Waiting Lists – What you need to know


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The HSC Recruitment & Selection Framework makes provision for the use of ‘waiting lists’ as part of its approach to managing recruitment in a timely manner. There are two main types of waiting list:

Cyclical Waiting lists – these are waiting lists which are identified by the HSC organisations as requiring ongoing maintenance (an example of which is Band 3 Admin) and will therefore be advertised on a planned cycle to ensure that applicants who have been deemed suitable for appointment are available on a waiting list to offer posts to as posts arise. 

In most instances these are basic grade entry posts to the various job families in the HSC where typically there is high turnover and therefore high volumes of posts to be filled. It can be for a single HSC organisation or across a number of organisations. In all instances the process will provide applicants the opportunity to state their preferences for the hours or location of the post they are interested in.

This type of waiting list will normally be created and held for a maximum period of 12 months. From time to time these lists may be supplemented mid cycle with ‘top up’ lists which will normally expire at the same time as the initial advertised list. Occasionally this 12 month period may be extended until the new list is available.

Bespoke Waiting lists – these are waiting lists for a specific post or band of post in a specific Department or Directorate (group of Departments) within one of the HSC organisations. The waiting list will last for a maximum period of 12 months and will not be routinely replenished.

The remainder of this article sets out how waiting lists will be created and operate.

How are Cyclical Waiting Lists Created?

Cyclical waiting lists will be created for a range of basic grade entry posts with the aim of ensuring the ongoing availability of applicants deemed suitable for appointment as posts arise. This will be determined by assessing applicants through the use of an appropriate selection process such as interview, occupational based assessment or a combination of these approaches.

As part of the application process, applicants will be asked to state which posts they are interested in being offered. This will be referred to as ‘preferences’. A pro-forma to record applicant ‘preferences’ will be provided for applicants to complete during the application process. 

Following the selection process, those deemed suitable for appointment will be placed on the waiting list in rank order and the preferences provided by applicants recorded on a spreadsheet to facilitate offer management.

Applying for and being successful in being placed on a waiting list does not guarantee employment. The use of those deemed suitable for appointment is entirely dependent on the vacancies which arise and how they match to the posts of interest (preferences) expressed by the Applicant.

How are Posts offered from Cyclical Waiting Lists?

When vacant posts are notified to the Recruitment team, the correct waiting list will be selected and those on the waiting list will be filtered for a ‘match’ to the post. The highest ranked applicant whose preferences match the details of the post will be contacted with a job offer.

For example: if the post is temporary, part time, 25 hours per week, the highest ranked applicant on the waiting list who said they were interested in temporary part time work of 25 hours per week, will be contacted with a job offer.

Due to service needs to fill posts promptly; applicants are required to give an immediate response. If the recruitment team are unable to contact you immediately, they will leave a voicemail and send you an email / text message (text messages cannot be sent to ROI mobile numbers) giving you until 10am the following morning to respond. Failure to respond within the specified timeline will result in the Recruitment Team moving on to the next person on the waiting list.

On some occasions when the Recruitment Team have multiple posts to offer, they may contact the next batch of 10 or 20 applicants whose preferences match the posts available. In this circumstance, a text message (text messages cannot be sent to ROI mobile numbers) will be sent to the full batch of applicants identified providing a deadline for response. Following the deadline the posts available will be matched to the top ranked applicants who responded. You should therefore be aware that if you are simply registering your interest this is not a job offer. Those expressing interest will be aligned to posts available in rank order.

What if my preferences change during the life span of the waiting list?

From time to time, applicants may find their preferences change during the life span of the waiting list. If this happens it is the applicants responsibility to contact the HSC Recruitment & Selection Shared Service Centre (RSSC) to advise of the required changes. This can be done by email to recruitment.ssc@hscni.net or by post to Business Services Organisation, Rosewood Villa, Lower Longstone Hospital, 73 Loughgall Road, Armagh, BT61 7PR.

Please state the waiting list reference number which you will find on the letter confirming you had been placed on the waiting list. You must include your name, address and [unique identifier] on any correspondence or we may not be able to process the information provided. Telephone requests to change your preferences will not normally be accepted.

What if my contact details change during the life span of the waiting list?

It is the applicant’s responsibility to maintain accurate information on their profile pages on job.hscni.net and contact the Recruitment Officer to confirm any changes to ensure they can be contacted when a vacancy arises. The RSSC cannot be held responsible for any incorrect information.

What happens if I turn down a job offer?

It is normally expected that you will accept a post offered from a waiting list which matches your preference(s), however please note the following with regard to the type of waiting list you may be on.

Permanent Waiting list

If an applicant refuses to accept one permanent post which matches preferences then they will be moved to the bottom of the list. If they refuse 2 permanent posts that match preferences then they will be removed from the list. When an applicant has accepted a permanent post they will be taken of the waiting list.

Temporary Waiting List

If an applicant refuses to accept one temporary post that matches preferences then they will be moved to the bottom of the list. If they refuse 2 temporary posts that match preferences then they will be removed from the list. When an applicant accepts a temporary post from a temporary only waiting list then they will be taken of the list.

Permanent/Temporary waiting list

If an applicant refuses to accept one permanent post which matches preferences then they will be moved to the bottom of the list. If they refuse 2 permanent posts that match preferences then they will be removed from the list. When an applicant has accepted a permanent post they will be taken of the waiting list. Applicants can be offered temporary posts from a permanent/temporary waiting list, if they refuse a temporary post a note should be made on the waiting list but they will retain their rank order. Where an applicant accepts a temporary post they will remain on the list for a permanent post and will not be offered any further temporary work until they have advised that the original temporary post has come to an end or is due to end within four weeks. It is the responsibility of the applicant to notify Recruitment Shared Services Centre 4-6 weeks before the end of the current temporary contract to advise their contract is coming to an end. They will then be considered in rank order for any further temporary work arising.

What happens if I fail to respond?

Whilst you will remain on the waiting list if you fail to respond within the required timelines this will be considered as refusal of an offer and will be recorded as such on the waiting list, the RSSC will move on to the next person on the waiting list due to the urgency to fill posts.

Can I remain on the waiting list after I accept a post?

No. The only instance when you will remain on the waiting list is when you accept a temporary post and the waiting list is also for permanent posts. In this instance you will remain in your original rank order until you are offered a permanent post. Once you have accepted a permanent post you will be removed from the waiting list. Applicants who withdraw following verbal acceptance of a post will not normally be added back onto the waiting list for future offers.

If you accept a temporary post, you will not be removed from the waiting list. It will be noted that you have taken up a temporary contract and through the duration of this employment you will not be offered a further temporary post. It is your responsibility to contact RSSC at least 4 – 6 weeks before the end of your temporary contract to advise RSSC that you are in a position to be considered for a further temporary offer.

What if I am unavailable for work due to Maternity Requirements?

When an offer of employment has been made and accepted however you advise you are unavailable for a period of time due to maternity requirements, you will be asked when you expect to be available.

For permanent posts RSSC will align you to the post asking you to confirm 6-8 weeks prior to your anticipated available date. RSSC will commence the pre-employment checks 6-8 weeks prior to your availability.

For temporary posts, RSSC will discuss with the Manager your availability in light of the expected duration of the temporary post. Considering its short term nature, and service requirements, the manager, following appropriate advice from their local HR team if required, will confirm to RSSC the latest start date they can accept. This will be communicated to you to allow you to make an informed decision whether to accept or decline the post.