Recruiters: how industry awards can boost your brand

Personal brand is all-powerful in the highly competitive recruitment industry. When you’re expected to find candidates other companies can’t, the credibility that comes with an award can be a game-changer.

Leading recruitment expert Greg Savage says candidates are behaving more like consumers and are increasingly discerning about who they align with. “There is a lot of criticism of recruiters as being transactional, and not really understanding their markets,” Savage says. “Personal branding will counter that. A recruiter can go from being a screener of resumes to becoming a magnet for talent for those who invest in it.”

This is where awards come in. Having the backing of the industry can help you leverage your position in the marketplace, Savage says. “People are very untrusting of what they see online and self-promotion is treated with skepticism,” he says. “An award is a third-party endorsement which gives people confidence that somebody trustworthy has recommended you, so it’s very important for your personal brand.”

How awards can benefit you and your business

Putting together your entry for an award is an opportunity for introspection, Savage says. Taking a good look at your history and processes can expose areas where improvements need to be made.

This preparation can also be good for your confidence, used for internal PR and can help to identify your differentiators, which you can then build into your marketing, promotion and network conversations. “It’s extremely powerful internally for your staff when you are finalists for—or win—an award,” Savage says. “We’re constantly telling ourselves that we are better than most, but this is proof positive that we are better. It’s a very powerful thing to be able to say and it’s reassuring to the people you hire. Your staff can be energised by that.”

Tips to help you win

Savage has received numerous awards over the past 15 years, including Honorary Life Member of the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association (RCSA), Recruitment International Hall of Fame, the RCSA Outstanding Contribution to the Recruitment Industry award and Most Influential Recruiter in Australia in the Past 60 Years.

Savage also has experience judging industry awards. His top tips for how to impress with your submission are:

  1. Reflect on who you are
    What awards mean the most to you? What would you be proud to promote if you won? If you feel passionate about these things, it’ll come across in your submission. It’s also an opportunity to highlight your points of difference from your competitors.
  2. Bring the evidence
    Generic self-promotion has little value, Savage says. If your submission makes statements of excellence that sound like they’ve been copied straight off your website, it won’t be anywhere near as powerful as those with case studies, survey results, empirical data or other evidence of client satisfaction.
  3. Be selective but bold
    Nominating for an award can be quite time-consuming so it’s not necessarily wise to take a scattergun approach and hope to strike it lucky. Look at the categories carefully, read how they are going to be assessed and pick one or two you think you’ve got a good shot at.

The important thing with any awards entry is to play to your strengths, Savage says. Don’t be afraid to be ambitious. “Winning an award is tangible evidence that you are somebody who has recognition in their field,” he says. Candidates and clients will look to this recognition, he adds. “They want to know that person has credibility, has a track record and a history of success—that’s why personal brand is important and why potentially winning an award could be very important to your success.”

So, if you’re looking for a way to boost your personal brand, perhaps it’s time to consider how you can leverage industry awards? Submissions for the 2019 SEEK Annual Recruitment Awards (SARAs) are opening on June 13. Visit for more information.