Career Advice

35 posts

Posted November 14, 2017 | Career Advice | No Comments »

Guest Blog: A Graduated Journey

This week on the blog, we bring you a great guest blog written by none other than two of our brilliant team members; David Mains and Emily Field. Focussing on the topic of graduate recruitment, we find out Emily’s top advice for recent graduates from how to make your CV stand out to how to handle your social media profiles. Take a look below and start preparing yourself for your job search…

Over the years we’ve had great success at Enigma helping clients find graduates that fitted their culture; who had the right skills to grow and develop into important members of their team. To do that, we spend time talking to and helping to advise graduates on how to present themselves, their experience, their knowledge and their skills. It’s a rewarding process for everyone concerned. We’ve also had great success in recruiting graduates into our own team and our latest addition to the team, Emily Field, is keen to pass on what she has learned. Who better to help and advise graduates than a recent graduate who has been through the process many times with a number of different clients?

Thanks, David! Graduating from further education can be a really exciting time for people, especially if you have a graduate role lined up waiting for you (yep, those are the lucky ones that we all envy!). However, if you’ve just graduated and don’t have a role to step into, then it can feel a bit different. There’s that mixture of relief that your years of study are behind you (for the time being), an excitement for the future and what’s to come, and then the slow realisation that you now have to go out and find yourself a career. Even though that mixture of emotions and thoughts might feel quite daunting, if you take a look below and follow our recommendations, you’ll soon feel at ease when you realise you’re on the right track to finding the perfect graduate role for you. So, let’s get started:

First thing’s first, how’s your CV looking?

  • To make it as easy as possible for recruiters and potential employers to understand where your skills lie, try and group your related skills together and then give examples of experience you have had of using these skills.
  • Include a personal profile to highlight why you’re suited for the role in terms of personality, skills and experience and how and why you will succeed in that environment.
  • All skills, knowledge and experience included with your CV should be used as evidence to support your application and should be relevant to the role.
  • Remeber, if the job specifies you will be working with certain software or methodologies (for example; JS, Angular, Scrum or Agile) and you have these skills – make sure you’re highlighting this in your CV and giving some information about your experience using the software or methodologies. This will make your CV stand out.
  • Software Developers: If you’ve worked on any apps or have published apps, please include these as they will be key to your application and help highlight your skills.
  • Even though it can become frustrating when applying for roles, please only apply for roles that suit your skills and that you’re actually interested in. Otherwise, it becomes a waste of time both for you, and the recruiter/business you’re applying to.
  • Taking the time out to tailor your CV to each role you apply for can really make a difference to your chances of moving forward in the process. *Tip* Save different versions of your CV so that you can alter them for different roles. i.e one for a marketing role, one for a communications role and one for branding.
  • PROOFREAD & proofread again. Common sense right? Maybe not. Grammar, spelling and the dreaded “copy and paste” mistakes are something we still see more frequently than we would like. Before you click “send”, take a look at your submission that one last time.

And what about that cover letter?

Cover letters are your chance to shine. Use them as an opportunity to get really specific about why you’re applying i) for that role ii) to that specific company and iii) how your skills, knowledge and experience match up. It’s also a good idea to include any details which would make you stand out; do you have specific experience with a particular software that’s key to the role? Or maybe you created an app to solve a problem? Talk about this in your cover letter and always ask the question “is this relevant information to the role I’m applying for.”

You’re on Social Media, right?

When it comes to social media and job hunting, a great place to start is, of course, LinkedIn. Setting up a profile, adding your education, (relevant) work experience, key skills or uploading your CV will stand you in good stead. Being active on LinkedIn, whether that be through sharing articles, writing your own, engaging with others or joining groups is something we would recommend as it allows you to build up a network of like-minded people. This, in turn, means your positioning yourself in a place where opportunities are more likely to come along, as well as useful information and news about your chosen sector. Recruiters use Linkedin to search for the best candidates for their roles and if your profile is up-to-date, there’s a good chance they’ll be in touch to talk to you about the roles they have which suit you.

Outwith the “business” type social media platforms such as LinkedIn, on your personal social media profiles, it’s always a good idea to either make your profile private or moderate what you’re putting out there. It’s not uncommon for social media to change a hiring managers opinion of a candidate, especially if you’re posting offensive content or coming across negatively. Think before you post!

Considered working with a recruitment agency?

Naturally, you would expect me to say this as a graduate recruitment consultant but I say this not for the reasons you might think. I talked with recruitment agencies when I graduated university and, if you find the right one, then it can really boost your chances of finding the role that’s right for you, plus they are really good at giving career advice (check out our blogs here). We’re here to help understand your skills and experience and make sure that not only do your skills fit the role but that your personality and attitude fits in with the company culture of your potential employer. We’re looking to match companies with candidates – a match that will benefit both the business and the candidate in the long term, not just a quick fix. And remember, if you have any questions then don’t be afraid to give us a call or an email and we’ll chat things through with you – it’s as simple as that!


So, there you have it – everything we think you should know as a graduate looking to step onto the career ladder. If you’re currently looking for a role but struggling to find something that really suits you, you can contact me or get in touch directly at 0141 332 4422.

 Enigma People is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland. Check out our blog for the latest in the technology industry. You can get in touch with us or call us on 0141 332 4422.

Follow us on Twitter,twitter  LinkedIn LinkedInor Facebook Facebook Enigma People Solutions to keep up to date with our latest news and vacancies.

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Posted May 30, 2017 | Career Advice | No Comments »

Top 5 Questions to Ask at a Job Interview

Asking questions at the end of your interview is just as important as answering them. Quite often job seekers forget to ask questions or simply feel their questions have already been answered during the interview process, however not asking anything can make you seem uninterested in the role!

Below are 5 questions to ask your next interviewer to ensure you learn as much about the role, company and their expectations of you …

1. What was it specifically, that made you want to interview me today?

This is a great one to ask at the end of an interview. It reminds the interviewer why they selected you out of the hundreds of other applications they received. It also gives you the opportunity to build and expand upon their initial first impressions.

For instance, they might say that it was your broad range of experience that caught their eye. Giving you the opportunity to respond, by telling them that you have always felt that an ability to step outside your comfort zone in the pursuit of specific Business, career and learning goals, puts you at an advantage when working with uncertainty.

Or they may be impressed with your unique blend of subject matter expertise and practical skills. In which case you can reinforce their positive mental image by telling them of a time when you were able to put this subject matter expertise into action with practical, measurable results.

2. Is there anything that would prevent you from hiring me today?

This is your opportunity to respond to any doubts they have and put their mind at rest that you will be able to handle the role if you are given it.

If they look nervous, you can prompt them by asking “Such as gaps in expertise that I could fill?”

This gives you the opportunity to thank them for their thoughts, ask them if the organisation can support you to fill that gap, or if there are external resources they know of, that would enable you to follow up with self directed learning before the role is due to start.

3. Where do you see the company [department/ product] in 3, 6 and 12 months from today?

This is one of the most useful questions to ask, as it gives you a clear idea of the ambitions of the person hiring. It helps them to think very tangibly about what they are looking for, and it helps you to get inside their head!

From here you can make assumptions about what is already in place and begin to explore some of the steps you would need to take to realise those ambitions. So if the 12 month vision is to surpass the key competitor in that field, you can drill in with more detailed questions, ask your interviewers opinion, or demonstrate your knowledge of the competitors strengths and weaknesses.

The interview should feel like more of a discussion about what needs done, and how to do it. Even if you don’t get the role, this is invaluable market research showing you some of the key issues businesses in this sector are facing.

4. What would be the key deliverables in that time, and how would you measure the success of the role?

This follows on naturally from the question above. Now we are getting into what needs to be done and visualising the steps needed to do it.

Remember to show your passion. Compliment them for their ambition, and let them know that what they are saying is exciting to you.

Follow up with examples based on experience if you can. “In my last position I was required to deliver these exact things. Here are some of the things I learned from that experience…”

Draw on transferrable skills to demonstrate how you would get the job done, and don’t be afraid to simply imagine how you would meet those goals. “I had to deliver a similar [document] in my previous role, which had many of the same requirements. These are the things that I believe will transfer into well into this deliverable…”

Your interviewer is now visualising you in the role taking the necessary steps to deliver successful projects.

5. Are there other areas within this company, where you think I could bring some benefits?

If the interviewer does not already want to hire you, this is the perfect way to shift thinking back to your positive qualities.

Hopefully they will see, that even if you don’t come with the full package for the role, you would be a great employee. This means that they can either find a way to nurture you into the role, or find another role in the company that would suit you even better than the one you are interviewing for.

If they already have you tipped for the role, they will now be thinking of extra benefits you can bring to it… and perhaps even fast-track a promotion.

Treat everything as a learning opportunity.

Good Luck!



Author: Morna Simpson (Founder of Girl Geek Scotland), is Director of Enterprise Porridge as well as being a freelance business analyst consultant & corporate trainer. She has many years experience within the industry both in an academic capacity and through her work with various start-ups. You can find out about Girl Geek Scotland’s latest events here and follow them on Twitter for all of the latest news! @girlgeekscot

Enigma People is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland.

Follow us on Twitter,twitter  Linkedin LinkedInor Facebook  to keep up to date with our latest news and vacancies.

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Posted May 01, 2017 | Career Advice | 3 Comments »

6 Reasons Why Candidates Should Work With a Recruitment Agency

With Tech Nation reporting that regional UK clusters attracted £4.5 billion+ in digital tech investment over 2016, it’s easy to understand why the UK tech landscape is growing at such a rapid pace. This growth and investment prompts a rise in both new and established companies looking to take on additional team members to facilitate their growth strategy. Stack Overflow highlighted that 30.9% of developers living in the UK and Ireland find new jobs through a recruitment agency. The data also went on to highlight the fact that tech workers change jobs more frequently than the national average which is around 5 years, with over half of the developers surveyed stating they had changed job in the past two years.

As the tech landscape continues to progress, it seems to us that finding the perfect job could be more difficult than before, unless you have your finger on the pulse of this ever-changing industry. This is where recruiters come in. We’ve laid out our top six benefits of working with a recruiter to find your dream role:

1.Market Information and Industry Knowledge

Recruiters can offer expert advice on the jobs market, trends and other knowledge a candidate wouldn’t necessarily know. They can give impartial advice on the roles they have available and the companies they are with, making it much easier for you to determine which roles you want to move forward with. Working within a niche industry allows recruiters to become highly skilled at identifying the right job for specific candidates, take a look at our interview with Ashleigh Collins, one of our electronics Recruitment Consultants to find out what she has to say about her role.

