National Health Service employs staggering 1.5 million people in the UK, including both medical and non-medical health service staff. If you want to join their ranks, you’ll have to pass a relatively tricky hiring process, consisting of application form and one or two interviews. And while questions you will face differ, depending on the job you want to get, but also on whether you apply directly through NHS website, or seek a help of a local recruitment agency, you will always face one question: “Why do you want to work for/join NHS?” It isn’t the most difficult interview question in the world, but it isn’t easy either, especially if you have idea and simply want to get a job in healthcare that pays decently well.

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. You will find on my list answers for a variety of jobs with NHS, ranging from nursing and dental care to health management and informatics. I hope at least one of them will resonate with you and with the message you hope to convey in the interviews. Just don’t forget that your non-verbal communication also matters (if you face the question in an interview, instead of on an application form). Make sure you talk with enthusiasm and show positivity and excitement while describing your reasons for applying with NHS. The hiring managers should get an impression that you really want to join the organization, that this is your dream job (at this stage of your professional career).


7 sample answers to “Why do you want to work for the NHS?”

  1. I always wanted to work for a healthcare organization with great reputation and management. In my view NHS personifies such an organization, and is superior to many similar institutions in foreign countries. What’s more, I’ve studied your career website carefully and understand the career growth options are almost endless here, if one does a good job and strives to progress in their professional career. As a young nurse I cannot imagine a better organization for me to work for than NHS.
  2. It was always my dream to work in healthcare, but I did not have talents to become a doctor. I studied informatics, but never gave up on my dream. Working in health informatics for NHS, I would get a unique chance to work in healthcare, playing my role in helping patients, while at the same time benefiting from my studies and strong programming skills. Of course, I know I would earn better in many private corporations as a programmer or coder. But money is not the most important thing for me now, and I am looking for a meaningful purpose to my working life. I am convinced I can find it in NHS, and that’s why I decided to apply.
  3. I have several reasons why I want to join NHS. First one is job security. As bad as it may sound, people will always get sick and need medical attention. When I do a good job and try my best, I do not need to worry that I will lose the job, as it happened to me in my previous role during economic crisis. Second thing is my desire to work in healthcare. I can apply for a job of a receptionist in all sorts of places–hotels, schools, companies. But I want to work as a medical receptionist, since I feel the inner desire to help others, and understand that each role in NHS is important, and only together we can do the most for the health of the UK population. I’d love to play my role in the effort, working as a receptionist here.
  4. Facilities and equipment I’ll have at my disposal are the reason why I want to join NHS, instead of seeking a job with some private institution. My goal was always to provide the best possible care as a neurologist. In order to do that, it is important to have access to newest technologies and tools, and also to continue working on my education, and share the workplace with real professionals in the field. Based on my personal experience with NHS (from the position of a patient), I am convinced I can reach my goal working for you, and cannot wait to start.

  1. To be honest, the location of the job is the main reason why I apply for the Pharmacy Technician position with you. I live just ten minutes walking distance from XYZ hospital, and I am tired of commuting to work for hour and half a day. You can say I see a better life-work balance, and the extra hour each day means 250 extra hours each year, which makes a big difference in my view. What’s more, I personally know at least 10 people who work for NHS, and while each job has some problems and perfect place of work doesn’t exist, I heard mostly positive things about working for NHS, and my connections definitely encouraged me to pursue my application with you.
  2. When I was a young student I opted for business management simply because I wanted to earn a lot of money. Now, however, with 15 years of managerial experience under my belt, I do not care about money anymore. What I care about is having a real impact with my work. And I cannot imagine having a bigger impact as a manager than helping to manage an organization as big and important as NHS. I know the challenges you face here, feel capable of helping you to address them, and hope you will give me a chance to prove my managerial skills and determination in the job.
  3. In all honesty, I have no special preferences. I know the role NHS plays in the UK, and have a lot of admiration for the scope of the operation and quality of service. At the same time, however, I believe each nurse in the world is important, regardless of their place of work, and the group of people they work with. I apply with NHS simply because I like the variety of positions you offer for nurses, and the options one has in their professional career while working for you. Other than that though, I can imagine being happy and doing a good job as a nurse in basically any place of the world.

Special Tip: What if I told you that you can practice your answers to all tricky NHS interview questions, getting an immediate feedback from a life-like AI interview coach? And that you can start doing it for free, and it is a lot of fun too? 🙂 Check out this page on our partner website, Real Mock Interviews, pick a question, enter your email, and start practicing for free, either on your mobile phone or on your computer. Check it out now and see for yourself!


Final thoughts

You do not have to reinvent the wheel here, or come up with some groundbreaking answer, saying something nobody else will say. First of all it is hardly possible (considering the number of applications), and secondly it isn’t what the hiring managers are looking for. As long as you give them a valid reason–be it location, career growth options, job security, size of the organization, recommendation of a friend, shift patterns, or any other logical reason, and show enthusiasm for your career with NHS, they will be satisfied with your answer.

I hope you will do well, and wish you good luck in your interview with National Health Service!


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Matthew Chulaw
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