Recruitment Industry

51 posts

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

The 8 Essential Steps to Using a Recruitment Agency


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 And sending us a job spec that’s been used, reused and is now out of date isn’t great either.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.


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.


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 or call us on 0141 332 4422.

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Posted April 25, 2017 | Industry Interviews, Recruitment Industry, Technology Industry | No Comments »

[Interview] Tapping Into our Electronics Market

We’re talking to Ashleigh Collins, one of our newer recruitment consultants who is responsible for the electronics market, to find out a bit more about her, what the market is like out there and what advice she can give to both candidates and clients. Let’s find out what she has to say…

Hi, Ashleigh! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello! I’m a Recruitment Consultant working within the electronics department at Enigma. Ashleigh Recruiter
I love cooking, holidays, writing and pub quizzes. My greatest love is my dog, Basil. He is just the cutest little guy! When I’m not working, I love chilling out with my husband and taking Basil on walks and pub crawls.

So, we already know you are a Recruitment Consultant working within the electronics market here at Enigma, can you tell us a bit more about what that actually means? 

“Of course! I work with both electronics clients and candidates – looking to place the right people into the right roles. I predominantly specialise in software and firmware vacancies. Essentially, I’m helping to fill the gaps in software and firmware teams of our clients. My day-to-day usually involves keeping in touch with both my clients and candidates, among other tasks. Communication is central to what I do so it’s really important to make sure you keep everyone up to date as things progress. The role itself can be quite varied role but it keeps me on my toes – which is good!”

What is the electronics market like at the moment, for both candidates and clients?

“The market is very candidate-driven right now; there are a wealth of roles with fewer candidates to fill them. For candidates, I’d say that this is the time to find the role they really want – something that suits them. Looking at the client side of the market; it’s a time of innovation, lots of new technology is flooding the market and with this comes a whole load of new opportunities. Our clients are seeking big talent to help them drive forward in the industry; and as innovation is increasing, some niche job specifications are asking for skills and experience working with the most cutting-edge technologies. This does prove tricky sometimes because of the skills gap the industry is experiencing. In saying that though, that’s what makes my job interesting; trying to find the perfect person for the role. ”

What advice would you give to candidates?

“I think it’s essential for all candidates to be open-minded when looking for a new role. We’re here to find the perfect role for you and that’s what we’re trying to do – the more we can learn about you, your job preferences and experience then the easier it will be for us to find you what you want. I’d also say that candidates should really be committed to the process in order to find the absolute best roles that they can. Don’t be complacent, if you start to become complacent then, all in all, it makes it much more difficult for you in the long run. Communication does work both ways and keeping in touch and up-to-date with us is part of the process of finding a new role. One thing I say to all of my candidates is ‘be proud and don’t be afraid to boast about the projects you have worked on and completed.'”

What advice would you give to the technology companies out there looking to hire new talent?

“It’s not enough to just offer the job anymore. In the current market, candidates are often sitting with three or four job offers so the whole process is very time sensitive. You have to move quickly and make an effort to impress the candidates. As I’ve said before, it’s a two-way process; equally, clients have to impress their candidates as much as candidates have to impress the client. Again, I would stress the importance of communication. The quicker we can receive feedback, discuss offers and feedback to our candidates – the quicker our client’s problems will be solved. At the end of the day, we constantly strive to make placements which both our candidates and clients are totally happy with and that, is our main goal.”

Can you tell us about some of your top vacancies right now?

Principal C# Software Engineer – This contract role comes from one of the industry’s leading companies. My client is an optical giant and is working on groundbreaking technologies specifically for medical devices. They’re looking for someone who is talented and driven to be part of their team of innovators and inventors that produce products that will both change, and save, lives.

Embedded Software Engineer – I’m looking for ambitious software engineers to join my client’s expanding team. My client, based in Ringwood, is working on Wireless Well Systems, something which will involve the full software life cycle, including creating high level and detailed designs, developing firmware components, and subsequent integration activities. This is a great opportunity for a talented individual to take the next step in their career.

Senior Software Engineer – This is another contract role which comes from one of the industry’s leading companies. My client is an optical giant and is working on groundbreaking technologies specifically for medical devices. During this role, you will apply sound programming principles and Agile practices to specify, design, develop and test new software features of a system as part of a multi-disciplinary software team. You will also be responsible for maintaining existing software through bug fixes and major enhancements. This is a rare opportunity to join a well-established, highly successful and rapidly growing company.”


Think you could be right for one of these roles or want to discuss how we can help you source the best candidates for your business? You can get in touch with Ashleigh directly via email or give her a call on 0141 332 4422.

Take a look at all of our electronics vacancies here.

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Posted March 28, 2017 | Career Advice, Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry | 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


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


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


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 to discuss how we can help you find the right candidates for your business.

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@enigmapeople @enigmapeople and LinkedInic_lkdin_22

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Posted January 17, 2017 | Recruitment Industry, Technology Industry | No Comments »

Who You Gonna Call? Contractors!

As you may well know, the rise of the contractor is not a new thing.

Across all sectors, contracting has steadily been on the up for a while, with many people harnessing their skills and opting for a more flexible way of working.

Taking a look back over the years, it seems contractors have been able to survive a multitude of economic failures; from the recession of 2008 and much more recently the Referendum. I’ll bet they’ll come out alright in the wake of Brexit, too.

We have been working with clients for over 10 years now, aiming to deliver the best candidates, in the least amount of time and with the least amount of stress for the client. Our work with SKF is a prime example of a partnership we are immensely proud of. Take a look at our blog here to find out how we solved their recruitment problems.

One constant factor that has remained throughout these erratic times, has been the need for progression and development; something which is always in high demand, especially in the technology sector.

This is where contractors come in.