2. Salary Information

Recruiters understand what’s available in the marketplace for your skill set, what salary levels should be and can also advise that salaries advertised are not always necessarily what can be expected. This is an important factor when considering roles and when it comes to an offer, recruiters can negotiate salary and benefits on your behalf.

Having said that, it is important to understand that salary is not the ‘be all and end all’ when considering a new role and we advise that the whole package should be taken into account when making a final decision. Taking on a new role should be more than just about the salary; it’s an opportunity to progress in your career, work on exciting projects and really enjoy what you do – that’s why recruiters work so hard to find you the role they think will fit you best.

3. Streamlining CV’s & Cover Letters

Recruiters can expertly assess your CV and advise you on how to best sell yourself to your potential new employer. How to Woo a Recruiter with Your CV is your step by step guide to what works and how to get yourself noticed by recruiters and by the clients you wish to work with.

People often underestimate the importance of cover letters and Enigma People Solutions Director, David Mains, firmly believes that a good cover letter is the number one way to differentiate yourself. Check out Writing Your Cover Letter – The Essentials for our top advice.

4. Interview Tips and Techniques

Not sure how to conduct yourself at an interview or maybe your interview skills are a little rusty? A recruiter can help put you at ease and talk you through the interview techniques that will ensure you come across as professional and as confident as possible. Recruiters often know which hiring manager will be conducting the interview and are best placed to give you advice on how to impress. If you’re taking part in a technical interview, you can read our guide here which gives you our top tips on how to tackle them.

5. Unadvertised Vacancies

To put it quite simply; clients who advertise their vacancies through recruiters very often limit where else these vacancies are advertised, meaning that recruiters have exclusive access to roles you otherwise wouldn’t know of or be able to find easily. Recruiters can share an exclusive new role with you the moment they receive it, making the process for you much less stressful and cutting out a lot of time spent searching.

6. Match Making

Working with a recruiter will guarantee that you find the right job for you, they’re like the matchmakers of the job world. Finding your perfect match becomes a breeze, no more wasting your time searching high and low to make your dreams come true. Whether you are looking for a new permanent move or a contract; you can place your trust in professional capable hands and allow recruiters to match your skills, experiences and personality with your perfect role.

If you want to get on the right track to finding your next role, then get in touch and send us your CV;

Enigma People is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland.

Follow us on Twitter for all of the latest tech, business and recruitment news @enigmapeople @enigmapeople and LinkedInic_lkdin_22

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Posted April 18, 2017 | Career Advice | No Comments »

The Enigma Guide: Technical Interviews

Many of our candidates will be asked to undergo a technical interview which means we receive a lot of requests asking for advice when it comes to what to expect and how to tackle the interview. As technical interviews are usually part of the process for the majority of our candidates, we thought it would be a great idea to provide you with our essential tips for technical interviews:


Technical tests and interviews are an assessment of skills and abilities you have stated on your CV. It is essential that your CV reflects your true capabilities, as this is very often the basis for the technical test which an employer will set for you. By being dishonest on your CV, you set inaccurate expectations of your skills from the employer, making you look worse off. If you have listed a skill on your CV, be prepared to talk about this experience in a technical interview.

Image result for honest cv gif


The recruitment process for many of our technology clients can consist of two or three stages, one of which is an online technical test. Correct preparation for this test can help you pass with flying colours, so take the following steps before your test:

    • Ensure you are in a quiet, distraction-free place
    • Ensure you have a strong and reliable internet connection
    • Allocate enough time to complete your test
    • Ensure you have everything you need to hand – any books or resources you may require
    • Have a cup of tea, coffee or water and relax

Employers will very often use the job specification which you applied to, to structure their technical interviews and tests. If the job spec stresses a particular set of skills this will be the focus of the technical questions. If there are certain skills listed as desired but not necessary, but you have it on your CV, again be prepared to be asked about it.


Clients love to see a candidate who is passionate about what they do – outside of work! If you develop personal games/ websites/ apps – bring examples of these to your interview. If you’re applying for a role which requires content creation bring in examples of your personal blogs and articles to show off your creative skills!

As Techcrunch would say: ‘There is no excuse for software developers who don’t have a site, app, or service they can point to and say, “I did this, all by myself!” in a world where it costs all of $25 to register as an Android developer and publish an app on the Android Market.’


Technology businesses, especially those which are smaller and more agile, can offer candidates experience across many disciplines. The best candidates are those who are willing to explore, learn, help others and collaborate on projects which could offer them more than they interviewed for! Be sure to give genuine examples of working across teams, and remember to ask for opportunities to do so in the role you are interviewing for.

Don’t do this!


One of the most common questions we get asked is what to wear to an interview for a technology company.  The culture at many digital, software and electronics companies does tend to be more relaxed and this is reflected in what they wear. Going for an interview at one of these companies you want to look professional yet look and feel as though you fit into the culture. Here is our advice:-

  • Look at their company website/blog to get a feel for what to wear.
  • Smart/casual is key.
  • Casual does not equal dirty. Always wear clean shoes, t-shirt and jeans.
  • Above all, be comfortable. You are being hired for your technical skill;  not your ability to pick out matching shirts and shoes.


Not quite at the interview stage yet? Read our guide to CV writing and Cover Letters! If you have any other questions on technical tests, interviews or working in technology drop us an email

Enigma People is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland. Get in touch at to discuss how we can help you find the right candidates for your business.

Follow us on Twitter

@enigmapeople @enigmapeople and LinkedInic_lkdin_22

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Posted April 11, 2017 | Career Advice, Electronics, Technology Industry | No Comments »

7 Essential Skills for Firmware Engineers


7 Essential Skills for Firmware Engineers

This article was published on Jaapson Blog Centre and originally written by Jacob Beningo

Having the right tools for the job is critical to success in embedded development. But in the hands of the improperly skilled, even the right tools can yield a disastrous outcome. Firmware engineers require seven essential skills to succeed in today’s rapid-paced development environment.

Skill #1 – Debugging

According to the 2015 UBM Embedded Marketing Study, debugging an embedded system was the greatest challenge facing developers and managers, surpassing even the challenge of meeting project deadlines. Undoubtedly the increasing complexity of embedded systems and the time spent debugging is a major driver to delivering on-time. Having skills to debug a real-time embedded system quickly and efficiently can have a direct impact on time-to-market and development costs, which is why mastering debugging skills is critically important for an engineer to be successful.

7 Essential Skills for Firmware Engineers


Skill #2 – Real-Time Language Skills

Despite all the press about how cool and suave makers and hackers are, I would bet that the majority lack the programming language skills necessary to launch a real-time embedded product. Firmware engineers that learn the nuances of C or C++ and can apply those skills will be more successful. Skilled language developers will know which constructs are safe, buggy, or can be applied under the given system constraints. Mastering programming language skills is a MUST for firmware engineers looking to have long-term success.

7 Essential Skills for Firmware Engineers


Skill #3 – Understand Hardware at the Component Level

Firmware developers may find it tempting to focus only on skills that directly relate to developing software and completely ignore the hardware. Many companies today even push their engineers into nice little boxes of skills and job responsibilities, so why not just focus on your primary area of expertise? But at some point during every project, all the little niches need to come together for developers to integrate and debug the system. Firmware engineers who can hold their own in software and hardware will be better able to function and lead the integration effort and in the end will appear more valuable to management and the team. Plus, it’s always fun when a hardware engineer points his finger at the problem and says it’s the magic black software box to be able to respond “The pull-up on the bus looks a little weak for this architecture …. have you checked that?” or something to that effect.

7 Essential Skills for Firmware Engineers


Skill #4 – Healthy Skepticism

Healthy skepticism is probably more of a mindset or an attitude than a pure skill but nonetheless, for today we will consider it a skill that needs to be mastered. All of us human engineers, at some point in our careers, we will select a component or a library or make a decision that will come back to bite us. From that point forward, when any component, library, or the like makes big promises we suddenly treat it like the plague and our response is blown way out of proportion. Practicing healthy skepticism should allow a developer to say I’ve been burned in the past by this, I don’t believe this, but I’m willing to evaluate, analyze and form an opinion based on engineering data rather than a personal, past experience. Healthy skepticism can help an engineer see the currents of change and determine when it makes sense to jump on board with a new technology, process, or platform.

7 Essential Skills for Firmware Engineers


Skill #5 – Ability to Self-Market

The firmware engineer who can market themselves will gain many advantages over a peer who can’t. Marketing skills such as resume development or interview skills are not taught to engineers at the university. Instead, engineers have to learn these skills on-the-fly in the field. The engineer who can promote and market himself will get the job, the raise, and the extra perks.

Firmware engineers need to learn and understand that they aren’t just in the software business. They also need to gain marketing skills if they are to maximize their success (whatever their definition of success may be).

7 Essential Skills for Firmware Engineers


Skill #6 – Communication

When I was an entry-level, green engineer I used to hide behind email for as much communication as I possibly could. But email can be a difficult communication medium because it is so interpretive. It conveys no tone of voice and no facial expressions and so it is easy for the reader to read-in hostility or an issue where none exists. The reader’s mood can easily turn a friendly email into an unfriendly one. On more than one occasion I was called to the managers’ office to discuss “that email” I sent to so-and-so that was considered inappropriate. Email is convenient, fast, and sometimes curt but verbal and face-to-face communication leaves far less to be interpreted.

7 Essential Skills for Firmware Engineers


Skill #7 – Organization

The ability to organize software and create beautiful architectures is important to an embedded software engineer, yet the real skill of organization is undoubtedly just being able to find what you need when you need it. The problem with a messy desk and tools scattered everywhere is that things shift and get lost, and time gets wasted looking for them. A two-minute search for that paper, module, or probe can break a programmer’s train of thought and cause a context shift that requires fifteen minutes before the developer is back in the groove. Disciplined organization is a skill that is so essential yet so uncommon among many of the engineers I see and interact with.

