Plan to recruit

Check you are ready to plan your recruitment

You will need to have:

Check what you have to do and when

First, consider what you need the result of the process to be. The length and duration of the recruitment and selection process can vary. Effective planning will save time and provide a roadmap from the beginning.

Include a wide range of stakeholders, including service managers, in the planning process so your final plan will meet the current and future needs of the service. 

You need to:

  • keep accurate records of all stages in the selection and recruitment process (these are kept for 7 years)
  • record decisions made during the planning stage in the recruitment campaign file
  • include details of who was involved in the decision making process, and the rationale behind decisions made
  • identify and appoint appropriate reviewers for formal reviews and complaints, to avoid delays

Diversity, equality and inclusion

Appointments in the public service must be in line with best practice, CPSA guidelines and public policy.

You must ensure the selection process does not provide unjustifiable advantage or disadvantage to any particular candidate or group of candidates. The selection process must offer genuine equality, diversity and inclusivity of opportunity.

Use universal design principles for all aspects of recruitment and selection, including communications and interviews. This improves accessibility and usability for everyone.

Guidance and support is available from HSE Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) team.

Use the job specification to help plan

Map out where in the selection process you will assess each section of the job specification. For example, you assess:

  • eligibility criteria using the application form - this is called an eligibility sift
  • planning and  managing resources at interview - as a specific competency question
  • communication and interpersonal skills using global assessment - this means you capture evidence of this skill throughout the whole interview

Decide which selection methods or combination of methods are the most appropriate to use for the role:

  • eligibility sift
  • shortlisting
  • interviewing

You need to find a balance between the volume of candidates likely to apply, the ideal approach, and the resources available to manage applications fairly, objectively and efficiently.  For example, for higher volume campaigns, or those with wide selection criteria like clerical officers, consider how you will manage a large number of applications and whether for example, you will perform an eligibility sift and shortlisting.

Prepare candidate documents

In addition to the job specification, you need to prepare:

  • application form
  • applicant information document

Review the standard application form and applicant information document to decide how to adapt them to suit your campaign.

Adapting the application form

Check you have mapped the selection process before you adapt the application form.

Think about what type of information you need from candidates based on the agreed selection process. Use the master application form to design the application form.

Use the completed job specification to ensure all questions on the application form are relevant to your post.

The aim is to help your candidate show relevant skills, qualifications and experience to match the job specification. You can do this by matching the number and type of questions to the skills and experience needed for the role.

Applicant information document

The standard applicant information document provides all the information that you must include. 

Use the recruiter decision points highlighted throughout the document to adapt this for your campaign.

The document provides HR or recruitment team contact information (if a candidate has a query about the process). It sets out the complete recruitment and selection process including:

  • who should apply and how to apply
  • how you will run the selection process
  • recruitment timescales
  • whether panels will be formed, future panels, information for candidates on existing panels, specialty areas and care groups (if relevant)
  • supports available, including reasonable accommodation, for candidates with a disability
  • interview notes, the marking system, and how job offers will be made
  • security clearances needed and how candidates must provide them
  • how candidates can request a review or make a complaint

The document provides information for candidates who are former health service or public sector employees with pensions (to review their pension scheme rules to ensure they are eligible to apply).

Use the HSE candidate privacy notice template to help you prepare your own specific candidate privacy statement for recruitment.

Choosing selection and interview board members

All HSE recruitment must reflect relevant legislation and the CPSA Code of Practice.

Check you have systems in place for selection boards to carry out an open and transparent selection process.

Members must:

  • understand their role
  • have necessary skills
  • know about the disability awareness and equal opportunity policy

Structure the selection board in a way that ensures we meet our statutory obligations. 

You do this by:

  • demonstrating probity and impartiality in the recruitment process
  • building public trust in the appointment process through transparent ethical practices
  • demonstrating consistent standards and practice
  • facilitating audit and reviews or complaints under the Commission for Public Service (CPSA) Code of Practice
  • supporting a competitive, fair recruitment process by ensuring qualified selection board members assess candidates’ performance against the needs of the role

Important factors for recruiters forming a selection board include:

  • clinical and professional competence
  • seniority
  • geographical representation
  • gender balance
  • level of demonstrable independence in decision making

Check how to select and manage selection and interview boards.

Tracking the selection process

The documents in your recruitment campaign file should record each stage of the selection and recruitment process. This will demonstrate that you have systems in place to:

  • attract and select candidates
  • comply with the CPSA Code of Practice
  • assure quality in the selection and appointment process
  • review and regularly evaluate the assessment processes

You must keep accurate records for the whole recruitment process including who was involved at each stage.

This includes:

  • who was consulted at the pre-planning stage and the reasons for decisions made
  • who participated on the interview boards, and why they were selected
  • who gave the interview board briefing and when
  • interview training records
  • chairperson training records
  • interview preparation documents, interview schedule, notes, marking sheets
  • confidentiality agreements

These records are required if there is a CPSA audit, a request for review, or complaint about a campaign, or a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.