Behind the Scenes With Our Specialist Recruitment Team

Matthew Lessells, our Director of Estates, visited our specialist recruitment team which recruits into a wide range of roles into Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW). They recruit all roles for CNTW except doctors and this includes nurses and physiotherapists through to psychologists, administrative staff, as well as trust governors.  

The first thing the team explained are that they are unique because although they are based within NTW Solutions they provide a service only to the Trust. Recruitment for NTW Solutions itself is done by our own Workforce Team. The team gave Matthew an overview of some of the scale involved in their work, for example they processed 29,000 applications over the past year and processed 1,200 appointments, with over 750 of these being filled by external candidates. 

Matthew heard how the team are almost exclusively based at home, except for one crucial member of staff who is on site doing essential in person ID checks. The team have given a lot of thought to working from home and rely heavily on technology to build a team spirit and to ensure they are collaborating with each other and working together well. Many of the team have been recruited during the pandemic or since and prefer home working and that was part of the attraction in applying for the role. The team obviously have all of the technology they need to work from home, including Microsoft Teams. When they need to make calls their trusty desk landlines have been replaced by trusty Nokia 3210s which do exactly what they need to do. 

The team used a well established high tech system to keep them on track which automates many processes, but also gives prompts and reminders for the tasks that the team needs to carry out and is a crucial tool for the team. Another crucial piece of kit is the state of the art ID scanner which is a Home Office approved scanner which can detect forgeries and incorrect ID. This gives a high level of assurance to CNTW that when we carry out ID checks that they are real and authentic ID. 

During COVID the team had to change the way they were working in many ways, with necessary innovations like online interviews and the challenge posed by people not being able to come in for ID checks. Wherever possible, and working with CNTW, they have kept innovations where there are beneficial. Some of the urgent nature of the crisis during COVID meant that some recruitment processes were sped up and where it is safe and legal to do so, those faster processes have remained in place. 

Matthew heard that the team have a strong reputation and get good feedback, with people sometimes taken by surprise how quickly their start date has come through. The team receive regular staff award nominations and one member of the team crowned Individual of the Year for NTW Solutions at the awards last year.