NHS Digital is the national data and technology partner for the NHS and social care system. They are at the forefront of the drive to transform the health and care system using digital technology. NHS Digital design, build, deploy and operate national products, platforms and data services for patients, clinicians, those who manage the system and clinical researchers in the NHS, academia and the life sciences sector.

The majority of roles NHS Digital recruits for are specialist roles such as developers, cyber security, or data analysts. To keep candidates engaged, they need a streamlined recruitment process that offers a straightforward and positive experience reflective of the NHS Digital brand.

Recruitment challenges

As the digitisation agenda for the health and care system accelerates, so does the need for substantial new talent.

As part of the procurement regulations, NHS Digital had a requirement to re-tender for their Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

As a result, NHS Digital reviewed the ATS vendor marketplace to evaluate how to strengthen its approach to talent acquisition by improving its technology to enable positive candidate engagement.

The existing recruitment process had evolved, but their technology had failed to adapt, resulting in clunky workarounds and a reliance on manual interventions. For example, the team spent too much time updating the ATS or Excel spreadsheets rather than sourcing or onboarding candidates. Also, to generate the required reports for the Senior Leadership Team, they had to extract statistical data from the ATS into a CSV file for the analytical team to import into Power BI.

NHS Digital required an ATS to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of a vacancy, starting with vacancy approvals and concluding once the candidate was embedded into the organisation.

Eploy was chosen as the recruitment technology partner through the G-Cloud Digital Marketplace because of the functionally rich product capabilities and configuration flexibility.


NHS Digital had a clearly defined strategy to transform its recruitment capabilities:

• To source and implement a highly effective and streamlined cloud-based Applicant Tracking System that was the best fit for purpose using a commercially aware procurement process.

• To improve candidate engagement and the recruitment journey with an intuitive user experience in line with digital principles, stringent data protection and access control.

• To support the diversity and inclusion agenda, the requirement to anonymise the candidate shortlisting process. Including creating an accessible approach to recruitment with a fully accessible platform using assistive technologies to meet level AA of the Web Accessibility Guidelines.

Implementing Eploy

The Eploy implementation centred around a detailed project plan that mapped out the recruitment workflows and communication flows. NHS Digital worked with the Eploy Implementation Lead to build the core platform around ease of application, communication, accessibility and mobile optimisation.

The configuration of Eploy included:

• Creating unique workflows for internal and external applicants.
• Streamlining the application processes to mitigate losing candidates and capture information to support the NHS Digital Disability confident employer status – including the guaranteed interview scheme for candidates who require it.
• Online vacancy and salary authorisation to provide a clear audit trail.
• Permission-based system access to restrict access based on business need.

In addition, NHS Digital implemented the Recite Me accessibility toolbar alongside the Eploy Candidate Portal to create a more inclusive experience by providing accessibility and language options to enable candidates to customise the careers website in a way that works for them.

Implementing a two-stage process with Eploy’s Onboarding module ensures GDPR compliance, only gathering the necessary information. Successful candidates now input reference details once they have received an offer with Eploy automatically sending out the request.


NHS Digital implemented Eploy to gain control over the recruitment process. In doing so, the user experience has improved, engaging more effectively with hiring managers, resourcing and HR, who now find bringing people into the business easier. In addition, everything is managed through Eploy, from shortlisting to capturing interview notes, candidate engagement and issuing offers, which support the NHS paperless agenda.

Candidate experience has improved through a consistent recruitment journey and communications. In addition, candidate selfservice management through the Eploy Candidate Portal puts the user experience at the forefront.

Improved accessibility with an inclusive online experience enables customisation of the careers/ candidate portal for everyone in a way that works for them. NHS Digital now has a fully accessible platform using assistive technologies from Eploy Marketplace partner Recite Me to meet level AA of the Web Accessibility Guidelines. Security and governance measures include twofactor authentication leveraging sign-on with Azure, which saves the team time on access queries. Access control setup is based on the business need to deliver robust data control.

NHS Digital use Eploy to anonymise the candidate shortlisting process for fairness and transparency. By utilising CV parsing with name-blind functionality, all personal information is anonymised. Eploy’s Hiring Manager Portal now provides a clear process and ownership for hiring managers to track their vacancies and candidates, resulting in improved working collaboration between the recruitment function and the NHS Digital hiring manager community.

Flexibility for customisation to fields for reporting, approval routes and setting of salary bandings provides autonomy to carry out changes without incurring additional support or vendor costs. With the Eploy platform managing the entire process, NHS Digital can use data to influence decisions and improve. By leveraging Eploy’s award-winning Dashboards & Metrics functionality, NHS Digital have access to meaningful real-time data that captures:

• Candidate experience, tracking candidates at every stage of the process, helping to ensure candidates are updated throughout our process.
• Source Tracking – effective sourcing channels, return on investment.
• Diversity and Inclusion Data – to ensure NHS Digital attract a range of candidates, data shows impacts of change, for example, drop-out rate and areas for improvement.
• Since implementing Eploy, hiring effectiveness has improved in terms of speed and consistency. For example, the average time to hire external candidates has been reduced by three weeks, and the offer acceptance rate is now at 94%.

NHS Digital won
In-house Recruitment Awards 2021 Winner: Tech Hiring Strategy
OnRec Awards 2022 Winner: Best use of online recruitment in the public sector

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