Should My Recruitment Agency Be Entering Awards?

Ever sat at your desk looking out at the office and wondered, “Should my recruitment agency be entering awards?” 🧐

We all know the industry is competitive.

In fact, the number of recruitment agencies working and operating in the UK between 2008 and 2018 increased by an average of 27% each year.

That’s correct, EACH YEAR!

But are award entries and wins a way to stand out from the ever-growing crowd, or a waste of your company’s precious time?

Today, AdBuilder is here to help you answer that question.


Do Awards Matter? 🏆

Whether you’re starting up a recruitment agency or you’ve been at it for years, there will come a moment when you wonder:

Do awards matter?

Should I be investing company time and energy into applying for them?

There are a lot of different things to consider when it comes to answering this question, including:

– The existing prominence of your agency’s brand name

– The amount of exposure you’ll gain from winning an award/multiple awards

– The number of people your agency employs

– The amount of time these employees have to spare

– How award wins are perceived by your potential clients

– The level of effort it will require to enter awards

Let’s dive in and explore! 🏊

How Are They Perceived?

The average employer looking to involve a recruiter in the hiring process doesn’t have the insider knowledge that you might have about how each awards process works (more on that soon).

Most of the time, all they see is the end result – the banner on the website declaring your award-winning status.

That means awards are generally perceived as a net positive by potential clients.

However, some recruitment agencies use the naivety of less-savvy companies to their advantage and play with fire. 🔥🚒

Agencies that frequently buy awards with less prestigious organisations that look good on the surface but don’t represent true wins.

This approach is all well and good until a savvy company scents you out, or another recruitment agency takes a moment to reveal the reality of your “awards”.

At that point, you’ll find your credibility is shot and rebuilding that trust is a true uphill struggle. 🧗

In a nutshell, how an award is perceived depends on how credible it actually is.

Is it something you’ve earned, or something you’ve paid to receive?

Someone’s going to know the difference, so hopefully, you and your agency do too.

Is It Worth the Hassle?

So, is it worth the hassle?

Is the effort required to enter awards worth the reward of winning them? ⚖️

The process itself is usually simple.

It’s a case of sending an email or filling out an automated form.

But before you get to this stage, you’ll need to do enough research to determine that:

– You’re entering for an award with a trustworthy, honest organisation.

– You’re entering in the right kinds of award categories/nominating strong candidates.

– You’re not overstretching your budget by making too many paid nominations.

3 Reasons Not to Enter Awards (And The 3 Reasons Why Those Reasons Aren’t Quite Correct)

1. There’s Too Much Competition for Your Agency to Ever Win

Yes, the industry IS competitive.

Yes, you might enter into award categories and then fail to win any awards.

You might apply for the same award for years and years and never be shortlisted.

But you’ll never know if you never try!

And doesn’t the chance element of it all make winning all that more delicious and morale-boosting?

If you have faith that your agency is doing good things and working hard to achieve results, you should have faith that your hard work will be recognised.

Keep at it, and you’ll get that well-deserved recognition in the end.

2. The Entry Costs Add Up, and They Aren’t Worth It

The amount you’re happy to spend on awards entries is different for every single recruitment agency, and it’s that simple.

As long as you know what that amount is and you don’t overreach it, this reason doesn’t have to come into play.

Plus, it’s not like there aren’t plenty of strong free options out there to consider putting yourself up for.

Yes, the competition might be a little more intense for these accessible opportunities, but it’s like I said above:

Strong competition makes winning even more enjoyable.

3. Awards Are for Vain Agencies, and They Don’t Mean Anything

Maybe this is true, and maybe it isn’t.

Sure, an award isn’t going to make or break your agency and failing to win one doesn’t mean you suck at what you do.

But isn’t it nice to be recognised?

Not just for you, but your entire team?

And don’t you think that the press you’ll get will be beneficial from a marketing perspective?

How Do I Know Which Ones to Enter?

If you are considering helping your recruitment agency to shine on a bigger stage, there’s one more hurdle you need to hop over.

Figuring out WHICH awards to enter.

I’m not talking about determining which categories you’re likely to win in (though you’ll need to do that, too).

I’m talking about which organisations and award organisers you feel are the most prestigious and the most likely to generate a return on your investment. 💸

Even if that investment is only your time and effort and nothing monetary, it matters not to waste it. ⏰💦

Here are a few examples of trusted awarding bodies in the UK recruitment scene to get you started:

  • The Recruitment Marketing AwardsFirst launched in 1980, the Recruitment Marketing Awards (sometimes known as the RMAs) reward and recognise “excellence and professionalism in recruitment marketing and talent management”.
  • The REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation) AwardsThe REC Awards are now in their 12th year, and each year’s slate of nominations seeks to honour outstanding examples and successes in the recruitment industry. The REC refers to its annual awards ceremony as “an evening celebrating excellence”.
  • The NORAs (National Online Recruitment Awards)The NORAs are fully focused on candidate experience and rewarding progressive, hard-working recruitment companies. The NORAs always seek to view “the recruitment sector from the perspective of a jobseeker” and reward accordingly.
  • The Global Recruiter AwardsHosted by The Global Recruiter, these awards are given to resilient, high-performing agencies across the industry. Many are nominated, the best are shortlisted, and only the crème de la crème end up winning prestigious accolades at a glamorous evening awards ceremony.

If you’re a specialist recruitment agency (link to that blog when published), you should take some time to look into award ceremonies that are reserved for your niche of the market.

They might be an opportunity to gain even more visibility and brand authority! ✅

How Will It Make a Difference to My Recruitment Agency to Be Up for Awards?

