University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) has created the first online candidate assessment tool in the NHS to improve the quality of every new hire.

Based on UCLH’s values and behaviour framework (VBR) which includes safety, kindness, teamwork and improving, the self-assessment tool was created in partnership with behaviour change experts The Chemistry Group and is aimed at cutting down on administrative work for front line staff through innovative processes.

According to Jeremy Over, Workforce Director at UCLH, the new recruitment tool was based on a ‘collective desire’ for staff to spend less time in an office and more time in front line care.

“Our aim was to find an efficient way to hire staff who share our values, as well as reduce resourcing time,” said Jeremy. “The new self-assessment tool supports this goal, while also improving the quality of people we hire.  Thanks to the new system, only candidates who fit with our values will reach interview stage. We believe the result of hiring to values will positively affect millions of instinctive patient decisions daily.”

Last year, UCLH received approximately 38,000 applications for 1400 jobs which required a substantial amount of time to review and shortlist potential applicants. But the new system, which will assess the same number of candidates per year by asking psychologically-driven questions based on everyday hospital scenarios, is expected to release 2000 hours of time back into patient care in the first year alone.

Associated cost savings and time previously lost from screening unsuitable applications will also be gained in addition to improved hiring accuracies, whilst the system’s objectivity continues to support equality and diversity goals.

The Chemistry Group, specialists in designing highly-accurate recruitment solutions and driving performance improvement through behaviour change, helped create a system which works with UCLH’s Applicant Tracking System, TRAC, to deliver a seamless applicant experience. The online assessment can also be completed by PC, mobile or tablet and is the first part of a candidate’s UCLH career journey.

Roger Philby, CEO and Founder of The Chemistry Group, explained, “UCLH needed to recruit and retain people who innately hold 4 key values which will aid them in making better and compassionate patient choices. Cutting down resourcing time is also essential. However, few companies have been able to apply VBR using a blend of human intervention and technology to deliver a scalable and reliable resourcing solution”.

The HR and VBR process will be measured for the next five years to understand the impact.  Initial results show that nurses – who had been reviewing applications of c25k candidates pa – now only meet applicants whose responses suggest they hold the right values for UCLH. 

Jeremy added: “UCLH is committed to delivering top quality patient care, education and research, so this project is underpinned by this vision. It’s why it was important to develop UCLH’s VBR framework by researching 2000 stakeholders, including patients, families and staff.  

The VBR-support system now means we have extensive measurements in place to learn from the process over the next five years and will share what we learn across the NHS”.