They have a specialist ability to solve the variety of niche problems our clients present us with; which can range anywhere from developing software for a complex project to heading up a client’s innovative new venture as their Project Manager.

Chancellor Philip Hammond recently stated, “We will invest over £1BN in our digital infrastructure to catalyse private investment in fiber networks and to support 5G trials.” This push for a digital infrastructure is only one example of an action which presents a variety of opportunities for contractors.

The 2016 Tech Nation report showed that in the Digital Tech sector, jobs were growing by 11% compared to only 4% in other sectors. Although 2016 was not the best year economically, thanks to a collective holding of breath for Brexit and the US elections, this hasn’t been reflected as much as was feared.

Furthermore, a 2017 Tech City poll highlighted the fact that 49% of respondents expected the business environment to get better throughout the year.

Support from the Government, alongside the rise in businesses becoming increasingly involved in technology has been a catalyst in developing the demand for contractors.

To keep up with this steady growth and to be able to fully satisfy our clients, it’s important that we really understand who they are.

We found that our clients looking to take on contractors, usually raised the same issues;

1) we need someone to solve our niche problem

2) we need someone to solve it as soon as possible

3) we need people who understand our sub-sector of the industry.

Our team of dedicated specialists covers niche sectors of the technology industry; from Electronics to Digital Media and Software Development – meaning that we have the knowledge and reach to solve our clients’ challenges.

With some clients, they have such a specific problem that cannot be solved by someone in the UK. We have, on more than one occasion, sourced the right candidate from outside the UK. We have the ability to look globally if it means we will be providing our clients with the solution to their problem.

As the demand for tech jobs continues to grow, so will the demand for contractors.

We understand the need for fast action when our clients present us with their recruitment problems. We strive to ensure that each client is matched with the right contractor and that their problem is solved with as little hassle as possible.

If you have a need for a contractor, call us on 0141 332 4422 or email our director Ben Hanley at

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

Follow us on Twitter @enigmapeople@enigmapeople  ic_lkdin_22  and LinkedIn

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Posted July 11, 2016 | Recruitment Industry, Scotland | No Comments »

Brexit: More questions than answers for Scotland’s technology companies

Uncertainty continues in Scotland’s Technology sector following the UK’s historic vote to leave the European Union. Surveys conducted by Informatics Ventures, the organisation which supports Scottish technology companies, found a negative opinion amongst the community who feel Brexit is bad for business. The vast majority (81%) of Scottish start-ups did not support the campaign to leave the EU; those surveyed said the vote to leave the EU will be bad for the sector, with only nine percent believing that it will have a positive impact.

Jason Gorman, a software development practitioner, trainer, coach and author (and founder of Codemanship) conducted a Twitter survey of developers and found that 1 in 3 developers working in the UK were European. He goes on to discuss the uncertainties of the UK tech industry possibly losing 1 in 3 developers (130 thousand skilled individuals). With an already crippling deficit for these skills in the UK, uncertainties of Europeans’ right to remain could be a major cause for concern for the technology sector.

It’s not all doom and gloom

Despite the uncertainties and unanswered questions following Brexit we believe there is no need for the tech sector to panic just yet. We do know for certain that nothing will happen immediately and having been around long enough to have seen major changes and trends in Scotland’s technology industry – admittedly nothing as big or significant as Brexit has come along in the past – we believe that the industry is robust enough to overcome the uncertainties which lie ahead.

Although the UK Government won’t comment on Europeans right to remain, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reassured the 173,000 European nationals living in Scotland , saying: “My message today – to EU citizens and to their representatives in Scotland – remains simple: Scotland is your home, you are welcome and your contribution to our economy, our society and our culture is valued.”

The technology sector in Scotland boasts a growth rate of 43.4% over the last 5 years, second only to London, with Edinburgh being the second highest paying city for technology roles in the UK. There are an estimated 80,000 people working in the sector with a need for a further 11,000 vacancies to be filled per annum.

The question of Scotland’s potential to remain part of the EU (even if that means Independence from the UK and all that may bring) still lacks clarity. However an article in Diginomica titled “Independent digital thinking for a post-Brexit Scotland?” highlights the digital infrastructure and groundwork which exist in Scotland already which will serve Scotland well regardless of the outcome. The article highlights how far along digital thinking is in Scottish Government, with the decision to recruit a Chief Digital Office for Social Security and a Programme Director for Scotland Act ICT Delivery and Transformation. It also comments that these two senior digital roles come at a time when a majority of Scottish local authorities have teamed-up to hire a shared CDO, something that their English counterparts have yet to manage. Twenty-six of Scotland’s 32 local authorities are joining forces to recruit a shared chief digital officer to work across the sector.

Leadership and Collaboration

Helping to ease the uncertainties facing Scottish business is the joint statement calling for “leadership and collaboration”, issued and signed by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, Scottish Financial Enterprise, Scottish Council for Development & Industry, Confederation of British Industry and Institute of Directors.

To businesses, we applaud the immediate response: businesses doing what they do best by maintaining ‘business as usual’ when trading with European Union markets, and exploring the possible opportunities that lie ahead, both in European markets and globally. We underline our belief that Scotland is a great place to do business and that we are, ‘open for business.’ Our organisations will continue to use our resources and connections to promote this message.”

In addition to this, the statement reflects the First Minister’s clear protection for Europeans in Scotland: “Access to a talented, skilled workforce, including the clear protection of EU nationals currently studying, living and working in Scotland, because their skills are crucial to the success of our businesses”; and “Support for non-UK EU nationals who run businesses in Scotland” are both priorities according to the statement, which can be read in full here.

