NHS Blood and Transplant People First

Recruitment During Coronavirus Pandemic

This section sets out changes to the recruitment process during the coronavirus pandemic.  The changes made are to help support managers in reducing the time taken on selection and minimise the risk of spreading the virus through social distancing by using on-line methods rather than face to face selection.

It is important that recruitment continues in our business critical areas as we need to ensure that we do not exacerbate our workforce shortages as existing colleagues leave, self-isolate, are absent due to carer responsibilities or absent due to sickness. 

The recruitment team are still operational during this period but resources within the team may be limited and it has been agreed that priority will be given to business critical roles.

In summary, the recruitment process will remain the same apart from the following which are explained in more detail below

  • Approval for recruitment requests will be restricted to business critical roles only
  • Support with shortlisting for support grade posts, for example Donor Carer or Blood Production Assistant
  • Face to face interviews should be replaced with on-line interviews (hosted on Zoom or Skype)
  • Laboratory tours or session visits to be replaced by video virtual tours
  • Document checking to be undertaken by your recruitment contact and originals verified by you on the new starters first day

Are we undertaking the usual pre-employment checks for returning ex-employees?

As the ex-employee is known to us, we are undertaking reduced pre-employment checks.  These will consist of:-

Occupational Health Check – we will send the on-line questionnaire for completion

Document checks – we will request the necessary document checks electronically (scan or photo)

Pre-appointment Declaration – we will send the on-line form for them to complete which includes questions about criminal convictions and fitness to practice

Additional Checks - if required we may need to undertake registration check, DBS check, DVLA check.  We will liaise with the ex-employee and manager regarding these checks.

Will all recruitment requests be approved? 

Priority will be given to business critical roles so please consider this when you are completing the recruitment request form to commence your recruitment. The recruitment requests submitted will be reviewed on a weekly basis and if your role is not considered business critical you may be asked to delay progressing this until a later date.

Is there any support with shortlisting?

For support grade posts, for example Donor Carer or Blood Production Assistant, where we are likely to receive a high response, the recruitment team can support you by undertaking an initial sift of applications to minimise the number of applications you will need to review for short-listing.  Please discuss this with your recruitment contact.

What alternatives are available to me to replace the face to face interviews?

Your recruitment contact will invite candidates to choose an interview slot in the usual way via NHS Jobs and will be told that the interview will be held using Zoom either via the Chrome browser or the Zoom app.  Skype is also available if all your interviews are with internal candidates. 

Interviews using Zoom – Prior to your interview day, your recruitment contact will send to you, your panel and the candidates an email with a link and information to enable you to join the online interview.  Please see links to the guidance regarding the use of Zoom.

Guidance for interview panels - downloading Zoom for interviews

Guidance for joining a scheduled Zoom meeting

Guidance for candidates - using Zoom for interviews

Skype Meetings - If your interviews are for internal candidates only you may wish to use Skype and send out the invites for these from your Microsoft Outlook account.  Please speak with your recruitment contact if you have any queries regarding this

Conference Call – If you have a conference call number you may wish to use this for your interviews, however we would not recommend you use this for interviewing external candidates.  It is preferable to use Zoom so that you can see the candidate and they can see you.

How will I check my successful candidate's documents if they are not attending for a face to face interview?

Your recruitment contact will liaise with your successful candidate to obtain documents and ask them to scan or photograph them and send them via email.  You will not need to take any action at the interview regarding checking these but you will need to check the original documents the candidate has previously provided on their first day and confirm these to your recruitment contact.

What about the tours/ session visits that we undertake at the minute? 

We have posted a number of videos offering virtual tours on NHSBT’s careers website to replace laboratories, transport and session visit face to face tours.  If you would like your candidate to view this prior to your interviews, please mention this to your recruitment contact and they will send a link to the video in the invite. These videos can be found on the Inside NHSBT web page.

What alternatives are available to the current tests that candidates are required to undertake?

You could send an email to the candidate with instructions and ask them to undertake a specific test and return this to you e.g. typing, spreadsheets, case study etc. but it would be difficult to determine if this person did genuinely undertake this test or if someone performed it for them.  Alternatively, you could ask more in depth questions at interview about the areas that the test covers or give them an interview question in advance of the interview that requires a more in-depth response.

What are the changes to the recruitment process for the role of Donor Carer?

The changes for Donor Carers, agreed with senior team are set out below:

Session tour – This will be a virtual tour rather than face to face.  The video for this is hosted on the careers website and your recruitment contact will send candidates the link with their invite to the interview with instructions that they must watch this prior to their interview. You can visit the session tour web page and view the video prior to the interview.

Candidate Tour Feedback questionnaire – The interview panel will need to go through the questions set out in this at the beginning of the interview to make sure the candidate has watched the video, understands the role and is clear on what is expected.  You will not need to return this to your recruitment contact.  This questionnaire was a way of checking that the candidate can read and follow instructions however if we make it an on-line form, there is no guarantee that they have read and completed it themselves.  We would recommend that you ask specific questions around their experience of reading and following instructions (even if it’s how to use the microwave).

