Recruitment Advice

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Posted May 09, 2017 | Recruitment Advice | No Comments »

The 8 Essential Steps to Using a Recruitment Agency

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If you’re a client working with a recruitment agency and want to get the most from your relationship, it’s highly important to fully understand our function and how we work. Putting together all of our experience over the years, we thought it would be useful to lay out a few of the key points to keep in mind when using a recruitment agency. If recruiter and client can establish a good working relationship from the beginning, it makes for a much happier outcome in the long run; for both parties and the candidates involved. So here are our eight essential steps to using a recruitment agency:

Be Aware of Our Passive Candidates

When we contact you to say that we have a few great candidates in mind for your recent vacancy that cannot be sourced from anywhere else, we really mean it! Over time we are able to create strong working relationships with passive candidates, meaning that when the perfect role comes up for them, they will be much more likely to take the opportunity. Our ability to find out exactly what our candidates want, where they would fit in with company culture and their level of skill relevant to fill the role is essential. We keep up to date with these potential candidates, finding out if their preferences have changed and what they want from their career. We have many passive candidates who are not available on the market but like us to keep them up to date with the latest roles and it is for this reason, that recruitment companies have an advantage.

Provide Accurate Job Specs

Ensuring you provide us with an accurate job specification is a must. Without the correct information, we can’t promote your vacancy to show it’s full potential. And sending us a job spec that’s been used, reused and is now out of date isn’t great either. To create maximum interest, it’s essential that we have a comprehensive understanding of exactly what it is you’re looking for. Providing us with a job spec that is up to date, contain information relevant to the job role and that highlights key specifications will ensure your role gets attention from the right set of candidates.

Remember, This Process Involves Real People

This is something to keep in mind at all points throughout the process. We’re talking about the candidates for the most part but recruiters are people too and everyone involved in the process should be treated with respect and equality. Candidates are more than just a CV or a set of skills. Behind that CV is a real person, who has a life and usually a full-time job outside of their current recruitment process. Being mindful and appreciative of this when planning interviews and phone calls is important; understanding their position makes a massive difference to both your experience and theirs.

Feedback

Not just feedback but constructive feedback is something every candidate values a lot. It is vital that feedback from the interview reaches the recruiter in a reasonable amount of time. As we’ve said in previous blogs; this is a majorly candidate driven market at the moment and candidates are not willing to hang around forever when they have a multitude of great opportunities to choose from. Ensuring feedback is sent along the lines of communication quickly will allow the process to run smoothly; meaning the candidates is kept up to date and that the recruitment process continues within a good timeframe.

Be Honest

Honesty is vital within the recruitment process;  for us, we need to find out exactly what the client wants and what their expectations are. It’s about having honest and realistic conversations to determine if and how we can work together, even if it involves home truths which can be hard to hear. In the long run, if all parties can talk freely with each other then expectations should be met, positions filled and a good working relationship formed.

Be Ready to Compromise

Already I can hear alarm bells going off as potential clients read this, but an openness to compromise is something that is necessary when going through the recruitment process. What I mean, is that it’s helpful to remember that you might not find a candidate with EVERY skill you have specified in the job spec and that’s okay. They might not have every single skill but they do have the essential ones, plus they fit in really well with the company culture and know the role well. This type of situation requires compromise. The likelihood of finding a candidate who holds every skill on your job spec can be really low, especially if your niche is a new branch of technology or you’re a specialist in your field. Trust us, having someone who has 98% of the skills and is a great fit within your business is much better than spending 6-12 months looking for someone who just doesn’t exist.

Communication

This really should go without saying however, communication can be neglected throughout the recruitment process. To ensure things go smoothly; its best to have a few points of contact for your recruiter to reach you on. Arranging specific times and dates for your recruiter to update you and exchange information is helpful. One important point; treat your recruiter as a valued member of the recruitment process – they have the skills and experience needed to source your perfect candidate and contribute towards solving your recruitment problems. This is invaluable.

One Size Does Not Fit All

This cannot be stressed enough. Every client is different, their markets are different and the type of niche which they are working within is almost certainly different. That’s why we tailor our approach to finding the perfect candidate, using our experience to create a recruitment process that works for our individual clients. It’s important to know that each role can have a different process and that the candidates for each role will be different. Using a one size fits all method for such niche markets just wouldn’t work.

8 essential steps for using a recruitment agency


Get in touch hello@enigmapeople.com or call us on 0141 332 4422.

Follow us on Twitter for all of the latest tech, business and recruitment news @enigmapeople  twitter or follow us on LinkedIn  LinkedIn

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Posted March 28, 2017 | Recruitment Advice | No Comments »

How to Lose a Candidate in 10 Days (Or Less!)

Following on from the breath of fresh air that came from our last interview blog with Finlay Harris, a recent graduate and now a Junior test Analyst at Sopra Steria, we thought that we would replicate his honesty with a little bit of advice from the team. How to Lose a Candidate in 10 Days (Or Less!) takes a look at the obstacles and barriers tech candidates come up against, highlighting the sometimes utterly confusing processes set out by some tech companies when trying to recruit. Having been in the technology recruitment business since 2004, we’ve certainly had our fair share of frustrations with clients and the process in itself. However, there are some instances in which these things just can’t be helped but we thought we should share our top “How to Lose a Candidate in 10 Days (or Less!)” moments. Hopefully, this will give tech companies an understanding of what NOT to do when working with candidates…


1. Already Having an Internal Candidate in Mind

This is something which really frustrates us as recruiters. When this happens, the candidates are still put through the same interview process as normal – even though the position is already filled by their internal candidate. That’s just cruel.


2. Vague Job Descriptions

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Job descriptions are usually the first point of contact your candidate will have with you as a business so ensuring they are accurate, informative and inviting is essential. Remember, as much as the candidate should be impressing you – with the standard of candidates around today, you really need to think about impressing them too! Bullet pointing everything about the job role, company and calibre of candidate you’re looking for won’t cut it anymore.


3. Location of the Job Is Not Clear

Now, this alone isn’t a dealbreaker but pile it up with the rest of this list and it can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for some people. So, we know that you currently have a couple of positions available but they don’t specify a location. Of course, there are ways of getting around this, as Finlay referenced, you can dig around quite a lot and hope to find that the company has offices near you. This isn’t ideal, it can waste a lot of the candidates time and actually become a barrier to entry. Perhaps it would be easier all round if the location was specified?


4. Long Technical Tests

Do not have the expectation that candidates are going to spend weeks doing technical tests. If you’re digital software or electronics there’s a good chance you will have to undertake a technical test of some sorts when trying to find the right position for you. A technical test is used to find out how much practical skill you really have, as opposed to what you say you have. In some cases, we have had candidates report back that their technical tests had extensive requirements which meant it took them a number of days and even into weeks to complete. This is unnecessary. Long technical tests are something that we don’t understand – it makes the company’s search longer and much more drawn out and puts candidates under unnecessary stress, whilst also taking up A LOT of their time!

5. Video Interviews

Let me be clear, I’m not talking about Skype calls or live video interviews. I’m talking about being given interview questions and then being asked to record yourself answering said questions. To get a real feel for the type of person your candidate is, you need to see them face to face, in real time. Although we are in the age of YouTube and many other live video social media streams, it’s unlikely that your candidates will feel at all comfortable recording themselves answering your interview questions. Especially considering the fact that this is one of their only chances to get across their personality, knowledge, and skills. Live video interviews are always best if you can’t manage a face to face interview.


6. Lengthy Interview Process

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In the tech industry, finding the right candidate can be a long process and that’s okay. Everyone understands that it takes time, especially when you’re looking for someone to fill a niche role. But when you have to report to a candidate that they have been asked back for a 4th or 5th interview or even another lengthy and exhausting technical test…it starts to become a bit much. Candidates won’t wait around forever, even if it does seem like their perfect opportunity, going through interview after interview over a period of weeks and months takes its toll. Try and keep the process as short as possible, otherwise, your star candidate might not be around when you finally make your decision.


