Career Advice

41 posts

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.

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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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Posted July 01, 2013 | Career Advice | No Comments »

How To Get A Job In 15 Seconds

This year has been pretty big for little videos. More and more of us are being pulled in by 5 to 15 second clips of cats playing, frogs eating and friends running through cricket matches… But some people are taking it one step further and using them to progress in their career. Not using cats, for the most part.

In the grand scheme of job applications, videos are still rare. This is what makes them so effective, but it also reveals what makes them a bit of a nuisance – they’re very difficult to do well.

How To Get A Job In 15 Seconds

Photo by Matthew Pearce

They’re time consuming
Creating a video can be incredibly time consuming. If you’re currently working full time and have commitments at home, finding time to create a video application rather than simply sending in a CV* can be difficult.

They require effort and innovation
It’s impossible to put your entire CV into a 6 second clip and keep it interesting. You need to know exactly what to tell them, making sure that what you miss out isn’t going to cost you the role.

But they can be done
And remember – putting in that extra time and effort is exactly what will get you noticed.      
Erin Michael Vondrak sent her job application to Valve three times with no response, but she didn’t give up. She went and made a video of custom animation and song, confessing that she’d “do anything short of swim with a giant squid” for a chance to work at Valve. If you’re applying for a role you’re not quite qualified for but refuse to let your CV be thrown aside, this is what you need to do. This is the kind of thing that will get you a phone call, because while you might not be right for this role, you might have just proven that you’re perfect for another.

When applying for a role at We Are Social, Graeme Anthony went a step further and made his video interactive, including YouTube annotations that encouraged his potential employer to find out more about him.

Moving to mobile, Dawn Siff will go down in history as the first person to be hired with a Vine resume. Alongside what she describes as ‘old fashioned networking’, Dawn used new technologies to impress her new employer.

So people have had success with this risky move, but it is exactly that – risky. Would you ever apply for a job using video and video alone? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @enigmapeople!

* When we say “simply sending in your CV”, we don’t mean the same CV you send every other company! Tailor your CV to each role. For more tips, take a look at our Enigma Guide To Writing Your CV

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Posted June 17, 2013 | Career Advice, Social Media Recruiting | 2 Comments »

Why Aren’t People Looking For Jobs On Social Media?

Last week, Enigma People Solutions exhibited at the Scottish Technology Show 2013 and had the opportunity to meet with a number of interesting and likeminded individuals. People who are interested in technology and the current job market, two things that are constantly evolving.

With this evolution, candidates now have a multitude of options when it comes to searching for a job. Gone are the days of looking at newspaper listings, now replaced with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, job boards and agencies. We were interested to learn where people prefer to look for new opportunities; whether they stick with the classic methods or have evolved with the times.

Why Aren't People Looking For Jobs On Social Media?

What’s interesting about these statistics is how few people said that they use Twitter and Facebook for job searches. Recent articles have suggested that more and more candidates are migrating to these social media websites to find the best roles, but this hasn’t been backed up when talking to real people looking for real opportunities.

Now this doesn’t mean that social media is useless for finding jobs – these people might be missing out on a goldmine. So why aren’t they looking for the treasure? Do they not know that it’s there, or do they not think that it’s worthwhile digging?

I’ll stop ignoring the question that you have no doubt asked by now – Isn’t Linkedin social media?

While it is, in the past few years it has evolved into a publishing platform that has the added feature of connecting with friends and co-workers. Perhaps this is the problem with social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook. People simply don’t connect the two together – work and social media.

One problem could be that social media is so vast that people simply don’t know where to start. It’s much simpler to contact a recruitment agency that specialises in exactly what they’re looking for, rather than trawling through hundreds of social media posts, 3% of which are relevant.

Another theory is that social media is so engrained in their daily process that it isn’t considered to be a tool in itself, but instead ties into the Own Network category, previously reserved for traditional word of mouth and business cards.

Whatever the explanation, social media still dominates most people’s day to day activities and if they haven’t caught on to its job search features yet, they probably will soon. The problem with this for candidates is that they will be one of hundreds of people who see and respond to that social media post. Social media has yet to compete with the likes of niche agencies in its ability to make a candidate stand out from the masses.

