On Thursday 22 November, we were the very excited and loud team that won the Seek Annual Recruitment Awards (SARA) for “Excellence in Candidate Engagement”. It was fantastic feat to be a finalist in a very competitive market with two extremely good companies.

Then, it was an amazing and unbelievable feeling to be called out as the eventual winner in our category!  I was in shock and disbelief when our name got called out, our team went wild in a frenzy of excitement and I was a possum in headlights.  As we were heading to the stage to collect our prize I thought OMG I have to say something.  I normally come prepared mentally when I’m speaking or if I’m going to be called upon. This time I did none of that.  On my way to awards night I had ACDC blasting in my car stereo and I was thinking how beautiful the city was and I how lucky I was living in Auckland as it was such a lovely evening and sunset.

When we entered the SARA awards back in June I was tentative about it and did not know what would happen and quite frankly if we were worthy entrants (that’s self-doubt at its worst). Our Director of Sales and Marketing Tara Kingston was a huge driver and deservedly must take all the credit. She rallied the team and got everyone to contribute to the entry, made sure it was perfect and got it into Seek on time. When we made the shortlist as a finalist that was a turning point for me to recognise that we are actually making a difference (again self-doubt) with our service.  I have to admit (finally) I have a huge amount of self-doubt at times and I have these incredibly high levels of expectations (who doesn’t when you want to win).  I have learnt over the last 12 months to have more gratitude and enjoy and celebrate the milestones that the business and our people achieve. It is so important to recognise these milestones as it keeps you grounded but focused on improving and getting better.

When we started establishing our recruitment business I wanted to ensure we had a recruitment process with a very strong candidate care focus and with a HR flavour in our process.  I have been a candidate and client and I saw how the candidate can be ignored and becomes the meat in the sandwich.  I wanted a process that every candidate whether successful or not felt that they were listened to and touched by our recruitment process in positive way. There are aspects of our recruitment process that are automated, and it has to be in order to be efficient.  Where ever possible in our process we have a human element and what I mean by that is that rather than sending an automated message we speak to our candidates as much as possible throughout our recruitment process. Again, whether they are successful or not.  Part of the conversations are to give the information that is important for them about where they are in our recruitment process.  This has improved and evolved so much and continues to do so.

The team embraced this approach and for the past few years we have had some stunning results but more importantly how the candidates we work with have felt throughout our process.  A signal of our commitment to candidate care is our Google reviews which currently sits at 50 (apparently the most for any HR or Recruitment company in New Zealand – go us).  We are half way to our goal. The team are responsible for this achievement and have made it a part of our ethos for a positive experience for our candidates to share with others.

I got asked by a lot of people after the awards what we do differently and what our magic sauce is and, to be honest its simply putting our candidates first and creating a process that doesn’t make them feel like a number. I’ve been in that situation and its awful not knowing where your application is or why you’ve been rejected.  Our brand is really important to us and we want those that we interact with to feel important too when they are touched by our brand.

A huge thank you to all our clients that have used our recruitment services as without you we wouldn’t have been on that stage.  Also, our candidates who put their faith and trust in us to represent them.  We thank you for all your kind comments on our Google reviews and believing in us.  To our team, thank you for caring and loving what you do as it shows every day.  Finally, thank you Seek for the opportunity. I have a feeling we will be back again next year.