7. Assessment Centres

Assessment centres are a great way to determine how a candidate might be when working within your company. Over the course of a day, you can find out how they respond to a series of tests including inductive reasoning, language, and numerical skills. However, this is over the course of a full day, including travelling to and from the centre. Again, assessment centres alone won’t always scare away candidates but if the location isn’t easily accessible or travelling distance to the centre hasn’t been taken into consideration for candidates – it can easily set people off on the wrong foot. Keep in mind that you want to get the best from your candidates and showing a bit of consideration goes much further than you might think.


8. Feedback

Now, this works both ways. As recruiters, the story goes that we, as a general group, are not very good at feeding back to our candidates. At Enigma, even if it isn’t the news you want to hear, we will always get in touch and keep you up to speed. There needs to be a strong chain of feedback down to the candidate. Although the process can be difficult for the clients too, as they might have a busy interviewing schedule, without the proper feedback candidates can quickly feel undervalued and unimportant. Something which can lead to a strained relationship and in some occasions results in candidates looking for opportunities with different clients.


9. You’re Really Hard to Find Online

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Candidates will spend a good deal of time trying to find out about your company, in order to discuss their knowledge with you and highlight how interested they are in the position. This isn’t always easy. There seems to be a fair amount of companies, large and small, who just don’t update their website or social media regularly. If you want to have a conversation with candidates about your company, your goals, and your recent and future projects…it’s probably a good idea to make this information as easy to find as possible. A good example of this is having a careers section or showcasing your latest projects over social media. 


10. You Don’t Value Your Candidates

When looking for someone to join your business, it is pretty much essential that you value them. Without this respect, forming a positive business relationship won’t happen. We all understand that as a candidate, it’s important to value and respect the client and company you will be working for. This means arriving on time to the interview, doing prep work beforehand and dressing to suit the business – to mention only a few aspects candidates take into consideration. But this works both ways. With all of our previous points, it’s clear to see the relationship between valuing your candidates and how this affects your success rates. If you treat someone with respect and honesty and show them that you value their time, knowledge and experience – it can only work in your favour as a business. Next thing you know, people will be breaking your doors down to become part of your team!

I’m sure there are a few of you who will be reading this and thinking “oops! I’ve done that in the past” but have no fear! Everyone makes mistakes and hopefully with this knowledge bestowed upon you, it will stay firmly a thing of the past. Remember, candidates ARE people too and if you plan on adding to your team then the least you can do is treat everyone with respect.

 


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 hello@enigmapeople.com to discuss how we can help you find the right candidates for your business.

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Posted January 31, 2017 | Electronics, Recruitment Advice, Software | No Comments »

10 Pro Tips for Hiring and Managing Remote Engineering and Design Teams

!0 Tips For Managing Remote Teams

This article was originally published on RocketSpace.

Remote work and flexible hours are increasingly popular in the startup world, but many founders have little experience implementing these policies. At the same time, startups can experience massive cost and time savings from hiring an international team that works throughout all 24 hours of the day (thanks to timezones) and does so at great rates.

Su Yuen Chin, co-founder of on-demand tech talent platform MomoCentral, is a serial entrepreneur who’s had her fair share of startup failures. What she learned from five startup failures, though, was how to build a team. When she realized she and teammates had a knack for building remote teams in particular, they founded MomoCentral, focused on helping founders build and manage remote engineering and design teams. In a recent RocketSpace workshop, Chin shared advice for founders looking to build effective remote teams.

Here are the top ten pro tips we extracted from her workshop:

  1. Know your hiring goals.

Are you hiring for a short-term project, such as an HTML email design task or the building of an Android app prototype? Or are you looking for long-term assistance on the main product? Communicate your goals so you can hire and manage accordingly.

  1. Conduct task-specific interviews.

For developers and designers, a portfolio is essential, but not enough to make a hire. Test basic knowledge and give applicants mini-tasks, such as redesigning a popular product’s reservation flow or coding a user registration system. For administering coding tests, Chin recommends HackerRank or Codility.

  1. Get to know everyone’s past experience.

Once your remote team is in place, make sure you understand each teammate’s past experience. With remote workers, it can be tough to have those data points, since everyone’s far away. Office banter and one-off conversations are less common. If a teammate worked on a machine learning project five years ago, though, and that becomes a company need in the coming years, you’d want to know who you can turn to.

  1. Have one key point of contact for each team and employee.

It’s never good to have too many cooks in the kitchen. Make sure remote teammates know who specifically they report to and enforce that process. A designer, for example, should only be taking direction from her manager — not even the CEO should be able to assign projects directly to her. That just creates confusion and leads to messy outcomes.

  1. Mitigate timezone issues.

It’s a misconception that real-time communications are necessary in business. Yes, the occasional emergency pops up, but most of the time, autonomy can work. It’s largely an issue of trust: Do you trust your team to get the work done? Chin suggests having a higher frequency of touch points with new hires — such as daily or multiple times daily — until that trust level is built. Then, 1-3 times weekly can save everyone time. Set these rules together based on team needs.

  1. Ask about infrastructure issues.

Not all countries have reliable Internet and electricity access so consider infrastructure issues in various regions of the world. Ask applicants about anticipated outages. For example, one MomoCentral teammate in Pakistan gets a “Power Outage Schedule” from the government, which details when his power will be down each day of the week, such as 1:00-3:00pm daily. International teammates in similar situations may face bad Internet connectivity, power outages, road traffic congestion, security firewalls, military lockdowns, or political situations that limit availability or ability to travel. Ask about these potentials and also ask for the teammate’s Whatsapp number. Even with Internet or electric outages, they may have access to 3G and thus be able to communicate via mobile apps.

  1. Use task management software.

In lieu of real-time communication, use task management software like Asana or Trello to assign and track tasks. Chin suggests using a Kanban board with the process flow of:

Assigned, but not started

Work in progress

Ready, awaiting QA/ feedback

Done

  1. Share wireframes, mockups, and a prototype.

Communicating a vision is already difficult. Doing so with a remote team is that much more difficult. Have wireframes, mockups, and a prototype ready so that you can communicate exactly what the team will be building. For prototyping, Chin suggests Invision App and Proto.io.

  1. Ask developers to commit code daily.

With any development team, especially a remote team, managers should have easy access to source code to see if the code is looking good. This also protects the business from the unlikely event that the developer disappears one day. Use a code revision system like GitHub or BitBucket from day one and ask developers to commit code at least daily so that no code is lost.

  1. Build a strong company culture.

Founders fear that building a strong company culture with remote teammates will be difficult, but Chin says her team is able to make it work by personalizing the work experience. “Invest in your team,” she says. Beyond having virtual stand-up meetings that keep teammates on the same page, reward great work with unique prizes. Sponsor GRE examinations, gift textbooks and online courses, buy developers an extended monitor, and send gifts for big life moments, such as the birth of a child. “If they’re a gamer, get them a Razer mouse,” she suggests enthusiastically. “It doesn’t cost much… but it means a lot, because it shows you care for them.” In a world of long-distance work relationships, every piece of personalization matters. Don’t make these personal moments a company policy, though, or else employees come to expect them, and they’re not as special!

 

[This article was originally published on RocketSpace and was written by Erica Swallow, find her on Twitter. To view the original article, click here.]

 


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 LinkedIn ic_lkdin_22

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Posted November 14, 2016 | Digital Media, Recruitment Advice | No Comments »

Can You Add A Digital Marketing Apprentice To Your Team?

The digital sector is highlighted to be a key high growth sector for the Scottish economy. There are an estimated 70,000 new jobs to be created over the next 5 years, and we, as an industry, are vastly unprepared to fill these jobs.

Although there are a number of initiatives and workshops to help bridge the skills gap, many digital (and non-digital!) businesses are really struggling to bring in skilled talent to help grow and reach their commercial potential.

As you will already know, there is a real need for skilled people entering industry today.

And you can help; Enigma People Solutions, working in collaboration with training provider Tigers Ltd, are committed to help train the next generation and provide businesses with young people who have appropriate digital skills.

To do this, we have devised the Digital Marketing Pre-Apprenticeship programme to specifically teach the necessary real-world skills, which we know our clients have a real need for – like coding skills (CSS, HTML, JavaScript), Analytics, Social Media, Content Marketing and even Photo Editing, as well as IT and Administrative skills.

Now we need your help – could you be an employer who will allow them to gain real work based industry learning?

We’re looking for digital businesses who can welcome a potential digital marketing apprentice on a full-time basis for an initial 6-8 weeks (and beyond!). All at no cost to your business.

