2018 Winners

Winners of Recruiter Awards 2018 have been announced.

Please find the photos from the event below:

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Winner: Toby Babb, CEO, Harrington Starr
Sponsored by: Flexr

Toby Babb has been the driving force behind creating the Harrington Starr brand. He has put together an outstanding leadership team and set the strategy and vision for the business. Babb runs the Financial Services Technology Breakfast events and has launched Harrington Starr TV. He hosts Fintech Focus TV, interviewing fintech’s most innovative leaders, and Recruiter 360 TV, driving excellence in the recruitment industry by interviewing recruitment experts and performance specialists. Between October 2016 and October 2017, under Babb’s leadership, the company launched and grew its US business by more than 142% year on year. The company expanded with the formation of the Harrington Starr Group, encompassing Harrington Starr (fintech), The North Starr (data, security, software and sales), Harrington Starr Executive Search and Harrington Starr Technology Consulting, as well as Harrington Starr Inc in New York.

• Babb has driven the recruitment strategy and written a training plan to develop those staff in the business. He has written a ‘playbook’ of how to deliver a best-in-class recruitment service and created a modular programme (The Harrington Starr University Programme) that has developed people who have never worked in a professional environment into top recruitment performers.

• He believes in ‘the aggregation of marginal gains’ and puts kaizen –continuous improvement – at the heart of the company’s values. His use of publications, events, video and networking creates a community that allows Harrington Starr to sit at the heart of clients’ minds.

• Many of the 800 companies who the Harrington Starr Group work with were brought on board by Babb’s extensive client network. He continues to be a focal point of many of the company’s leading clients.

• He has spoken at numerous events and on podcasts in the recruitment sector and has been keen to give back by helping to coach and mentor start up businesses in the sector. He has written in numerous publications – including for Recruiter, City AM, Evening Standard – and has spoken on BBC television and radio about the future of the industry.

Judges' Comments:

“What impressed us most were his engaging communication style, his passionate commitment to raising standards in recruitment, his personal commitment to advancing the skills of his team of recruiters, and his compelling vision not just for his business but for his clients and candidates, too”

  • Saffa Ayub, MD, Bramwith Consulting
  • Andy Shatwell, MD, Charlton Morris
  • Raj Tulsiani, CEO/Co-Founder, Green Park


In-House Recruitment Leader of the Year

Winner: Katrina Hutchinson-O’Neill, Director of Resourcing, Nationwide Building Society

At the start of 2016, Nationwide Building Society faced a talent acquisition challenge. The increasing volume of hard-to-fill technically specialist roles represented a concern for a company with no employer brand presence in those labour markets. The then CEO cited the company’s ability to attract and onboard talent as one of the primary threats to delivery of its corporate strategy. The company needed an expert in resourcing who would be able to lead a restructure of the function and transform its resourcing strategy to create a modern and fit-for-purpose model, and Katrina Hutchinson-O’Neill was recruited as director of resourcing. October 2016 to October 2017 was a period of intense activity – directed by Hutchinson-O’Neill but with her leading and engaging every member of the team to support delivery of the vision.

• Hutchinson-O’Neill has clear accountability for the budget, delivery and strategy for all aspects of resourcing – permanent and non-permanent.

• All these measures collectively enabled the company to deliver a £2.14m improvement on the planned resourcing budget position for this fiscal year – despite demand coming in on target for the year. This saving now equates to a reduction of almost £6m, or 60%, of the cost of resourcing to the organisation over the space of Hutchinson-O’Neill’s two years in the role.

• Achieving these results has required not only application of deep resourcing expertise and change leadership skills in the resourcing and HR department, but also well-honed expertise in commercial knowledge, business knowledge, stakeholder engagement and influencing skills to get the senior leadership of the organisation to buy into the new approaches and models.

• These results have made a sizeable contribution to the company achieving its cost:income ratio for the business, reduced risk in these areas, and enabled it to free up money to invest in other initiatives, both inside and outside HR.

• Hutchinson-O’Neill is active as a senior leader representing Nationwide externally – as a spokesperson for recruitment, and also covering diversity and inclusion topics for journalists.

Judges' Comments:

“Katrina has transformed the resourcing function, delivering savings while improving performance… She demonstrates passion for her team and for the wider resourcing profession, has clear ideas on how to promote the profession, and is taking action to progress these, often in her own time.”