Interviews – The face to face interview is to be replaced with an on-line interview via Zoom (see above for details regarding this).  Interview questions and the interview assessment form will remain unchanged.

Team Information Sheet – We will still need this and would recommend that this is sent to candidates prior to the interview, however, if this is not possible it could be covered at interview and your recruitment contact could send it to your successful candidate.

Identity documents - Your recruitment contact will liaise with the candidate and ask them to send photos or scanned copies of all the necessary identity documents and we will then ask you to verify the originals on your new starters first day.

Who do I return my hardcopy paperwork to after the interviews?

As all of the recruitment team are working from home, access to any information send by post is limited.  Could you therefore ensure that all documentation is scanned or photographed and sent to your recruitment contact.

How do I proceed with my new starter?

Should I delay my new recruits start date?

We would recommend that where possible you do not defer the start date.  Please consider if your new starter can undertake a reduced role that would require limited training.  You may also need to consider if they will require any equipment and how you get this to them.  In most cases it will be necessary for someone to meet with the new starter on their first day and make sure they complete the starter form for payroll purposes.  It may also be necessary for someone to check the new starters original documents and verify these, for example passport, driving licence, confirmation of address and qualifications.  Your recruitment contact will confirm with you if this will be needed.

If you have already agreed a start date with your new starter you must contact them to discuss the start date arrangements and if you make any changes, let your recruitment contact know immediately what you have agreed.

As I am unable to meet with my new starter on their first day, how do I organise a security/ID card?

Please ask your new starter, prior to them starting if possible, to take a head and shoulders photograph for the security/ID Card. 

Please inform your new starter of the following instructions when taking the photo.

  • Stand in front of a white background              
  • Be facing forwards and looking straight at the camera
  • Have a plain expression and your mouth closed
  • Have your eyes open and visible
  • Do not have hair in front of your eyes
  • Do not have a head covering (unless it’s for religious or medical reasons)
  • Do not have anything covering your face
  • Do not have any shadows on your face or behind you
  • Do not wear sunglasses or tinted glasses. You can wear other glasses if you need to, but your eyes must be visible without any glare or reflection.

Your new starter will then need to send this digitally to you and you will need to email this to your local Facilities team, along with a copy of the ID/security pass form.

The Facilities team will produce the new card, with the photo, and send it to your new starter via Royal Mail 1st Class recorded delivery. Facilities will require your new starter to take a selfie of themselves with the new card and lanyard – this is to prevent any identify fraud.  The Facilities team will then save this image to our system.

Once the new starter arrives on site to commence work, Facilities will add the relevant access rights to the card and activate it for use.

If you have any queries regarding the security card please contact your local Facilities team.

As I am unable to meet with my new starter on their first day, how do I arrange for their starter form to be completed and authorise this for pay purposes?

Please email a copy of the new starter paperwork (which you will receive from your recruitment contact) to your new starter for them to complete and then return to you. Once you have received the completed forms from your new starter, you will need to complete the management section of the form and then send these via email to Pay Support - New Starters - PaySupport-NewStarters@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Please note: These forms can be completed digitally and do not need to be printed or have a wet signature.

What do I need to discuss with my new starter regarding to the coronavirus both before and when they start on their first day?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways.You can find additional information about Covid-19 on the NHS Coronavirus web page.  You can also view the latest Government guidance. Blood donation is essential to the NHS at this time and extra safety measures are in place. 

The key symptoms of coronavirus are: a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath.

If you are symptomatic before your start date then please inform your manager and follow the advice below

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. 
  • if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
  • it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. 

It is important that you inform your new manager so that we can continue to pay you correctly, to enable health and wellbeing colleagues to take up any necessary follow up calls on cases and so that we are aware of the status on a day by day basis of whether colleagues are in work, homeworking or in self-isolation.

NHSBT response:

  • Our Executive Team is meeting regularly to manage our response and directorates and teams are holding regular meetings.
  • NHSBT’s pandemic plan is in operation. All department managers will be operating to the actions and considerations within the pandemic plan and will update you when you start
  • There will be some basic health safety and wellbeing training to help protect you against risk posed by manual handling, use of Display screen equipment, working practices, use of equipment, Fire and other emergency situations
  • We have completed risk assessments that will outline the control measures that are in place for your protection and we are organizing the provision of additional PPE for our frontline workers to use on Blood Donation sessions and in transport.
  • HR has compiled thorough frequently asked questions that will be available to you on commencement.  You will be able to access these through your manager until your IT provision is set up.
  • You will be expected to play your part with good hygiene so please pay close attention to regular hand washing with soap.
  • We’re putting in place plans to deal with impacts on colleagues, blood, organ and tissue donation and transplantation, and our partners such as hospitals.
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