How Your Business Benefits:

  • No Training Cost To You – If you decide to hire the young person as a Digital Marketing Apprentice, all training will provided by TIGERS through Government funding. All you need to do is pay your apprentice the minimum of £3.40 per hour (or more if you like.)
  • Cost Effective – compared to hiring new talent, this is a very cost-effective way to bring in new digital marketing skills.
  • Shape and Prepare – Your apprentice will have basic digital skills however you have the opportunity to shape and prepare this individual to work specifically for your business, pass on your professional knowledge, and act as a mentor for this young person.
  • Fresh Ideas – Apprentice’s are known to boost productivity, providing fresh ideas and perspectives.

What’s The Catch?

There isn’t one. There is no obligation to hire the young person as a fully-fledged employee at the end of the 8-week period (although you might find you want to hold them!)

Tigers Ltd has been operating as a training provider for 10+ years and has built a strong reputation for providing employers with a skilled, professional workforce. The apprenticeship programme is currently open to only 10 employers in the Glasgow and surrounding areas.

There are a limited number of modern apprentices available. To take part in the programme, or for any queries, contact Brian Carmichael, Tigers. Apprenticeship Managers.

Tel: 0141 771 5200
E-mail: briancarmichael@tigersltd.co.uk
Address: Unit 27, Huntershill Village,102 Crowhill Road,Bishopbriggs,Glasgow,G64 1RP

For more info visit: Tigers Digital Marketing Modern Apprenticeship

Digital Marketing Modern Apprenticeship

Digital Marketing Modern Apprenticeship


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 October 17, 2016 | Recruitment Advice | No Comments »

How Workplace Innovation Can Help Your Business

Workplace Innovation is a term used by Scottish Enterprise to describe business practices which create a greater sense of workplace satisfaction for employees, with far reaching benefits for the business overall.

It is associated with well understood, but often overlooked practices, such as empowering  job design; self-organised team working; structured opportunities for reflection, learning and improvement; high involvement innovation practices; the encouragement of entrepreneurial behaviour at all levels of an organisation; and employee representation in strategic decision-making.

The key benefit of businesses that are run this way is, the more satisfied the employees = the greater the chance of retaining them. People are one the greatest investments a business can make, and as many of our clients in the technology sector know all too well, recruitment can be a lengthy, expensive process – with available talent so hard to come by. Workplace Innovation resonates with the approach we have long encouraged our clients to take – offer on the job training, mentoring, foster communication, focus on career and personal development and encourage a healthy work-life balance. People, with their unique experiences and skills, are often the only differentiator between competing businesses. This is extremely important for attracting customers but also potential employees, and precisely why businesses should focus on making their teams priority.

To help businesses do just this, Clare Alexander, Head of Workplace Innovation at Scottish Enterprise, gives her top five tips for business leaders:

  1. Respect your people

People actually drive systems and processes. When they are respected, they take time to understand each other, build trust and ultimately, employees take responsibility.

Despite this, I regularly encounter leaders who continue to focus on developing business strategy in isolation, with little or no consideration to organisational development issues. Unfortunately, leadership is often still viewed as charisma and getting things done through sheer force of character.

Organisations that focus on developing staff and culture to meet their business strategy get the best results. And this is particularly true where organisations are in a period of sustained and rapid growth.

  1. Establish a shared vision

Once a vision has been set out, it’s important that the strategy is not compromised by operational pressures, inconsistent decision making or different treatment of individuals or departments. From consistency comes confidence.

When employees feel confident, they aren’t afraid of making mistakes and provided these are used as learning opportunities, then companies become more innovative – and ultimately, more successful.

Good leaders tend to be self-aware. They’re people who know their talents and their limitations. You’ll often find they surround themselves with people who are good at the things that they aren’t – complementary talents.

They empower people to be unafraid of making mistakes. Especially in small businesses, you find that as these companies grow – leaders must employ good people (often ‘brighter’ than they are) to step into their shoes, freeing them up to focus on the strategic growth of the business.

It’s about inspiring people. Creating a vision. You need to create a vision that people can buy into. If you don’t have a vision that’s aligned with people’s personal beliefs, then you won’t get ‘buy in’. It’s a real problem if everyone in the company isn’t working towards the same shared goal.

Take a company who begin with a vision to make great quality products. If they find themselves dragged down the volume route, then it can be difficult for employees to ‘believe’ in what they’re doing.

  1. Communicate with individuals

It’s also important to take an interest in individuals. People want more one-on-ones. And if leaders don’t do it, whether with their managers or executives or otherwise, then that feeds down the organisation. They must set an example by constantly communicating and reinforcing that company vision – both internally and externally.

It’s important for leaders to spend time with the people who make the products and deliver the services, so they know how they feel about the organisation.

If the established vision isn’t the same as the day-to-day reality, the organisation isn’t working towards the same common objective. People must understand how everyone contributes to the ultimate goal.

  1. Build shared understanding

It’s important for different departments to understand how the others operate and how they are measured – it leads to a greater shared understanding.

Take Toyota, for example. I remember once one of the managers was asked, “Why don’t you have an office?” He replied “I don’t make cars in my office”. Instead, he spent time with the people in his organisation. Walking the floor, talking to people and finding things out.

Leaders must see this sort of behaviour as a priority, not a ‘nice’ thing to do.

  1. Nurture the talents of your staff

It’s important not to put square pegs into round holes. Utilising the unique talents of your employees properly means that people will enjoy the work that they do and the organisation will feel the direct benefits of that.

It’s also important to be accepting of the possibility that you’re developing people for a career outwith your organisation.

Yes, they may not stay with you forever, but with the right development and encouragement – you’ll get the benefits of their talents while they are working with you.

 

How Workplace Innovation Can Help Your Business |

How Workplace Innovation Can Help Your Business | Image courtesy of JK 1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


This article originally appeared on Scottish Enterprise’s own website.  For more information on Workplace Innovation and how it can help you, visit www.ScottishEnterprise.com or email workplaceinnovation@scotent.co.uk.

For more expert advice on technology recruitment and retainment sign up to our weekly blog! Enigma People is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy specialising in digital, electronics and software in Scotland.

Follow us on Twitteric_twit_22@enigmapeople andic_lkdin_22LinkedIn.

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Posted October 03, 2016 | Recruitment Advice, Software | No Comments »

Make Sure The Quiet People Speak Up

One of the challenges that Technical Leads face that isn’t always easy to resolve is making sure the whole team is involved in decisions.

There is a large overlap between people who can think in code and people who are shy around other people. For some, the enthusiasm of the former can overcome the latter, but for many, especially younger members of the team, they need encouragement.

Craig Nicol believes there are a few key ways to do it.

“If you’ve built the right team, pairing with a patient mentor, who asks questions, is a good way to build confidence. We all hate it, but asking someone their opinion in a meeting is important too, until they get confident enough to speak up themselves, because they know they’ll be heard. So pick your meetings wisely.

There’s also non-verbal ways to increase interaction and confidence. I’m a big fan of asynchronous code reviews, because they help people focus on the code rather than the coder. I realise there is a risk that this can lead to an atmosphere where someone being reviewed feels under attack, but in my experience, with ego-less teams, and especially with teams who understand and fight technical debt, they see reviews as a chance to improve the code and their own understanding, and make everyone’s life easier next time they look at that feature.

Lean Coffee meetings are also good for helping encourage people to suggest ideas, as they can see what others want to talk about, so they know they have something worth dating. Make sure the quiet people speak up.”

One of the challenges that Technical Leads face that isn’t always easy to resolve is making sure the whole team is involved in decisions.


This article was written by Craig Nicol, and originally appeared on https://craignicol.wordpress.com/.

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 29, 2016 | Recruitment Advice, Software | No Comments »

7 Things To Consider When Recruiting Developers

The demand for software developers from UK businesses continues to rise. Data issued by Dice, in association with IT Jobs Watch, reports “Q2 2016 saw a 14% year-on-year increase in the number of agile software development roles advertised, whilst Java became the third most desirable skill for contract roles, following a 13% year-on-year increase. Linux contractor roles saw an 18% year-on-year increase.”