• Craig Morgans, Head of Talent Acquisition and Learning and Development, The AA – TMP Worldwide


Winner: Steve Beckitt, CEO/Founder, SourceBreaker
Sponsored by: Irwin Mitchell

Steve Beckitt created a new category of recruitment product – end-to-end search, with his application finding recruiters’ candidates, leads and decision makers all in one system. The desired outcomes were to change the way recruiters search, helping them make better matches between candidates and vacancies and do it faster, and to drive improvements in standards across the industry, with easy-to-use technology. Between October 2016 and October 2017, SourceBreaker brought in more than 250 customers in 18 months, along with seven-figure revenues. Beckitt embedded a culture of promoting from within and allowing those promoted to innovate in running their team. He provides external mentors to help new managers develop, and every staff member has had external training or qualifications funded by the company. The entire leadership team has worked their way up into their roles – since launch, no one has been hired in above existing staff.

• Beckitt has led from the front, personally billing more than £400k, implementing 53 customers, planning and testing 22 product sprints, conceiving and launching three new products, hiring 10 staff, training three team managers, managing and scaling up an offshore development team from two to 10, building a website and raising £350k of investment.

• Between October 2016 and October 2017, revenue grew 280% while
monthly recurring revenue grew 172%. The number of customers went up 167% within 18 months of the launch. The headcount rose from seven to 17.

• In just 18 months since Beckitt started selling SourceBreaker, it is now serving more than 4,000 users across 280 agencies worldwide.

• SourceBreaker has also innovated in the selling and onboarding areas – such as the three-month break clause for new customers to limit their risk, and the high-touch implementation and training process.

• The platform has now started to change the standards within the industry. High-performing recruitment companies now ask other suppliers to follow the SourceBreaker onboarding and training processes, as they have yielded such strong results.

Judges' Comments:

“Steve exudes energy, enthusiasm and innovation…. He has quickly moved the business to a revenue-generating model.”

  • Nicholas Barton, CEO/Founder, The Barton Partnership
  • Richard Cooke, Owner/Director,Seven Resourcing
  • Suki Sandhu, CEO/Founder, Audeliss
  • Ed Vokes, Company Director, Evolve Hospitality


Winner: Out of This World Candidate Experience: Mars in partnership with Amberjack

Food manufacturing giant Mars aimed to ‘be the company millions want to join, stay and grow with’. To meet this ambition, it realised it needed to tackle candidate. Through partnering with future talent expert Amberjack, Mars was able to make its candidate messaging clearer, personal, more consistent, and authentic. The company has also simplified recruitment into four phases, making the process easier to understand. The entire recruitment process sits on an immersive digital platform called Ambertrack, which provides a continuously branded, fast experience that delivers campaign visibility and measured experience. Candidates have personal mobile-enabled account areas that house all their correspondence, graphically show where they are in the process, and allow them to select interview or assessment centre slots that suit them. The results have been outstanding.

• Last year, Mars’ recruitment campaign comprised seven early careers streams that totalled 41 hires from 2,635 applications.

• Candidates are more likely to share their recruitment experiences on social media and with family and friends. Because Mars recruits young people who are more likely to use and share their views on social media than older audiences, exceptional candidate experience was imperative for the company.

• The company’s new approach is built on insights and feedback captured from candidates in previous campaigns. These outputs translated into a strategy that focused on delivery of an improved candidate journey through an engaging process supported by clear communications. Mars managed candidate expectations, delivered a fair and honest process, and provided fast feedback. The honest and friendly human engagement during the recruitment process kept candidates fully up-to-speed with their progress, knowing what was going to happen next and what they needed to do.

• Independent quality assurance ensures exceptional delivery, consistency and fairness.

• The entire recruitment net promoter score (NPS) was +61 (where a score of +60 is exceptional), underlining the class of the experience delivered in just eight weeks. Time-to-offer is just 60 days, there have been 2,635 applications, 41 hires, no reneged offers, and 100% retention of the first-year intake.

Highly Commended:

Go North East Bus Driver Routeway: Go North East in partnership with Jobcentre Plus and Gateshead College

Judges' Comments:

“Our winners were clear that retention of people is a clear business benefit and the right thing to do, and stood out for their marriage of automation with a human interface.”


• Clarriots Care
• The Candidate Experience: TMP Worldwide UK
• General Manager recruitment: Virgin Active




Winner: What Makes You: Babcock in partnership with Blackbridge Communications

With its 2017-18 graduate attraction campaign, Babcock International Group needed a strategy that would provide a strong pipeline of candidates across both its engineering and its business management programmes. The engineering services organisation had an ageing workforce, so it focused on engaging with a broader range of candidates to attract new talent into the business at an early stage. Working with its marketing agency partner Blackbridge Communications, Babcock launched the ‘What Makes You’ campaign in September 2017, which made individual graduates the heroes. The new campaign’s segmented use of double-exposure photography allowed the materials to celebrate the diversity of personalities, professional and personal interests, and the ‘Being Babcock’ values that make up each graduate.

