The battle to recruit top employees is getting tougher. The technical demands of modern digital and IT positions mean that it’s more important than ever to stay up-to-date with both knowledge and current industry trends. However, success often comes down to more than just pure skills.

We spoke to Stuart Muckley, CEO of Code Wizards and Paul Titman, Associate Director of Digital Transformation, NHS South, Central and West about the attributes they’re looking for in their new recruits.

1) Understand your ethics and your values

‘First and foremost,’ Titman explains, ‘we look for people with a passion to make a difference. The NHS is a vast, complex and often difficult place to work. It can be frustrating, and if you’re motivated by money and glamour, it might not be the place for you. But, there is nowhere else that you can work on interesting and challenging problems that make such a difference to the lives of people up and down the country.

Do you want to take from the world, or give to it? Our people have a shared passion for improving health and wellbeing. With the rapid advancements in technology, there has never been a more exciting time to join the NHS.

2) Communicating the benefit of IT to the business

‘The benefits of enhanced communication skills are well known,’ says Muckley. ‘What isn’t spoken about so much, is the ability to communicate the effect that the IT function is having on the wider business. If you can hone your skills to be able to analyse the results your work is having and succinctly communicate them with your colleagues, management and your customers, you’ve really hit upon something special.

‘Communication skills of all kinds in fact are vital for those coming into the workforce as the industry looks to shift away from the IT stereotype.’

3) Appreciate learning with enthusiasm

Titman continues, ‘For people joining us at an entry level, we look for energy, enthusiasm and a keenness to learn. If you learn nothing else from your time in education, learn how to learn. We are hugely focused on growing our people, which means that the learning never stops. For some technical roles, it’s helpful for people to join with specific technical skills and relevant degrees but for many others, we can offer entry roles that will expose you to a wide range of digital disciplines, ranging from technical architecture, through a variety of analytical roles, to project management and highly people-focused transformational change roles.

‘We have recently recruited graduates from a variety of academic backgrounds and they will have opportunities to learn and grow throughout their time with us. We work with professional bodies such as BCS to offer structure to learning and many of our people choose to continue their academic growth alongside their day jobs.’

4) Know where you want to go

Rather than traditional vertical career paths, Muckley advises that understanding and knowing where your skills and talents lie lead you to having the greatest success. ‘For some, they are perfectly suited to becoming a CIO at a huge multi-national corporation and they have all the attributes to get there and succeed. For others, success is becoming the best software tester they can be at a family SME. Neither one of those is better than the other, it purely depends on what you want to do and being true to yourself.

‘Pushing yourself and striving to improve your own skills is vital, but don’t push yourself too far down a path you’re not comfortable on.’

5) Be experienced in delivering as a team

‘In order for us to be successful,’ Titman says, ‘we need to deliver the right solutions in a cost effective and efficient way. We always look for people who can evidence delivery, whether that is an experienced person joining us who has delivered a major systems change, or someone joining at the start of their career who can describe real experience of having delivered a project at university or through work experience. We particularly look out for people who can evidence resilience by describing how they have learned and grown when things have gone wrong.

‘Usually we work as teams, often in changing environments, so the abilities to collaborate, to give and receive feedback, and to think clearly under pressure or uncertainty are all important.’


BCS partners with organisations of all sizes to understand their current skill sets and to build career paths for their technical staff using the SFIAplus framework.
Find out more about SFIAplus