How we shortlist applicants varies across specialty, but we often ask you to complete self-assessment forms as part of the process.

In shortlisting, applications are scored according to their content, for example applicants’ experience, achievements, qualifications and so on. The scoring systems used are based upon the nationally-agreed person specification.

Not all dental recruitment processes use shortlisting. Please ensure that you also read the application information on the specialty you wish to apply to.

Verified self-assessment

Some dental specialties use verified self-assessment as part of their shortlisting process.

This requires you to select the appropriate response to a number of questions on the application form and then upload evidence to support your selection to the self-assessment portal. Guidance explaining how to upload evidence is available on the portal and from the specialty lead recruiter. 

Responses to the self-assessment questions on the application form will be validated using the evidence submitted alongside the application and will determine the shortlisting score.

Submitting supporting evidence

You will not be required to upload any documents to support your self-assessment with your application form. Instead you will be contacted at some point after applications close when you can start uploading them. 

You are advised that you must have documentary evidence available from the time of application for all achievements for which you score yourself. It is advised to ensure you have access to all your documents when you apply to avoid complications later in the process.

You will be advised by the specialty recruitment team on the method and deadline for uploading supporting evidence, together with the format in which they wish the evidence to be presented. You should ensure that you present the evidence in the requested format. Failure to do so could result in your evidence being rejected and/or the self-assessment score being reduced.

Failure to submit all evidence by the stated deadline will result in your application form being withdrawn by the recruitment team. It is recommended that you prepare you evidence alongside your application form.

Deadlines for submitting supporting evidence will be detailed in advertisements for posts and/or advised by the recruitment team.

Recruitment administrators will not be able to upload evidence on your behalf and once the deadline for submission has passed, your access will be withdrawn.

Evidence requirements and tips

Interviewers will need to verify your evidence in a short time so keep the below in mind when organising your evidence, as poorly organised/presented documents may mean achievements cannot be verified.

  • Only evidence supporting each of the claimed achievements should be uploaded. There is no requirement to upload any additional documents or achievements if they are not directly related to the scoring domain where points are being claimed.
  • Only sufficient evidence should be provided to justify the scores awarded. Only include enough evidence to demonstrate achievements which justify your selection. For example, if you have completed a national presentation, you should not include evidence for other presentations. If you have written a book, you do not need to upload the whole book, just sufficient pages so interviewers can verify your achievement.
  • Evidence of training courses or areas noted in your commitment to specialty section should not be included unless they specifically relate to a scored option.
  • You must ensure patient-identifiable data is redacted as this may result in their employing trust being notified.
  • Any documentation not in English must be translated for credit to be received.
  • Only files in PDF, JPEG or PNG format are accepted by the upload system.
  • The maximum file size is 28MB.
  • When evidence is loaded, it needs to be tagged to the domain(s) to which it pertains. For example, if you have a presentation for which you have been awarded a prize, you can upload the presentation evidence once and tag it under both domains.

Additional guidance will be issued with any request for evidence documentation to be uploaded.

Patient-identifiable data

Information governance regulations state that you must not allow any patient-identifiable data (PID) to be moved away from the designated (usually clinical) area.

As such, you must ensure none of the documentation you use at interview (for example, details of case reports and audits) contain information which could be used to identify patients. This would be a breach of patient confidentiality. This includes hospital or NHS identity (ID) numbers.

All such patient-identifiable data must be redacted.

If patient-identifiable data is found, it is likely that your employer, supervisor and region (as relevant) will be notified, in order to take further action.

Evidence verification

Submitted evidence will be verified against the self-assessment criteria for all applicants. Where the evidence submitted does not match the score awarded, the score will be adjusted accordingly.

On completion of the verification process, you will be sent your verified score, together with the verification panel’s feedback explaining any changes to score. Where you disagree with the score awarded, you can lodge an appeal.

Where your score differs from the assessor score by 10% or more of the overall score, you should expect to be contacted by an assessor, as part of a probity process.

Appeals against scoring must be lodged within 48 hours of the scores being sent to applicants. No additional evidence can be submitted. The appeal should highlight why you feel that the score should be adjusted, based on the evidence that was initially submitted and verified.

Appeals received after the 48 hour deadline will not be considered.

The outcome of the appeal is final and there is no further recourse for dissatisfied applicants. Disagreements over self-assessment scores fall outside the scope of the Medical and Dental Recruitment and Selection (MDRS) Complaints Policy.

Enquiries about the self-assessment portal

If you have any questions after reading the guidance, get in touch with us by starting a chat with Portia, our virtual assistant on the Self-Assessment (SA) Portal, or through email at [email protected].


For some specialties there are a limited number of interview slots available and due to some high competition ratios, not all applicants can be invited to interview.

For more information, go to the interviews page.

Scoring schemes

Where applicable, details of the scoring scheme should be made available to you.

Where shortlisting takes place applications that pass the eligibility checks will go ahead to be scored. The top-scoring applicants will be invited to interview or assessment. Typically, more applicants will be invited to interview than the number of posts available.


Due to the large volume of applicants, some recruitment offices will only contact you if you are being invited to an interview. However, the lead recruiter will send shortlisting feedback to all applicants within 7 working days of the interview date.

If you are unsuccessful at the shortlisting stage, you will receive feedback from the lead recruiter.

This will consist of:

  • your shortlisting score and/or rank
  • maximum possible shortlist score
  • shortlist score and/or rank required to be invited to interview


Where you feel that your application has not been managed correctly and have evidence of a failure in the process, there is a national complaints procedure.

You should contact the specialty recruitment office if you have any concerns about your application or would like to know more about the complaints procedure.

Page last reviewed: 20 November 2023
Next review due: 20 November 2024