• The fresh approach called for a creative reinvention of the company’s five key channels: website, print, video, social media and on-campus presence. Campaign content focused on personable and engaging stories about Babcock’s people, principles and projects. Blackbridge filmed fun interviews and used video clips of graduates to create profile films specific to each of their roles.

• The channel strategy enabled Babcock to reach a female audience more effectively. By November 2017, 31.5% of all Babcock’s applications were from women, compared with final female percentages of 24.1% in 2016/17 and 19% in 2015/16.

• The campaign has allowed it to engage people with the right candidate profile to go on to have a successful career at Babcock. A much more targeted media strategy has seen the company receive fewer applications, but of a much higher quality, allowing the company to consistently fill more roles week-on-week than in previous years.

• The new recruitment messaging has been effective on Babock’s social media channels, and this has enabled it to extend its reach beyond its main target universities.

• The ‘What Makes You’ concept has been crucial to the success of Babcock’s graduate recruitment. It has built employer brand equity, rising in the ranks in the Guardian UK 300 from 155 to 134.

• Positive candidate feedback at all stages of the recruitment process, with 91% of candidates saying they had a good or very good experience on the company’s graduate microsite, and 96% saying they had a good or very good experience at the assessment centres.

Highly Commended:

Beat the Game Changers: Vodafone in partnership with Pink Squid

Judges' Comments:

”This was a compelling proposition that sent a powerful message. It succeeded in demystifying the engineering sector… by breaking through stereotypes associated with engineering.”

  • Global Graduate Leadership Programme (GGLP): Aviva in partnership with Capp & Co
  • Transforming Morgan Stanley’s worldwide approach to graduate hiring: Morgan Stanley in partnership with WCN
  • Turning the Dial on Diversity: Network Rail in partnership with Amberjack



Winner: Morrisons Makes It: Degree Apprenticeships - Morrisons in partnership with Amberjack

Morrisons has developed degree apprenticeship programmes in four areas – manufacturing, corporate, logistics and retail – delivered in partnership with the University of Bradford and Sheffield Hallam University. To ensure it recruited the right school leavers for its business, Morrisons partnered with future talent specialist Amberjack, and the two firms defined a strategy to recruit 60 degree apprentices. The strategy targeted two audiences: school leavers and influencers (parents and teachers). Candidates said that they felt Morrisons went the extra mile for them.

• The creative approach developed content that complemented and enhanced Morrisons’ new careers website with key marketing headlines. The focus was on what makes the environment, people, career opportunities and interesting initiatives unique to Morrisons.

• Messaging covered three key areas: industry insights, about Morrisons, and the world of its employees – tapping into existing employees and providing platforms to showcase their talent. The strategy targeted school leavers with ‘earn whilst you learn’ messaging, while influencers received messages that focused on tackling the concerns and worries of a school leaver’s parent.

• The targeted marketing mix included web content enhanced with videos, supported by paid media, social media, job boards engagement with local schools and live chat events. Morrisons supplemented external efforts with a huge internal push, engaging colleagues with events, leaflets, dedicated Facebook pages and emails. It held one-to-one conversations with all colleagues aged 17-21 about how they could build their careers in the business.

• The recruitment process includes a short registration, situational judgement test and video interview, where role-specific case studies featuring Morrisons colleagues provide an interactive and realistic experience. Finally, ‘discovery centres’ are held relating to the specific scheme for which candidates applied.

• Morrisons made 60 hires from 1,329 applications for its degree apprenticeship programme.

• The attraction strategy was specifically efficient in delivering a cost per applicant 97% less than average. Reneged offers were 3.33% against a market average of 15%; none of the new apprentices has left the programme. Morrisons has achieved 100% apprentice retention against an average of 79.6%.

Highly Commended:

Aldi apprenticeships campaign – Aldi in partnership with Penna

Judges' Comments:

“This was a great end-to-end campaign that is embedded in the business and built for the long term. There was a clear focus in every step of the strategy.”


• Adecco Group UK&I – Shared Service Centre

In-house Innovation in Recruitment

Winner: Go North East Bus Driver Routeway: Go North East in partnership with Jobcentre Plus and Gateshead College

A need for new bus drivers and a local unemployment crisis led the North East region’s third largest employer, bus company Go North East (GNE), to partner with Gateshead College and Jobcentre Plus to launch an innovative training and skills development programme, aimed at supporting people back into work, with the opportunity of securing one of 250 driver jobs. Running until July 2017, the Go North East East Bus Driver Routeway programme was completed by 99 local people. Of those who took part, 45 – almost half – secured driving roles with Go North East, compared with just 9% of traditional route applicants.

