Posted May 29, 2018 | Electronics, Recruitment Advice, Technology Industry | No Comments »

Calming the perfect storm: 6 reasons for exclusivity

In this blog we discuss how to:

  • Make the hiring manager’s life easier
  • Ensure a more thorough screening process
  • Make it easier to recruit from target source companies
  • Improve candidate control

Finding and attracting top-tier technology talent can be fraught with difficulties.

In specialised technology skill areas there can be so few candidates available that organisations just cannot reach and attract the skills they need. Pressure on overworked senior and principal engineers can become unbearable as they juggle their own deliverables alongside training and developing more junior engineers. Add to this the extra burden of time reviewing and interviewing candidates and you have a perfect storm of time pressure that we see all too often with clients that are trying to deliver to customers, develop their products and recruit all at the same time. The immense workload can lead to the risk of flight of existing key employees to less stressful environments.

Many companies feel they increase their chances of finding the right candidate by placing the vacancy with a number of recruitment agencies. This can be a mistake. If the recruitment process is not slick and speedy then by the time you do find the ideal candidate and make an offer, those candidates are often no longer available.

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 can get the impression that you are desperate, or that everyone is being spoken to about the same vacancy. This can be highly off-putting especially when the candidate has highly sought after niche skills or expertise. Meanwhile the competing agencies can quickly become disillusioned and drop your vacancy down the priority list and leave you with an unresolved problem.

Companies that use recruiters must now understand that to get commitment, full commitment must be given, and that means working exclusively with one, specialist, high quality recruiter on each assignment.

Here are some great reasons why:


Recruiters who work on a contingent basis will work energetically for a short while but as they do not have your full commitment, they may quickly lose interest in a vacancy and move on to the next client whose vacancy is easier to fill. On the other hand, an exclusive recruiter will be fully committed to finding you the right candidate, even if it’s a difficult vacancy to fill. Along with this, exclusive recruiters search for and approach passive candidates that contingent recruiters do not have the time or resources to find.

A more thorough screening process

Due to the full commitment you have from an exclusive recruiter, each candidate on the recruiters shortlist will have been through a more thorough screening process. Working closely with an exclusive recruiter allows the recruiter to gain a better understanding of your business and requirements of the role, meaning that they are able to screen a candidate on not only their experience but also how they would fit within the company culture and more. This screening process takes time but an exclusive recruiter is willing to invest that time to ensure that only candidates who are the best fit make your shortlist.

Makes the hiring manager’s life easier

As a hiring manager, you have to review a multitude of CVs submitted by a number of competing contingent recruiters, meaning you have less time to deal with other work-related responsibilities. Due to the screening process in an executive search, mentioned above, a hiring manager’s workload is reduced as they only have shortlist of qualified CVs to get through.


Sometimes, it’s important to keep your job opening private for whatever reason, working with one exclusive recruitment agency will better ensure confidentiality.

Easier to recruit from target source companies

In the technology market, it’s not always easy to find the right candidate. A lot of the time, candidates are passive so they’re already content in their jobs and aren’t necessarily looking for a new role. When this happens, it’s sometimes essential to recruit from direct competitors; working with one exclusive recruiter can help you to do this. It takes more time and finesse to reach these passive candidates in a way that avoids gaining a reputation as a poacher; in these scenarios it’s the recruiter’s job to put a buffer between your company and your competitor in order to circumvent such situations.

Improve candidate control – your candidates won’t be submitted to other companies

Not only are you exclusive to your executive recruiter, they’re also exclusive to you! Contingent recruiters will sometimes present their good candidates to numerous clients at once, which can result in a talent bidding war and you losing out on an ideal candidate as a result. Whereas an exclusive recruiter will only submit candidates to your company and work to ensure top talent accept your offer over any others.

Enigma People is an award winning recruitment search consultancy. Did you know:

  • Our average retained search shortlist contains 4 CVs
  • 86% of CVs we send to clients are selected to interview, meaning more than 4 out of 5 of our CVs sent are selected for next-stage interviews
  • 100% of the placements we made in 2017 for our Electronics clients are still in the role we placed them in!

