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Our SEEK Recruitment Awards U-Turn

By November 12, 20153 Comments

It’s Thursday as I write this week’s blog post, and for good reason.  You see, it’s the 2015 SEEK Annual Recruitment Awards tonight and there’s a very real chance I won’t quite be able to cajole my brain cells into enough worthwhile use to pen anything sensible tomorrow.  I’ll still be able to recruit though…that sh*t’s easy.

So yeah, the SARA’s are happening tonight, and there’s two very good reasons why I’m writing a blog post on them right now:

Firstly, because they have always been a lightning rod for recruitment industry attention, pomp, ceremony, debate, derision, ridicule, insincerity, and impropriety in this part of the world.  And naturally, anything like that is always going to get featured on a sensationalist gossip common like this here Whiteboard, with one or two previous posts voicing our disquiet at what we saw as little more than a school popularity contest.

Secondly, because this year we decided to make a submission, and then found out we were finalists in one of the categories.

Naturally, such hypocrisy attracted certain wry comments, and fair enough too:

SEEK Awards Tweet

So.  Why the about face?  Well let me explain.

Firstly, I think SEEK deserve a lot of credit for actually listening to what many in the recruitment industry were saying about their old award process.  A system whereby Finalists were selected purely on the basis of who could get the most votes from different IP addresses led to a voting criteria with less credibility than the Russian Olympic doping committee.

Secondly because the format makes much more sense now, and winners can feel satisfied that they are more deserving of the accolade.  By appointing a panel of judges to vote on submissions SEEK have finally brought some crumbs of credibility to their lavish annual banquet.  I do think this could be even further advanced by having judges visit the workplaces of their long-list of finalists though, and talking to the recruiters there.

Finally, and I say this with a wince of pomposity, it’s our hope that by having our business as Finalists this year it might encourage more submissions from other recruitment firms to have a go next year.  I think it’s still clear that some of the top recruitment brands, the longest established, the most successful, the more prominent etc, are still shunning the SARA’s.  But it’s only with greater competition for these Awards, awarded by a credible panel of judges, that these Awards can really generate the allure that SEEK hopes.

Whatever your view on them, hats off to SEEK for putting on this event for our industry.  What is obviously a great marketing event for them is nevertheless a huge undertaking to arrange, and always done well.  Every industry needs a reason to get dressed up and get together, none more so than in recruitment, where any excuse to blow off some steam and celebrate what has been achieved should always be welcomed.

So that’s why we are in, and why I think your firm should too.  And that’s also why whatever I add to this post tomorrow morning might be slightly more brief than usual………


Friday morning update:

We didn’t make it this time.  Well done to Canterbury Labour Hire Safety Forum who took out the Most Innovative Agency this year.  Congrats also to the other winners:

Best Small Recruiter – Mclaren Associates

Best Medium Recruiter – Talent International

Best Large Recruiter – AbsoluteIT

Best Candidate Engagement – Parker Bridge

Best Recruitment Leader – Canterbury Labour Hire Safety Forum

People’s Choice Award – John and Fiona Harland from ERG


Thanks to Janet, Richard, The Hyphenator and everyone at SEEK for a top night.  We will be back again next year!

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Barry says:

    Until recruiters judge recruiters, IMHO , it is still farcical. There is a reason chefs judge cooking shows, Architects judge architecture of the year – because they are experts in their field .Imagine if the best chef was judged by an airline pilot – there would be an outrage, as people would rightly point out , WTF does a pilot know about being a chef! Being judged by experts in your field as the best is truly an indication of excellence. There are enough well known successful recruiters in NZ and Oz who are no longer active day to day who would make superb judges and make the wards something like the Oscars of the recruitment industry. Something to be very very proud of and to know that people who have been there and done that successfully endorse and reward you.

    • Thanks Barry, I agree, although some of the judges do meet your criteria. There have been quite a few recruitment personalities leaving our industry this year so maybe the 2016 judging panel will have more of a recruitment focus in their backgrounds. I hope so.