How to Solve Your Candidate Conversion Problem; 6 Tips From an NHS Expat

Account Manager and NHS expat, Amy, gives her tips on candidate conversion

Account Manager, Amy Cockton

As a recruiting manager within the NHS for five years, I worked alongside HR recruitment teams and gained valuable insights into the NHS recruitment processes, which has helped me provide fresh and unique perspectives to the Just R mission.

Through this, I can see that NHS recruitment and HR teams can take a different approach to candidate conversion, outside of existing processes and systems which adds to the red tape.

A main failure in the system is the slow and laborious onboarding processes, which can span over 3 months. The healthcare industry’s average onboarding time is 60 days due to safety and regulatory procedures. Other factors include outdated systems and processes for tracking applicants and fixed ideas about how recruitment processes should operate.

And Below are some of my top tips for candidate conversion, making it work for both you as a recruiting manager, and more importantly, for the candidate.

Showcase your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)

  • Your EVP is key to attracting the very best candidates and allows you to stand out against competitors.
  • Your EVP should speak to potential candidates and answer the questions: Why should I consider attending your event or joining your Trust? What can you offer that’s different? Why you?

Just R work alongside your team to build you a strong EVP. Through key messages and genuine accounts from your current workforce, a story begins to unfold that puts your organisation into the spotlight!


Remove barriers to applying

  • 60% of candidates give up on the application process as they feel it takes too long. Why…
  • Put yourself in the shoes of someone new-to-care or a passive job-seeker, the application process must be as quick and easy as possible.
  • Common frustrations with traditional job sites include having to scroll through tons of job postings to find the one that sparks interest (especially if the candidate isn’t sure what’s available in the first place) and setting up a profile (this can be time-consuming and requires candidates to repeat themselves).


At Just R, we use digital short forms where candidates can register their interest. To convert these into application forms, our highly skilled Candidate Consultants make quick contact with candidates once they submit an enquiry. All candidate information and communication are stored and managed within Just R’s recruitment pipeline management system (RPM), a bespoke, GDPR-compliant online system built by Just R to manage NHS recruitment talent pools.

Event for Airedale NHS Trust, image detailing how to sign up to attend the event

NUH team values, the image depicts the NHS Trusts 7 values, spelling out 'TEAM NUH'

Values-based recruitment

  • A values-based recruitment system allows your organisation to get to know the person beyond their current skills, knowledge and experience. 
  • Value-based recruitment aligns staff and drives retention.
  • If recruitment processes rely on ‘ticking boxes’,  you risk missing out on candidates that are an excellent fit for your organisation
  • For new-to-care; consider transferable skills such as customer service skills or experience caring for a loved one or older person.


At Just R, our candidate liaison and conversion service is centred around a values-based approach. This ensures candidates are aligned with your organisation and are more likely to apply and stick around.

Shorten the feedback loop

Ensuring candidates receive prompt and sufficient feedback is key, with 75% of employees accepting a job offer because of the positive candidate experience they had during the hiring process.

Nearly every service we engage with as a consumer offers instant feedback. You can track your parcels, delivery drivers and even your pizza order in real-time.

Recruitment and job hunting are no exceptions. Here’s how:

  • Automate responses so candidates receive instant confirmation and feedback.
  • Utilise text messaging services (already used for appointment reminders). These can provide a handy tool for sending event-related reminders or reminders about important documentation candidates need to bring with them.
  • Personalised messaging can really make a difference.

At Just R, we send candidates email reminders for events and interesting insights about the relevant NHS organisation. This builds excitement around the idea of working there and drives greater retention at events.


Event planning, preparation and resourcing

If running a recruitment event is a key part of your recruitment strategy – plan ahead! 

  • Provide sufficient advance notice to HR and recruitment teams.
  • Support from HR can enable you to take a proactive approach when it comes to signing candidates in and ID checks etc. 
  • Team members should be aware of events so resources can be allocated accordingly to handle large numbers of candidates.

At Just R, we can help to promote your events, leaving more time to focus on candidate conversion during and post-event.

Women holding up a sign that reads "I've accepted a job!" at a recruitment event for Tameside NHS

Put the candidate in the centre (customer experience)

If you want to attract and retain talent, you must ensure you are providing candidates with a first-class experience from start to finish. Once engaged, candidates can quickly lose interest if communication breaks down and they are left in the dark. 46% of candidates lose interest if they don’t receive any status updates within 1 to 2 weeks after their interview, and according to a LinkedIn article, 69% of employees are more likely to stay for at least 3 years after a great onboarding experience.

  • When planning your event, think about walking through and process mapping the candidate flow and feedback loops. Are there gaps? Will there be delays? 
  • Manage expectations by simply communicating how long checks may take and visualising that process. 
  • Keeping warm processes can help ensure your candidates don’t drop off after the highs of the recruitment day.


By following the above tips, HR recruitment teams will improve their candidate conversion rate.

Need help driving candidate conversion?
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