According to US research, corporate award winners enjoy 37% more sales growth and 44% higher stock prices than their non-award-winning peers on average.

But stats aren’t everything, are they? 📊🚫

According to our research, there are five important benefits that come with life as an award-winning agency.

Check ‘em out…

Recruitment 101: The 5 Biggest Benefits of Your Agency Winning Awards

The Increase in Perceived Credibility

Don’t underestimate the value of being able to throw an eye-catching “award-winning” moniker in front of your business name.

“Award-winning”, says: “We can do this thing super well, and that’s an independently verified fact!”

For your clients on both sides of the recruitment fence (employers and jobseekers), the knowledge that your agency can secure prestigious award wins matters.

It could influence them to plump for your agency over a similar one without those additional achievements in their locker.

Plus, it’s the credit and external value you might need to justify raising your offerings to a more premium price point.

The Chance to Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

There are so many different categories in the vast world of recruitment awards.

If you enter categories wisely, your wins will help you to showcase new parts of your business and stand out.

For instance, you may want to emphasise your agency’s commitment to environmental friendliness and green initiatives.

What better way to do this than by winning an award in a category like “Most Eco-Friendly Recruitment Agency of 2021”?

The Associated Content Marketing Opportunities

Winning or being nominated for an award can be great content fodder for your company.

You can write about the win on your blog, share the news on your social feeds and even live-tweet the event to drum up excitement and marketing hype.

The possibilities are endless.

The Opportunity to Reach New Eyes

Creating a talent pipeline is an essential part of functioning as an effective recruitment agency.

Access to a ready pool of candidates to recommend to potential employers makes the job a million times easier.

Do you know what that means?

It means that any new visibility is a good thing for your business and a chance to bring new jobseekers into the fold and connect them with roles best suited to their wants, needs and skills.

Awards might help your brand name cross paths with people and businesses that would otherwise never have seen it/heard of you, and that can only be a good thing in terms of strengthening the pipeline.

The Cross-Company Morale Boost

Everyone loves to win, and everyone loves to feel appreciated at work.

Especially younger employees from the Millennial and Gen Z demographics, for whom job and career worry has been a dominant stress driver during COVID-19.

That’s why nominating key members of your agency/key teams within your agency for suitable award categories can be beneficial not only to the company’s visibility and credibility, but to workplace happiness and morale.

Show them you care and everyone wins.

Are There Brand-Boosting Alternatives to Entering Awards?

Awards aren’t the only way to raise your agency’s game. 🚠

From writing great job adverts to cornering a particular niche of the market, there’s more to success in recruitment than being able to call yourself an award-winning company.

Here are three key ways to boost your brand without a single award to your agency’s name…

Sustainability Initiatives and Local Community Outreach 🤗

In Deloitte’s Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey, it’s clear that climate change remains a huge priority for this large swathe of the workforce.

60% of all respondents fear that businesses “will deprioritise combatting climate change in the aftermath of the pandemic”.

Why not prove your recruitment agency isn’t in this group of businesses and push the boat out with your sustainability initiatives in the new year? 🚤⬅️

Combine this with some charitable work in the local community and your brand’s reputation is sure to see the benefits.

A Positive, Personal Social Media Presence 🤳

Recruitment agencies are currently reporting 800% more engagement with job ads that include an embedded video.

There are multiple reasons for this, of course.

But if we had to guess?

We’d say that one of the biggest reasons is the fact that these videos often feature people.

Walking, talking people.

REAL people. 🙀

People add a human, personal touch to a brand’s voice, making the job ad feel more real, honest and true to the jobseekers that come across it.

The same humanity and honesty can be conveyed via other mediums like social media, and people, in particular, can feature heavily on video and image platforms like Instagram.

That’s why paying more attention to your social presence (and the kind of vibe you’re cultivating) is a good way to go.

Awards help boost your brand by increasing that connection with your customers.

But if you can do that for yourself on your socials, you might not need to waste the time it takes to enter all those awards.

Time-Saving Solutions Like AdBuilder

Time is the most incredible gift of all.

If you can give a little more of it to your employees, you’ll be in the best possible position to improve your agency’s performance.

But where do you find extra time?

It’s not like it grows on trees. 🌳🌲🌴

By incorporating recruiting automation tools, of course.

Tools that get the boring stuff and busy work done for you, allowing the whole agency to focus on more important tasks.

AdBuilder is one of these tools.

It can cut down the time you spend writing job ads SUBSTANTIALLY.

There’s also our newest offering – AdGrader.

This fancy platform is a debiasing tool that checks your ads for gendered or exclusionary language before you share them with the world.

You’re thinking:

Isn’t investing in all of these automation tools going to set me back quite a lot?

But the answer is:

No, not necessarily.

You’re wondering:

Can I really afford this?

But the answer is:


If you budget wisely, invest in the best tools for your particular agency, and constantly assess what isn’t and isn’t working.

They say time is money – so it’s no surprise that you’re not going to regain one without losing some of the other.

Becoming a Stronger Recruitment Agency and Growing Your Company is a Journey 🚣

Did you read that heading?

Are you hearing me?

It’s a journey. 🧭

That means it doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t need to happen all at once.

If reading this article has inspired you to start entering awards, don’t feel you need to cover every single base and enter thousands all at once.

If reading this article has convinced you to try some software platforms like AdBuilder, don’t start trialling ten different tools at the same time.

Take it at your own pace and remember the tale of the tortoise and the hare. 🐢🏁🐇

For even more tips on growing your recruitment agency, check out some of our helpful blogs on the topic:

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James Ball
Written by James Ball

James is the founder and owner of AdBuilder and a recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield in the UK.  He regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment processes and advertising.

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