Do you use social media to find jobs, or do you stick with job boards and agencies? Or perhaps you look everywhere! Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @enigmapeople.

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Posted May 20, 2013 | Career Advice | 6 Comments »

5 Essential Interview Tips For Candidates

Going for an interview with a new company can be daunting, to say the least. It could have been a long time since you were last in an interview situation, or maybe interviews have just never been your strong point. Whatever’s worrying you, keep calm and follow these steps to ensure job interview success.

5 Essential Interview Tips For Candidates

Photo: Kate Hiscock

1. Research The Company
If the employer says, ‘Have you taken a look at our website?’, you shouldn’t only be able to say yes, you should be able to recite their company values. If this is somewhere you see yourself working for the foreseeable future then you should want to learn everything about them. Show that you care about the company and what they do, and by learning about their process you can help figure out what your role within that process will be.

2. Ask Questions
This is the part that most candidates find difficult – you’re so focused on answering questions that your mind blanks any that you might like to ask. To conquer this, plan your questions in advance. You’ll inevitably wonder things as you prepare for your interview, so jot these thoughts down and rework them into something that the employer could answer. Bring your questions on note cards to the interview – you won’t forget what you wanted to ask and you’ll show the employer that you’re organised.

Here are some example interview questions:

“What would a typical work day consist of?”
“Are there any opportunities for training within the company?”

3. Dress The Part
Buy a new shirt, a half size too big if you want to make sure you’re feeling comfortable (but not so big that you look sloppy!). Your smartest suit is perfect for some interviews, but not for all of them. Think about the company and their ethos – for example are they a creative digital agency? If so, maybe best not to go in your stiffest pinstriped shirt and tie. Try to show a bit of your style and personality while still staying smart.

4. Don’t Be Late
If you’re unfamiliar with the area and you have a spot of free time, do a dry travel run to the interview location. Not only will it save you from getting lost on the day, it could even make you aware of any unexpected roadworks or other obstacles that you might otherwise not have allowed time for.

5. Relax!
This one is important. If you’ve done your research and managed not to spill ketchup down your new shirt, then there’s nothing more you can do than take a few deep breaths and just relax. Don’t be afraid to take a moment to think before you answer a question, and have a glass of water handy to keep you hydrated.

What’s the best interview advice you’ve ever been given? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @enigmapeople!

It’s not just candidates who need some help with their interview skills. Check back next week for some employer interview tips!

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Posted March 11, 2013 | Career Advice, Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry | 11 Comments »

The 3 Most Common Lies Told By Recruitment Agencies

So we’ve looked at your CV and we’ve looked at the job descriptions… but we’re still not all being completely truthful. It’s time to look at the final link in the chain, the recruitment agency. As helpful as we can be, there’s still a few who tell a little white lie or two to make their lives easier. It’s time to set the record straight!

Here are the three most common lies told by recruitment agencies.

1. “We’ve sent your CV to the client.”

No… they haven’t. This is a lie that some agencies will tell their candidates in order to avoid having to tell them that they just aren’t right for the vacancy. What they need to remember is that candidates are adults and understand that they’re not always going to be successful. Show them respect, be honest and they will work with you in the future with vacancies that will be suited to them.

2. “No feedback yet, sorry.”

Again, the agency is too afraid to tell the truth – which is that the candidate has been unsuccessful. This doesn’t help anyone involved as it makes the client look like they don’t care about the vacancy and the agency look like they’re incapable of getting information from their client, not to mention it misleads the candidate and gives hope that they might still be successful, rather than giving them closure on one position so that they can focus on another.

3. Candidate Bagging

Possibly the worst act by an agency is to collect as many candidates as they can, before they officially have control of a vacancy. They don’t necessarily intend to use these candidates for the position, but they don’t want any other agencies to use them either. It’s a way of getting complete control over the shortlist, regardless of whether or not the candidate should be on it or not. These are the control freaks of the recruitment business and must be avoided! There’s no harm in keeping in touch with your candidates even when you don’t have anything for them, but no good can come from pretending that you do.