Brexit: Brexit: More questions than answers for Scotland’s technology companies

Brexit: More questions than answers for Scotland’s technology companies

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 June 13, 2016 | Digital Media, Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

Digital Skills and the Need for Continued Professional Development

The technology industry in Scotland still suffers from a skills shortage which holds businesses back. The BBC today reported that The UK needs another 745,000 workers with digital skills by 2017 and the skills gap costs economy around £63bn a year in lost income. As a leading technology recruitment consultancy, we work closely with businesses and know all too well which skills are in high demand, across digital, software and sales & marketing. We’re pleased to work with local colleges and educational institutions to help fill this gap and work towards producing graduates who have the necessary skills for the industry.

We’ve recently worked with the City of Glasgow College to help develop a range of courses and workshops designed to meet the digital needs of the industry. Enigma People Solutions Director, David Mains was also delighted to join the Creative Technologies Industry Advisory Board at the University of the West of Scotland with the same intention – to ultimately help fill the skills gap.

Addressing the skills issue at college and university level is essential; however it isn’t the only solution.

Students and candidates have a responsibility to keep their skills up to date and relevant. With technology advancing as quickly as it is, graduates coming out of university will need to continue their skills development especially in the first few years of working. Employers have a responsibility to create working environments that foster continued development, be it through professional industry qualifications or simply on the job experience. They also have a responsibility to hire the best candidates they can find, whether they have all of the relevant skills or not. Too often, we see clients wait to hire in search of a “perfect candidate”. However in this technology skills market where availability of candidates is low and competition for them is high, it is not always in the best interest to wait or compete in a salary war for candidates. We often urge our clients to invest in talent and develop their employees, rather than always expecting a “plug and play” candidate during recruitment.

When I joined Enigma People my skills lay in offline marketing (mainly event organisation). Through on the job training and self study I have learned many of the digital skills which employers demand today. So much so, I was in a position to help advise the City of Glasgow College on what they should teach the next wave of digital marketers! I took an SEO/PPC course with one of Glasgow’s leading Digital Agencies, taught myself basic HTML through Codecademy, I recently completed Google’s online marketing training for digital skills – The Digital Garage, and I am also working towards gaining the Google Analytics Academy Qualifications. I also ensure to keep these skills up to date by attending regular Digital Skills workshops. None of this would have been possible had I not had the opportunity to develop my skills on the job.


In order to meet the current skills demands of the industry, employers need to offer their employees, and prospective employees, more opportunities like this. Hire candidates who require some training instead of hiring no one, provide on the job training from senior employees, and provide opportunities for continued professional development through courses and workshops. The good news is there is an ever increasing number of initiatives, workshops and training opportunities available across the technology industry to help fill skills gaps, such as the free Google courses mentioned earlier, CodeClan, YouTrain, Business Gateway’s Digital Boost and not to mention The new Digital Xtra fund from Skills Development Scotland to help tackle the issue from school age.

Bridging the skills gap in Scotland’s technology industry won’t be solved overnight, however a joint effort between schools, colleges, employers and employees is starting to make real progress towards a common goal. What we believe will help further is more students/ employees to take learning into their own hands with self learning, and businesses to give employees increased opportunities to develop skills. If your looking advice on hiring digital talent, or looking to discuss what skills employers look for, get in touch at or call 0141 332 4422.

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

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Posted June 06, 2016 | For Freelancers, Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

To Freelance Or Not To Freelance?

Freelancing continues to be a popular option for workers in the UK – 4.55 million Britons are now choosing to freelance and work short term contracts. Scotland is a popular place to be a freelancer, with Edinburgh and Glasgow among the UK cities with the highest number of registered freelancers skilled in development, web design, content writing and research.

Contracting has become popular for many reasons. It allows skilled workers in certain industries to choose which contracts they want to work and when. It provides freedom and flexibility from a traditional 9-5 way of working, often allowing freelancers the choice to work from the office, or remotely from home or abroad. Working a large number of jobs over a relatively short period of time means a freelancer’s CV racks up a broad range of experience and diverse skills. It allows you to be your own boss and benefit from higher rates of pay compared to those working the same roles on a permanent basis.

Cloud based platforms, apps and websites such as act like an “uber for jobs” making it even easier for freelancers to find work and for businesses to find contract hires.

Businesses choose to hire freelancers when they have a short to medium term project and/or need to hire in a specific skill set. In particular we see a huge demand for this in the Software Development industry, where skills are so in demand many businesses hire on a contract basis as this is all they can get. Candidates skilled in software development enjoy a premium rate of pay and are never short of job opportunities. 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.

While the freelance lifestyle may seem appealing on the surface, there are many downsides to consider. Job security completely disappears when working on a contract basis. There is no notice period if you were to be let go or if a project were to fall through. Working from home or working at a company temporarily, means contractors miss out on a sense of team, collaboration with colleagues and making friends at work. Other benefits such as holiday or sickness pay, company pension contributions and other health schemes are also non existent for contract workers.

Another downside of working for yourself is ensuring you are paid fairly and on time. Late payments are a huge struggle for freelancers – with invoices paid on average 18 and a half days after their due date. Almost half of all UK freelancers have considered quitting the freelance life due to late payments, chasing clients and having to rely on borrowing money to get by.

Despite these downsides, it is predicted that the freelancing popularity will grow – one in two people in the UK will be freelance by 2020. The BBC predicts we will see more professionals in sales, marketing, finance and law adopting a gig-economy mentality.

Freelancing has certainly changed the way the UK works and certainly has its benefits. We believe that contracting is a great solution to work, however it isn’t the right solution for everyone.

At Enigma People we have seen a trend in the contract technology industry – a high demand for short term work for those with up to date skills. In particular software developers who posses in demand programming skills, are well suited to freelancing. This is because they is no lack of job opportunities for them, which then reduces the need for job security. As soon as one contracts end, developers in Scotland often have two or three others to choose from.

