Application process

Our application video guide will help you apply online for a job in the NHS. We discuss each section of the application process in detail, including:

  • personal details
  • qualifications
  • employment
  • equal opportunities
  • references
  • assessment

By watching this video, you will learn:

  • where to start
  • what information you’ll need
  • how to present your information
  • top tips for a great application

Good luck with your application. If you need more help and advice, please visit the recruitment process page.

Hello! Welcome to our step by step guide to help you apply online for a job in the NHS.

First, search on our recruitment website to view current job opportunities. The address is apply.jobs.scot.nhs.uk.

Click on a job that interests you and download the application pack. Make sure you read everything. Our application packs include lots of useful information to help you decide if it’s the right job for you, including
salary and number of hours per week, location, type of person we’re looking for, minimum requirements, such as qualifications and experience, and job description and range of duties. These are called ‘Key Result Areas’

Depending on the NHS Board you’re applying to, there may be different names for the application packs. Look out for links on the vacancy webpage that say candidate information pack, job description, person specification or candidate guidance notes.

Remember to open and save copies of all documents. You’ll want to look at them again as you complete your application, and if you’re invited to interview.

Now you know more about the job, is it what you wanted to do? Great! Click apply and tell us why.

To complete your online application, you'll need an account on our recruitment website, your personal details, your qualifications, your employment history and 2 references.

Make some notes about your knowledge, skills and experience that make you a good match for the job.

If you already have an account on our recruitment site, please log in. To set up a new account, please register by following the on-screen instructions.

The numbered progress bar at the top of the page shows which section of the form you're updating. Use the buttons at the bottom of the page to go back to an earlier step if you want to make changes. You can also save your changes and move on to the next section.

Personal details. To start, we'll ask for your personal details, including name, address, email address and telephone number. We'll use this information to contact you or provide updates about your application during the recruitment process.

Qualifications. Next, we'll ask about your qualifications. Please list all the qualifications you already have and those you're currently taking. Remember to include your grades or expected results.

Employment. In the next section, we'll ask about your employment history. Start by adding your first employer and end with your present or most recent job. Always give a summary of what you did in each role. Tell us about training programmes, volunteering, youth awards or school activities too.

Equal opportunities. We are committed to recruiting, retaining and developing a diverse workforce. Diversity and equality of opportunity are essential to our recruitment process.

In the equal opportunities section, we'll ask questions about you. Some are mandatory. Please choose options that best describe you.

NHSScotland operates a Guaranteed Interview Scheme. If you have a disability and meet the essential criteria outlined in the person specification, you'll be guaranteed an interview.

References. Next, we'll ask for at least 2 references. References help to show us you have the knowledge, skills and qualities needed for the job.

The details you provide must cover the last 3 years of your employment history. If you do not have 3 years of employment history, please provide suitable education or character referees, such as a teacher, a lecturer, your doctor, a lawyer, a police officer, or an MP.

You must not use family members or friends.

Please make sure your referees have agreed to provide a reference. You'll need to give us their email address and phone number.

Your referees must include your current or most recent employer. Please identify the person in your organisation who is authorised to confirm your employment and application details. This is normally your direct line manager.

The second referee should be someone who has close knowledge of your skills and abilities.

If you have any gaps in your employment over 3 months, please provide referee details to cover this period. This could be your work coach at Job Centre Plus or your employability adviser.

Additional referees may be required to cover the last 3 years of your employment history.

If you have had no previous employment, or you’ve been self-employed, you’ll need to provide details for 2 personal referees. If you’re shortlisted for an interview, you may need to provide evidence to confirm your status, such as a letter from Job Centre Plus, your academic record, or evidence from HM Revenue and Customs.

Assessment. In this section, you'll have the opportunity to tell us why you'd be the ideal person for the job. We give you 3 questions to help you structure your response.

Why do you think you are suitable for this role? Describe how your skills, knowledge and experience match the person specification, while also explaining your motivation and goals.

Skills are learned in everyday life: work, study and activities you enjoy.

You'll already have skills we are looking for.

Transferable skills include communication, attention to detail, using technology, problem-solving, time management and working in a team.

Why do you want to work in the NHS? We want to know why it's the right role for you and about your passion for working in healthcare.

Show your understanding of the NHSScotland values. [These are] care and compassion, dignity and respect, openness, honesty, and responsibility, and quality and teamwork.

Don't just list them, tell us why you feel you hold them and provide examples. Avoid making general statements without backing up your claims.

Is there any other relevant information that will help us in shortlisting your application? Don't leave this blank! Tell us about your career goals and use it as an opportunity to summarise your application.

In some cases, we may need you to provide specific information or evidence to support your application. The application form may include additional questions related to the advertised job.

Declaration. To complete your application, please read and agree to the candidate declaration. You can also review your application before submitting it.

Top tips. Read the job advert and application pack in full.

Take time to prepare your information.

Make sure you know the closing date. You'll find this on the job advert.

Follow the instructions on the application form. Complete all the required sections.

Don't rush! You can easily make mistakes and forget important information.

Don’t leave any of the assessment questions blank! 

Always check spelling and grammar. Ask someone to look over your application before you submit it.

Check your email address is correct. We will contact you by email during the recruitment process.

Good luck with your application. If you need more help and advice, visit careers.nhs.scot/recruitment.