The theme across all of these posts is that honestly, above all else, is most important. Finding the right opportunity isn’t something to be looked at lightly – you need you focus on exactly what you require and be particular with the recruiters you work with. If you deal with honest, knowledgeable and helpful recruiters then you won’t run into these lies and you will be on your way to finding your ideal job!

Like this article? Take a look at these!
The 3 Most Common Lies Told On A CV
The 3 Most Common Lies Told On Job Descriptions

For news, tips and chat in 140 character chunks, follow us on Twitter @enigmapeople!

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Posted March 04, 2013 | Career Advice | 5 Comments »

The 3 Most Common Lies Told In Job Descriptions

Last week we revealed the 3 most common lies told on a CV. We felt a bit bad for putting the blame on the candidates, so we thought we’d flip the argument over to the side of the employers. Everybody makes mistakes! (Don’t worry, we’ll get to us…)

Job descriptions, while giving a general overview of a role, are not always entirely accurate. Here are some of the most common, and most unnecessary, lies that they tell.

The 3 Most Common Lies Told In Job Description

by Christina Marie Riley

1. Fun environment
Employers will always put this into a job description to entice people to the role, but unless people are jumping on trampolines in the staff room and every day is Donut Day, they’re probably overselling it. The thing about this lie is that there’s absolutely no need for it. People who have experience in almost any working environment know that it isn’t always fun. Don’t pretend that the office is a “fun environment”; more people would be sold on the fact that it’s full of passionate, hard working people than it being considered “fun”. Though there’s no harm in throwing in a Donut Friday now and then…

2. Office location
Think of a job description like a hotel. “Minutes walk from city centre” can mean “117 minutes walk from city centre”, and being located down the road from a pond does not mean that there are nearby swimming facilities. Lying about the office location will only cause problems when you get to interview stage, when the person who you think is perfect for the job ends up being put off by a location that is far less convenient for them than was suggested.

3. Overselling the role
Pretty straight forward and pretty similar to a CV! Everyone wants to make what they’re providing sound much, much more impressive than it really is. A job description may write three tasks that the candidate will definitely have to do on a daily basis… and then add five more to make the role sound more appealing. This isn’t going to go down well when your new hire arrives for their first day to find that “Event Organisation” meant “Get the meeting room ready and put the kettle on”.

Honesty goes a long way when it comes to your career. Whether it’s in your CV, on your job advert or in your day to day work life, no good can come from pretending to be something you’re not!

For more tips to keep a healthy work lifestyle, take a look at these previous posts
8 Mistakes You’re Making When Writing A Job Spec
The 3 Most Common Lies Told On A CV
How To Maintain Healthy Candidate/Recruiter/Client Relationships

Have you ever been lied to by a job description? Let us know! Comment below or tweet us @enigmapeople.

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Posted February 25, 2013 | Career Advice | 9 Comments »

The 3 Most Common Lies Told On A CV

Everybody stretches the truth on their CV, right? Pretty much, although some may not care to admit it!

Relax, it happens. You’re desperate to impress and you’ll say anything to do so. But of the thousands of CVs that we’ve seen, there are certainly a few lies that crop up more often than others…

The 3 Most Common Lies Told On A CV

  • Job Omissions

People seem to think that not being at a job for very long is the same as not being at the job at all!

Your CV and your Linkedin profile should be identical, however some people decide to leave out a job from their CV only for us see it on Linkedin, or vice versa.

It makes us wonder – what happened during that role that made it unworthy of a mention? Regardless of duration, it’s still additional experience worth telling an employer.

On the other hand, if you do mean to mention it and have taken the time to put it onto your Linkedin profile, but not into your CV, we can’t help but question your attention to detail!