Many businesses come to us to source and attract in demand developers and fill these vacancies as quickly as possible, however, this is half the battle. Developers often have multiple job opportunities available to them and recruiters, hiring managers and HR teams should all work to make the recruitment process as smooth and clear as possible.

Rob Docherty – a senior software developer with over 30 years experience in the industry, talks us through 7 keys points which he believes are crucial when it comes to recruiting developers. If you’re looking to add developer talent to your teams then read on:

Salary

Clearly a sensitive topic but this is something that will be high on the list of priorities for any candidate. You may not want this sort of information to be freely available to your competitors but you should at least be able to indicate the salary range a role can command. The worst possible case is that you like a candidate and the candidate likes you but you fall at the final hurdle due to salary discrepancies. If you must be cloak and dagger about the exact figure, do at least ask the candidate their currently salary and/or salary expectations.

Working Environment

So your office is a featureless little place in the middle of a business park – there is no reason you can’t be effusive about the area and any additional perks. If it has lovely countryside nearby then say so. Local facilities also go a long way to selling a vacancy. Do you provide any freebies such as the odd lunch or endless tea and coffee? These sort of things are generally welcomed by potential candidates.

The shopping list

Please (I’m begging you) don’t just list a huge set of technical skills with no thought as to the relative weighting. If you’re listing more than about 5-10 core technologies, alarm bells immediately start ringing.

Not all skills are created equal. For smaller technologies, any dev worth their salt can easily pick up the odd skill or two given time if it is something they are light on. If it is something they absolutely must have from day one, factor it into the salary negotiations or require them to learn it as part of the code test (see below).

Testing

You will of course want to make sure the developer is as proficient as they claim. Make sure the tests are relevant and are reviewed regularly. If the test is on a piece of paper that has been photocopied so often it is becoming hard to read, that is generally a good sign that it could do with refreshing. Likewise, test the core skills that will be required. I remember sitting a test a few years back that read more like a GCSE maths paper. Am I really going to be adding fractions by hand in this job?

If you are outsourcing your testing, make sure it does what it says on the tin. A recruiter once mentioned to me a testing suite used by a high street bank. One failed candidate questioned the test having been rejected when he thought he should clearly have passed. It turned out the testing software had failed every single one of more than 100 candidates across multiple agencies as the wrong answer set had been loaded. The bank in question had to restart their recruitment from scratch at considerable cost.

Deal breakers

Skills a candidate must have are considered deal breakers if they don’t have them. Consider screening these in advance rather than picking thru CVs and covering letters to make sure they have them. A quick phone call will often suffice.

Mystery skills

As bad as not asking for deal breakers is getting a candidate to interview and then subtly dropping in a key skill that appears nowhere in the job description. You are wasting the candidate’s and more importantly, your company’s time by overlooking key skills.

Writing code

Having candidates write code is a great way to prove their worth. Having them do it in the interview isn’t so great. Devs will of course have to code to a deadline sometimes but they’ll be doing it on their own workstation with their own configuration, code snippets and tools. Give the candidate a small project to work on at home and ask them to complete it in a day or two.


Article originally appeared on Staticola.com, written by Rob Docherty.

7 Things To Consider When Recruiting Developers


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 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 http://www.penna.com/

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. http://www.borderhr.com/

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 April 26, 2016 | Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry, Social Media Recruiting | No Comments »

Recruitment to Retainment – Part 2 – The Solutions

In last week’s blog, we discussed the 3 key areas which have contributed to the technology industry’s biggest problem – shortage of candidates. A lack of investment in graduates, the inability to hire out-with the EU and too few women entering the male dominated sector means businesses today are seriously struggling to hire. (Read part 1 here).

This week’s blog will tell you how to overcome some of the problems, recruit the best candidates you can find, and retain them!

So How Do We Suggest You Recruit?

Below are the first 5 steps you should take to effectively recruit for yourself:

  • Review and Detail a Person/Job Specification – An incredible amount of time is wasted by employers who do not know what they are looking for. Simply getting another person similar to the one who has moved on from the post or that is currently in a parallel post, is not always the answer. Their traits and personalities don’t always need to be mirrored by the next hire for the role. Creating a defined job or person description is easier than it sounds. Email us hello@ enigmapeople.com for a FREE guide to writing a Job Description.
  • Ask and Reward Existing Employees for Referrals – You never know if one of your existing employees might know of someone who is perfect for your company. Many businesses offer a staff referral bonus, whereby a bonus is paid often in 2 parts – when the candidate has passed probation and when the candidate has worked with the company for 1 year.
  • Utilise Friends and Family Network – A referral from someone you know out- with work is often of use, and sometimes from the most unlikely source!
  • Advertise vacancies for free – Utilise free job boards which are already out there including ScotlandIS and Talent Scotland, amongst your own Social Media networks, (company LinkedIn pages, groups or Twitter). It is worth considering that if these free tools are not working, why would you then pay to advertise? Many job boards have seen a steady decline in traffic and the job audience you seek is now very passive, thus less likely to be looking at your paid for adverts.
  • Use The Job Centre – Again a free to use service, where you could just catch someone at the start of their job search!

Be Mindful of Recruitment Trends

It always helps if you understand what’s going on in the market and how people are searching for jobs. Below are some trends to look for and consider:

  • Mobile – The impact of smartphones and tablets is taking over recruitment too. Make your career pages mobile friendly and easy to apply/ upload CV’s.
  • Social Candidate Attraction – As mentioned, social is stealing market share from job boards. Use these free networks to advertise where job seekers are much more likely to see them.
  • Culture is Key – Your company culture is what separates you from your competitor in the eyes of candidates. One of the first questions we ask prospect new clients is “describe your culture?” It’s amazing how many struggle to describe this and it is worrying that more have not put efforts into how they define this.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility – Pay attention to describing and demonstrating your corporate social responsibilities. Society is becoming increasingly connected and aware through technology and social networking. People more and more want to feel that they and the organisations and groups that they belong to are giving back and acting responsibly. 3 key areas that organisations can and do pay attention to include environmentally friendly business practices, involvement in community/ local charities and  fair and ethical employment policies.

So When Is It Time To Bring In A Recruiter?

If you believe that recruitment is going to be time consuming, distracting, difficult and if you believe the candidates are specialist, passive or may not be local – use a recruiter! If you’ve gone through the above steps, maybe even interviewed a few candidates… and still nobody is ticking the right boxes, bring in a professional who can tell you where you’re going wrong. Read more at: http://www.enigmapeople.com/blog/when-is-it-time-to-bring-in-a-recruiter/

 

Hiring the “Perfect Candidate”

When it does comes to hiring, many hiring managers and businesses won’t hire until they find what is their idea of a perfect candidate. However, they need to understand that with such high competition for scarce talent it’s rarely beneficial to keep searching and waiting to hire. We suggest hiring the candidates who are closest match to the job requirements regardless if they are lacking one or two skills or areas of experience. Skills can be taught and experience gained but holding out for the right person or taking part in a salary war for candidates is only further perpetuating the war for talent.

Retention

Once you’ve finally manage to attract and hire the right employees its important to make them want to stay – especially in today’s market, where your best employees are a target hire for your competitors. Employers must keep on top of their staff retention policies and programs and make sure they are motivating, enthusing and rewarding their staff like never before!

We suggest focussing on 2 areas:

  • Offer Career & Personal Development – For any good candidate, despite what experience they may have, continuous learning and development is what excites them and is key to retaining talent. Specialist IT talent is unique, in that they are less concerned about money in a role but more interested in the opportunity to continue learning and developing their career and skill set and work with new interesting technologies. Why not take some inspiration from Google – who have a new in house incubator called ‘Area 120’ where employees can build their own startups.
  • Work Life Balance – offering flexible working is a great way to keep employees happy. Almost a third of software developers surveyed by Indeed stated they worked remotely at least some of the time, a figure that had risen by 21% in the past year.

Benefits and Rewards

Below are some of our favourite benefits and rewards to show your employees your appreciation and create loyalty towards you as an employer.

Benefits & Rewards to Retain Employees | Recruitment Advice | Enigma People Solutions


We hope our two part blog has covered everything you need to know for successful talent management in the technology industry! However if you still have questions or need expert advice, give us a call on 0141 332 4422/ email hello@enigmapeople.com and one of our Directors would be happy to help. Or our “recruitment advice” section of the blog may come in handy too!