7 Essential Skills for Firmware Engineers



There are any number of possible skills that can assist a firmware engineer in being successful. These seven are certainly essential although maybe not immediately obvious. What other skills might a developer need?

Join our specialist InElectronics Group on LinkedIn for all of the latest news and discussions in the industry ic_lkdin_22Or follow us on Twitter @In_Electronics to keep up to date with us day to day! twitter

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Posted February 13, 2017 | Career Advice | No Comments »

How to Woo a Recruiter With Your CV

How to Woo a Recruiter With Your CVLet’s face it, writing your CV is not something that fills you with joy and excitement, right? But then again, reading a CV which has had no thought given to it nor any real time spent on it… as recruiters, this is something that fills our hearts with sorrow.

Seriously. Finding a candidate who is ticking all the boxes throughout their CV only to discover that they have not included their contact details or that there are multiple spelling or grammatical errors – is frustrating, to say the least. Over the years, we have had our fair share of both absolutely amazing and utterly awful CVs.

So we have decided to put together our “do’s and don’ts” of CV writing just in time for Valentine’s day, meaning you can woo us with your fantastic CV writing skills!

Here we go:

1.Contact Details

PLEASE make these a priority when you’re writing your CV. Amongst the hundreds of CVs we receive each year, around 20% don’t include their contact details. Yes, really! It is also good if you can include two forms of contact i.e email address and telephone number – this makes it a whole lot easier for us to get in touch with you when the perfect job comes up.

  1. Simple Layout

When reading a CV, we want to be able to follow a natural flow through it, to pick out the key pieces of information we need. Keeping things simple, clean and easy to read will ensure success! However, if you are applying for a creative or graphic role, you can use your creativity and show us what you can do. Take a look at this “Message From a Graduate” by Matthew Rennie for inspiration!

  1. Write a Profile 

Writing a profile is essential. It lets the reader understand your level of skills and knowledge whilst getting a feel for you as a person. Remember to tailor your profile to each job role you apply for and highlight why you are suitable for the role.

  1. Highlight Your Skills

Make your most relevant skills and experience prominent, it encourages the reader to find out more about you. Writing a Technical CV? Create a skills summary (or “tech spec” as we call it). It allows the reader to quickly identify your primary skillset.

  1. Your Achievements

Focus on your achievements and not your responsibilities. We want to find out what you have DONE, not what just what you’ve been involved in. Tell us about your projects, products you’ve launched, software that you have developed, awards won – we want to see your skills and knowledge put into play. Applying for a role that focuses on KPI’s? Try and quote figures to support your achievements, if possible.

  1. Keep it Concise 

Have you got a lot of experience, training certificates or worked on a number of different projects etc? Tell us about them! Don’t be scared to use a few pages to write your CV. However, keep it concise. Make sure that the information you’re giving us is relevant, and it will be something that we will consider when evaluating you as a candidate.

  1. Confidence & Positivity

YOU know that you are good at what you do but, WE need to know this too. Using positive language and writing your CV in a confident* manner can really help to make your CV stand out. (*See the difference between confidence and arrogance…there is a fine line.)

  1. Proofread 

This should be listed twice because it is so important. Overlooking spelling and grammar mistakes is so easy to do – ask someone else to read over your CV, a fresh pair of eyes can spot simple errors that you will not be able to. If you don’t ask someone to read it over, try Grammarly, it helps with grammar and spelling. These simple mistakes can cost. To us, simple errors like this can really put us off a candidate – it signals a lack of effort and poor attention to detail. Once you’re confident there are no spelling or grammatical errors, you need to ask yourself; a) does it read well? b) does it make sense to someone reading it for the first time? c) does it describe what you do and how well you do it?

Only after answering those questions can you be truly confident that your CV is up to standard.

Things To Avoid

These are what we suggest you do not include in your CV:

  • Fun fonts. They are rarely ever fun and 100% not appropriate when writing your professional CV. Ditch them in favour of something simple, like Arial.
  • A photo – we don’t need to see what you look like, it is irrelevant.
  • A list of all the one-day training courses you have ever been on
  • Sensitive information.
  • Please do not change your previous job titles to match the job you’re applying for! (Yep, some people do this).
  • Lies. We are pretty good at spotting them so please just don’t.

With this information now firmly in your hands, we invite you to get in contact and woo us! Happy Valentine’s day!


How to Woo a Recruiter With Your CV

Enigma People is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland.

Follow us on Twitter @enigmapeople @enigmapeople and LinkedInic_lkdin_22

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Posted January 09, 2017 | Career Advice, Industry Interviews, Technology Industry | No Comments »

[Interview] Dr. Mark Davison Talks UWS, Graduates & Trends in 2017

We love Tech (as you’ll know) but we also recognise we have a responsibility to give something back.

In 2016 we set out to help the people that train and mentor the most important resource in the tech sector, its people. We have loved working with Girl Geek Scotland, Tigers, City of Glasgow College, and very closely with UWS.

So we thought we’d ask course leader, Dr. Mark to give us an update on how things are going:

Tell us about UWS/ The programme which you lead and how you keep course content up to date?

“I’m programme leader for the BSc (Hons) Web & Mobile Development course at the University of the West of Scotland. We cover the main strands of HTML5,  JavaScript (ECMAScript), Hybrid Apps, PHP/MySQL, MVC, AngularJS and C# ASP.NET, with students branching out into areas such as Android & iOS native apps, node.js, Typescript, Firebase, Ruby on Rails, MongoDB, Joomla and even gaming SEO.

A primary influence on keeping the course up to date is demand from employers, speaking to recruitment agencies (such as Enigma!) and feedback from graduates.”

What are you most proud of?

“Industry input, industry awareness and industry connections.  We’ve built up a large network of employers, recruitment agencies and 200 “webby” graduates with up to fifteen years of commercial experience. This gets our students jobs.

Networking also gets us guest speakers, mentors or industrial placements from companies like Skyscanner, Arnold Clark, IBM, BT, MadeBrave, Foursquare, Morgan Stanley, Starcount and Traveltek.

Students on many of our programmes are able to participate in placements – subject to availability.  Many of these fit into the traditional “Sandwich” model running for a year and starting around the summer; others don’t though, and we’re always happy to talk about how placements can be a win-win-win solution for company, student and university.”

What do you think are the coming trends for software/ demand from employers?

“Java is a perennial but many of my graduates work in (or found) digital agencies so I’m most aware of the demand for web design, Responsive Web Design, WordPress, Magento, OO PHP, Docker and C#.

Every employer wants team working and client facing skills so we get our students talking to employers directly to find that out for themselves.”

What should businesses be doing to attract your graduates/ What would you like to see companies do more of?

“Education is very, very seasonal. It’s great if employers contact me in August about ideas for Honours projects or project mentorship as we’re always on the look-out for industry input.

Coming on to campus (Sept-Nov & Jan-Mar) to do a talk is good for drumming up applications. For us, it builds up student awareness of commercial realities.

We’re happy to publicise vacancies and hackathons too.

In November we run a speed networking event where we can host up to ten companies (see

Our biggest and busiest event is our Digital Futures annual student showcase which allows us to host more industry guests. The next one is on 4th May 2017 (we’re working on it but see  for 2016 event). Guests get to sit down with individual students to see their work and how they communicate. Some of my students get recruited that way each year.

Our events can be sponsored by industry, sometimes in the form of pizza & Irn Bru!”


Want to get in touch with Dr. Mark?

Dr. Mark Davison

Web & Mobile Development – Programme Leader

Direct 0141 848 3605



Enigma People is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland.  Follow us on Twitter

@enigmapeople @enigmapeople and ic_lkdin_22 LinkedIn

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Posted December 22, 2016 | Career Advice | No Comments »

5 Resolutions You Need To Make For Your Career In 2017

We hope all of our readers had a fantastic holiday season and now, having recovered from the food and the parties, are ready to focus on the year ahead! There’s still time to fine tune your New Years Resolutions and while we can’t help you with all of yours, we do have a few ideas to keep your career in check this year.

5 Resolutions You Need To Make For Your Career In 2016

Be more social – If somehow you still haven’t made it onto social media, do it now! It is so much more than celebrity gossip and memes, it’s a vital tool for business and getting yourself noticed. For those who already have it, make sure you’re engaging in discussions and constantly updating your profiles. There are websites that tell you who your inactive followers are so that you can choose to unfollow them – don’t be on that list!

Check, check and check again – Look over your CV. Now look over it again and you’ll notice that you spelled ‘education’ wrong. Ask a friend or family member to have a look over it; you’d be surprised how helpful a fresh pair of eyes can be. Take a look at our Enigma Guide To Writing Your CV for more tips! If you have a LinkedIn profile, consistency is key. Ensure the information on your profile matches up to the information on the CV, incorrect or mismatching information can get confusing and make you look less than professional.

Learn on the job – If you want to progress in your career, identify where you want to go and how to get there! If its training you need, ask your employer about relevant training and workshops in your field. Do your research and tell them what you need to progress. Ask your colleagues or networks about part time courses, local meetups or conferences that they know of. Join local b2b networking groups (such as Thrive for Business) to meet new people in your sector. If you want to improve your technical skills, Codecademy offer free online courses in programming. Google Analytics Academy also offers free, online courses on Google Analytics and other data analysis tools.

Get promoted –  Already in a job you love but feel you’ve exhausted your potential at that level? Create a list of your skills and achievements and make sure your management know about them. Suggest ways to improve the company and sell yourself as a leader, well liked and an expert in your field.

Manage your time – Social media is an amazing tool for business, but boy can it make your day disappear once it pulls you in. A 10 minute catch up on Twitter can easily turn into an hour of link clicking, conversation making and TwitPiccing. Allocate your time appropriately, allowing time to update your feeds and catch up on any can’t-miss reads while still being able to focus on your other tasks. Still Struggling? There are dozens of apps available to help you manage your time better and be more productive – here are 15 of the top ones according to Life Hack.


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Posted December 12, 2016 | Career Advice, Electronics | No Comments »

Top Tips to Become a Successful Analog/RF IC Design Engineer

Abhay Dixit Principal Engineer/Manager at Qualcomm tells us what it takes to become a successful Analog/RF IC Design Engineer.

This can be broken down into key technical skills and key qualities of a good Analog/RF IC Design Engineer.

