What you need
As with any specialist HR role, it is almost a pre-requisite that you possess a good degree, a good grounding in a generalist HR role and a qualification or part-qualification from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Previous medical experience and knowledge, usually gained within the NHS, is essential in most cases. It is vital that you are familiar with the terminology, the grading system and the doctor’s rotation system.
You will need to be highly organised, work on your own initiative, have excellent time-management and communication skills, and the ability to work under pressure and be assertive when required.
How to get into it
Without specific prior experience, it is very difficult to break into medical recruitment. Experience gained in a commercial, sector-specific role would be advantageous – for example, medical recruitment experience for a private hospital. You can also enter at an administrative or clerical level and gain experience/qualifications and promotion into supervisory and managerial roles. There are various HR management training schemes, but competition is fierce (see www.nhscareers.nhs.uk).
What is involved
The recruitment and selection of all professional-grade staff, plus responsibility for terms and conditions of medical staff and the implementation of various NHS initiatives. You will also advise and support medical staff on HR-related issues.
While the NHS offers premiums to attract medical staff, NHS managers are included in the rigid banding system. Under the Agenda for Change, all grades have been redefined. There can be more scope in a primary care trust than in an acute hospital to pay a market premium to attract people, as candidates with the right experience are scarce.