Freelancing also benefits those who are flexible, open to risks and are able to up and leave a city if a job opportunity comes up. However for those whose skills are less up to date, or have a young family and bills to pay, freelance proves to be a risky option. For these individuals we believe working on a permanent role basis offers the necessary job security and benefits. Many modern companies address employees need for flexibility and freedom and will offer flexible working conditions, provide the required technologies for home and remote working, and can offer benefits which outweigh those which come with freelancing. Below are just some benefits and rewards which our clients offer their permanent employees.

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

With these in mind, would that sway your decision to stay in a permanent role over choosing a contract role? Let us know your thoughts! Drop us an email or tweet @enigmapeople

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

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Posted 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@ 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:


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.


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 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.

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:


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 April 04, 2016 | Recruitment Industry, Software | No Comments »

BBC micro:bit – Is It Enough?

On March 22nd, Year 7 children at registered schools across the UK received free BBC micro:bit’s. The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized, codeable computer aimed at teaching kids to get creative with digital and develop core skills in science, technology and engineering.

BBC micro:bit - is it enough | Enigma People Solutions

The micro:bit via BBC

It allows kids to learn simple code and create anything they want, from games, metal detectors, thermometers, real time text messaging, weather forecasting and much more. The BBC created the initiative to inspire children to feed their creativity, learn programming and ultimately develop a generation of technologically skilled school leavers to help fill the tech skills gap.

The current gap in skilled technology professionals is already costing the UK billions of pounds. It is reported that over the next 5 years the UK will need 1.4 million digital professionals to fill jobs which require skills such as coding and analytics.

The problem with the BBC micro:bit is that, although it’s a great initiative, the year 7 kids receiving them still won’t be old enough to enter the workforce in 5 years time and actually fill these jobs. We argue more still needs to be done to fill the skills gap and stop businesses being held back.

It no longer affects just tech industry but the whole economy. 40% of digital technology roles currently exist in non technical industries such as finance and public services and this is set to grow. Initiatives such as CodeClan, Scotland’s first digital skills academy, are addressing the issues however the immediate problem still exists for the majority of businesses looking to grow their teams and boost productivity.

The real responsibility lies with individual hiring managers and businesses. Many won’t hire until they find what is their idea of a perfect candidate. However, businesses need to understand that with such high competition for scarce talent it’s rarely beneficial to keep searching and waiting to hire. Rather they should hire the candidates who are closest match to their requirements regardless if they are lacking one or two skills or areas of experience. These can be all be taught. Experience can be gained. Offer on the job training and your problems are solved.

Businesses should be investing in the long term development of talent rather than expecting a “ready made” candidate for every hire they wish to make. Only then can the technology skills gap really begin to close and businesses can fill their jobs today rather than in 5+ years time.

We’d love to know your thoughts! Email us or tweet @enigmapeople.

Enigma People Solutions is working with City of Glasgow College to do more to fill jobs across the industry. We have devised a survey to help us understand the current gap in skills between what is being offered at a college graduate level and what employers are looking for. The aim is to close this gap and help graduates enter the industry with the exact skills businesses need.

Fill out our quick survey below and help to shape the City of Glasgow College graduates with the skills your business needs.

Click to complete the survey via SurveyMonkey

Thank you!

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Posted February 09, 2016 | For Freelancers, Recruitment Industry | 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 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 February 01, 2016 | Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

IT’s About People, Stupid!

This weeks blog is written by Enigma People Director Ben Hanley. Drop him an email and let him know your thoughts on how SME’s can attract and retain talent….

Enigma People Solutions Glasgow Technology Recruitment Consultancy

2016 will be my 19th year recruiting technologists for technology teams.

This has seen me work in-house for one of the leading tech companies in the world and run my own successful agency for the past 11 years .

It is a fascinating, exciting and challenging environment to work in as technology is a fundamental part of our everyday lives. Technology has changed the recruitment industry and how we recruit people so dramatically that I almost don’t know where to begin.

From the days of printing out CV’s and physically taking them to clients, to emailing them and logging candidates onto specific application tracking systems we have seen significant changes in how we provide a service to clients. Even the change from face to face interviews to video conference and shared desktop sessions to allow for some technical assessments to be carried out remotely but at the same time in person.

Despite these changes however, the key to everything is people. It is people that drive our industry, it is people that drive our client’s businesses, the ideas, the creativity, the dreams, the knowhow and the drive to get things done. People like to deal with people in the recruitment process, and that is partly the value that a recruiter brings, that ability to deal with and understand people as well as drive a process.

Recruiters are charged with finding the best performer for a company’s vacancy. As a sports coach I have long ago learned that performers come in all shapes and sizes and that people surprise us constantly with their performance capabilities.

Think back to school days when you were selecting teams for games, the last kid selected sometimes scored the winning goal. Remember that quiet kid at school that nobody thought would amount to anything but goes on to win X Factor or build a successful business career? Well remember this when selecting people for your teams. Given the right environment people flourish, skills can be taught.

One of the key threats to the tech industry is a lack of qualified and suitably skilled people. Yes there are some great positive good news stories about some high growth companies but to my mind too much emphasis is placed on two or three prominent companies and not enough on the people in the dozens of other brilliant SME companies that are innovating and growing in what is an extremely challenging landscape. All companies suffer when there is a skills shortage but SME companies more so as they struggle to compete with wages and benefits on offer from larger players.

Employers have a need more now than ever to sponsor, develop and challenge individuals (just like the best sports coaches do) as that is how those individuals will grow. However it requires three things; a willingness to hire people that are not the finished article but possess the raw materials, the skill and desire to develop those people, and the patience to let them grow.

That way you shall have a loyal and trusted workforce, teams can grow and more SME businesses can be successful in attracting and retaining talent.

For more recruitment advice and news on Scotland’s technology sector subscribe to the weekly blog or follow @enigmapeople on Twitter.