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Posted April 18, 2016 | Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry, Women in Technology | No Comments »

Recruitment to Retainment – Part 1 – Industry Challenges

Enigma People Director Ben Hanley was recently asked to present his expertise on Recruiting and Retaining Talent at Thrive for Businesses latest Technology Club.

We wanted to share his advice on Talent Management with our readers and have broken this down into 2 blogs. This week we explain the key challenges facing the industry and why. In part 2, we tell you exactly how to attract and hold onto skilled people in the industry.

So without further ado…

The technology sector in Scotland is suffering from some key challenges :-

  1. shortage of candidates
  2. shortage of candidates
  3. shortage of candidates
  4. shortage of candidates

With over 86% of Scottish tech companies predicting growth and 76% looking to actively hire in 2016, the competition for scarce talent is fierce. The sector currently employs 80,000 people with a predicted 70, 000 new technology jobs being created over the next 5 years. That’s an incredible number of jobs to fill with not enough being done to fill them. Currently 40% of technology jobs exist in non technology sectors such as Public Services and Finance with the most in demand skill being software skills. There are now a number of significant niche software sectors being established such as Fintech, Fashtech, Healthtech, Cloud Services, Big Data and Data science and IoT. The demand doesn’t end there however; businesses are also demanding skills across technology sales, marketing, data analytics, SEO & PPC.

https://www.instagram.com/digitalworldhq/

Enigma People have been recruiting in the technology space for over 10 years and have seen 3 key areas which have contributed to today’s shortage of candidates:

Graduates:

During the recession, many businesses weren’t in a position to hire and so graduates struggled to gain any industry experience or skills. Fast forward to a growing technology sector we have today and businesses are demanding skilled talent with several years experience, when it simply doesn’t exist.

Businesses are beginning to realise this and now demand for graduates is at it’s hottest for years. In fact, Edinburgh University’s recent internship programme was oversubscribed by companies all looking to hire graduate talent, with many students offered paid internships.

Ability to recruit non EU candidates:

Businesses need to be able to recruit talent from overseas if they can’t fill their roles with talent at home. Last year the Government agreed to loosen the restrictions on work visas for the UK tech sector, which was widely welcomed by the industry.

Previously we found many businesses were unwilling to take the necessary steps to sponsor work visas from outside the EU, believing it to be a difficult process. The closure of post graduate visa schemes meant the UK suffered from a bizarre scenario where our universities are full of PhD and Masters students from outside of the EU that were unable to receive sponsorship to work in the UK once they graduated.

One industry in particular we have gladly seen a willingness to employ non EU based staff is the Electronics industry, with most of our clients sponsoring work visa’s or taking contractors from abroad.

Women in technology:

The low numbers of women working in technology roles has been a much debated subject, with a 13% decline between 2001 and 2011. With women representing 50% of the potential resource pool businesses need to do more to attract them into the sector. We love this article by FastCompany “These Female Developers Explain How To  Recruit More Female Developers” as a great food for thought for businesses trying to expand their development teams with female talent.

The industry in Scotland has some fantastic communities helping to bring together women working in technology such as Girl Geek Scotland, however it also comes down to education and encouraging girls from a young age to see past gender stereotypes and study STEM subjects beyond school.

Our interviews with highly successful women working across Software, Electronics and Digital Media shed light on how the industry can do more to help women in technology:

So now we know what the issues are how do we suggest you recruit?

Look out for part 2 of “Recruitment to Retainment” next week on the blog or hit subscribe below to find out exactly how to attract and retain talent, including work place benefits and rewards!

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Posted February 09, 2016 | Contracting, For Freelancers, Recruitment Advice | No Comments »

Why You Can’t Fill Your Contract Jobs

High demand and low availability leads to a competition you might not win.

Even just a casual look at the IT jobs which are advertised will tell you that there have been an increasing number of contract vacancies on the market.

Whilst contracting has been a popular solution for businesses to cope with the ebb and flow of project demand, the skills gap in the IT market has made contracting more of a necessity than an option. IT contractors continue to enjoy the demand for their skills, because even though there is a premium to be paid they would argue that they are the best of the best and can deliver results much quicker than it takes to find and hire a permanent member of staff. We have seen this demand at first hand across the industry from electronic design to digital media, but particularly across software development. Technojobs’ Top Developer Skills for Contractors in 2016 can give you an idea of just how much top developers can currently demand.

The latest Markit UK Report on Jobs: Scotland, reports demand for contractors increased during January 2016 with the rate of growth the fastest for 3 months and above the average for 2015 as a whole. Whilst demand grew, supply declined. The availability of candidates for temporary positions continued to fall during January. With the surge in vacancies in Scotland we have seen a rise in hourly pay rates for contract staff with a particularly strong growth in January. Furthermore the report shows the rise in hourly rates of pay for temporary staff for Scotland was greater than that seen across the UK as a whole.

Whilst if you are a software developer or dev ops contractor this is great news! The surge in IT contracting vacancies in Scotland has extended the war for talent not just for permanent staff but for contractors too, making it even harder for SME businesses across Scotland to grow effectively and take advantage of the prospering technology market.

So how do you capture that essential resource to make sure your projects are delivered on time and to standard?

Simply advertising your vacancy and waiting for applications is not enough. You need to market your company proactively and positively, even for contract vacancies. Whilst polishing up your employer branding and recruitment processes are essential be aware that your target market has an ever increasing choice, and your vacancy, benefits package and employee perks can get lost in the noise.

Enigma People Solutions has an exemplary track record of filling technology contract vacancies for businesses throughout Scotland and the UK for over 10 years. We offer flexible solutions and a deep network of skilled contractors.  If you have a contract vacancy to fill contact Ben Hanley on 0141 332 4422 or bhanley@enigmapeople.com for expert consultancy advice.

 

Similar Reading:

Is it High Time the IT Contracting Market Got a Wake Up Call?

Demand for IT Contractors Grows but what are Contractors Demanding?

[INTERVIEW] Phil Leggetter on Developing, Contracting and Evangelising

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Posted June 22, 2015 | Recruitment Advice | 1 Comment »

When Is It Time To Bring In A Recruiter?

A recruitment consultancy is rarely a company’s first port of call when it comes to growing their team. As human beings we can be quite stubborn and insist that we can fix our problems ourselves. More importantly, we can fix them without spending any money.

But sometimes DIY recruitment causes more problems than it solves, and you can find yourself spending money when you’re trying to save it. You need to determine early on whether or not this is a job for you or for a recruiter.

Photo: Lauren Hammond

Photo: Lauren Hammond

This can be difficult to tell sometimes, so we thought we’d give you a hand in identifying the signs.

The Role Is Not Your Expertise
It’s hard to hire the best .NET Developer if you’re not actually sure what a .NET Developer does, and more importantly what they specifically need to do well in order to benefit your company. This is why specialist recruiters exist, to know exactly the type of person you need for your company when you’re not quite sure.

The Role Is Specific
If you’re looking for a role that’s flexible and that you can mould around the right person then maybe you could be better off looking on your own. However if your team is missing a specific skill set then you need someone with experience in getting those hard to find talents. Recruiters know who has those skill sets, who’s available and who would fit perfectly within your existing team.

You Don’t Have Time
Recruiting a new hire is difficult and time consuming and not something that every manager has time to do. While using a recruiter costs money, so does not having time to work on your own projects because you’re too busy trying to find your new hire. Think logically about how much time and money it will cost to focus on hiring and you might find that it would be cheaper, and much less stressful, to bring in a recruiter.

You’ve Already Tried To Hire And Were Unsuccessful
You’ve posted your ads, gone through the applicants, maybe even interviewed a few… and still nobody is ticking the right boxes. You don’t know what’s going wrong so you need to bring in the professionals who do, and who will make sure that the next round will go right.

If you recognise any of these signs then we can help! You can email us at hello@enigmapeople.com or give us a call on 0141 332 4422.