Key Qualities:

  1. Razor sharp Focus:  Analog/RF is a BIG world, it’s good to have knowledge about various disciplines in this field, but you must be an expert in one of the slices of this field. Razor sharp focus is required.
  2. Organize yourself: You need to be disciplined in this task, read lots of ISSCC, CICC papers, analyze them & understand what works and what does not
  3. Quality matters: Analog tasks and teams demand quality, you can’t finish tasks by putting more headcount. Quality matters, not quantity. Same goes with designs. Some of the great circuits have handful of transistors (5-8) interconnected in brilliant fashion.
  4. You need to love what you are doing, not just do it for the sake of social pride!!
  5. Analog Design is both an Art and Science. Art is all about creativity and science is all about insight. Analog design needs both.

Essential Skills:

Analog field can be broadly classified into 3 segments

  • RF world ; where you will design wireless circuits like LNAs (Low Noise Amplifiers), PAs (Power amplifiers), mixers, oscillators, PLLs etc. You will design narrow band high-Q circuits.
  • Baseband signal processing analog; where you will design broadband analog circuits. These circuits usually comprise of interface ICs like high speed SerDes, data converters, precision op-amps, filters, band gap reference circuits, oscillators, PLLs etc..
  • Power management design; where you will design power management IPs like voltage regulators, DC-DC converters, band-gap circuits, low drop out regulators, battery chargers etc..

You need to define your slice & get real world practical skills (not just theoretical knowledge). You must be familiar with block level designs as well as top level integration to effectively deliver the design as an IP (Intellectual property block)

Knowledge of following design topics is a must no matter your slice:        

  1. Small signal analysis
  2. Current references & voltage references
  3. Single stage & multistage differential amplifiers
  4. Op-amps & OTAs
  5. Frequency response of amplifiers
  6. Stability analysis of amplifiers
  7. Noise analysis
  8. Some device physics knowledge
  9. Knowledge of spice simulator tool & techniques to perform analog and mixed signal circuit simulations
  10. Last but not the least “art of analog layout design”; circuit design is 50% job. You tape-out GDS, so the remaining 50% layout & physical verification work is critically important for the success of your design in Silicon. Learn how to do systematic layout, symmetry requirements, common centroid & inter-digitating techniques, off-set cancellation, noise prevention & floor planning of your design.

This is a long list. If you are a student or beginner in this field it will take anywhere from 1 to 2 years to appreciate & get insight into some of the skills. To be an expert in your chosen slice it will take delightful 10,000 hours of practice. But remember journey is important not the destination.

Here is what our living analog guru Dr Willy Sansen has to say about analog design ” Analog design is not possible without insight. This is not the case in general for electronics.  Insight lets the designer strike the right compromises among the endless number of specifications. Analog design requires compromises. So does life! On the other hand, making compromises is fun. It gives one a feeling of power. Analog design, with its compromises, leads to greater insight. It generates intuition, which is essential in order to be efficient for the next design.”

Some good reference books

  • Design of Analog CMOS Integrated Circuits by Dr Behzad Razavi
  • Analog Design Essentials by Dr Willy Sansen
  • CMOS Circuit Design, Layout & Simulation by R. Jacob Baker
  • The Art of Analog Layout by Alan Hastings

Finally a good analog designer always follows the “KISS” principle…which means “keep it simple stupid”…this applies in real world & real world is analog…

Good Luck!

This article was written by Abhay Dixit Principal Engineer/Manager at Qualcomm, and originally appeared on LinkedIn. Follow @abhayconnect on Twitter.

Enigma People Solutions is a specialist Electronics, Photonics and Semiconductor recruitment consultancy. Join our specialist InElectronics Group on LinkedIn ic_lkdin_22 Or follow us on Twitter @In_Electronics ic_twit_22.

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Posted December 05, 2016 | Career Advice, Software | No Comments »

Sector Spotlight: Developing Your Software Career

“She’s not afraid of speaking her mind which leads to smart conversations that are helping you to make the right choice.”

Senior Account Manager Daria Czaplinska specialises in Software & Digital roles in Scotland’s Central Belt. As an experienced recruiter, Daria is skilled in cultivating close relationships with all her clients and candidates. Her in-depth knowledge of Scotland’s software market allows her to expertly match her candidates to companies in such a way, that she is the go-to recruiter for many businesses.

We spoke to Daria to find out a bit more about her work in specialist software recruitment.

  1. Hi, Daria! Tell us a bit about you?

“I’ve been recruiting for almost 6 years now working across a range of different markets, in both permanent and temporary contracts.

For the past 3 years, I have been specialising in Software & Digital recruitment and loving the challenges it brings. I work with small specialist development teams, large multinational businesses and everything in between.”

  1. What’s your favourite thing about what you do?

“It’s very fulfilling when I’m able to find a good match for both clients and candidates – but more so for my candidates. In the case of some people I have worked with, they have had bad experiences with recruiters in the past and are hesitant to work with them. I enjoy building up that relationship with people, gaining trust and showing them that not all recruiters are the same. I like that I can make a change to someone’s life – just by listening, being a good person and treating them how I’d like to be treated.

It’s a huge part of the reason I chose to come work for Enigma – there’s a real emphasis on putting people into the right jobs rather than just filling vacancies.

The feedback I get from both clients and candidates has been great, and makes it worthwhile.”

  1. How do you ensure you get a good fit?

“Listening carefully – I can’t stress this enough. There is a real benefit in asking the right questions and listening to candidates. Get to know their past experiences, why they are looking for a new job, what their expectations are (salary & bonus package), do they want to work in small software team, or large corporate business, do they have managerial experience, do they want a role offering career progression, do they have a preference of salary over location.

All of this matters when offering a choice of roles.

You only get a good fit when you can match these requirements to what your client is offering. If you can’t match them, then you need to know exactly where both parties are willing to compromise.”

  1. What is the market like for experienced Software developers? What should developers look out for when choosing a role?

“The market is still booming, there is a great demand for software developers across every sector. There are more vacancies than there are developers so they often have 2 or 3 offers to choose from.

As a result, businesses are now offering all kinds of benefits and salary packages to attract developers to join their teams. Be careful not to make a decision based on these alone. Assess the businesses culture and how well it fit’s your personality, career goals and lifestyle. Assess whether or not it ticks all the boxes for you. This is where your recruiter should be able to help you make a more informed decision. ”

What her candidates say:

“Daria is very social and one of the most reliable recruiters available when it comes to keeping in touch about any available opportunities that match your skill set.

When working with Daria in both a previous job hunt earlier in the year and one just last week, both processes were quick and easy and never felt like I was waiting around for replies or dates to be set up for interviews, everything was always quick, detailed and overall outstandingly communicated.

I’d highly recommend Daria to anyone seeking a job in the technology field and can say as a former job hunter, she has successfully helped me land a new permanent position in Glasgow.”

– Kieran Monaghan – PHP Software Developer

“When I received a phone call from Daria about job offers for me, I thought it’s the call like lots I had before. But it wasn’t. Daria did an introduction call, carefully listened to what I was saying and came back to me later with two job offers which she said would match my needs. Guess what? She was right on point! I received a new job with the very first job offer!

Words can’t say how happy and grateful I am about this.

Daria was extremely professional and helpful during the whole process, from arranging an interview at a suitable time for me, offering her advice, to helping with contact sign-up with the company. She supervised the whole process to make sure I was happy with the final result.

She’s not afraid of speaking her mind which leads to smart conversations that are helping you to make the right choice.

I highly recommend Daria Czaplinska to anybody who is looking for a new job.”

– Tomasz Kardas PHP Software Developer

Enigma People Solutions is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy.

>Search and apply for the latest software roles in Scotland here.<

Daria Czaplinska | Senior Software & Digital Recruitment Scotland | Enigma People Solutions

Contact Daria:
0141 332 4422

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Posted November 22, 2016 | Career Advice, Software | No Comments »

Sector Spotlight: Getting into Software Development

Software Development offers graduates vast career opportunities within a thriving industry. The software sector in Scotland is a major employer and important part of the economy. There is a great demand from businesses – ScotlandIS reports that 74% of businesses were on the look-out for graduates in 2016 – with software and web development being the most sought after skill. The sector offers higher than average starting salaries, with Edinburgh offering the second highest technology salaries in the UK after London.

Enigma People Recruitment Consultant Emma Dougal specialises in Graduate Software roles . She joined us in August 2016, after achieving her 1st class BSc (Hons) in Psychology and brought with her an understanding of what the recruitment process is like from a graduate’s point of view.

Whilst at the University of Glasgow, Emma completed her Professional Skills module (the only university module of its kind in the UK) learning skills on transitioning from university to work life, employability skills, presentation skills, CV writing and how to conduct yourself at interview.

We understand that not all graduates have had the opportunities to learn these important skills in finding a job once they have left university. So we sat down with Emma to learn a bit more about how she can help graduates get their first Software Development job:

  • Hi Emma! Tell us a bit about what you do here at Enigma:

“I work within the Digital & Software team focussing on Graduate recruitment. I’m working with a number of small digital agencies as well as larger well known corporate businesses who are recruiting for skills across C#, PHP, and Java.”

  • What is the market like for Graduate Software roles? What do your clients most want to see from CV’s?

“It is quite a competitive market at the moment; I find I get a lot of applications per vacancy so it’s more important than ever to make your CV stand out.

If you’ve done an interesting honours project make sure that’s in there.

Don’t waste space with irrelevant information – list the information which is most relevant to the job applied for at the top.

Your CV needs to be tailored to the role – you can use the key skills section of the job specification as a guide of what information to focus your CV on.

Hiring managers like to see good degree classifications, clear evidence and detail of any side projects you’ve worked on, and any examples of your work. If you have worked on building any websites, games, or apps then make sure your CV includes information and links to these.

Include any relevant work experience you’ve had and show that you have a passion for software. It’s always a good idea to list this as one of your hobbies.”

  • What’s your key pieces of advice for preparing and attending interviews?

“Firstly keep calm. Make sure to research the company, their website and any company blogs which can help you understand as much about the company as possible.

The good thing about interviewing for software developer roles is you know what questions your likely to be asked. The job specification will very often list the skills a company is looking for, so make sure you’re able to talk about your experience of these in detail. Be ready with relevant examples.