If you would like to work with us on retained search basis, or otherwise, please contact Ben Hanley on 0131 510 8150 or


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Posted May 14, 2018 | Career Advice, Industry Interviews, Technology Industry | No Comments »

[Interview] SCINTILLA – Protecting Innovation

Scotland is well-known as the home to billion pound tech companies, like Skyscanner, but that’s only the start of what Scotland’s tech industry currently has to offer. The country’s strength and depth across software engineering, artificial intelligence, big data and a variety of emerging and enabling technologies is impressive; and it’s being noticed. Scotland’s position within the technology industry is encouraging more and more start-ups to base themselves here. The profusion of skills in Edinburgh, especially, has led to a growth in the number of tech companies in the city. According to last year’s Tech Nation 2017 report, 363 technology start-ups were incorporated in Edinburgh alone in 2017.

With such growth and the huge expanse of innovation happening across Scotland, there has been an upsurge in the need for Patent Attorneys. We spoke to Patent Attorney and Founder, Peter McBride, over at SCINTILLA and asked him all about Patent Attorneys, Intellectual Property and his thoughts on the future of the technology industry in Scotland:

Hi Peter, thanks for chatting to us. Firstly, can you please tell us what a Patent Attorney is and at which stage would you need to approach one? 

“We are specialist legal professionals dealing with protection of innovation.  We obtain patents to protect novel technologies and registered trade marks so that a brand’s reputation is safeguarded.  A Patent Attorney has a technical qualification, which is essential as our work requires deep technical understanding of our clients’ technologies.

Intellectual Property (IP) is a key strategic area for any innovative company and should be considered as early as possible!  It is a vital area to research when you start up a business, and its protection should be an ongoing process that is continuously improved.  Each project should be assessed at an early stage, to make sure you can take advantage of all available options and can implement the right strategy.”

How do you currently view the market for Patent Attorneys?

“There are of course a few uncertainties in the UK and global business environment right now, but I am optimistic about our own business and profession because innovation is such a core aspect of business and its protection is a key strategic necessity.”

Would you advise to use a patent lawyer who has expertise in a specific specialism? Why?

“It’s imperative that your Patent Attorney is able to get to grips with the technology that you are working with.  Having an understanding of the relevant basic technical concepts saves everyone time and results in stronger legal protection, as the patent attorney is able to anticipate “workarounds” and make sure that alternative versions of your products are covered by a patent. Similarly, on the defensive side an understanding of the technology can help identify creative solutions when searching or making objections to third parties’ patents.

However, this technical knowledge does not mean anything without effective communication skills – your Patent Attorney should understand your commercial objectives and be able to “translate” the legal language of patents into something you can understand, so you know exactly what your IP is achieving for you.”

Do you think there any trends in the market?

“Clients are looking for their advisors to be commercially aware and to have a laser focus on adding real value with the services and advice which are provided.  Administrative tasks have become commoditised and fixed fee structures are becoming popular.”

Given current market trends, what do you predict for the market over the next 12-24 months? 

“The focus on adding value will continue and the firms which embrace the change will be the ones who are successful.”

What does SCINTILLA do that is different?

“We have a special niche because, as a small firm we have chosen to “go deep” into the fields of electronics and software rather then “go wide” and cover everything.  So, while we are a small team, our common technical focus means we can in fact match the capabilities of much larger firms. Having big-firm professionalism together with small-firm flexibility and friendliness seems to be a winning combination!”

Where do you expect SCINTILLA to be in 12 month’s time? Do you have plans for growth?

“We are celebrating five years in business, but there’s a sense in which we are just getting started.  Growth is a decision and a mindset and we have plans to build on the solid foundation which has been established.

In due course we will look at adding to our team and expanding into other technical areas, so in 12 months’ time we hope to have added some more colleagues and some great new clients.”

How does SCINTILLA enable growth within the tech industry?

“As a service provider, we are in tune with our clients’ needs and our flexible and creative approach helps our clients optimise scope of protection and cost.

Beyond this, however, we are committed to the startup and tech communities.  We get involved with education and we sponsor Startup Grind, which builds communities and connections for start-up founders.”

Where do you think Scotland and the UK fit within the Tech market?

“Scotland has everything it needs to be a global player in the tech market. There are good Universities which punch above their weight, an active community of software and hardware companies and a vibrant support network of government and early stage investment organisations.  Also having fantastic culture and art scenes makes Scotland a great place for business and pleasure.”

Do you think there are there any barriers to entry for tech start-ups? 