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Posted January 15, 2016 | Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

Enigma is Growing! – Update…

Enigma is growing and we are delighted to have recently added two new members to the team!

Both Matt Golebiewski and Emily Harris joined us in January as Candidate Managers, helping us to kick off 2016 stronger and ready for new challenges. The expansion of our candidate management team follows a highly successful end to 2015, when we placed more permanent candidates in hard to fill technology roles than ever.

This year we plan on topping our record breaking year and it seems the new starts are well on their way to helping us do just that. Within their first couple of weeks they have already presented shortlists to a number of clients, secured interviews, and have placed a candidate to start next week!

If you are looking for a new role in Scotland’s tech industry, or just want to say hello, then drop them an email at the below email addresses or call us on 0141 332 4422!

Find out a little bit more about our new Candidate Managers below:

Enigma is Growing!

For the latest in technology news, and vacancies, subscribe to the blog or follow @enigmapeople!

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Posted December 15, 2015 | Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

A Year In Technology Recruitment

2015 has been a tough but highly successful year for Enigma People Solutions.

This year we have placed more permanent candidates in hard to fill technology roles than ever! Not only is this is great indication of the demand for our expert services but also our ability to deliver on these services in a difficult market.

The year has also been busy supporting a number of industry events including our annual sponsorship of the Herald Scottish Digital Business Awards. These awards celebrate the incredible successes the industry has enjoyed over the year and are a landmark event for the industry. Director David Mains did a fantastic job as chairman of the judging panel and presenting the biggest award of the night, the Digital Agency of the Year award. David also offered his expert insight on why Startups are so important to the industry whilst on the panel at a recent BDX Digital Marketing Event. “Why Startups Matter” discussed why Glasgow is as great place for start-ups and how their growth is powered by people.

The business was also busy on the Edinburgh front, sponsoring Scotland’s Largest Cloud Computing Event – Scot-Cloud 2015. We particularly enjoyed the event, speaking with key industry players at the forefront of cloud computing and infrastructure services in Scotland. Not only that, we collaborated with Device Developers Conference to bring to Scotland a unique event for the electronics industry.  The Scottish Device Developers’ Conference offered technical presentations, workshops and exhibitions, with the opportunity to meet and engage with expert engineers from the companies that are developing the next generation of tools and technologies.

2015 was also a big year for helping our international clients set up their teams in Scotland. We have worked exclusively with clients from California to Australia to source local Scottish talent with skills in technical engineering to sales and marketing. The industry here is a hot bed for international talent and not only have we successfully helped companies set up in Scotland, we have helped local companies source international talent from Italy, Poland, Moldova, Ireland, Spain and Pakistan and more.

The technology recruitment market has been a particularly tough nut to crack in 2015. We have seen a major increase in the number of counter offers candidates receive, this is right across software, electronics and digital roles. More and more candidates are in a position of choosing between multiple job offers and negotiating with employers on premium salaries to secure their skills, (we have even seen graduate roles being offered at £30,000 upwards!) However salaries have notably become of lesser importance to candidates when choosing which roles to accept, with greater value placed on work life balance. Despite being offered premium salaries, candidates are willing to accept roles closer to home, offer varied projects, training and clear career progression. We have seen a number of high earning skilled candidates willing to take a cut in salary in order to enjoy these other career benefits.

A recent Twitter poll taken by Scottish Developers asked their followers what they were most attracted to in jobs ads. The result of the poll confirmed work life balance as the number one differentiator with almost 50% of votes.

A Year in Technology Recruitment | Enigma People Solutions | Scottish Developers

We predict that 2016 will bring continued emphasis on work life balance and added benefits. With businesses still battling the war for talent, salaries will be important however greater emphasis must be placed on benefits and employer branding to differentiate in a competitive market (read how our recruitment marketing service can help with this). The current demand for talent has led to an increased growth in IT contracting over the last few years and we predict this will only increase in the next year. For candidates who are flexible and have little ties/obligations they are in a prime position to take advantage of the fluidity of the market and ever increasing demand for their skills.

The technology recruitment market in Scotland will be an expanding market over the next two years and for this reason we are expecting a significant increase in vacancies, increase in competition and increased confidence in the economy. Scotland IS’ Technology Industry Survey report shows high level of confidence among businesses in the sector, with 87% reporting themselves as being optimistic or very optimistic about the year ahead.  We feel the demand for talent will continue across key development skills, experience in sales and marketing and technical engineering skills, however there will be significant growth in demand for these skills from the cloud services, infrastructure, tech security and software as a service sectors.

Scotland’s technology industry is set to grow in the coming year and we look forward to supporting this growth, contributing to more industry events, and to introducing you to the new additions to the Enigma People Solutions team 🙂

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Posted July 14, 2015 | For Freelancers, Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

Will The Summer Budget 2015 Affect How We All Work?

Image: Serge Bertasius Photography

Image: Serge Bertasius Photography

The recent Summer Budget 2015, released on July 8th, has been described as an “attack on contractors” which will impact the contract heavy workforce we are headed toward. It is argued that the changes brought about by the Summer Budget limits the advantages of a limited companies, which the majority of contractors operate under. With an increase in dividend tax, a limit to NIC’s employment allowance and a stop to tax relief on travel and subsistence expenses, contractor’s cash flow will be heavily affected. (The key Budget announcements can be found here).