What I would also advise is show an enthusiasm to be involved. Hiring managers are not only assessing your skills and experience but also how you would fit into the existing team. Graduates do well at interview when they let their personality shine through, and show an eagerness to learn.”

Emma Dougal | Sector Spotlight: Getting into software development

For further advice on graduate software jobs, get in touch with Emma on 0141 332 4422 or drop her an email at

Enigma People is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland.

Follow us on Twitter@enigmapeople@enigmapeople andic_lkdin_22LinkedIn.

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Posted October 10, 2016 | Career Advice | No Comments »

5 Tips For Your First Day

Firstly, congratulations on securing your new role! Starting a new job can be a daunting experience, no matter how experienced you may be. So we asked our expert recruiters what their top 5 tips for your first day at a new job were:

  • Check In With Your Recruiter

Your recruiter is as happy as you are when you’re starting a new job so don’t forget all about them! Check in with them a few days before you’re due to start, they can put your mind at ease and help answer any outstanding questions you might have. Or drop them an email to let them know how your first day went. If you’re an Enigma candidate, send us a photo with your new Enigma office mug – which should arrive within the first couple days of you starting. 🙂

5 tips for your first day | every enigma candidate get's a mug


  • Plan Ahead

How will you travel to your place of work? How do you access the car park? Who are you to report to when you arrive? What will you wear? Have you prepared any necessary documents?

Ensure your first day goes as smooth as possible by having these key things prepared the night before.


  • Have The Right Attitude

It’s natural to feel some degree of nervousness on your first day but having a positive and professional attitude will help you go a long way. You will meet a lot of new faces and it’s ok if you don’t remember all of them right away. Just remember to relax, be enthusiastic and friendly.

You will most likely have a lot of information thrown at you so remember to listen very carefully and take loads of notes (with that notepad and pen you were prepared enough to pack the night before).


  • Don’t Be Scared To Ask For Help

Ask as many questions as you want, even if you think it’s a stupid question – just ask! There may not be such an obvious answer. You will be forgiven for asking “silly” question’s on your first day – your boss would rather you ask on day 1 than ask 3 months into the role!


Image result for ask questions meme

  • Have Fun!

This is the first day of your new adventure and it should be an enjoyable experience so try and relax. You have been hired over all other applicants for your skills and talents, but also for your personality, so always let that shine through!

Image result for Judi dench "i think you should take your job seriously

Do you have any other first day tips that you swear by? Let us know by tweeting @enigmapeople!

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Enigma People is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland.

Follow us on Twitteric_twit_22@enigmapeople andic_lkdin_22LinkedIn.

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Posted August 09, 2016 | Career Advice, Industry Interviews, Software | No Comments »

[Interview] Sam Orme: A Journey Into Software Development

We recently questioned the role of formal qualifications in technology careers. In our blog “Working in Digital Marketing: do qualifications matter?” we argued Digital Marketing is following in the steps of Software Development, where it often doesn’t matter how or where you learn your skills (be it at College, University, self-study or on the job), as long your skills and self-taught knowledge are up to industry standard. We quoted Quartz who reported, “many are choosing ways to learn that offer everything but a degree: online courses, boot camps, on-the-job training, and collaborating with peers.

To prove it, we spoke to one such developer whose education and successful career has encompassed a combination of college, on the job learning and self-study.

  • Hi Sam! Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hi, my name is Sam, I am 22, born in Cambridge but moved to Scotland when I was 10. I am currently working as a Junior Software Developer at an oil company called Project Development International Ltd (PDi) in Aberdeen. I have been with PDi for just over 2 years’ full time now working on unique and complex applications for desktop, web, and mobile devices. I currently have a HND in Software Development and I am also studying towards a degree (BSc(Hons) Computing & IT Practice) part-time with The Open University, which will be completed in September 2016.

  • How did you get interested in Software Development?

I have always been interested in computers and started playing about with creating simple websites using an online website builder at by the age of 14. Throughout school, I always enjoyed computing and became particularly interested in the software development side of it, which made me decide to continue studying it at a higher level once I finished school.

  • Tell us about your development experience and your journey to get to where you are today?

I suppose my software development journey started properly when I left school, I applied and completed an HNC in Computing at Aberdeen College (now called North East Scotland College) and went on to study HND Computing: Software Development where, in December, I was offered a placement opportunity with PDi developing a small suite of analysis software using python.

I worked at PDi three days a week and slowly learned more and more through hands-on development (I was and still am the only developer at PDi so I had to self-teach myself everything). Over Christmas, I taught myself the C# programming language and started using that instead of python, these skills helped me greatly in completing my HND and I received an A for my graded unit. Upon completion of my HND in June 2014 I was offered a full-time role at PDi as a Junior Software Developer where I still am today.

I started at the Open University studying part-time towards BSc(Hons) Computing & IT Practice in October 2014. The course takes into account the experience I had already gained through working at PDi and builds on my HND for a Bachelors degree. The practical experience I gained through employment has made the university work a lot easier and I have used PDi, who have been very supportive, as a client for my final project.

  • We’re loving Lad Points in the office! Tell us a bit about this project and any others you’re working on?

Lad Points was a project that I had been considering doing for a long time and I finally got a chance with a couple of weeks break from university work to implement it. I started with the website and released an online version which my mates and I tested out. I then created the app for android which I originally put up for sale on the Google play store, however as the download count wasn’t great I made the app free which certainly helped it gain popularity! My original plan was to use the money made from the android app to help pay the apple development fees and eventually release the app for apple as well, however this did not happen. I am now in the planning stages of a new version of Lad Points with a lot more features!

I have worked on a fair few other projects, both work and personal. The one I am most proud of is probably The Hub. The Hub is an intranet application which hosts a variety of personal, business and social apps for PDi.

Contact Sam:
Lad Points – Download the app now!

Enigma People is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland.

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@enigmapeople and
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Posted August 01, 2016 | Career Advice, Recruitment Advice | No Comments »

Yellow Card for Referees!

Receiving bad news is never pleasant, but especially so when it relates to the breaking down of a professional relationship.

So how should bosses act when someone hands their notice in?

It is completely understandable that there will be feelings of disappointment, frustration and in some cases, betrayal. After all of that planning and investment into a person you hope for them to grow within your own company, not with another!

We experienced a case recently where a candidate handed in their notice in and accepted another role, however it did not go as smoothly as one would like.

The offer letter was “subject to suitable references”, as is standard with most recruitment processes. The hiring company quite rightly wanted to sense-check their decision to offer.

The current employer wasn’t quite prepared to play ball, leaving the candidate in a bit of a spot.

The candidate had worked at their current company for more than 2 years had been productive and proficient. They were not moving to a rival company in the same city, in fact they were moving back to their home city having lived away for some years.

Yellow Card for Referees! | Handling References | Enigma People Solutions | Career Advice

by Marty Hadding

So what should be expected of all parties in this situation?

Many employers insist on taking up references, however these days so many employers only give start and finish date to confirm that the person worked for them when they said they did. With no further information, the reference is of limited value.

We even know of some companies that insist on taking up 2 references but refuse to give them for outgoing employees two policies that seem strangely contradictory.

We asked some leading HR professionals what their view on best practice is, as the whole scenario seems a bit disjointed.

Sheila Anderson – Human Resources Consultant/ Executive Coach

Kirklee Human Resources, Penna

In the current economic conditions where many people feel under pressure, providing a full reference with a comment on their suitability for the new role, strengths and weaknesses and employment record for someone who is leaving or left may be low on a company’s priority list for a number of reasons.  HR can only give the facts.  Giving some facts like absence levels and disciplinary record can be risky. Are the records 100% correct, will the individual challenge them, as has happened in the past?  Perhaps the HR department should actually have taken them out of the file by now.   An individual’s strengths and weaknesses may have changed since the last appraisal, assuming there is one in the file, or the manager may have changed and have a different opinion. Thus the current line manager has to provide this element of the reference. 

Individuals should focus on a character reference from their manager and allow the new employer simply to seek confirmation of employment from HR. This does require people to maintain a positive attitude to their manager all the way through their employment as you never know when you will meet again, it’s good practice.

Nick Scott – Human Resources Consultant

Border HR Ltd.

Whilst there is no law forcing an employer to give a reference, not giving a reference can be counter productive.  If an employee wants to leave and the only thing keeping them at their desk is being unable to leave due to their employer’s actions it is a guaranteed way to ensure that the frustrated leaver is not going to give their best and will probably be a negative influence.  Even if they do manage to leave without a reference it will soon get back to their now ex-colleagues, who will rightly question the judgement and morals of their employer, again harming engagement and productivity.

So when confronted with a reference request, my advice is to at least give the factual details such as dates of employment and reason for leaving (resignation, redundancy or dismissal).  Ideally, unless it’s a controversial matter, you should say if you’d re-employ them or not and that they were a good productive employee or not.  Try and avoid personal feelings of like or dislike but if they have received a disciplinary warning for misconduct or performance, this is a matter of fact and should be included.

As long as your answers are factual and not malicious you will not find yourself in any trouble and what’s more that employee who left may just happen to return, having gained extra valuable experience and training from another organisation, at some point in the future. 

It’s worth remembering too that you will no doubt wish to take references yourself on any potential new hires!

Enigma People is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland.

Follow us on Twitter ic_twit_22@enigmapeople and ic_lkdin_22LinkedIn.

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Posted July 18, 2016 | Career Advice, Digital Media | No Comments »

Working in Digital Marketing: Do formal qualifications matter?

A recent article titled “Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t an ‘expert’ in marketing be trained in marketing?” argues that if somebody is being held up as an expert in the discipline of marketing you would certainly expect them to have a formal qualification in the topic. This article got me thinking and I would be urged to disagree. A qualification doesn’t always mean you’re qualified. Or rather a lack of qualification doesn’t mean you’re unqualified.

If we’re talking about digital marketing space – I agree having a formal qualification at college or university level isn’t going to hurt, and is a great foundation to build on, giving you the right knowledge and theory but it doesn’t fully equip you to do the job. I can speak from my own experience my qualification has vastly helped me in my position today, however the person who held my post prior to me didn’t have a marketing qualification and did the job just as well.

Looking at the candidates Enigma People Solutions work with, and have successfully placed, we can say that it really depends on personality versus qualification when it comes to securing a job within a digital marketing agency.

