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Vote for Pedro Recruitment

By August 15, 201311 Comments

So the annual SEEK awards must be getting close again.  So far I have been implored by eleven different recruitment companies to bestow my individual vote upon them, via email, LinkedIn and Twitter.  The vote, for those of you unaware, is to designate that particular firm as my “favourite recruitment company” for the particular category they are “competing” within.

But I haven’t voted for any of them, and nor will I.  For one, I’m a supplier to the industry and can’t adopt any bias.  I’ve also been over this ground in the past, including a post three years ago along similar lines.  It would also be churlish of me, after enjoying SEEK’s kind hospitality at these events, to criticise them entirely for this.  All of us in recruitment who partake in these awards, who market our brands well beyond the boundaries of the jobseeker market that these awards are supposed to be constrained to, are complicit in the charade.  Those that hold strategy meetings to plan a campaign to win votes from any old individual IP address, regardless of whether they’re a candidate or not, are in on it.  The victory speeches, the award brandishing, the website boasting and the PSA-winning are all byproducts of such a campaign and are the reason recruitment firms go in for it.

But all of us know that the awards are simply a popularity contest.  A Napolean Dynamite “vote for Pedro” campaign that isn’t really based upon how good you’ve been at recruitment in the past year, but rather upon how sophisticated and far reaching your campaign to win votes is.

Disgruntlement does seem to be louder than in previous years though.  Prominent HR commentator @HRManNZ didn’t mince his words when taking to Twitter to say:

Love emails from recruitment companies I don’t work with asking me to vote for them in the Seek awards #nzrec #nofuckingchance #jokeawards

Another recruitment company owner received a LinkedIn message from one of his direct competitors asking him to vote for their company, causing him to declare that:

Lady at xxx recruitment (?, not sure who they are) asking me to vote for xxx on the SEEK awards. Makes a mockery of the awards and her business.

Where once I railed against SEEK for this, I now realise that it’s us in recruitment who are to blame really.  SEEK have provided a platform for Awards, but it’s us (or those of us attempting to actively solicit votes from anyone regardless of if they’re a candidate or not) who have devised ways to win as many votes as possible.  We’re competitive in recruitment, we like to win.  Sometimes at all costs.  Don’t blame SEEK for this though, at least they are kind enough to put on some industry awards.  It’s us who are making a mockery of them.


I would love it if SEEK did find a way to adapt these Awards to limit the votes to eligible voters, but I can’t even imagine how much money that would cost to achieve.  So in the meantime, you’re either in it to win it, or you don’t participate at all, it’s up to you.  I’m not going to sit here blaming SEEK for their own awards when it’s the participants fault for turning it into a bit of a charade.  I saw something else on Twitter yesterday that very much applies here:

If SEEK aren’t willing to adapt their voting processes to make the Awards more credible, then somebody will need to create an alternative kind of Recruitment Awards.  Maybe I will.  But until I do, I can’t consciously criticise them for laying on a fun industry event for their clients.

Jonathan Rice

Director of New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice & Co, co-founder of freelance recruiter platform JOYN, and people-centric technology firm superHUMAN Software. Recruitment innovator, agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Jeremy says:

    Jon – its just a big piss up muscle flex. Its gratifying to go and have some drinks and celebrate your job of course, but its also pretty horrifying to see companies winning who candidates bag all the time for their service. I’d politely suggest that its about SEEK polling for its own popularity and its unfortunate that Recruitment Company owners haven’t realised this and voted themselves, with their feet. Thanks for saying what a lot of us feel.

  • lisa garrity says:

    I agree, I was marketing consulting to a recruitment company and advised them not to enter the annual Seek Awards, as it wasn’t necessarily doing them any favours. It was a lot of work – and had a ‘questionable’ process to being awarded. They were worried that if they weren’t ‘in’ the mix, this could go against them and be viewed badly by their clients. I agreed, but they took the risk and guess what? It hasn’t made any difference to their existing clients view or taking on new clients. Surprise surprise!

  • Mason says:

    Depending on your view is a tacky/cool/innovative way to “curry favour” from an audience -in this case Googles management but its honest and transparent.
    I’d vote for a Recruitment Business if they all had ‘taches like that! 🙂

  • HRManNZ says:

    Yes, I made a comment on Twitter. I also ended up blogging about it which became a bit of a criticism of how recruitment and HR people tend to communicate. Read it and weep

  • James Cozens says:

    Could not find a link to “Vote for Pedro” but I too had a great e-mail from a competitor asking me to vote in this years awards. Didn’t complain though as the same award winning agency regularly sends me CVs of good candidates looking for work in accountancy. I guess because the consultant is too lazy to pick up the phone or even Google my business and find out I am not an accounting firm – or perhaps is too busy polishing Seek awards!

    Rewind back here to Jon’s previous post – “Emails are Sucking the Life from Recruitment” 🙂

  • Sarah Wesley says:

    Hi, Sarah from SEEK here. SARAs were established to recognise the important work of recruitment companies in connecting kiwis with careers. We have considered other methodology outside of public vote to identify the winners but we feel the candidate endorsement is a crucial part of the awards and sourcing an “independent” panel of experts to judge the awards is not easy. As you and others have indicated, a company’s email campaign will not generte votes unless you’ve had a good experience with that firm

  • Louise says:

    Sarah – Arent the seek awards about getting votes from CLIENTS as well as candidates? That’s how we have always done it; they are the one who pay for the ongoing service we provide?

  • HRManNZ says:

    So Sarah, why is an Australian “winner” spam emailing New Zealand employers to get votes if it’s all about “the candidate endorsement?” I’ve had no experience with that firm that emailed me as either an employer or a candidate. If recruitment companies are mounting a campaign to try and win there is something clearly wrong with the process and the awards are not about quality.

  • Sarah Wesley says:

    Hi Louise, you’re totally right, the “public vote” absolutely includes clients too, sorry for not adding this point yesterday. Morning Richard, hope it wasn’t too shaky a night in Wellington (bit nervous about next week’s HRINZ conf there). We hear your concerns that campaigning emails aren’t always received in the right place at the right time, but they do come from the right motivation and are only likely to be effective when they reach the people who know and are happy with the service they provide.

  • Ryan Edwards says:

    The same used to be said for the creative awards in London for all things recruitment. The photos on stage that appeared in the industry mags mentioned the clients, the suits, while the creatives that came up with the work were simply called “Well-wishers” It was a debaucherous night out dressed up (poorly might I add) as an awards dinner. That said, I did get some awards for the old CV.