  • Writing who you want to be, not who you are

“Confident, motivated and innovative”… are you? The personal statement segment of a CV is undoubtedly the most difficult part to write. The mistake that people tend to make is that they think they only have two options:

1. Tell the unremarkable, everyday truth that they’re pretty good at some stuff and not so good at others.

2. Lie. Tell the employer exactly what they want to hear – or more so, what they think they want to hear.

What they always seem to miss is secret option #3. Dig a little deeper, what traits are you great at? Maybe you’re not organised, but it’s okay because in actual fact, you work better under pressure. Think about your employment history and there’ll probably be a number of impressive examples that prove it. Explain why you’re good at what you do even if it appears to be unconventional. It’ll catch their eye better than ‘I’m a confident team player with great initiative!’

  • Hobbies & Interests

When was the last time you went swimming, seriously?

Not only do some people list hobbies that they don’t actually do, they pick ones that contradict the rest of their CV. You could write that you’re a team player who works fantastically with others, yet you list your only hobbies as swimming, writing and sewing. It doesn’t quite add up. If they really are your hobbies, don’t be afraid to tell us that you enjoy working in a quiet, solitary environment. And if they’re not, why aren’t you telling us what you genuinely enjoy doing?

 Be honest – what have you lied about on your CV? (In the past of course… we’re sure your current CV is 100% truthful!)

Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us @enigmapeople!


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Posted January 21, 2013 | Career Advice, Events | 2 Comments »

10 Valuable Career Lessons Learned From Movies

With the Golden Globes just passed and the Oscars fast approaching, we thought this would be a good time to look at the power of movies. Not only do they capture our imagination and provide us with one of the ultimate forms of escapism, they also teach us valuable lessons that we take away and keep with us throughout our lives. You’d be surprised how much one movie may have helped shape your career!

Here are some of our favourite lessons learned from the silver screen.

Toy Story
You can’t fly. But that’s okay.

10 Valuable Career Lessons Learned From MoviesToy Story taught us more life lessons than I can put into one article, but one that really sticks is the lesson that we’re only human (or only plastic…). Buzz truly believes that he is a space ranger and embarrasses himself in attempts to prove it. Though heartbroken when he discovers the truth, he pulls himself together and embraces who he is: Andy’s treasured toy. We’re just human. Accept who you are and be the best you can be as that.

If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothin’ at all

10 Valuable Career Lessons Learned From MoviesAfter exclaiming that ‘Bambi’ is a funny name, Thumper is asked to remember what his father told him that very morning. ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothin’ at all’. Believe it or not, it is possible to get ahead and still be liked. In business, silence isn’t golden but neither is insult. Embrace constructive criticism and give credit where credit’s due. Nobody likes a bully!

Groundhog Day
There’s more to life than keeping yourself happy

10 Valuable Career Lessons Learned From MoviesBeginning the movie as a bored, lonely and particularly rude weatherman, Phil finds himself in a situation of perpetual repetition. After spending days upon days doing whatever makes him happy (because he could get away with it), he loses sight of life’s purpose and in a desperate attempt to escape the banality, attempts suicide. Many times. It isn’t until he begins using his one, ever repeating day to get to know the woman he loves and to help people in need, in other words making a difference in the lives of others rather than simply his own, that life becomes worth living again. Life is not every man for themselves. You work as a team and can get as much, if not more enjoyment from your career by helping others as much as you help yourself.

Everything starts as an idea

10 Valuable Career Lessons Learned From Movies

When you try to think of everything you want to achieve in the future, it can seem a bit daunting. Plant one seed into your mind and let it grow into your future. Think of your biggest goal – one idea that would change your life. Develop this by thinking of what you know, and then develop that knowledge into how you can use that to achieve your goal. Even the biggest ideas start small.

Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion
No good can come from pretending you’re someone you aren’t

10 Valuable Career Lessons Learned From Movies

In theory, pretending to your old high school classmates that you invented Post-its is the perfect crime. Nobody will know who actually invented them, nobody will question it and they only need to believe it for one night. Right? Wrong – Romy and Michele taught us that what seems like a foolproof lie can still blow up in your face. Tell the truth and embrace it, it’ll probably be much more impressive than you first thought.

The Hobbit
Say yes to an adventure.