Digital marketing agencies can favour candidates who have studied the subject at college or university level. However if you’re somebody who hasn’t studied the subject but has come to learn through relevant work experience, self learning courses and/or has freelanced successfully then you’re just as qualified to do the job and go on to be a thought leader – something which the article argues cannot be done. If you’re not “formally qualified” but your self taught skills and technical knowledge are up to industry standard, there is no reason you cant go on to be an industry expert.

But that isn’t all.

Digital agencies thrive on creativity, innovation and collaboration. If you can’t display your ability to work in this way then a qualification doesn’t matter either way.  It come downs to your personality, willingness to learn, share knowledge and collaborate. When it comes to working in digital marketing and working within an agency it’s the right combination of personality + cultural fit + relevant skills which wins every time. If you’re the right person for the job with the right skills, the way in which you came to learn doesn’t matter.

If we take software development into account then the same is true. A 2015 Stack Overflow survey found that 48% of developers never received a qualification. Similarly, Quartz reports that:

“Self-taught developers dominate technology: 69% of the developers who responded to the survey are at least partly self-taught, and fewer than half hold a formal degree in computer science. In a trend spreading to other fields, many are choosing ways to learn that offer everything but a degree: online courses, bootcamps, on-the job training, and collaborating with peers.”

Do employers question where they got their qualifications? No. Developers are so high in demand that employers are fighting over each other to hire them as long as they are happy with their coding skills, experience and team fit.

Digital marketing is not far off.

In Tech Crunch’s article “Software Is Eating The Job Market” its reported that at high-growth tech companies such as Amazon and Facebook, the highest volume job opening after software developer/engineer is marketing manager – with social media manager not far behind.

Technology is evolving at a rapid speed. Jobs are being created which weren’t around 15 to 20 years ago, so the qualifications relating to many roles today simply weren’t around or there was little opportunity or need to study exactly what’s required in the role. Many of the skills learned and required on the job aren’t always taught before you’re in the role – often you need to attend hands-on workshops or learn on the job. As technology continues to extend its reach and reshape the workforce, it also reshapes the expectations of how the workforce learns and progress through their careers.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Do you agree that a formal qualification isn’t always required to succeed in today’s marketing landscape?

Tweet us!

Working in Digital Marketing: Do formal qualifications matter? | Enigma People Solutions

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Enigma People is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland.

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Posted June 16, 2016 | Career Advice, Electronics | No Comments »

Are You an Analog Engineer Looking For a New Challenge?

Are you an Analog Engineer? Are you looking for a new challenge and want to relocate into the UK or within the UK? Then this is for you!

Enigma People Solutions is looking to fill a number of Analog Engineer positions with our clients in Edinburgh. We have multiple roles ranging from graduate to senior/principal engineer positions.

Edinburgh as a tech hub is enjoying a significant growth and now is the time to take advantage of it! If you would like to be part of a large electronics community where new solutions are developed every week and healthy competition provides excellent soil for your career growth, please take a look at our brand new exclusive vacancies:

We have worked with many multinational electronics companies who have chosen to set up design teams in Edinburgh (indie Semiconductor, Dialog Semiconductor, Broadcom, Analog Devices, Cirrus Logic, Sandisk, ST Microelectronics, and Selex Es to name a few). The industry has the potential to be a world leader in the electronics design field and a successful producer of high-end electronic technologies.

Electronics Vacancies Scotland | Enigma People Solutions | Are You an Analog Engineer Looking For a New Challenge?

To find out more about working in the Scottish electronics market contact Matt on 0141 332 4422 or email

Join the conversation over at our specialist LinkedIn group – InElectronicsic_lkdin_22

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Posted May 24, 2016 | Career Advice, Events | No Comments »

Make the Most of Mentoring With Girl Geek Scotland

Enigma People is proud to support Girl Geek Scotland’s “Making The Most of Mentoring” Workshop at this year’s Scotland JavaScript Conference on June 4th 2016 . The workshop is specifically for those who work in, or want to work in the technology sector, and is designed to help you find and make the best use of a mentor in your line of work.

Whether you are a student seeking your first job, in a junior position, or at mid-level thinking about your next career move, this workshop will help you flourish.

Event Details:
Date: Saturday 4 June 2016
Time: 10:30 – 12:30 (30mins set-up time, 1.5hrs workshop)
Venue: University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics, 10 Crichton street, Room: G07 (tbc)
Cost: FREE to register
Who: Open to participants of any gender who are 18 years or over, who work in or wants to work in the technology sector

The workshop is part of the ScotlandJS International Conference. Now in its fifth year the JS Conference is the beating heart of the JavaScript community within Scotland. Find out more here.

Click Here To Register For The Workshop!

Make the Most of Mentoring With Girl Geek Scotland | Enigma People Solutions

Enigma People is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software! Or follow us on Twitter @enigmapeople and LinkedIn.

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Posted May 16, 2016 | Career Advice, Digital Media | No Comments »

Getting a Job in Digital Marketing

Gordon Campbell, Digital Marketing Manager at Lookers PLC, shares his experience of starting out in digital marketing with some great career tips!

You’ve probably heard the phrase “you can’t get the job without experience, and you can’t get the experience without the job.” This is something that is true in several industries, but thankfully when it comes to digital marketing, you are able to gain experience without actually getting the job.

Before I landed my first job in digital marketing I helped build and optimise websites for free. If I hadn’t have done this I doubt I would have ever got my ‘foot in the door’, so I would urge anyone else that doesn’t have the experience required to do some voluntary work. I know working for free is a bit of a taboo subject, but having some experience will make your CV more marketable.

This next piece of advice will likely sound obvious, but if you want to work in digital marketing, most of the material that you need to learn can be found online for free. Sites such as are a great place to scan on a daily basis as important industry news usually gets voted to the top. If you are happy to pay to learn digital marketing, websites such as Distilled U are a great place to start.

Keep your eyes peeled for local digital marketing meetups. Meetups are a great way to learn, network, and are usually quite good fun. If I’m honest, I probably don’t attend as many of these as I should, but the ones I have attended have been massively valuable.

Getting a Job in Digital Marketing | Enigma People Solutions

Interview tips
I used to work in recruitment, which meant I dedicated a lot of time to studying how to come across well during an interview. The below techniques are ones I’ve used that I believe have helped me in the past.

Overcome objections before they happen
If you know that there is something that might prevent you from getting the job, such as possibly not having as much experience as other candidates, try to mention this near the beginning of the interview.

The reason this is so important is that if you are coming across well and towards the end of the interview the interviewer manages to uncover something that is slightly negative, it may put a dampener on things. If you volunteer this information at the start, and come across well during the rest of the interview, it will be less likely that it will stick in the interviewer’s mind and will also demonstrate that you are honest.

Do your research
Researching the business is extremely important, and you would be surprised at how many people don’t actually do it before interviewing. Dropping in golden nuggets of information from time to time during your interview will help you stand out from the other candidates and show that you want the position more.
I tend to spend a few hours on research before any interview.

Prepare a presentation
I like to present at an interview even if I’m not asked to. If the job is SEO related, I would usually prepare an audit related to this and benchmark the business against competitors. This is a great way to add some structure to the interview and it demonstrates again how much you want the position.

If you plan to point out anything negative, it is important that this is done in a careful manner, as the person who is interviewing you may be responsible for this piece of work. This could make both parties uncomfortable, and if the interviewer disagrees with your findings it could hamper your chances of getting the job, so just be careful with this one.

Be sure to bring along hard copies of your presentation in case there isn’t a project or computer screen available.

Last impressions count
During the interview it is tempting to get all your achievements out as quickly as possible, but it is important to remember that last impressions, just before the interview ends, can make a huge difference.

If you have achieved something that you think will help you get the job, share this information towards the end of the interview. Doing so will keep you front of mind with your potential new boss and could increase the chances of you being successful.

Follow-up email
Once the interview is over, make sure you send a follow-up email, but don’t act too desperate.  Thank the people interviewing you for their time and make a few additional points about why you think you are right for the position.

What if you’ve never worked in digital marketing before?
If you are trying to land your first job in digital marketing, even an entry-level job, having at least some freelance experience will go a long way.

It is extremely important to demonstrate that you are keen to learn even if it means doing so in your spare time. You need to show that you are proactive and enthusiastic about digital marketing. Also, don’t be afraid to demonstrate any achievements that don’t include digital marketing, and try to also show any positive soft-skills that you have.

You’re going to have to work harder than other candidates that have experience to get this job, so you might want to do some additional research on the business and their marketing strategy.

Try to find out things like what CMS they use. Do they currently advertise via PPC? Do they do any display advertising?

Here are some more things that might improve your chances of landing your first digital role:

  • If you really want a job in digital marketing do some voluntary freelance work to gain experience
  • If you are unable to find anyone that you can do freelance work for, set up a website or blog of your own
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from other digital marketers; most of them will be happy to help
  • Find out if there are any skill-shortages in your local area for specific digital marketing disciplines; having these skills could make you a more desirable candidate

One of the first websites I made related to job interview preparation. I spent a lot time researching how to perform well in interviews and I’m sure this helped me feel a lot more confident during the process, which in turn contributed to me being offered jobs.

What I’ve learned while working in digital marketing
The digital marketing industry is filled with a lot of ambitious individuals. If you want to be part of this industry, it is important that you are prepared to continuously learn and never rest on your laurels.

Although experience in this industry is vitally important, it’s possible to climb the ranks fairly quickly and overtake some of the more experienced people if you are willing to put in the time and effort to produce excellent results for your client or employer.

Don’t expect anyone to hold your hand and teach you about digital marketing. There is a chance that you will have on-the-job training, but if you expect to succeed on that alone then you will probably be left disappointed. A lot of the information needed to learn digital marketing can be found online, so if you want to get ahead of your colleagues, better get your head down and start studying.

It is important that you continuously develop your digital marketing skills through self-study.  The online space is constantly evolving – it is one of the things that keeps the job interesting, but you can quickly fall behind if you are unwilling to keep learning.

When it comes to digital marketing, although you can choose to specialise in a specific discipline, I  always try to gain an understand of as many areas as possible as I feel having an eclectic range of skills can lead to more senior positions.

Digital marketing is quite a close-knit industry, so if you decide to move on from a position, try to do it professionally and don’t burn any bridges. I left a company once on good terms, which in turn led to a lot of freelance work from them and additional job offers.