“Funding and talent are the biggest barriers, as is the case across the globe. In Scotland, while initial funding is relatively plentiful it can be harder to secure larger funding rounds. Luckily there is a strong international mindset amongst the tech community and there are many examples of companies who have succeeded by focusing on the US or other overseas markets.”

And finally, do you think being able to acquire IP protection is part of what determines success for these companies?

“Companies who invest in IP protection tend to be more successful. Everyone needs to get to grips with the basics of IP, and in many cases registration of IP through patents, trade marks or designs is crucial to safeguard competitive advantage.  So, I would agree that an ability to secure effective IP protection is a vital component of success.”

Thanks, Peter! 

Intrigued by intellectual property and patents following our chat with Peter, we scoured the web to find out more and stumbled across some interesting and fun facts about patents.

Check them out before you go:

  • The inventor of the Laser, Gordon Gould, fought with Laser manufacturers and the US patent office for 38 years before finally achieving the right to equally obtain and enforce patents covering the Laser technology he had invented
  • WD-40 is not patent protected, in so doing it has completely avoided disclosing its ingredients, making it harder for any other companies to mimic
  • While working at Raytheon in 1945, Percy Spencer a radar engineer, stepped in front of a magnetron, a device that powers radars. He realised a chocolate bar in his pocket had melted. Later that same year, he filed a patent for the first microwave oven.
  • Amazon recently acquired a patent for a modular super drone that could potentially carry lots of weight, enabling them to be more efficient and capable of transporting and delivering greater loads than just one singular, powerful drone
  • There is a patent for a surgical procedure to implant semiconductors into eyes to give humans night vision like Riddick.



SCINTILLA is a European Patent and Trade Mark Attorney firm specialising in the fields of electronics, software, energy and mechanical engineering.  They work with international clients as well as serving the vibrant start-up and SME scene in Scotland. They provide frank and practical advice about what is best for your business. Find out more about SCINTILLA:



Enigma People is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in electronics, photonics and semiconductors in Scotland. You can get in touch with us or call us on 0131 810 510

Follow us on TwitterLinkedin and Facebook  to keep up to date with our latest news and vacancies.

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Posted May 01, 2018 | Career Advice, Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

Why use a retained search for your key hires?

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

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

Hiring a search specialist, like Enigma People Solutions, to run the recruitment process for you is often the best way forward.

Every business has access to a multitude of candidates through online job boards, social media and candidate databases, but that doesn’t necessarily make the recruitment process straightforward. What businesses often overlook, when recruiting, is that it’s not just about finding candidates; it’s about finding the right candidate. The true expertise lies in matching the right candidates to the right opportunities; a recruitment consultant’s approach towards the passive candidate and their efficacious technique play a part in providing a service that clients are more than happy to use and pay for.

So what is a retained search exactly?

It is a process, in which a client (business) 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. It also allows the consultant to gain an understanding of the client’s culture and working environment.

A retained search involves actively researching the market to identify individuals within “target companies”, normally competitor companies. 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 candidate in order to draw up a shortlist of three to four to present to the client.

As well as presenting the client with the best three to four candidates available in their industry, the consultant will provide interview notes and information about each individual’s background. The key benefit of such information is that both client and candidate are better prepared than they would be had they only received a CV, which contained 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).

Retained searches have a far more in-depth process than traditional agency recruiting. It could be argued that its greatest advantage is that it allows the recruitment consultant to provide their clients with candidates who are not actively seeking a new role, which the client would have not found otherwise. Another advantage of using a retained search for your recruitment needs is that the level of due diligence provided by the consultant is much greater because they have formally interviewed each candidate, as opposed to conducting a brief telephone screening exercise.

The search process can protect your brand and reputation, as you only have one recruitment company discussing your company in the market, meaning it is easier to promote a coherent and consistent message. It also allows the recruitment business to put more time, resources and efforts into filling your vacancy, compared with a contingency recruitment exercise.

4 Simple Steps

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

1) Select one 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 universal list of potential candidates and source sites.


Enigma People is an award winning recruitment search consultancy. Did you know:

  • Our average retained search shortlist contains 4 CVs
  • 86% of CVs we send to clients are selected to interview, meaning more than 4 out of 5 of our CVs sent are selected for next-stage interviews
  • 100% of the placements we made in 2017 for our Electronics clients are still in the role we placed them in!

If you would like to work with us on retained search basis, or otherwise, please contact Ben Hanley on 0131 510 8150 or

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

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