Accessibility Links

The 5 Questions You Must Ask Your Nursing Recruiter

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

The NHS admitted this year that there is ‘no chance’ of training the number of nurses that are needed to get through the nursing staff shortage that will deepen over the coming five years.

A rising number of healthcare organisations are turning to recruitment companies to help them solve their staff shortage issues. But with an increasing number of recruitment companies in the UK, how can you be sure that your recruiter of choice fully understands the nursing sector and your particular nursing staff needs?

With over 30 years in the recruitment sector, specialising in nursing, I’ve put together this guide containing essential questions you must ask your recruiting partner of choice to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge and capabilities to deliver you the exact nursing candidates that your healthcare organisation needs.

There are a considerable number of recruitment companies out there currently, so when selecting one, you need to ensure that you are putting your trust in a recruiter who inherently understands the current issues facing the nursing sector. I’ll start with the most crucial nursing questions you should ask your recruiting partner, and then take you through a few general questions you should also include.

So, nursing questions first -

1. Have You Placed Candidates in Similar Roles Before?

I’ve started with this question as for me it’s the most important. I have worked with clients in the past who have expressed the relief of finding Clayton Recruitment, as we’ve been placing candidates for over 30 years and understand the nursing industry inside-out.

A recruiter might tell you that they are an expert in placing nursing candidates, but be sure to check that their credentials match their claim.

They should be able to discuss with you not only their past experience of placing nursing candidates, but they should also be aware of current issues facing the nursing sector that have been caused by the nursing shortage – I will cover this in more detail in my next point.

Ask your prospective recruiter how many nursing roles they have placed in the last two years - you must know that your recruiting partner of choice has recently placed nursing candidates so that they fully understand the challenging issues in this sector.

2. Do You Understand the Current Issues Facing the Nursing Sector?

The UK is suffering from a chronic nursing shortage. There were 40,000 vacant nursing positions in England alone in the year 2018-2019, and experts estimate this will rise to 70,000 within five years.

It is no exaggeration to call this a crisis.

A good nursing recruiter will be sympathetic to your needs and understand the difficulties that many healthcare organisations have faced in finding the nursing staff they require.

As a dedicated nursing recruiter, I know that there are great candidates out there, they are just currently few and far between; only someone with trusted recruitment expertise can source the best nurses for upcoming vacancies.

3. Do You Meet Face to Face With Your Candidates?

This is a question which is critical to finding suitable nursing candidates. While your nursing shortage might spur you into believing that you simply need candidates fast, you also need to know that you are getting nurses who are competent and proficient.

Putting forward a nursing candidate for an interview when you have not interviewed the candidate yourself face-to-face is a big no-no in the world of nursing recruiting, yet sadly it still happens with some recruiters!

Your nursing recruiter needs to ascertain in person if the candidate is suitable for the nursing role, and in my experience, this can only be confirmed with an in-person meeting.

The next two points are relevant to all recruiting, but they are also particularly important in nursing recruitment owing to the current issues in the sector.

4. How Well Do You Understand Our Company Culture?

As I mentioned in my last point – your nursing recruiter should seek to fully understand not just the recruiting needs of your organisation, but the culture of the company.

Organisational culture has been identified as one of the most crucial elements that influence the effectiveness of the healthcare that is provided, so your recruiter should fully understand what characteristics and personality types will really gel with the current team.

Recruiting nurses is more than about accolades on a CV – healthcare organisations succeed on the strength of their teams, so it is important that every member of staff contributes towards a positive company culture. Be aware of how much your nursing recruiter is interested in your company culture, and to what extent do they understand the negative effect a wrong hire can have on the team, and in return, the organisation as a whole.

5. What Support Will Your Recruitment Company Offer Us?

Finally, your nursing recruiter should be able to offer you comprehensive help and support throughout the entire recruitment process.

This includes communication at every stage, a thorough candidate search and selection process and periodic post-placement check-ins with the nurse to ensure that the right candidate has been placed and that they are happy in the role.

Some healthcare partners we recruit for like to be more involved, some like to take the back seat completely – your involvement in the process should be entirely down to you, the client.


If you like many other healthcare organisations, you are currently struggling to find the right calibre of nurses in the chronic UK shortage, get in touch with Clayton Recruitment today to discover how we can help.

Our extensive experience and nursing specialism allows us to easily find the nurses you need, fast and seamlessly.



Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability. 

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial Nursing, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

Add new comment