Contracting in the IT sector has reached historic levels of demand and has been brought about by a demand to fill jobs in software development, data science and digital marketing, which are said to be taking over the jobs market. The need for people skilled in programming & development, analysing data and utilising this information to make digital decisions has become crucial across every single industry. This recruitment solution has become popular as a way to fill gaps for highly demanded skills. It allows businesses to outsource skills and talent for a fixed period of time, providing a flexible workforce to cope with the ebb and flow of demand. It can provide a gap fill for specialist skills for certain projects, bringing in skilled staff who can get the job done and then move on. The companies needn’t spend time or money training staff or providing benefits and instead can offer contractors a higher rate of pay. It allows them to very easily bring in specialist skills they may otherwise not have access to, cover workload in case of holidays or sickness or just temporarily increase manpower and bring in fresh ideas for a specific project. For those who possess these in demand skills, they could truly benefit from the flexibility contracting allows them, including; choosing when to work, whom they work for, and for how long, and not to mention the premium salary rates.

The shift towards contracting has altered the tech industry dramatically, to the extent that some argue that “in the future, employees won’t exist”. Contracting has become the new normal for many tech giants including Cisco, Uber, and Microsoft -who employ nearly two-thirds as many contractors as full-time employees. As Tech Crunch describes, the changes for business models will be profound:

“For businesses, the changes are just as significant. Ultimately, businesses will consist of owners, talent assemblers, and contract workers for everything else. Platforms will spring up that know what contractors have certain skills, what they’ve done, and whether they’re available. Contractors will get instantly matched with talent assemblers. Entire teams could be hired with the click of a button.”

Another factor influencing shift towards a flexible workforce is the generation which is doing the contracting. Millenial’s are those aged between 18 to 34, who currently make up the largest portion of our workforce, and predicted to make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2020. It is this age group who have grown up with native technology skills, are known to favour flexible working, adapt to change quickly and choose to only work with those companies who offer them the best career development. Their resilience and flexible approach to work means staying at one company for 10 to 15 years is now unheard of. Instead the average length of loyalty has become 4 years with some millienals averaging even less than this.

With the future workforce to be made up of a heavily contractual, millennial environment the Summer Budget 2015 does raise a lot of questions for contractors in IT. Despite this, some contracting experts argue that contractors should in fact benefit from the changes rather than lose out. argues:

“The abolition of the self-assessment tax return, significant investment in infrastructure, tax breaks for oil and gas firms, more flexible and Help to Buy ISAs and tax breaks on savings may all directly benefit contractors.”

The changes outlined in the Summer Budget 2015 wont take place until 2016 and so may be too early to determine to what extent these changes will be felt. What we do know however is any changes to the IT contract market will be increasingly felt by the overall job markets and by businesses in every sector. For us, providing business in the UK with IT contractors has been a crucial factor to our clients’ growth and one which we have seen evidence of growing steadily as a means to fill gaps for much needed skills in software development, analytics and digital media.

We’d love to hear your thoughts….Do you feel the budget changes will impact IT contractors and affect the overall future workforce? Tweet us /email

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Posted June 22, 2015 | Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry | 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 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 (

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

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Posted April 20, 2015 | Career Advice, Recruitment Industry | 1 Comment »

Writing Cover Letters – Back to Basics

Some would argue that cover letters no longer hold as much importance as they used to, however we disagree. Technology has certainly altered recruitment and the role of traditional CV’s and cover letters, however nothing can replace a well written cover letter conveying a candidate’s commitment to the role applied for.

Image by: Pixel Fantasy (

Writing Cover Letters Image by: Pixel Fantasy (

LinkedIn profiles, online portfolios, social recruiting, and even video cover letters have their place in today’s recruitment market however lets take things back to basics and discuss the importance of a good, well written cover letter.

David Mains, Director at Enigma People is an avid supporter of a good cover letter:

“A cover letter gives me more of an idea what a person is like than their CV, so I think they’re very important,’ says David.

Very often, a job advert will still specify that an application should include a cover letter and the failure to do so does not reflect well on attention to detail, something which will most likely be claimed in the CV. Cover letters are essential to introduce your personality and your reasons for applying to a job, something which is difficult to put across in a CV alone.

So what does a good cover letter entail?

  • Keep it short and to the point – no longer than one page. Treat it kind of like a headline in a newspaper – it’s designed to make people read on.
  • Make it relevant by using key words from the job description. Be specific. What stands out is demonstrating that you’ve read the job description by making reference to it and how well it suits your skills.
  • Don’t just list all and any skills you have. Again, it’s relevant skills for the job. If the advert mentions motivation, then give an example to show you’re motivated. Don’t waste space writing about your attention to detail if they haven’t asked about it.
  • Show your personality. Think about life experiences or personal qualities which could set you apart as a great candidate for the job.
  • Read other cover letters. You might spot good ways to express something or an idea of what format to use.
  • Make sure your contact details are appropriate. It’s a business document – so use a professional email address!
  • And make sure they’re accurate. It’s amazing the number of people who put down old mobile numbers, or explain after you’ve reached them that they don’t check that email address. If you don’t use it, it shouldn’t be on your cover letter. It’s also useful if people let us know whether they can access that phone or email address during the day – be as helpful as you can to an employer trying to contact you.
  • Check for spelling errors, grammatical errors, and capitals where they DON’T BELONG. We have had cover letters written entirely in capitals…why would anybody give you a job when it seems like you’re shouting at them?

Now you know what to include in your cover letter, My World of Work have a template for writing the perfect cover letter!

You may also find the below Candidate advice useful:

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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

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Posted March 16, 2015 | Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry | 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. Email us or fill in your details below for your FREE guide to writing a Job Description.

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.

Email us or fill in your details below for a sample Employee Referral Scheme.

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!

Enigma People have been consistently recognised for our recruitment services (having just been shortlisted by s1 Awards for the 4th consecutive year for Best Small Recruitment Company). If you are still struggling to attract the right candidates for your vacancies, give us a call on 0141 332 4422!

