Preferencing means ranking posts to tell us which ones you’d most and least like to be appointed to.

The preferencing process happens after you've submitted an application but before offers have been made.

Selecting preferences

In the period between submitting an application and offers being made, you will be asked to specify your regional/geographical preferences. Preference choices are ranked in Oriel.

Your preferences will be used, along with final selection rank to determine which offer, if any, you receive.

You will have the opportunity to express your preferences throughout the recruitment process, as your circumstances can change between the time of application and the time that offers are released.

The "no preference" column

Preferences added to the no preference column will be offered when a ranked preference is not available. Programmes added to the no preference column are given an equal rank; if you would like these programmes to be offered in a particular order, you should ensure that you are taken out of the no preference column and added to the ranked list of preferences.

Upgrade options

If you have accepted or held a post, there will also be the opportunity to change upgrade options to allow a post/programme that was originally ranked lower than the offered post to become an upgrade option.

Offers and preferencing

The order offers will be made in will be determined solely on the selection score and permissions to work in the UK, not preferences made. Your preferences will only come into play when you are reached in the ranked list and an offer is due.

If you are not prepared to accept an offer of training in a certain region/geographical area, you should not rank it in your preferences (i.e. it should be added to the not wanted column). If you choose this option, you will never receive an offer for that particular preference, even if this means that you will not receive any offer, with the offer going to a lower ranked applicant who had chosen the preference option.

Choosing preferences

Preference choices should be made solely on desirability of the associated post for yourself, not the perceived desirability for all applicants.

Ranking a less popular preference highly will have no bearing on when an offer will be made.

By ranking a preference, you are stating that you would be prepared to undertake a training programme in that area. You should not preference or accept posts if you are unable to commence training in that particular post. If you are made an offer and decline it, you will be withdrawn from the process and will not receive any further offers for that programme.

Please keep in mind that you should only preference posts which you'd be willing to accept.

Interview panels will not have access to your preferences.

Enhanced preferencing

You can have a change in circumstances for any number of reasons in the time between programme/post preferences being made and offers being released. To assist you in this situation, flexibility around preferencing has been introduced.

If you have accepted or held a post, there will be an option to select upgrade options which not only include those posts/programmes that were originally ranked higher than the offered post, but also those that were ranked lower.

Please note: Any changes to preferences made between the offers algorithm being run and offers being released will not be considered until the next offers match is run.

If you have not been made an offer, you may also have a change in circumstances that requires you to make amendments to your expressed preferences. Programmes will keep their post preferencing open throughout the recruitment process but will close this off before each offer algorithm is run, until the offers have been released.

These processes will continue up until the upgrading deadline in each recruitment round.

See the recruitment timeline for exact dates.

Page last reviewed: 21 September 2023