Other Helpful Links
8 Mistakes You’re Making When Writing A Job Spec
How To Maintain Healthy Candidate/Client/Recruiter Relationships
The 3 Most Common Lies Told By Recruitment Agencies

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Posted May 18, 2015 | Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

Engaging Content, Engages Job Seekers

I have seen a number of great articles recently discussing the importance of the marketing function to the recruitment industry. The nature of recruitment has evolved and recruiters must treat candidates as businesses treat their best customers, engaging at every point of the ‘buying cycle’ and not just when they are ready to buy, or in this case, change jobs. As one article describes it, trying to place a candidate who is already looking to move jobs is too little too late.

Engaging content, engages job seekers

Engaging Content, Engages Job Seekers Image: “Website Planning” by tiramisustudio (www.freedigitalphotos.net)

With an already tough jobs market looking to get even more competitive, businesses need to compete on factors other than salary, bonuses and location in order to recruit. An employer’s brand is now quite often the only differentiator between a candidate’s choice of several job offers. As Forbes Magazine discusses, recruitment strategies must now encompass elements of marketing:

“Successful hiring companies realize that recruiting is like marketing – from creating a brand presence, to attracting candidates through multiple advertising channels, to nurturing applicants by bringing them seamlessly through a talent acquisition funnel.”

A recent LinkedIn article talks about the 3 changes recruiters must make in their processes in order to succeed; Design, Data and Engagement.

Hiring managers and recruiters must design recruitment process with candidate’s demands in mind, give them a clearer insight into working culture and job descriptions reflective of the actual tasks which will be performed. By giving candidates platforms to engage and find out more about the employer brand via websites, social media, and events, employers can gain a competitive edge. Employers should be effectively collecting, analysing and utilising the data from candidate engagement, which can be extremely useful in providing insights into the potential candidate market. It can help determine what works, where and how people are engaging with your brand, and using that to create effective strategies to drive further candidate engagement, and of course allow them to hire the right people.

Utilising these techniques and building up an effective employer brand is crucial for a competitive recruitment process, however the consistency of this is often overlooked. I recently wrote about why hiring managers are directly responsible for business branding, and how they can affect a candidates perception of the business overall. A candidates experience with a company, at any stage of the recruitment process, has a direct impact on how the candidate feels about working there, their likelihood of accepting a job offer and what they tell their family and friends about your business. Whether this is a positive impact or a negative impact depends on how they are treated when applying, when being interviewed, and when given feedback.

Too often we have seen businesses miss out on key hires due to a competitor’s employer branding being better perceived by the candidate. Incorporating marketing strategies into recruitment processes means the link between HR, marketing and recruitment is more important now than ever, and is precisely the reason why so many businesses are failing to recruit.

With engaging content and marketing techniques becoming a key differentiator to recruitment success, there is a growing need for sole recruitment marketing functions within businesses. For the majority of SME’s, this is a function which doesn’t exist internally or a function which existing hiring managers are not willing to do, or don’t know how to.

For this very reason, Enigma people launched its very own Recruitment Marketing service, drawing upon years of our expertise in the niche technology industry in Scotland. The service offers businesses the opportunity to raise their employer branding and better attract and recruit top talent. As one of the first recruiters in the technology industry to utilise a content-led marketing strategy, we have become experts in technology recruitment marketing, utilising this to grow the most niche technology businesses in the country. Our recruitment marketing service offers clients the opportunity to enhance their existing marketing strategy and aid in their recruitment efforts.

Read up on how our recruitment marketing service helped California’s indie Semiconductor recruit in Edinburgh.

If you would like to discuss what Recruitment Marketing options would work for you, contact Ben Hanley on 0141 332 4422 or email ben@enigmapeople.com.

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Posted March 23, 2015 | Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry | 1 Comment »

Why Use Executive Search Specialists For Your Key Hires?

It has been estimated that unfilled vacancies are costing the UK economy £18bn per year. Although this is a staggering amount it comes as no surprise when certain technology vacancies are taking months to fill and the search process can be fraught with difficulties.

Why Use Executive Search Specialists For Your Key Hires?

Why Use Executive Search Specialists For Your Key Hires?

Issues from sourcing, attraction, engagement and confirmation that your target is the best available candidate for the job is all very time consuming, labour intensive and in many cases emotionally draining for the business.

As Indeed reports, these empty seats “illustrate the growing importance of building a strategic recruitment function to hire quickly and efficiently, and find the right fit for each role.”

Identifying the right people for your business is a key investment so why leave it to random chance?

Many companies feel they increase their chances of finding the right candidate by placing the vacancy with a number of agencies. This can be a mistake.

Too many companies burn through the available talent in the market by engaging multiple agencies, and all too quickly all the candidates that you might have considered have been spoken to and rejected, with the expectation that the next best candidate will be just around the corner. The agencies quickly become disillusioned and drop your vacancy down the priority list and leave you with an unresolved problem.

When you have more than one agency competing to get to a finite resource first, the effects on how your vacancy is perceived by the industry and your target candidates can be very damaging for you as an employer. Once a potential candidate has been spoken to more than once about a vacancy, they get the impression that you are desperate, or that everyone is being spoken to about the vacancy. This can be highly off-putting especially when the candidate has highly sought after niche skills or expertise.

Hiring an executive search specialist to run the recruitment project for you is often the best way forward.

Of course everybody has access to candidates; online job boards, social media and candidate databases have ensured this. However, what businesses often forget is that the expertise does not lie in just finding the candidates; it lies in finding the right one. It is in matching the right candidates to the right opportunities, their approach to the candidate, and in persuading them that the vacancy might be one that would interest them. It is this expertise which you pay for.

So what is a retained executive search exactly?

This is a process, where the client engages a consultant for a specific recruitment need, where part of the fee is paid on engagement and a full assignment brief is taken by meeting with the client. This allows the consultant to ascertain detailed specifics about the ideal candidate from technical skills, through to personality traits and background.

This involves actively researching the market to identify individuals within “target companies” normally competitor companies, although the targets are actually defined in the meeting with client.

Once a list of individuals with the right background has been created, the consultant will actively make contact with them to ascertain a level of interest in the role. The consultant will then personally interview each one to draw up a shortlist of 3-4 ideally (sometimes more) to present to the client.

The consultant presents the client with the best 3-4 available candidates in their industry along with interview notes and information about each individual’s background. The key benefit of this is that both client and candidate is better prepared than they would be if they had just received a CV with no supporting information.

The consultant’s job is then to manage the recruitment process from there on, arranging interviews, collating feedback and ensuring both parties are kept informed and up to date with developments.

Final fee is due on candidate start date (or written acceptance of offer depending on terms).

This is a far more in-depth process than traditional agency recruiting and the biggest advantage is the fact that it allows the recruiter to provide their clients with candidates that are not on the active job market. Another advantage is the level of “due diligence” provided by the recruiter is much greater as they have formally interviewed each candidate rather than just conducted a brief telephone screening exercise. This process protects your brand and company reputation as you only have 1 company discussing you, so it is easier to promote a consistent message. It allows you to work in depth with one agency, rather than finding the time to work with 6.

It also allows the agency to put more time, resources and efforts into our work for you compared with a contingency recruitment exercise. For example, our agreements allow us to offer clients a fixed fee and to break this up into 3 parts easing your cash flow.

4 Simple Steps

If you are considering using a retained executive search process to fulfil your recruitment needs, here are our 4 key steps to successful executive search recruitment.

1) Select 1 specific recruiter or consultancy with a proven track record of helping businesses in your specific sector to hire top talent to your vacancy

2) Meet with them to discuss the vacancy

3) Allow them to design the strategy (usually this will involve advertising, database search, other search activities, referrals etc.)

4) Work with them to create a universe list of potential candidates and source sites.

Enigma People are an award winning executive search consultancy. If you would like to work with us on retained executive search basis, or otherwise, contact Ben Hanley on 0141 332 4422 or bhanley@enigmapeople.com

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Posted March 16, 2015 | Recruitment Advice | 1 Comment »

5 Things To Do Before Contacting A Recruiter

Many technology businesses struggle to find and recruit great employees even when unemployment rates are relatively high. The lack of access to the right talent and the time taken to hire are driving up recruitment costs, (£270 million to be exact) and much of this can be avoided!

When recruiting is something you only do occasionally it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and the threat of endless hours spent searching for, and responding to candidates, can make recruitment a massive headache. It is easy to see why using a recruitment consultancy is so attractive, and in many cases essential.

