NHS: Convincing top-quality candidates whilst controlling costs


The NHS, the UK’s public health service, is on a mission to hire the top 100 of the 12,000 candidates who apply to their Leadership Academy every year. However, as a public organisation, they face a number of challenges when it comes to attracting top talent – even with a great brand. 

  • While the Graduate Management Schemes on offer through the Academy are hugely competitive, receiving a high volume of applications every year, the Academy is still up against other, top employers in the field – including many in the private sector.
  • Communicating the mission of the NHS and the impactful nature of the work is a key requirement for the Academy’s talent team, as this is central to their employer brand and a main draw for candidates.
  • Being able to achieve more with fewer resources is an ongoing challenge for the public sector organisation.


Conversion and Employer Branding

  1. Attract and convert top talent to fill 100 places in the Graduate Management Scheme’s Leadership Academy – a highly competitive programme with over 12k applications per year.
  2. Communicate the mission, values, and unique impact of working at the NHS to persuade target candidates that it’s the right choice for them.

Candidate Experience

  1. Ensure a great candidate experience by keeping candidates engaged

Process Efficiencies

  1. Help candidates make more informed decisions about whether the NHS Leadership Academy is the right choice for them, deselecting out of the process if not, thus reducing the workload for their HR team.
  2. Control costs for the organisation by helping them do more with less resource.


The NHS Leadership Academy implemented the PathMotion discussion platform in 2013, featuring it on both their careers site and Facebook page. In that time, 1332 discussions have been created across 4 categories, and the organisation has run 46 Live Chats with 1515 participating candidates. 

Fill 100 Leadership Academy places with the right talent

  1. 34 Insiders from 6 departments were recruited to answer candidates’ questions and share their stories across the platform, offering insight into the mission and values of the organisation.
  2. The Leadership Academy also runs Live Chats to introduce candidates to specific areas of the scheme (e.g. Health Informatics, Finance).
  3. The PathMotion platform is featured across the Leadership Academy’s social media pages, and the organisation shares trainee stories and candidate questions with the Social Media Tool to raise awareness of what the programme is really like.

Engage candidates throughout the recruitment and on-boarding process

  1. The scheme uses Live Chats as part of their on-boarding process for newly recruited trainees to introduce them to their cohort and familiarise them with the programme, and to answer any early questions.
  2. They run Live Chats to cover FAQs throughout the application and interview process (e.g. a pre-assessment centre Q&A) to ensure candidates fully understand what to expect at each stage.

Leverage all features of the platform to raise awareness and reduce queries

  1. The PathMotion platform is optimised for SEO, driving traffic to discussions when otherwise, queries would be sent to the HR team
  2. Re-engagement emails with relevant content are automatically sent to candidates to reduce the amount of time team members spend on follow up.


The NHS Leadership Academy has seen some impressive results since implementing the PathMotion platform:

  • In a 12-month period from 2017  to 2018, the platform saw 12,500 unique visitors and 44,800 page views – with 56% coming from social media channels
  • Since implementation in 2013, the platform has had over 1,000,000 page views
  • The most popular discussion has had over 28,000 page views, and each discussion receives 834 views on average
  • The most active candidates have viewed over 130 discussions each
  • The organisation has seen a 40% reduction in HR workload as result of fewer queries coming in
  • The organisation’s Live Chats received a 4.7/5 rating for helpfulness from participants

The NHS Leadership Academy ran 15 Live Chat events in a 12-month period, and to measure the impact of these events, PathMotion ran a survey following each one in Q3 and Q4 of 2017. Of those candidates surveyed post-Live Chat, 73% reported that their perception of the organisation had improved. Additionally, the organisation surveyed their new hires and found that 80% of those who had used the platform would recommend it to others, and 67% said the discussions on the platform affected their decision to accept the offer.  Employee stories are a clear way to communicate values, mission, and persuade candidates to accept an offer.

73 %

of candidates said their perception of the company improved

80 %

of hires who used the platform would recommend using it

67 %

of hires say platform affected their decision to accept an offer

Don’t take our word for it

Here’s what The NHS Leadership Academy’s Senior Resourcing Programme Lead  and the Live Chat participants have to say about PathMotion…

“Our Virtual Events have been so effective in terms of schemes and getting people on board. We use them as part of the on-boarding process now, because trying to do a physical scheme is difficult and expensive”

Rob Farace

“The responses were fast but also detailed, which cleared a lot of doubts”

Live Chat Participant

“The Platform for us was used on our Facebook page and our Careers cite. So people, can access it really easily, they sometimes stumble across it and they find it really helpful in terms of the content provided … People want to ask you questions, but more importantly want to ask your people questions.”

Rob Farace

“We know that we are changing people’s perception of the company and for us this is really important. Not only if they know the brand but actually how well they really know it. No surprise that people who joined us recommend using the platform. People are talking how they made that informed decision to join us and the platform helped them in this decision. And finally, the platform helped us persuading people to join us. We know from a research we done that some candidates had 5 or 6 other offers and they are choosing us.”

Rob Farace

“I was not aware of how vast the NHS really are and the different opportunities available. More importantly, I feel employment at this establishment I would really be able to make a difference”  

Live Chat Participant


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