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Recruitment and selection

Recruiting properly for your lived experience opportunity is vital. On this page, read our tips for recruiting and selecting people for opportunities.


What impact does good recruitment have?

If you don't spend time thinking about the skills and experiences participants will need, you could end up asking a group of people who know little about the subject to make decisions that will affect your work for years to come.

This can lead to people feeling inadequate and out of their depth. For some people, it can harm their mental health.

We want to make people's experience as meaningful and enjoyable as possible. Making sure they have the right skills and experience is part of how we do this.

Identifying the skills participants will need

Spend time thinking about what specific skills or experiences you need people to have before recruiting. You can then include these in your opportunity description, a role description and an application form. 

If your opportunity is short term or a 'one off', choose 4 – 5 skills or experiences people must have to participate. 

Examples of skills or experiences include:

  • Being able to speak and share ideas in a group
  • Experience of using a specific service or time of life (student, becoming a mother)
  • Ability to travel to the event
  • Experience of going to meetings or discussion groups

These will form your selection criteria. Ask people to tell you a little about each point in either an application form, in an e-mail, or over the phone.

The information they give you, and some demographic data, will help you select a diverse group of people with the relevant skills and experience.

Provide people with a role description and application form for longer-term opportunities. In a role description, you can list essential and desirable skills and experiences in more depth. An application form then gives people the space to explain how they meet each point.

When recruiting for longer-term opportunities, it's helpful to follow a shortlisting and interviewing process to make sure you've considered each applicant fairly against the criteria.

Example application form

This tool helps people interested in your opportunity to tell you about themselves. It will help you make informed decisions about who should take part.

Download the application form with instructions

Download the form without instructions

Top tips for recruiting and selecting participants

  • Be clear about what skills and experiences people need to take part. Make sure they know how to explain these to you and that you will use this information to make your selection.
  • Try to select as diverse a group of people as possible. You want to have a wide range of people and experiences influencing your work. If you make clear you're seeking a diverse range of people and you're willing to provide reasonable adjustments, you're more likely to attract a more diverse set of applicants.
  • Not everyone will have internet access or will be able to use a computer. Make sure there are different ways to apply, including by post and over the phone.

Other ways to get involved

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