What changes have been made to STP 2021 recruitment?

Last Updated: 9th March 2021

Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, STP recruitment followed a different process from previous years. The face to face interviews were cancelled and places on the programme were allocated through a three-stage process. This consisted of long-listing by online aptitude tests; shortlisting by scientists’ review of applications and online interviews by employers.

For recruitment to this year’s programme, we are continuing with some of the changes from last year but with some refinements and improvements added.

Main changes to the recruitment process

Applicants can only choose one specialty

Applicants will only be able to apply for one specialty and not two, as in previous years. Before you apply to the STP, do as much research as possible to ensure you choose the specialty you really want to follow.

Long-listing assessment has changed

Instead of logical and numerical reasoning tests, this year’s applicants will complete an online situational judgement test (SJT). The test maps very closely to the person specification for STP trainees and explores values, behaviours and professionalism. It is based on how you would respond in particular hypothetical situations. There are no right or wrong answers.  The questions have been set by a highly-regarded consultancy, Work Psychology Group, and provide a good insight into how well you are suited to the role of trainee Clinical Scientist.

Shortlisting has changed

The supporting information section on the application form has changed. It will now be closely based on the STP trainee person specification. This will allow applicants to give a focused reflective appraisal of their suitability for the scientific specialty they are applying for.  Shortlisters will score applications against the elements of the person specification, by using a system refined enough to produce clear distinctions between applicants. Detailed guidance will be provided to applicants and shortlisters.

As a result of shortlisting, applicants will be allocated to interview with employing departments using an algorithm. The algorithm takes into account the scores accrued by the application and the applicant’s preference for location. A pool of reserve applicants will also be identified and they will be offered an interview if one becomes available.

Interviews will be similar to 2020

This year interviews will be held online by two scientists from the employing department and potentially, a representative from the School.  The main difference this year is that we will timetable the interviews by specialty, so applicants will have a clear idea of the potential interview dates. Comprehensive guidance for interviewers and interviewees will be provided in advance of the interviews.

No option for applicants to ‘hold’ an offer and await a preferred offer

Previously applicants have been able to ‘hold’ an offer of a place and wait to see whether they receive another offer for a more preferred location. This option was removed last year and it will not be available this year.

As an applicant, if you are offered an interview with an employer this will be your only interview for the programme. If you decline this offer of an interview, you will leave the selection process for 2021.

If you are successful in the interview, you will be offered a training post with that employer. However, if you are unsuccessful, you will leave the selection process for 2021.