10 Valuable Career Lessons Learned From Movies

Small, unsuspecting Bilbo lives in his peaceful and idealistic Hobbit-hole and like the rest of his town, looks down on the idea of pesky adventures. But a part of his heart couldn’t resist the temptation to explore – and can you imagine what would have happened if it didn’t? Well, not very much would have happened at all. And that’s no way to live! Take risks, gain as much life experience as you can and use it to your advantage.

Any Given Sunday
Get your mindset right or you’ll crumble

10 Valuable Career Lessons Learned From Movies

If you let your mind get distracted or lazy, everything around you will begin to crumble. As soon as one project starts to slip it can create a domino effect and it’s up to you to snap yourself out of it. Al Pacino’s motivational ‘Inch By Inch’ speech tells us that it can be a painful struggle but that by working together and staying focused, anything is possible. Now, whattaya gonna do?

It’s A Wonderful Life
Don’t accept failure too soon

10 Valuable Career Lessons Learned From MoviesIt’s A Wonderful Life is the holy grail of career advice. Or career suicide, if you don’t quite get the message. George Bailey is fighting to save his father’s company and too soon believes that he has to wave the white flag – prompting him to take a second look at life. However Bailey panics far too early. During tough times, it’s easy for the owner of a business to feel like everything is crumbling before them – but it’s not the end. Stay calm and sit tight; take the steps you need to take in order to stay afloat.

Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

10 Valuable Career Lessons Learned From Movies

This is a common theme throughout Nolan’s trilogy; it begins from Bruce’s childhood and continues right up to his near demise at the hands of Bane. No matter how hard you try to succeed, you are going to fail something, at some point. The important part is how you handle it. Don’t make excuses or find someone to blame. It is only when we take full responsibility for our mistakes that we can learn from them.

Don’t settle for the cheap option

10 Valuable Career Lessons Learned From Movies

Early in the movie, a young boy is eaten and the mother offers a $3,000 reward for killing the shark. The only man who had actually has the ability to do this asks for $10,000. Turned down, the townspeople go off to catch the shark for $3,000. People die and nobody catches the shark. Quality costs money – but is worth every penny. If you choose the cheaper option you’re probably going to have to pay a lot more money later down the line when it fails you.

Movies really are gifts that keep on giving. Whether they’ve taught us the importance of sticking it out through the hard times, given us the courage to take the risk we were too afraid to take in the past or just told us to be nicer to people, you can’t deny that they’re a lot more than just an excuse to eat a bowl of popcorn and a “share” bag of Minstrels all to yourself. You’ve definitely taken more from movies and used it to help you through your career than you might have thought!

It’s worth adding that for every movie we’ve mentioned there are a thousand more, so we’d love to hear what movies have stuck with you after teaching you something significant.

Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @enigmapeople!

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Posted November 19, 2012 | Career Advice, Recruitment Advice | 4 Comments »

How To Maintain Healthy Candidate/Recruiter/Client Relationships

It’s became apparent us while having a discussion on LinkedIn that there needs to be some clarity between candidates, recruiters and clients. There needs to be clear communication between all three parties to ensure honest and reliable results.

We’ve decided to put together a guide for candidates, recruiters and clients. This isn’t necessarily new information, but perhaps information that gets forgotten along way when you have a million things on your mind. The point we’re making is simple – stop forgetting! Everything here is essential.

We spoke to a number of candidates about the issue and heard some absolute horror stories. One jobseeker was called to an interview only to find that the recruiter had altered his CV to make him more suitable for the client. This made for a dishonest and frankly embarrassing experience and if one of our recruiters did this, they would be fired on the spot!

The general consensus from the candidates was that recruiters need to

  1. Be professional
  2. Be honest
  3. Get back to the candidate if the job goes cold.
  4. Be very clear about who the company is and what the role is exactly

They also stated that far too many agencies “treat us as the ‘product’ not a person.”

This is the last thing that we want our candidates to think and whilst we respect and value them very much, the pressure put on agencies by clients occasionally forces this to happen.

We want to show that there is a process to what we do, and that if someone feels like they’ve been shunned and don’t know why, they can see the process that has led to that decision.

