29 July

8 useful tips to successful Primary Care Recruitment

Our guide to maximising the success of your Primary Care recruitment

Achieving successful Primary Care Recruitment

How do you achieve successful Primary Care Recruitment? As no doubt, many Practice Managers and GP Partners will appreciate, the recruitment of permanent clinicians is becoming increasingly difficult. Many factors can be attributed to this, including scare-mongering in the press, ever-increasing numbers turning to locum work, and just an overall lack of suitable talent out there. These are factors you have little control over, but what about the ones you do?

After many years working as a specialist GP Recruitment Consultant for Menlo Park, I wanted to share this advice with you based on my experiences with practices who successfully make those essential hires, and those that don’t.  I don’t want to bore you despite there being so many useful tips I could share, as I appreciate, you’re all very busy people, so here are my top 8 that I come across every week.

Adverts – Don’t rely on adverts!

The first step most practices will take is to advertise on NHS Jobs, along with hundreds of others! Sadly, most adverts don’t stand out as they all sound the same. Also, only 30% of the market are actively looking, which leaves a huge 70% of the best talent in the dark about your vacancy.

Good recruitment firms will look to tap into that 70% so if your need is urgent or you’re just tired of interviewing time wasters, then cut to the chase and engage with a reputable recruitment consultancy. Doing this will save you valuable time and potential advertising and locum costs. It will also ensure you find the right person sooner!


Be competitive! Obviously, salaries all over the country will vary. Know what your neighbouring practices are offering. If you haven’t needed to recruit for a long time, it’s highly likely that salaries in the area have increased. Don’t be left behind while Sandra at the practice up the road is employing all the local talent and leaving you nobody. If I feel a new client isn’t paying enough, I let them know the average for the area.



Keep your process smooth and seamless! Too often the recruitment process can become disjointed. Speed and communication are key to successful recruitment! If you keep that candidate hanging on because aligning partner diaries has become a logistical nightmare, then that candidate will just start looking elsewhere and get snapped up by another practice.

Also, while I know unexpected absences can impact scheduled meetings, do what you can to avoid cancelling interviews and this projects potential disorganisation within the practice and will ring alarm bells for your would-be new GP.

As soon as you get that CV and you like the look of them, get them booked in and follow it through. Collectively commit from the start of your recruitment campaign to the recruitment process and you WILL hire.


While I appreciate it’s important to ensure you have the right candidate for your practice, don’t grill them! I have had really good GPs run for the hills when practices have been overly formal. Keep it friendly. Most practices start with an informal chat and a walk round which is good as you tend to get the best out of an applicant when they’re feeling at ease.

Afterwards, feel free to move to a more formal interview if you feel this is necessary, but don’t make them jump through hoops with presentations and a 60-minute grilling on clinical scenarios. Likewise, I would refrain from being too eager to offer immediately as this might be interpreted as desperation.


Cross site working

While more and more practices are teaming up, partly due to recruitment issues, having to cross-site work is on the rise. Most GPs I speak to do not want to cross-site work, so, if it is possible that despite your multiple practices a GP could be based in one site, then offer that as an option.

The Contract

I understand that for many practices offering a BMA Model contract is impossible. The requirements are unsustainable for most and the consequences of long-term sickness can negatively impact practices immensely; in terms of patient care and the financial implications associated with paying the sick staff member as well as paying for locums to cover them.

If you can offer this, then great! But if you can’t then try to offer something similar. I find that the most important elements of the BMA contract for GPs are Sick pay, MAT pay, a continuation of service and the annual uplift in line with the DDRB. While 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay for sickness might be a stretch for some, ensure you are offering a fair competitive alternative.

The Partnership Carrot

I hear time and time again how GPs took on a salaried position with the promise of partnership and nothing came of it. Obviously, it’s important you get the right partner for the success of the practice, but on many occasions, I hear that despite how hard somebody has worked to earn it, it just never happens!

If you are looking for a Salaried GP with a view to a partnership, then discuss with that candidate. Cover things like the definitive time scales to achieve that partnership and if possible, drawings. I have had lots of GPs go for interviews at practices who are open to this, but they just shy away from discussing it, so please ensure this is covered else they will just think history is going to repeat itself and look elsewhere.

 Tier 2 sponsorship

There simply aren’t enough Tier 2 sponsorship practices out there! We worked out that circa 22% of GPs who are about to CCT require a Tier 2 sponsorship practice. So, if you’re not a sponsorship practice then you’re missing out on a huge chunk of the talent pool!

Many will relocate for the right practice. The deaneries hold a list which they will share with their registrars who are starting to look for their first jobs as a qualified GP. I have recommended this to countless practices and the ones that take the plunge generally recruit shortly afterwards!

Follow our Tier 2 sponsorship guide for practices, here.

Well, there you have it, just 8 simple tips to help you to hire successfully, and sooner rather than later.

I personally work with GPs but many of the above tips will also apply to Nurses and Allied Healthcare professionals.

If your practice needs help with recruitment, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us on 0113 3501308. Click here, to complete our contact form.

We are experts in our field and with multiple awards, so you’ll be in safe hands!



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