Working in digital can be extremely rewarding, and is a lot more interesting than previous positions I’ve worked in. There appears to be an increasing demand for digital marketing professionals which has led to a bit of a skill-shortage in some areas, so I believe that now is a great time to be working in digital.


Enigma People is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest sales and digital marketing jobs! Or follow us on Twitter @enigmapeople and LinkedIn.

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Posted November 02, 2015 | Career Advice | 1 Comment »

6 Things Great Candidates Do

As recruiters, we work with a great number of job seekers and over the years we’ve noticed some things that make the best stand out from the rest.

There are a number of things you can do to become one of these great candidates.  Here are some tips to place you first in line for the best roles and impressing your future employer.

Tailor your CV
You might simultaneously be looking for a job as a football coach and as a developer and that’s fine, but you can’t send the same CV for both. Different employers care about different aspects of your life and experience and you need to be able to pinpoint exactly what they need to about you. A great candidate will have a CV that a recruiter or an employer can look over and instantly know what you’re great at and what you could add to the company, without having to sift through anything irrelevant.

Keep in touch
We want to be able to give you the best shot at finding your perfect role, and in order to do that we need to know that you’re looking for it and are committed to obtaining it. Keep in touch, let us know what you’re up to and where you want to go next, and we can help you get there. We’re not psychic – if you’re sitting at home wishing you could find that next exciting opportunity our recruiter senses won’t start tingling, you need to pick up the phone!

Be available
While you need to keep in touch, we will from time to time see something and think of you. It’s imperative that you keep yourself available to avoid missing a call that could change your life. We of course don’t expect you to be waiting by the phone on a Friday night, but for example if you change your contact number, let us know so that we can keep your information up to date and you can make sure that you don’t miss out!

Ask Questions
Whether you ask us or the employer when you reach interview stage, it’s vital to ask questions. Not only will you gain more helpful information to help you progress towards your new career, you will appear eager and genuinely interested in the role.

Do your research
You should always be as prepared as possible when you’re job hunting. If you get an interview, learn about the company and work out how you’ll fit into it. A great candidate asks their recruiter about the company and what they can do to show them that they’re the best person for the role. They come to the interview prepared, with notes and questions and an eagerness to get started.

Put the work in
Finding a job is a job in itself, and as tough as it can be at times you have to always remember how much the work pays off. The best candidates persevere through the tough times. They don’t let a rejection hold them back because they accept that some companies just aren’t right for them, and the one that is will find them soon enough. They just need to work for it.

Remember these and you’ll be on track to finding the role you’ve been looking for. To start your journey, click here for our current vacancies!

Related Articles
The Enigma Guide To Writing Your CV
The 3 Most Common Lies Told On A CV


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Posted June 08, 2015 | Career Advice | No Comments »

5 Job Vacancies To Look Out For

This weeks blog is guest blog by a friend of Enigma’s, David Farrell Shaw, who, whilst job hunting himself, has identified 5 job vacancies to look out for.

5 Job Vacancies To Look Out For

Image: “Job Application” by phasinphoto (

Guest Blog by David Farrell-Shaw

  1. The Fishing Job:- the recruitment agency posts numerous similar sounding jobs that sound attractive. The purpose is to get a hold of CVs and build a database of contacts.
  2. The Budget Job:- the job comes with a fixed salary. Picking someone up on the cheap is a key priority. Never mind that staff turnover and constant recruitment will cost them more in the long run. They don’t care. This is a company living month to month. Their first question is always how much are you currently getting paid.
  3. The Bi Polar Job:- They advertise for say, an SEO expert. They don’t know what one is – or even why they need one. (90% of the time they wouldn’t know what to do with one even if they found them). This type make their snap decision on what tie you are wearing or the fact you can be an ‘expert’ that costs £20k less than that other ‘expert’.
  4. The Impossible Job:- Similar to Budget Job. This one needs an SEO, E-business, PPC, content creating, DBA, Customer Experience expert who ‘knows’ Agile plus ‘must have’ experience of every programming language that ever existed. Oh and Powerpoint. You need to be highly skilled in Powerpoint.
  5. The Internal Job:- It has already been filled. Key clues are quick closing date (tomorrow at 9 am), or 5 years experience in (insert internal process or software here)

David’s advice?

Find a good Agency. They do exist. They will get you in front of the right people. Then it is up to you.”

Finding a good recruitment agency to work on your behalf can make the biggest difference to your job search. Any good agency will not put your CV forward for a role without your consent, without evaluating your skills against the job spec and your personality against the company culture. They will have in depth knowledge of their clients business and know who is serious about adding talent to their teams and who isn’t. Working with a reputable agency means you can avoid these 5 types of job vacancies.

You might also like:

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Posted December 29, 2014 | Career Advice | No Comments »

The Enigma Guide To Writing Your CV

Right. We’ve had enough of the very poor CV advice circulating the web; it seems primarily designed to make lazy recruiters lives easier and we can’t support that.

Here’s the Enigma People guide to writing a CV; over the years the team here will have read literally 1000’s of CV’s – here’s what works and a wee bit of what doesn’t for our sectors.

1. It would be nice if you included some contact details. Don’t laugh – roughly 20% of CV’s we receive don’t have phone numbers, or the number it does have is incorrect.

2. DON’T keep it to a maximum of two pages! This bit of advice really annoys me. DO keep it succinct but don’t cram things in, if you need more than two pages, go for it.

3. Keep the layout simple, clean and easy to follow. There is one exception to this – if you’re applying for a creative or graphic role, then you’ll need to demonstrate your creativity! Take a look at this ‘Message From A Graduate’ by Matthew Rennie…

4. Do write a profile – and tailor this to each role you apply for, highlighting why you believe you are suitable.

5. Use a confident tone and positive language.

6. Concentrate on your achievements, not your responsibilities. This means listing things you have done – such as products launched, sales increase, awards won – not rewriting your job description. Quote figures whenever possible – especially for roles that require you to meet targets or KPI’s.

7. Make your most relevant experience and skills prominent to encourage the employer to read on. “Technical” CV’s should always include a skills summary (we call it a tech spec – it quickly allows people to identify your primary skill set!)

8. Check thoroughly for correct spelling and grammar – spotting errors is a quick and easy way of weeding out weaker candidates when faced with a mountain of CVs to read. (Use the classic test of asking a friend to read over for mistakes, sometimes it just needs a fresh pair of eyes!)

9. Read (and re-read) the CV once you’ve finished – does it make sense? Does it describe what you do and how good you are at it?


  • List all the one-day training courses you have ever been on
  • Include a photo
  • Use elaborate fonts and colours so your CV stands out.

It doesn’t.

  • Divulge sensitive information
  • Change your previous job titles to match the position you are applying for (some people do – seriously!)
  • Use clichéd terms. We don’t want to know that at the end of the day you can hold the fort because there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
  • Lie. It isn’t nice and we will find out.

We hope this helps!

If you have any additional tips, CV horror stories (or success ones!) or general comments let us know –!


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Posted August 25, 2014 | Career Advice, Events, Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry | 4 Comments »

Be Motivated, Be Valued

Our recent HR seminar, Performance Coaching for Success, not only helped our clients manage performance in their workplace, helping them to boost employee morale and support their companies growth, it also determined the real issues they may face, and that is how to keep employees motivated in order to retain them. With the UK economy returning to pre-recession levels, starting salaries increasing and opportunities rife, it is important now more than ever for companies to retain their existing staff in order to grow successfully and take advantage of a buoyant market.

We asked subject expert Gordon Robb, of VR Growth, for his specialist advice on ensuring employees are motivated and feel valued at work:

Having clarity on the kind of people you want, and then actually being able to recruit those people, is one of the greatest challenges in business today. However, once you have them, the real work begins: keeping them.

The statistics are worrying.

Recent research by Investors in People shows that almost half of the British workforce (47%) is considering moving job. They also show that main reason is job satisfaction, rather than money, with half of these people specifically identifying their manager as the reason their satisfaction is low.

There is no longer any doubt about it: people are looking to feel valued in their work place. The days of people seeing a job as just something they put up with in order to get paid, and that this is acceptable, are over.

Ask yourself these questions

– Do my people feel valued? Not do I value them, or do I have robust employee satisfaction processes that treat people fairly, but do the ‘feel’ it. If they are chatting with friends, out of work, will the conversation be about how they feel they and their contribution is appreciated by the company?

– Do they rate their manager highly? Almost half of employee’s survey admitted to talking about their manager behind their back. It is also clear that an employee’s relationship with their manager has more impact on how they feel at work, than almost any other factor.

So what do you do

There are a few things that you need to make sure exist. With them, your people will be fully engaged in the organisation. Without them, at best they will just see their job as something they do for the money: at worst, they will be looking to find a better alternative.


People need to know what is happening. They need to know where the organisation is going, and what part they play in this. They need to understand it from their point of view, not with some catchy statement that was created for the business plan. Have robust communication processes in the company that cascade information, in a way that people understand. Also, make sure your managers have the skills of communication and listening.

Feeling Valued

People need to know that what they do, and who they are, is valued by the organisation in general, and by their manager specifically. Having managers who can listen and motivate their teams is vital here. Managers need to be good at managing relationships at least as much as they do performance.


People need to feel that they have some control. They need to feel that their job is more than a series of tasks that they are given by their manager. They need to be given a destination to get to or results to achieve, and have a manger that will support them in getting there.

If people have a destination they are clear on and bought into, are able to engage their own creativity and experience in getting there; have a manager who supports them and values their input, the level of engagement will be extremely high. This will not only allow you to get the best from them, but it will mean they will stay and you will continue to maximise the contribution they have.

About Gordon Robb

Gordon Robb is an internationally experienced Leadership and Personal Development Coach, working with individuals and companies to achieve greatness. His company, VR Growth, is a people focussed business consultancy that is helping organisations realise their visions through dramatically increasing the effectiveness of individuals and teams.

Enigma People Solutions will be running ‘Performance Coaching for Success’ seminar in Edinburgh on Tuesday 2nd September – full details can be found here!