Before we go onto our guide, we’d like to explain Enigma People Solutions’ recruitment process.



The initial conversation will come around from a number of different ways; it could be business development, it could be referral or we could be approached by the client directly.

Our first question – but not everyone’s – is always ‘Why?’. Why is the role available? Why are you looking for someone? Why has the vacancy come up?

We then go through a process of discussing the role with the client to ensure we understand what it is they’re looking for and to make sure that we think we can find the right person or people for the role.

There will be some discussion around the job description to make sure that it’s viable and we also need to know what avenues the client has tried and who else they have given the vacancies to.

If we agree to take the role on we would then look to formulate a specific process for each vacancy in order to find the right candidates. This could be any combination of advertising, database searching, networking, headhunting through various different media, these days mainly online. Given our own established networks, we may even already know the right person for the job!

We will then contact and speak to all of the relevant candidates and produce a shortlist of the best people, in both their skills and personality fit with the client.



  • If you’re looking for A job you should speak to as many recruiters as possible and select the ones you want to work with. If you’re looking for THE job then you need to be more selective. In both situations you need to find recruiters that specialise in your niche and make sure that they only send your CV to companies you’ve agreed to.
  • Always ask questions and make sure that the recruiter understands what you do.
  • If you have changed your mind about a job or company then have the common courtesy to let the recruiter know your thoughts. Please don’t say you will attend an interview then not show up! (And ignore our phone calls and emails and disappear off the face of the earth.)
  • If you have moved on and are no longer looking for a job then let us know. We will stop calling and emailing you and wish you the best.
  • If we request you to make changes to your CV then it’s because in conversation you do the job that the client is looking for but it isn’t written down in your CV. The client isn’t a mindreader, if there’s something you want them to know you have to write it down! [Take a look at our CV Guide for more tips!]
  • Be available. We’ll promise to call you at a certain time, and we will. We’ll be available too so keep in touch with your recruiter every 7-10 days to keep at the forefront of their memory.
  • It’s incredibly important that candidates control who their details are introduced to. If you don’t think you can trust a recruiter, don’t deal with them.


  • Go through a screening process to ascertain the candidate’s skill set, where they are in their career and what type of role would interest them. This is a two way process, the candidate needs to decide IF they want to work with the recruiter and vice versa.
  • Only send a CV to a client with the candidate’s knowledge. Candidates have a right to know about a client/company before they make the decision to have their career history sent to them.
  • If the person isn’t right let them know. Don’t give false hope and if there has been no news, tell the candidate that.
  • Make sure you have explained fully the process of how agencies work and how you work.



  • Keep in touch with the client. Offer a weekly report so they know what you’ve done and don’t worry that you’ve forgotten about them, but don’t over communicate. Clients are busy and need a structure to working with you and not to feel pestered by you.
  • Make sure you have explained the process of how agencies work and how you work.
  • You must be able to offer suggestions as to what compromises need to be made in order to fill the role.
  • Good recruiters are consultative and will provide important market information about availability and salaries for the type of person you’re looking to recruit.


  • Simple stuff – let us know what you are doing and how we can assist. Talk directly to us and cut out any middle men.
  • When you send a job spec asking for a certain skill set – we resource best candidates possible and send you CV’s and then the client turns around and says ‘well really we needed …’
  • Salary expectations are included in the CV’s sent out for a reason. If a client knows that someone is too expensive but they still go through the process of interviewing and then realises ‘yes they are good but he/she is too expensive’! Times been wasted for client, candidate and recruiter.
  • Manage your expectations. Remember, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect candidate’.
  • It’s important to work with recruiters who can demonstrate an understanding of your business.



  • Feedback for some candidates is important (also for recruiters, lets us know if we have hit the mark). Highlight areas where you feel they can improve or add to their skills rather than describe negatives, especially for candidates who have attended interviews. Be constructive and not negative (unless they were really really bad).
  • The key to hiring the right people is to get the recruitment process off on the right footing and treat potential employees as if they were already part of the business.
  • Respect that candidates have a choice and can’t always drop everything at a moment’s notice to attend an interview.


