlement to an LSI after the same number of years’ service as their equivalent in the Irish public health service.

For example, a newly-appointed staff nurse who has 15  or more years recognised service (12 prior to implementation of the new entrant salary scale) is entitled to be placed on the LSI.

Further information is available in HSE HR Circular 004/2009 and HSE Circular 044/2020.

Part-time staff progress on the incremental salary scale after completing 52 weeks satisfactory service.

Employees who provide relief services on an 'as needed basis' receive incremental credit for weeks with no hours worked.  This means you should use the same arrangements as employees with fixed contracted hours.

Refer to corporate employee relations services memos of 26/10/2011 and 3/11/2011.

Exceptions and atypical arrangements

Union agreements may have an impact on applying incremental credit.

The recruiter should take into account union agreements, and keep a copy of these agreements on file to support exceptions to standard incremental guidance principles in any particular case.

Starting pay on promotion

HSE guidelines on terms and conditions of employment sets out the rules for staff on starting pay on promotion.

This includes particular rules for:

  • nurses
  • psychiatric nurses
  • therapy grades

The HSE terms and conditions for contracts of employment database gives guidance on how to apply starting pay on promotion.

Updates to the database are ongoing. Always use the current version to make sure you are applying HSE HR circulars, memos, pay policies and agreements correctly.

Candidates or employees moving to a different staff category are having a career change, not a promotion. When deciding on the starting point of the salary scale, use the principle of nearest point, but not below.

For example, nurse or midwife moving to a role in management or administration staff category.

Terms and conditions

HSE guidelines on terms and conditions of employment includes information on:

  • leave entitlement
  • atypical working arrangements
  • after hours attendance
  • acting up

The HSE terms and conditions for contracts of employment database gives guidance on how to calculate and apply leave entitlement, and working hours for grade codes.

Updates to the database are ongoing. Always use the current version to make sure you are applying HSE HR circulars, memos, pay policies and agreements correctly.

Pension Abatement

Information on pension abatement must be included as part of the recruitment process.

Former health service and public sector employees must follow the relevant prohibition of re-employment conditions if they have previously availed of a public service voluntary early retirement, or ill health retirement, pension.

Pension abatement applies to:

  • former public servants engaged on a contract of service i.e. as an employee and in receipt of a public service pension
  • pensioners appointed prior to November 1 2012 in receipt of a pension from outside the health sector on change of status of appointment

Pension abatement does not apply to:

  • agency workers
  • contracts for service, that is a non-employment basis
  • pensioners appointed as employees prior to November 1 2012 who (a) are receipt of pensions from outside the health sector and (b) have not had a change in status of appointment thereafter

Review the standard applicant information document to ensure this information is included for your campaign:

Applicant information document (Word, size 104 KB)

Abatement applies to the pension payment and not to the salary in the new employment.

Next steps

Send the documents to the candidate for signature and return. Include copies for them to keep.

Documents to include are:

Use the process map and summary guide for populating pension information on the HR101 form to assist you in choosing the correct pension scheme and PRSI code.

Review the Section 51 pension benefits declaration form and identify if there is a need for an abatement assessment.

Notify the pension paying authority, immediately on re-employment of a public service pensioner, who will calculate the abatement amount, notify payroll of the abatement ceiling, inform the employee and apply the abatement.

  • HSE or Tusla pensioner, notify HSE pensions by completing and returning the Rehire Template (Excel, size 10 KB) (including details of contract dates, contract hours and remuneration).
  • pensioner from another public service body - ensure there is a data sharing agreement in place and notify the relevant pension paying authority.

Check for amendments on returned forms and the contract.

Add the contract to the file you created for the candidate's documents and store as part of a candidate’s personnel file.

What you need to do next

Check the candidate file to make sure it includes:

  • signed contract of employment
  • verification of service form and incremental credit for previous service form grade-to-grade, if relevant
  • photo identification
  • birth or marriage certificate, if required
  • signed statutory declaration and clearances including occupational health fit slip
  • evidence of registration with a regulator or professional body, if relevant

Make a note on the file that payroll will notify the relevant pension paying authority:

  • of changes to the employee’s work pattern and / or current remuneration
  • when the contract ends who will then end the abatement.

Send the complete candidate file to local HR, including the HR101 or HR102 form, to set up the new employee on payroll or transfer an existing employee to a new payroll area.