For the latest IT vacancies, industry news and insights follow Enigma People Solutions on LinkedIn and Twitter @enigmapeople

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Posted July 21, 2014 | Career Advice, Events, Scotland | 2 Comments »

A Champion Recruiter’s Commonwealth Perspective

A Champion Recruiter's Commonwealth PerspectiveGlasgow is all set to stage one of the world’s largest and most prestigious sporting events – the XX Commonwealth Games. The eyes of the world will be on Glasgow over the next couple of weeks as athletes from all over the Commonwealth arrive on Scottish soil to compete in 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The lead up to this event has been phenomenal and walking through Glasgow city centre you can literally feel the buzz and the excitement. From George Square’s “Big G” 3D installation to statues of the thistle themed games mascot displayed throughout Glasgow city centre, with kids clambering over Clyde to get a picture with him. Not to mention the Queens Baton Relay Race returns to Glasgow for its final journey as it travels around Glasgow for three days before the Opening Ceremony of the XX Commonwealth Games on July 23rd.

The excitement of the games brings with it, the spirit of teamwork, people coming together to celebrate an iconic event and commemorating the hard work and achievements of hundreds of athletes across a number of exhilarating sports.

I don’t know anybody better to tell me about the importance of the games than Enigma People Solutions founding director Ben Hanley. With two silver and one gold Commonwealth Championship medals to his name Ben has lived his whole life with a special affiliation with the games and what they represent.

For Ben, it all began at the 1970’s Championships Games where Ben’s fathers was part of the Nigerian contingent and mother a local athlete. Fast forward to the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh when a young Ben Hanley, a keen sports enthusiast who was actively participating in 6 or 7 sports, had the highly influential experience of meeting Frank Dick – coach to the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Decathlon champion Daley Thompson. Frank Dick, the former director of coaching for UK Athletics, renowned for being one of the greatest sport coaches in the world, played his part in influencing Ben to pursue his love of fencing and compete in the Scottish Men’s Commonwealth Sabre Team in 1990, 1998, 2002 and 2006 bringing home the prestigious medals.

It doesn’t end there however, Ben has also been coaching young Sabre athletes for over 14 years, leading his athletes to win over 5 Commonwealth medals, and is also the current coach for this years Scotland’s men’s and women’s Sabre team competing in the The Commonwealth Fencing Championships 2014. Fencing was last in the Games in 1970 however in line with Commonwealth Games federation, the sport holds it’s own Commonwealth Fencing championships in the same year as the games.

A Champion Recruiter's Commonwealth Perspective - Enigma People Director Ben Hanley

Ben has always had an affinity for what the games stand for. For many, the Commonwealth Games are the first step into a journey of sports excellence and gives athletes the opportunity to strive for excellence. Not only that, they are a means of bringing people, communities and business together to celebrate and take part in sports history.

The impact of the games has been, and will continue to be huge on Glasgow and its local businesses. The Commonwealth Jobs Fund was designed around the Games to support local businesses and young people in Glasgow to come together and create employment opportunities. The fund has helped hundreds of people in Glasgow find employment and as a matter of fact a number of Enigma employees, (including me!) wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the fund. As a small business owner, Ben has of course felt the positive impact of the fund and the Games, but also as a coach and mentor, the meaning of the games resonates strongly with Ben’s beliefs. As a former competitor and current coach to the Scottish National team one of key phrases used regularly is “high performance attitude” towards teamwork and reaching your goals.

High performance attitude is a notion Ben picked up from a sports conditioning coach and is the manner in which he urges his athletes and his staff to approach their goals, be it sports related or career related. High performance attitude means working towards your goals with attention to detail, being prompt and punctual and focusing on targets and goals. In addition to this, being acutely self critical and willing to use criticism to spark one’s own development to achieve realistic goals is something Ben believes in. Working closely with athletes, Ben sees the benefit of adopting these characteristics into any work ethic. As an owner of an award winning recruitment business, Ben implores us as a team to adapt this attitude to the work place, teaching us that success and performance are years in the making, through hard work, determination, talent and the right use of mentoring and coaching. Working towards developing these skills, investing time and training in talent is something we as recruiters can see benefiting not only local businesses but the UK economy as whole. The values of the games, the athletes’ determination and attitude to succeed are something we can all admire and emulate.

The Commonwealth Games have changed the look and feel of Britain and has taught us as a nation to celebrate the integration of societies, bridge gaps in culture and celebrate our athletes achievements. Furthermore it has the ability to help promote Scottish Businesses in the global economy and teaches us the work ethic and skill to help our businesses achieve this. The events will allow Glasgow to shine in the eyes of the world and it is the hope that its legacy will be felt by all people, communities and businesses in Scotland for years to come.

For the latest in technology recruitment in Scotland please follow Enigma People Solutions on LinkedIn and Twitter @enigmapeople

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Posted May 19, 2014 | Career Advice, Software | 3 Comments »

Testing Times for Software Developers

A trend that we have seen lately is a number of highly skilled, qualified and experienced candidates stumbling when it comes to technical tests that employers set before progressing them to interview stage.

Testing times for software developers

These candidates have the skills and technical experience required for the roles they are applying to and it would seem the tests were within their capacity. Employers insist that the tests are reflective of the job they will be carrying out and are a fair indication of whether or not they can do the job. So what gives? Is it the talent which is lacking or are employer’s expectations just too high?

As we all know, Software Developer vacancies are at a record high and the gap in the jobs market for these skills has pushed up the price of flexible IT contractors to 3 times the national UK average. With employers finding the skills that are available in market aren’t quite up to scratch, what happens now?

Should employers be more realistic, accept that the market is what it is and hire the best applicants despite them failing the technical tests. In a recent article, one software developer talks about the nature of on going learning on the job and why they never stop learning.

“Yes, you learn some basic foundational skills [at school], but a lot of it you have to pick up on the job. Even though I came with experience, there was still of ton of things I had to learn.”

Like any good candidate, despite what experience they may have, continuous learning and development is what excites them and often their reason for applying and accepting new jobs. What we need to remember here is that developers are unique, in that new roles are rarely about the money but for the excitement of the job, development, and the opportunity to create something wonderful with code. Is it then fair to reject candidates on the basis of initial testing when they will most definitely pick up many of the skills, and more, on the way?

Adding to this, passive candidates are favoured by employers as they come trained, and already experienced. The problem here is it doesn’t allow new talent the opportunity to get jobs and build up their skills or experience. Rather than hiring and developing new talent, employers are ‘increasingly demanding that employees arrive as fully-formed experts in their fields’, and this is exactly what is perpetuating the skills gap.

Should it be the employer’s responsibility to put a stop to this, take on the new hires, take responsibility for their training and development and do their part to put a stop to the skills gap?

On the flip side to this argument, if employers hire those who – they feel – are below standard what does that mean for productivity? Will their output suffer? It is a competitive market out there and who can afford to take on somebody who won’t get their business to where it needs to be?

Employment has reached pre recession levels again and in particular Scotland has more people employed than the UK average. This is great but these people have been under invested in and not trained adequately, and this begins at university level. If employers are feeling the graduates don’t have the commercial experience and skills when entering the world of work, shouldn’t they do more to engage with universities and invest in graduates?

I can fully understand the concerns of employers, taking their lead developer away from being productive and spending 3 to 6 months training someone up is hardly ideal. In the short run, yes it will impact productivity and output. However, businesses need to look beyond this and focus on longer term gains. Look at the bigger picture here and invest in developing talent with the relevant industry skills in order for the market to reach a sustainable equilibrium. For this to happen it is important now more than ever for employers to invest in staff development and focus on staff loyalty; simply advertising higher salaries or better benefits isn’t going to solve an industry-wide problem.

Developers who may not always pass technical tests first time, but still perform well, can be a great source of potential talent. In order to tap into that skill, employers must look beyond the initial testing stages of the recruitment process and consider the longer term development and growth of that individual. Recruiters are well placed to recognise those with potential and precisely why they submit them forward to clients. Employers must stop holding out for that ideal individual who can do it all because in this market that doesn’t exist and instead hire those with the greatest potential.

Are you a software developer with experience of technical testing, or are you a hiring manager looking to hire software developers? We would love to hear your thoughts…

For the latest industry news, updates and our vacancies please follow Enigma People Solutions on LinkedIn and Twitter @enigmapeople

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Posted January 20, 2014 | Career Advice, Digital Media | No Comments »

Developing your Digital Career

If you are a digital developer you will know all too well the demand for your skills in the current marketplace. Last week I talked about the demand for IT contractors in the UK but digital developers are experiencing this huge demand across both the contract and permanent roles.

Developing your Digital Career

The digital media industry is predicted to be growing at a rate of 7 percent annually with this growth being driven by the mobile/wireless, internet advertising and video games sectors. I recently attended the Technology Trends 2014 conference held by Scotland IS which confirmed this growth of the industry and the impact IT is having on the world we live in. It is predicted that by 2020 there will be 26 billion devices on the “Internet of Things”, that is 26 billion devices which we use on a daily basis – from baby monitors to basketballs will be connected to the internet.

This is the driving force for the tremendous demand for digital developers today; those who create and utilise these technologies which are changing the world we live in. Highly skilled, experienced digital developers are in short supply and so are in a unique position to control their career paths and demand more from the roles that they do choose to accept.

The question is, if you are a digital developer how do you decide which career path to take? Do you find directly approaching your ideal company is the best way in? Or do you find agencies working and negotiating on your behalf gets you what you want from a role? At Enigma what we have found is many developers are currently in high paying, specialist roles, and clients wanting to source this talent for their own companies had better be prepared to fight for them. Developers know that they are a hot commodity and are spoiled for choice when it comes to jobs. They are now in a position to demand more from their roles and from their employers. For this reason it is more important now than ever for companies to develop an enticing combination of salary, careers progression, interesting roles, development of projects, company benefits, company culture and much more.

Rising from the ashes of the recession are new start up tech companies. These are rapidly growing throughout the UK and interestingly many of the management level and directors of these technology and digital companies are developers themselves. For developers this now introduces a new element of career progression and possibilities to become business owners and establish themselves higher up in the hierarchy. Is this something that more digital developers are striving for today?

Is this how developers today want to progress and develop in their own career? Is the element of management something existing companies need to take into consideration when hiring developers?

If you are a digital developer we would love to hear your thoughts on your career aspirations! How do you want to develop and what are you looking for in your next role?

Keep in touch by following Enigma People Solutions on LinkedIn and Twitter for the latest news, updates and vacancies.

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