Before you do contact a recruiter however, follow these 5 simple steps to save your business, and the recruiter, time and effort:

 

1. Review and Detail a Person/Job Specification

An incredible amount of time is wasted by employers who do not know what they are looking for. Simply getting another person similar to the one who has moved on from the post, or that is currently in a parallel post, is not always the answer. Their traits and personalities don’t always need to be mirrored by the next hire for the role.

Creating a defined job or person description is easier than it sounds. However we have a template that asks you all the questions you need to think of to help pull together a complete description, and to challenge your perceptions of what you are looking for.

 

2. Ask and Reward Existing Employees for Referrals 

Many companies operate a staff referral bonus, whereby a bonus is paid often in 2 parts – when the candidate has passed probation and when the candidate has worked with the company for 1 year.

 

3. Utilise Friends and Family Network

A referral from someone you know is often of use, and sometimes from the most unlikely source!

 

4. Advertise Vacancies For Free

Utilise free job boards which are already out there including ScotlandIS and Talent Scotland, amongst your own Social Media networks, (company LinkedIn pages, groups or Twitter).

It is worth considering that if these free tools are not working, why would you then pay to advertise? Many job boards have seen a steady decline in traffic and the job audience you seek is now very passive, thus less likely to be looking at your paid for adverts.

 

5. Use The Job Centre

Again a free to use service, where you could just catch someone at the start of their job search!

 

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Posted January 19, 2015 | Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry | 1 Comment »

Why Hiring Managers are Responsible for Business Branding

How businesses treat their candidates during the recruitment process directly impacts the perception of their brand in the market. The public image of a business doesn’t just stop with the marketing department, it is affected by the way in which businesses treat people – that means potential candidates as well as their customers.

We have seen first hand how employers have missed out on their ideal new hire purely because they mistreat them during the recruitment process – shooting themselves in the foot!

During the recruitment process, businesses need to ensure candidates walk away with a positive experience of the company, whether they are successful or not. We have repeatedly talked about how candidates have more choices in today’s market, and an employer’s reputation plays a major role in this decision making.

Businesses damage their reputation as employers when hiring managers are unprepared for interviews, provide flimsy feedback or take months to arrange follow up interviews, (and then expect candidates to still be waiting around).

We have seen businesses changing job specifications and roles halfway through the interview process, failing to communicate, and leaving both candidates and recruiters confused. We have seen many reject candidates for fickle reasons, holding out for someone better when it doesn’t exist and wasting candidates, recruiters, and their own time. For candidates, lack of communication on how they have performed and what they can expect following an interview can be extremely frustrating. Some businesses need to remember they are dealing with people and not just a statistic.

For a business, the best form of advertising is word of mouth. It essentially costs the business nothing and for consumers, the opinion of a reliable source factors highly during decision making processes. Research has shown that word of mouth can have an important influence on the perception a job seeker has towards an employer, but problems arise when people have a negative experience to share. If a candidate has a poor experience trying to keep in contact with you, interview with you, or get decent feedback they will talk to their friends, family or possibly existing colleagues (which could also be potential future candidates for you!). This negative advertising of your business can make it even harder to attract and hire talent.

Growth does put significant stress on a business at the very point that they are busy and understaffed so it is understandable that sometimes they simply don’t get time to react to candidates quick enough. Although it isn’t intentional, it does cause them to miss out on potential talent and grow their businesses.

Regardless of the reason, we have seen how a bad candidate experience can lead to a damaged reputation in the market, where candidates are apprehensive to interview with them, believing the business isn’t committed to hiring, rather they are “window shopping” to see what is available in the market.

A perfect example of the possible business ramifications was in a fellow recruiter Greg Savage’s blog, who shared a letter from a senior candidate:

“Just recently I went for an interview with one of the larger insurance companies… Interview went extremely well (well I thought)… Long story short they never got back to me or returned any calls/emails..

Poor form. So I cancelled all of my 8 policies I had with them…”

In the words of Greg – “If this does not help you understand that poor candidate experience destroys your brand, personal and corporate, then I really don’t know what will.”

So what should employers do?

It is difficult enough in today’s market to attract top level talent and businesses need to be doing all they can to continually attract people to them. The link between HR, recruitment and marketing is more important now than ever. Very often hiring managers, especially technical ones, aren’t trained to promote the business and they need to work together to cohesively raise and maintain the brand of a company in order to attract the best people.

Think about the recruitment process from the candidate’s point of view. Candidates in this industry often have multiple offers to choose from and an interview is an opportunity for hiring managers to ‘market’ their business as an attractive place for them to work. By being engaging in the recruitment process, promptly organising interviews and providing detailed and constructive feedback, businesses are in a better position to hire the best people. We are lucky to work with some clients who react the same day and will immediately arrange telephone interviews with candidates they are genuinely interested in. They understand the difficulty in today’s market and heed advice on their recruitment processes. It is refreshing to work with directors of businesses and hiring managers who give prompt, detailed and constructive feedback, are consistent throughout the process and are considerate of everybody’s time. As a result they have great reputation as employers, and have no difficulty finding candidates who are delighted to interview and work with them.

Businesses must ensure they have a smooth recruitment process in place before they invite candidates and recruiters to take part in it. Be honest. Provide meaningful feedback and do not ignore candidates even if the job has been put on hold, filled, or they just weren’t right for it. Only then, can the brand of the business attract great people.

If you are currently recruiting, you might find our articles below useful:

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Posted September 08, 2014 | Recruitment Advice | 1 Comment »

Motivational Management

With almost half of the British workforce considering a new job and the war for scarce tech talent in the UK increasing, management must focus more on staff motivation!

Last week Enigma People Solutions held another session of Performance Coaching for Success. The short morning seminar was held in Edinburgh and open to businesses leaders/managers and anybody seeking advice on managing employee performance in growing teams.

The seminar was delivered by HR Leader Sarah Prasad and offered businesses the opportunity to boost employee morale, increase productivity and support company growth all by learning to provide effective feedback in the workplace.

Performance Coaching

Covering everything from giving effective feedback, conducting performance reviews, how and when to raise issues and how to improve/reinforce employee behaviour, the morning proved to be an insightful and enjoyable session. It was kept intimate to allow best access to Sarah’s expertise and allowed everyone to voice opinions and questions in an open and informal environment.

It is the hope that attendees could leave the session and implement Sarah’s advice and tips into their growing teams. Enigma is delighted to be able to deliver such events to help businesses in this aspect, and we look forward to delivering a number of these types of events in the future. We are excited to be able to create value for clients and give back to the industry in a way which can help empower SME businesses to grow. Future topics may include recruiting for success, managing the recruitment process and interview skills, however suggestions are always welcome! If you have any suggestions or seminar topics you would like to see just drop me a line at anndeep@enigmapeople.com.

We recently blogged on how to keep employees motivated and how this is key to retaining talent, you can read the blog here:

Be Motivated, Be Valued

For the latest recruitment industry news and advice follow Enigma People Solutions on LinkedIn and Twitter @enigmapeople

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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.

Clarity

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.

Choice

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.

http://vrgrowth.co.uk/contact

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 14, 2014 | Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry, Startups, Technology Industry | 1 Comment »

Before All Else, Be Armed

Technology vacancies in Scotland are at a record high and the gap in the jobs market for these skills has pushed up the price of specialist IT staff such as developers and electronic engineers to 3 times the national UK average.
Before All Else, Be Armed

Technology vacancies in Scotland are at a record high and the gap in the jobs market for these skills has pushed up the price of specialist IT staff such as developers and electronic engineers to 3 times the national UK average.

The market is suffering from a war for talent, where companies are fighting for very scarce specialist talent. When the UK recession hit, not enough companies were in a position to hire graduates 3-4 years ago. This has resulted in a vast under investment in Scottish talent. Not enough people were getting hired and so unable to gain the relevant industry experience that employers are now looking for. Today this demand has risen dramatically with UK Tech companies having grown at a rapid pace. The sector is now performing better than it has in decades. In Scotland in particular, this success can be attributed to the vast number of start ups in ‘tech hubs’ Glasgow and Edinburgh, so much so that tech jobs in Edinburgh now rank as the second highest paying salary in the UK, closely followed by Glasgow.

With high growth comes high demand; so how can employers today fulfil their requirements for experienced IT talent, when not enough of it exists?

