Nothing says you’re hiring like a recruitment open day.

Externally, prospective candidates see that you’re an open, progressive and engaging employer, while internally it can have a galvanising effect amongst your existing workforce that something is being done to tackle the shortages of the Trust or Hospital.

Over the past 3 years the growth in NHS Trusts holding recruitment open days has been nothing short of spectacular.

Nursing Open days are the fastest growing direct recruitment medium in the NHS today with over 150 Trusts running at least one recruitment open day in 2017.

For most employers holding their first open day, the results can be a real eye opener in terms of their success – why didn’t we do these before?

Of course the risk is that they become overused, exhausting the local market and the clinical team disengage.

The digitisation of healthcare recruitment is enabling employers to compete directly for talent and no other recruitment medium is more effective or efficient in terms of time-to-hire or cost-per-hire. The one-stop-shop approach of interviewing, document checking, occupational health processing and job offers all on the same day is simply unbeatable.

In 2017, the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust won the Recruitment Team of the Year at the HPMA Excellence in HR Awards for their Paramedic “Big Bang” Recruitment Open Day. Held in Cardiff, the open day was structured into five sessions including a welcome from the executive management team; ambulance/equipment demonstrations, lunch, interviews and an innovative “speed-dating” session with applicants divided into groups and each group given eight minutes to ask questions and chat informally about the “theme” of the specific table.

The Trust won the award for the enormous effort and teamwork that went into organising and managing the open day. The Trust filled all 32 of their Paramedic vacancies and became the first Ambulance Trust across the whole of the UK to fill all Paramedic posts.

Some of the main benefits of holding your own recruitment open day include:

  • Promoting your employer brand directly in the market

  • Fostering teamwork and collaboration amongst your HR and/or the Clinical teams

  • Building your talent pool resulting in a more sustainable and predictable recruitment pipeline

  • Greater efficiencies across your entire recruitment process with the “one-stop-shop”,

  • Improving your time-to-hire reduces agency costs by having candidates in post sooner

  • Greater understanding of direct recruitment by measuring your direct cost-per-hire

  • Cohort recruitment making them ideal for employers with a large volume of unfilled vacancies

For years the major airlines including Emirates and the world’s leading tech companies such as Google and Facebook have benefitted (and continue to benefit) from holding “open houses” to attract and recruit the best talent, the NHS is only getting started.

Expect to see continued growth in nursing recruitment open days and the expansion into other areas including allied health and medical.

Recruitment open days in the NHS will become more sophisticated and better advertised with online registration being the norm and not the exception. More employers will take their recruitment open day concept to other cities around the UK, Ireland and further afield.