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Posted February 23, 2015 | Events, Recruitment Industry, Technology Industry | 2 Comments »

Technology Trends for 2015 – Digital Business is Driving Big Change

Technology Trends for 2015 - Digital Business is Driving Big Change

Technology Trends for 2015 – Digital Business is Driving Big Change

I attended the annual Scotland IS Technology Trends conference where Richard Marshall – Research Director, Mobile and Client Computing, at Gartner – talked us through their top technology predictions for 2015. The theme for this years predictions was that digital business is driving big change, detailing how it will affect (or already is affecting our lives). What struck me as interesting was how Richard described how we are turning computers into people and people into computers.

“We are moving from a world where people behave the way computers work, towards a world where computers work the way people behave.”

Just a few of our favourite trends where this is evident were:

  • By 2018 digital business require 50% less business process workers and 500% more key digital business jobs, compared to traditional models.

Considering the ratio of traditional business process workers to digital businesses at the moment, this is a massive shift in the jobs market and where skills will be required. IT leaders must continue to develop new hiring practices to recruit for new non traditional IT roles and adapt to this, figuring out where the digital jobs are and adapting their processes accordingly.

New technology processes are continuing to eliminate many jobs. People are now in greater control and reducing the need for certain intermediaries. Richard used the examples of writers who now have the ability to sign up to Kindle Direct Publishing and publish their very own books, eliminating the need for publishers. Book publishing has now become a digital business where people can harness digital abilities and take control of their own content.

  • By 2020, developed world life expectancy will increase by 0.5 years due to widespread adoption of wireless health monitoring technology.

As Richard says, extending the average life by half a year, within the next 5 years is huge. Wearable technology is a much talked about trend we have seen for a few years, however has continued to grow to significantly impact the life expectancy of the developed world. The wide range of wearable technologies that have been specifically designed to improve fitness, reduce risks and care costs has been widely adopted by individuals and businesses – people who are wearing these devices are consciously trying to reach their step counts for each day, resulting in a greater awareness of their fitness levels. What’s more, they are increasingly impacting business processes and financial models. Health providers in the US are giving workers free Fitbits, adapting healthcare premiums to their achieved exercise quotas. Wearable devices now play a crucial part of the NHS’s future, where fitness trackers can allow health professionals to analyse and act upon early warning signs for patients with serious conditions, cutting treatment times, risks and costs.

  • By year ending 2016, $2.5 billion in online shopping will be performed by mobile digital assistants.  

Mobile digital assistants will be making more automated purchasing decisions on behalf of people, directly impacting businesses marketing strategies.

Marketing executives must develop techniques that capture the attention of digital assistants as well as people, which invokes a number a questions; how do you advertise to machines rather than traditionally advertising to humans? How will digital assistants perceive brands? Will content be obsolete? Marketing and advertising teams will need to take into consideration that digital assistants will make purchases on the basis of cold economic facts, such as price and proximity, rather than brand awareness and company ethics.

  • By 2017, nearly 20% of durable goods e-tailers will use 3D printing to create personalised product offerings.

3D printing has now become a lot faster and a lot cheaper and there is a huge amount of it happening across many industries. More and more people are looking to build and customise products on demand. This now needs to be considered right down the supply chain – if products are being printed on demand this again eliminates the need for several intermediaries, impacting storage, logistics and skills involved.

  • By 2018, more than half of all apps will be created by enterprise business analysts using codeless tools. By 2020 app creation can be fully automated.

As in industry, we will be creating an incredible amount of mobile apps. Richard predicts we will create at least twice as many apps as we have created today by 2020. However these will become much simpler and more automated than they are today. This in turn impacts the role of the software/mobile developer who will now have to become even more specialist, as business analysts will have greater access to codeless tools to create fully functional, fully integrated, cross platform mobile apps at the press of a button. The challenge for businesses is to figure out how to deliver more apps, faster whilst protecting data and retaining good governance, figure out how software will be created in the future and how this impacts those creating the software.

These are just few of the trends from Gartner, some of which we seen at last years technology trends event and will most likely see at next years. These are major trends covering a large period of time which will evolve and becoming increasingly impactful year on year, as digital continues to drive changes in business and in our lives.

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Posted February 16, 2015 | Career Advice, Holidays, Recruitment Industry | 2 Comments »

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Send us your CV, We’ll Find the Job for You!

Placing your trust in a recruitment agency to find your ideal role is much like choosing the right dating agency.

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Send us your CV, We’ll Find the Job for You!

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Send us your CV, We’ll Find the Job for You!

Working with an agency allows you to sit back and relax, let the professionals to take your wonderful skills and qualities and match them to exactly what you are looking for. Finding your perfect match becomes a breeze, no more wasting your time searching in the wrong places.

They are your perfect matchmaker to find your dream role. By placing your trust in their capable hands, candidates can rest assured they will be united with their perfect career at long last. By doing the hard work for you, searching high and low to make your dreams come true, agencies can be there for you every step of the way.

Hurt in the past?

If you haven’t had the best experiences in the past we understand it can be daunting to put yourself back out there. Our dedicated candidate managers make sure you have all the support you need. First impressions are everything and the Enigma Guide to Writing your CV and 5 Essential Interview Tips ensure that you have the basics down and will catch that employer’s eye.

Looking for commitment?

After the first few introductions its time to make that all important decision. We’re there for you, ensuring you and your new employers are all set for the adventure ahead of you. We talk you through the whole process, really help you understand each other’s needs and why you are just so right for each other.

Is there someone better out there?

We all know there are plenty of fish in the sea but it’s all about the right fish for our candidates. By getting to know you, your needs and what makes you tick, Enigma matches you up to your ideal employer to ensure it’s a match made in heaven.

Just want to keep it casual?

Well we can help with that too. There are a multitude of opportunities out there, experiences to share, so why be tied down to just one? If contracting is your thing we have excellent experience in making it happen. You would be amazed how often we get it so right that what starts off as a fling can become the real deal blossoming into a long term commitment.