  • DO YOUR HOMEWORK. If this is going to be your next job you should want to know as much about them as possible.
  • Be as honest and flexible as you can with an employer. It’s important that the employer feels that you are committed to the process. Honesty is the key to finding and securing the right role.
  • Remember the client is looking for the best fit for their team; just because you can do the job doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the best fit culturally. Try not to hold this against them, and trust that if they don’t think you’re the best cultural fit then you maybe wouldn’t have enjoyed working there anyway!
  • Always put your best foot forward and send a ‘thank you for your time’ email after the interview. This will help you to be considered for future options if you were unsuccessful this time around.

We hope this helps you on your journey for the right job or the right candidate. If you have any additional advice please let us know in the comments section!

If you now have all the information you need to find your next opportunity, take a look at our vacancies!

The Most Creative Job Applications In Social Media & Tech
7 Ways To Scare Off A Recruiter

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Posted October 03, 2012 | Career Advice | 10 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 in the section below.

Alternatively you can tweet us @enigmapeople or email

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Posted September 20, 2012 | Career Advice | 1 Comment »

Why can’t I get my dream job?

Why can't I get my dream job? - Enigma People Solutions

The Scotsman recently wrote that young people are losing hope of finding their dream job. A fifth of them have given up hope of finding a job in their chosen field, with many more expecting to wait at least 10 years.

We’ve all been there. You see a job post and your eyes light up, you think “That’s me, that’s my job”.

The silence that follows breaks your heart.

 “But why?” you think – “This is my job, I’m perfect for it! Was it something I said?”

The truth is it’s not what you said… it’s the way that you said it.

Sometimes it’s not your skills that have been rejected, it’s the way you put them onto paper. So here are a couple of basic elements that your CV needs to have.

If you didn’t send a covering letter, you must not want the job.

You sent your CV of course, but did you send a covering letter?

There’s no point trying to justify not sending one, even more so if it’s a job that you really want. You should want to add additional information and experience that the hirer can see before they even reach your CV.

We recently accepted CVs for a Resourcer for which we received 187 CVs. 18 of these included a cover letter and only applicants from those 18 went on to be considered for an interview.

The employer needs to know exactly what you can do

… when you have done it and who you have done it for. For the edge, you should be able to pin point times when you have done it well and in a situation that directly relates to the challenges and projects that the employer is looking for.

“We need a chef.”
“Fantastic. I’m a chef.”
“We need a pastry chef.”
“I have five years pastry experience.”
“We need a pastry chef who makes pies in the shape of the Eiffel Tower to be sold exclusively in Australia.”
“I am a pastry chef who bakes pies in the shapes of global and cultural iconic monuments including the Eiffel Tower, Chrysler Building and The Sydney Opera House. I love to travel with my business and this year alone I have baked 250 pies across the world which was 30% above my pie baking target.”

(How amazing would that job be? Okay, I’ll get back to the point.)

The employer isn’t going to know anything that you don’t tell them. At the same time, if there’s anything that they don’t need to know, then don’t tell them.

“I’ve cooked pasta dishes all across Finland”
“Good for you. We don’t care.”

They don’t, and it will take up valuable space where you can tell them wonderful things about you that they will care about.

Understand the job. It is yours, after all.

Don’t just read the job spec, understand exactly what your job would be. Figure out what your most important tasks would be, be them day to day or overall, and focus on them. Is the description too vague to be sure? Then ask questions. This could be in an email or a preliminary phone call, showing your interest and if nothing else letting the employer know your name before they even see your CV.

Commit to the CV as you would to the job.

Spend as much time and put in as much effort to your CV as you would at the job itself.

You may feel like you couldn’t spend another minute working on your CV, but when you think about how long you could be at this job and how much you’ll enjoy it, it’s worth putting in as much commitment to it as possible. Just think, if you get this perfect job, you might never have to write a CV again!

Have you ever been silenced from what you thought was your perfect job?

We’d like to know, email us at and tell us your best and worst CV experiences. 

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