I believe that instead of taking part in the battle for talent employers must instead focus on putting a stop to the skills gap; do more to offer long term training and development and incentive programmes which will not only build up long term staff retention but help stop the “war” for talent.

For 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 specialist IT talent is unique, in that those looking for a new job are often less concerned about the money but more interested in the technologies involved, the environment they will be working in and the opportunity to create something wonderful with their sought after skills.

For these talented individuals what we have found is that it isn’t money that drives them to seek out new challenges, but the opportunity to continue learning and developing their career. The opportunity to widen their experience and the excitement of creating something wonderful with their skills is what really motivates them. Companies who want this talent try to buy it by offering the highest salary however this alone isn’t going to feed their curiosity or keep talent around for long.  They must offer much more and this is where start ups are unrivalled. The opportunity for growth, focussed training and development and the chance to shine can be much greater in the smaller, agile and innovative start ups. It is here that career progression can be achieved, learning opportunities are much greater and individual contributions can really make a difference. If large employers or corporations want to rival this environment they must to do more to replicate the benefits offered by these small companies.

Passive candidates tend to be favoured by employers over hiring someone inexperienced as they come trained and with guaranteed experience. 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.

The problem with pinching talent from one another is that very often it is the company who offers the highest salary tends to win the battle for the talent. Large corporate companies who can offer large salaries and benefits packages to candidates can easily promote theirs as the most beneficial to their career. Not to mention bigger budgets to market their recruitment process and attract candidates.

Shouldn’t it be the employer’s responsibility to put a stop to this, take on new hires, take responsibility for their training and development and do their part to put a stop war for talent? Instead of taking part in the battle for the top talent, train up their own top talent?

I can fully understand the concerns of employers, 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 has time to train up talent?

Yes, taking their most experienced staff away from being productive and spending 3 to 6 months training someone up is hardly ideal. In the short run, 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 aren’t going to solve an industry-wide problem. In many larger firms we have seen management struggle to reward and encourage their employees. If they have already paid them so much to begin with, a pay rise is not going to seem very significant. They must offer other tangible benefits of working at their company to entice talent and reinforce employee growth and development in the same way start ups can.

Those who may not have the experience can still be a great source of potential talent. In order to tap into that skill, employers must consider the longer term development and growth of that individual. Employers must stop taking part in the war for talent, and instead focus on building the experience of individuals up whilst at the same time building up staff retention and incentive programmes to not only bring in the new talent but also to keep it.

For more industry insights, news and vacancies please follow Enigma People Solutions on LinkedIn and Twitter @enigmapeople

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Posted June 11, 2013 | Recruitment Advice | 1 Comment »

6 Essential Interview Tips For Employers

It isn’t just the candidate who can make a fatal error during an interview. As the employer, if you want the best talent to want to work for your company, you need to sell it to them. For all you know, this person can have three offers and you need to make sure that yours’ is the one they choose.

6 Essential Interview Tips For Employers

Photo: Gabriela Pinto

  1. Put Candidates At Ease
    The interview process is stressful, and a cup of tea or glass of water can make all the difference in easing a candidate’s nerves. It’s a kind gesture and makes a good first impression. If a candidate is struggling to give an answer or going down the wrong route, imagine yourself in their shoes and guide them back on track.
  1. Never Make Assumptions
    They say that you decide whether or not you’re going to hire the candidate within the first 30 seconds of the interview. This is folklore. Don’t ignore your gut reaction but do explore it and make sure that you give the candidate a chance to prove themselves to you.
  1. Sell Progression Opportunities
    Your candidate doesn’t want to leave one dead end job for another, so prove to them that if they join your company, there are opportunities for them to progress and grow their career.
  1. Be A Detective
    It’s easy for someone to lie on their CV, but not quite so easy for them to get away with it in person. I’m not saying you should be shining a light in their eyes and slamming the table, but do be sure to ask for the candidate to go more in depth about their achievements and examples of when they have demonstrated their skills. Don’t ask what they would do, ask what they have done.
  1. Allow Time For Questions
    Whether this is throughout the interview or 10 minutes at the end, always make sure you’re giving the candidate a chance to voice any questions they have about the role and company. Not only does it allow the candidate to get all of the information they need, it gives you another opportunity to sell the company to them. They might want to know what your favourite thing about working for the company is – would you have told them if they didn’t ask?
  2. Have A Copy Of The Job Spec To Hand
    Along with the candidate’s CV, you should always have a copy of the job spec with you in the interview. This ensures that you’re establishing the correct skills and experience for the role and don’t end up interviewing the candidate for a completely different job. Trust us, it does happen!

Do you have any interview rules that you live by? Let us know! Comment below or tweet us @enigmapeople.

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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 January 28, 2013 | Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry | 2 Comments »

8 Mistakes You’re Making When Writing A Job Spec

Amidst the current war for talent, it’s crucial to put the effort into your search for the talent you need for your company. One software developer might be perfect for one business, but wouldn’t last a week with another. Not happily, at least. This is through no fault of the individuals but simply a case of a cultural mismatch.

8 Mistakes You’re Making When Writing A Job Spec

It isn’t new information that you need to find a personality fit as much as you need to find a skills match. Over the past few years this has become common knowledge among recruiters – but I think that this slips the mind of some employers writing their job spec!

In an aid to make employers’ (and our) lives easier as well as helping the right candidate find the right job, we thought we’d address some common job spec mistakes. Are you guilty of any?

  1. Looking for a clone of the person who came before
    Perhaps you had someone working for you in the past who provided your company with their own skills and knowledge, and you gave them a title to sum up what they do. Well unfortunately you can’t hire back the person who just left, so clear that slate. Think back to when you were hiring them – what was their original role?
  2. Asking for Designers when you mean Developers
    So simple yet so common. You don’t actually know what you’re looking for so you put up an advert and wonder why none of your candidates have the skills you need. If you’re not sure of the specific title of the role you need to fill, discuss what skills you need them to have and what you would need them to do for the company, and your recruiter can specify the role that you need to fill.
  3. You want people with 5 years experience in software that was developed 2 years ago
    We have genuinely had people ask us to find people with 5 years experience in software that was developed 18 months ago. You need to accept that some developers won’t have as much experience as you would like, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable.
  4. Amalgamating the roles of more than one person into one jobs spec
    If you’re wondering why nobody has all of the skills you’re looking for, it’s very likely that you’ve been looking for one person when in reality, you’ll need three.
  5. Refusing to consider training the right person
    Sometimes a candidate can be refused an offer because they don’t have all of the right skills. However if you find somebody who is a perfect cultural fit and for the most part fits your job spec, it is undeniably worth taking the time to train them in the areas required. Hire for attitude, train for skills!
  6. Including EVERY tech aspect of the company
    Do give a good impression of the company as a whole, but do not suggest that everyone in a digital company needs to know all things digital. Does the receptionist really need to be able to code in Java?
  7. Not giving enough detail of the role itself
    Some job specs look more like an advert than anything else. Remember that people have probably already seen the advert, and are now looking at the spec for more detail. What exactly do you want them to do on a daily basis? Specifically how do you expect this role to benefit the company?
  8. Is it inclusive or exclusive?
    And if exclusive, are you excluding the right people? For example, are you excluding people who genuinely wouldn’t be interested in the role, or are you excluding people who could be perfect, but you’ve advertised the role in a way that pushes them away? Let’s not forget Klout and their horrendous attempt at… well frankly, we don’t know what they were trying to do.

To put it simply – show what you’re looking for and why it should appeal to the (right) candidate.

All of these need to be considered when writing a job spec if you want to attract the right person for your company. Whether you’re looking internally or using the help of a specialist recruiter, the spec is vital in attracting the right person. And in these times of candidates being in such high demand, you need to make sure that your job spec is the one that catches their eye.

Can you think of any other common job spec mistakes? Let us know if the comments below or you can 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.

_____________________________________________________________________________

OUR 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.
______________________________________________________________________________

CANDIDATE / RECRUITER

CANDIDATES

  • 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.

RECRUITERS

  • 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.

RECRUITER / CLIENT

RECRUITERS

  • 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.

CLIENTS

  • 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.

CLIENT / CANDIDATE

CLIENTS

  • 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.

CANDIDATES

  • 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!

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

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