Its not you it’s me?

What’s for you won’t go by you. If one role doesn’t work out quite as you expected it’s not the end of the world. Recruiters have a working knowledge of the roles they are submitting candidates for. What this means is that if one doesn’t work out, we can set you up with a more suitable role. One that was truly meant just for you.

What about a prenup!

Sad as it may be, relationships don’t always work out the way we hoped. Leaving a commitment can be scary but ensuring you part on good terms means you can still live with the super sweet memories. We’ll be right there for you, nursing your heart back until your ready to put yourself back out there again…

If you are still searching for ‘the one’ this Valentines Day, give Enigma People a call, take a look at our latest vacancies, or send in your CV to

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Posted February 09, 2015 | Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

From Alstom to Zen – The Enigma Alphabet of Clients

From Alstom to Zen – The Enigma Alphabet of Clients

From Alstom to Zen – The Enigma Alphabet of Clients

2015 has been a busy start to the year working with some exiting new clients and strengthening relationships with existing ones! We were recently inspired to see if we could complete the entire English alphabet with names of some of the businesses we have helped grow over the years.

What started off as a fun game in the office soon made us realise that, much to our amazement, we could complete the entire alphabet – including the difficult ones like x, y and Z!

Our alphabet of clients, some of which we have been working with since our inception 10 years ago, all benefit from our expansive, expert knowledge of the technology market in Scotland. Our clients range from local start ups to multinational organisations, across various industries, and we are proud to be able to deliver our expert recruitment solutions to each of them.

When Barrhead Travel announced they were bringing over 100 jobs to Glasgow, Enigma were a preferred supplier of technology talent to the UK’s number 1 online travel agent. We were able to source and place local talent, populating their technology teams with a development team manager, marketing manager, members of the marketing department, and front & back end developers.

Psymetrix, the Edinburgh software solutions company, first approached us as an 8 person team whose ambition led them to be acquired by global electronics company Alstom Grid. Alstom, though they had an internal recruitment team, continue to partner with us to tap into local talent and those with the rare specialist software, firmware and hardware skills they are looking for.

It is businesses like these, and many others, whom we love working closely with, helping to fill challenging and specialist roles and growing their teams. Ticking off each and every letter of the alphabet, which encompasses some of the UK’s most exciting and innovative businesses, is a great achievement for us. If you would like to join our alphabet, then please do contact Ben Hanley with your contract or permanent technology vacancies, and let us know your letter 🙂

Call Ben on 0141 332 4422 or email

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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 December 22, 2014 | Recruitment Industry, Technology Industry | 3 Comments »

The Year Ahead for Technology Recruitment

2014 has marked 10 years in business for Enigma and what a year it has been! We have moved to a bigger office, grown the team and won some prestigious awards along the way. Our award winning service has allowed us strengthen existing client relationships and build some great new ones, supplying tech talent to some of the UK’s most innovative companies, who are fast changing the world that we live in. One particular client who we have supplied top tech talent with since our inception, is Lumison, now known as Pulsant. Lumison was an Edinburgh based internet and communications company, with whom our client relationship has withstood the economic downturn, the competition for tech talent, and one which we are delighted to still hold today.

Towards the end of 2013 we saw demand for scarce technology talent in the UK continuing to rise, contractors stepping in to fill roles and salaries increasing.

Many of our clients have gone through growth phases this year and the highest demand has been for software and web developers and a focussed growth of digital marketing teams. This demand has increased as the year has gone on, and we are seeing the candidate market moving at an accelerated rate. We have seen candidates have the choice of multiple job offers, and many clients missing out on talent by taking too long with their recruitment processes. The demand is high due to a vast underinvestment for these technical skills in previous years and this has created a gap in the skills that employers today are demanding. Instead of addressing this issue, we have found many businesses have perpetuated the war for what little talent there is, by either competing on salaries, holding out for their definition of a ‘perfect candidate’ who either doesn’t exist or has several other job offers to choose from, or they contract in freelancers to complete projects.

Contracting is great as it allows companies to cope with the ebb and flow of demand, providing a flexible workforce to fill a gap for specialist skills. However, there has become an overreliance on contractors which is unsustainable and prevents investment in long term development of talent. We have argued 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.

2014 has seen employment rates rising steadily, despite this, it is estimated that unfilled vacancies cost the UK economy £18bn a year, which highlights the “growing importance of building a strategic recruitment function to hire quickly and efficiently, and find the right fit for each role”. These unfilled vacancies inhibit growth and hinder the potential of businesses. With the Institution for Engineering and Technology predicting that 41% of firms plan to recruit in 2015, these unfilled vacancies could continue to cost the economy billions.

In 2015 more must be done to fill vacancies and to fulfil the demand for talent in the industry. Businesses need to nurture existing talent and invest further in training and recruiting the talent coming forth from our universities, and this is something we hope to see much more of in 2015. Only then, can supply and demand of talent reach equilibrium and Scotland’s tech industry can continue to grow.

For the year ahead we hope to see more investment in talent and predict the continued growth of graduate recruitment and student work placements to fill gaps and get work done. There will be a continued high demand for specific developer talent but also more business analysis and project manager opportunities. Clients will continue to be selective but will also increase the efficiency of their recruitment processes.

Candidates will continue to have choice so there will be more wrangling, buy back and counter offers, meaning that some employers will suffer the frustration of thinking they have filled a vacancy only for that person to drop out in favour of another option. For this reason, employers will need to be careful to keep on top of their staff retention policies and programs and make sure they are motivating, enthusing and rewarding their staff as never before! In fact we believe we will see a rise in the currency of perkonomics – benefits and privileges brands use to retain customers – to help in the retention of employees.

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