Careers at NHS
The NHS Graduate Management Scheme prepares participants for a career in senior-level healthcare management. A fast-track programme combining work experience with education, candidates can currently choose from one of four specialist areas:
- Finance Management
- Human Resource Management
- General Management
- Health Informatics Management
The scheme is salaried and lasts for two years, or two and a half in the case of Finance Management. During this time, candidates are introduced to the working realities of the NHS through placements, and supported in their development with formal training leading to postgraduate qualifications relevant to their specialism.
On completing the course, candidates will have acquired the skills and knowledge needed to advance to senior-level management within the NHS, and will receive continued support in their journey should they choose to continue.
NHS Application Process
NHS Match Me Tool
Online Psychometric Tests
Graduate Management Scheme
The NHS currently runs two intakes per year for its Graduate Management Scheme, each receiving a high volume of applicants. As such, the application process is complex, and designed to assess skills, experience, aptitude and culture fit.
To apply, you’ll need to meet the minimum entry requirements, which are any of the following:
- A 2:2 degree or above in any subject
- A degree equivalent such as a diploma in a health-related discipline, or an NVQ Level 5 in Management
- An MBA, Masters or PhD
Each stage of the application process is outlined in detail below.
NHS Match Me Tool
The NHS Match Me Tool is essentially a pre-application quiz. It is designed to give you a deeper understanding of what the scheme involves, how your time on it will be spent, and the challenges you’re likely to face.
You’ll be given a series of statements explaining different aspects of the scheme and asked to select from multiple-choice responses. There are no right or wrong answers here. This is an exercise for you to determine how well-suited you are to life as an NHS management trainee.
All answers remain anonymous and will not count towards your application.
NHS online application
If on completion of the Match Me Tool quiz you still feel this is the right path for you, you’ll need to complete the online application.
This is a fairly standard form, via which you’ll provide your personal information and details on academic achievements and work experience.
You’ll also be asked some questions about the motivations behind your application, such as why you want to work within the NHS.
Use these to showcase key attributes that make you a strong candidate, like a desire to improve services through innovation and to work as part of a team to achieve strategic objectives.
Once you’ve submitted your online application, you may be invited to complete some online tests by the recruitment team.
NHS Aptitude Tests
If your application is successful, you’ll be sent an invitation to complete a series of online psychometric tests (also known as aptitude tests) published and administered by Cappfinity.
These aptitude tests are designed to measure key abilities and personality traits, and must be completed within ten days of your invitation being received.
You’ll need to meet the minimum standards set for each test to progress to the next one. It’s also worth keeping in mind that Cappfinity tests are adaptive, so the better your performance, the harder the questions become.
NHS situational judgement test
In this stage of your online assessment, you’ll be presented with a number of hypothetical scenarios similar to those commonly encountered as an NHS management trainee. These will revolve around things like teamwork, communication and decision-making.
For each scenario, you’ll be given multiple-choice options and asked to rank them in order from the most appropriate to the least appropriate response.
Situational judgement tests are designed to identify candidates that align with NHS core values, but remember, honesty is always the best policy here. These tests are a good indicator of culture fit – so if your responses aren’t matched to NHS expectations, it’s likely that it’s not the career for you.
NHS personality profiler
This personality test is an opportunity for you to give further insight into what drives you, both personally and professionally.
Administered in questionnaire format, it covers multiple aspects of your personality, from your motivations to your working preferences. As with your situational judgement test, there are key traits that will set you up as a strong candidate here, but it’s important to stay true to yourself.
Working within the NHS is challenging, and the first two of your online assessments ensure you’re the right type of person to handle the pressures effectively.
NHS numerical reasoning test
The Cappfinity numerical reasoning tests used by the NHS involve three question types, all of which measure your ability to evaluate, interpret and draw logical conclusions from data.
You’ll work through a series of questions containing prompts in the form of numerical information, be it a table, chart or graph. These questions may require you to select a multiple-choice response, rank several responses in the correct order, or input a single answer by completing the relevant calculation.
These tests are not timed, but both your accuracy and speed will contribute towards your final score.
NHS verbal reasoning test
For your verbal reasoning test, you’ll need to demonstrate sound language comprehension and communication skills.
You’ll be measured on basic skills like grammar, spelling, punctuation and vocabulary, but you’ll also face more complex questions around communication styles and tone, interpretation, and your ability to spot inferences and conclusions.
The aim of this test is to ensure you have the appropriate level of verbal reasoning to communicate clearly and effectively in a variety of workplace situations. Again, you won’t be timed, but will need to work with speed and precision to achieve a high score.
NHS critical reasoning test
The final test measures your critical thinking ability. Here, it is your decision-making and problem-solving skills that are assessed.
Each question will be based on a passage of text, from which you’ll need to identify inferences or assumptions made, or determine whether or not a given conclusion logically follows from the information in front of you. You’ll also be asked to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of arguments.