Top tips on how to get shortlisted for interview


We’re recruiting – exciting times! Ellie Wetz, Programme Manager here at the West of England AHSN gives her top tips on how to get shortlisted for interview. Please have a read through before you hit submit, as we’d really love for you to succeed in your application.

More team members mean more resource, greater reach, wider networks and greater impact for the projects and programmes we manage. All good things.

However, recruitment can often be  time consuming for those involved in the selection process. Good jobs (and we have good jobs!) often attract large numbers of candidates, which is brilliant but does mean it can be hard for candidates to stand out.

Luckily, the NHS has a robust and transparent process for scoring and shortlisting applications. It’s straightforward;  we assess each candidate against the essential criteria in the supplied Person Specification and  make a judgement on how closely they meet it. Those with the highest scores get invited to interview. Simple. Well, so you would think.

Good candidates who may be perfect for the job can sometimes do themselves a disservice by not applying care and attention to their applications, which is such a shame.

Help us help you get a job. Follow these simple guidelines to give yourself the best chance of getting an interview. The interview itself will be your time to shine and sell yourself to us – and similarly for you to assess whether we’re the right fit for you. So, when applying for a role, whether with us or elsewhere in the NHS and beyond, do follow these simple tips.

Answer the person spec.

In the ‘Supporting Statement’ section, address each point in the Person Specification in the order in which they appear. Under each entry, give us real-life examples of when you have experienced that point/applied that knowledge. These don’t always have to be work based; you can reflect on any experience that you feel supports your application.

You may find it helpful to apply the STAR method when considering each point in the person specification. The STAR method is:-

S – Situation, background set the scene.

T – Task or Target, specifics of what’s required, when, where, who.

A – Action, what you did, skills used, behaviours, characteristics.

R – Result – Outcome, what happened?

Keep it brief.

Unfortunately, we don’t often have lots of time to spend reading long applications; give the information we need as succinctly as you can.

Avoid repetition

Try and demonstrate breadth of knowledge and experience; avoid focusing on examples from a single setting or role, try and mix it up – give us variety!

Use spell check.

This sounds like an obvious one but can sometimes be missed when rushing an application. It’s also a good idea to ask someone to read it through as it can be hard to spot errors in our own writing.

Sell yourself!

Let your personality shine through. Make us interested in you; make us want to meet you in person and find out more about you.  Tell us why you want the job and why you think you’re the best candidate.

Other top tips:

Do your research. Read our website. Learn who our commissioners are. Learn about our programmes and projects. Learn about our members and stakeholders. Work out what interests you about us.

Be honest. If you don’t have experience in a specific area, tell us. We can fill the gaps in your knowledge and give you opportunities to learn – an inquisitive, open and kind approach are qualities that are often more important than experience.

Where possible, accept all offers of informal chats or office orientations by the recruiting team.

If invited to interview be punctual, be smart, give good eye contact.

Don’t be shy – let your personality shine through and try not to let nerves get the better of you.

If you do apply for a job with us, I look forward to reading your application and hopefully shortlisting you. Good luck!

Posted on May 31, 2019 by Ellie Wetz, Programme Manager, West of England AHSN

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