• Unemployment in the North East is higher than anywhere else in the UK. Meanwhile, the bus and coach industry is facing a national skills shortage, and there are concerns about the regional skills gap. GNE employee attrition is below the national average, but this critical role requires a constant recruitment cycle.

• The bespoke nature of the training programme ensures that candidates meet the specific needs of the role and business, and are provided with the best possible chance of success throughout each stage of the recruitment process.

• Jobcentre Plus helps to recruit applicants and covers their expenses. The programme provides high-quality support to all, from the start of recruitment. Unlike the standard GNE application process, which includes an online application form, those coming through this process receive intensive expert training and mentoring right through to interview.

• The free four-week programme combines professional training courses, 99% of which are delivered by Gateshead College. Tyneside Training Services conducts practical driving assessments and tuition. GNE delivers a driver skills training course, plus depot tours, a company induction, and health & safety and occupational health training. Those who do not secure a GNE role now have transferable skills to support them into alternative employment.

• Feedback from participants who have been successful or unsuccessful in gaining employment with GNE has been overwhelmingly positive, with many sharing that they have benefited personally as well as professionally.

Judges' Comments:

“Not only was this partnership a solution to a need for drivers, but it filled roles for other local businesses and helped local residents get back to work”


• ChatBot on www.theaacareers.co.uk: The AA in partnership with TMP Worldwide
• BT Apprentice Recruitment Campaign 2017: BT in partnership with Sonru
• Jumpstart Online Recruitment Process: TELUS International Central America Recruitment


Winner: The Home of Proper Jobs: Charles Tyrwhitt

Clothing retailer Charles Tyrwhitt was suffering from popular misconceptions that it was a stuffy business that made ‘shirts for dads’. So its three-strong recruitment team decided to bust the myth. The team developed a recruitment website, ‘The Home Of Proper Jobs’ and moved to a new recruitment philosophy – treating candidates in the same way the company did its customers. They built a transparent and engaging recruitment process with different, enjoyable interview techniques and tools. They made the company’s people into ambassadors, and championed its founder, Charles Tyrwhitt, as the face and voice of recruitment – in an animation. The new social media strategy provided a quirky view of what it was like to work for the firm. Charles Tyrwhitt now has a consistent and seamless experience for candidates coming into the business.

• The recruitment team featured many of the company’s people in its employer branding. ‘The Home of Proper Jobs’ website became a connector – everyone felt they owned a bit of it.

• The team culled old recruitment practices and developed fun and engaging assessment centres across retail. They reviewed the internal recruitment process and developed a transparent and easily accessible internal application process, refer-a-friend process and promotion/relocation policy.

• Having a strong employer brand has given people confidence to talk about the firm with pride. The team has seen a shift in ownership of candidate attraction from being an HR role to a business-wide role. Line managers have the confidence to recruit in new ways and tackle biases. The company now recruits for potential and behaviour rather than only experience. Candidates are more excited, informed and engaged from the start of the process, so the company is winning talent over its competitors.

• As a result of effective development of the employee attraction brand, the team has influenced the development of the entire employee life cycle. It has highlighted areas that seemed shabby when compared with the new recruitment experience, and drive process improvement.

• Two of the company’s business goals are growth and ‘putting people first. The development of the employer brand has improved recruitment’s ability to support both of these goals.

Highly Commended:

Clearly Hastings Direct: Hastings Direct in partnership with That Little Agency

Judges' Comments:

“We were impressed at the achievements being delivered entirely by a small in-house team, on a shoestring budget… They did a great job engaging their senior leadership team on the journey.”

  • The Right Stuff: Five Guys in partnership with Chatter Communications
  • Join the Great Venture: HS2 in partnership with TMP Worldwide UK
  • Investigo Life: Investigo
  • The Feel Good Company: TELUS International Central America
  • The White Company – PRIDE: The White Company in partnership with Pink Squid Brand launch and All Walks of Life campaign: Whitehall Resources
Highly Commended:

Clearly Hastings Direct: Hastings Direct in partnership with That Little Agency



The AA (Talent Acquisition Team – TMP Worldwide)

Motoring association the AA previously had a recruitment function that was fragmented, traditional and driven by people who weren’t talent attraction experts. The function has now changed its internal structure, processes and policies, selection options and operating model – implementing a strong, direct sourcing strategy focused on longer-term employee value rather than short-term reactive hiring. It has appointed talent experts from client-side roles, agency and job board backgrounds, giving an excellent spread of experience, culture and approach, and is now known as the Talent Acquisition team. To enhance its screening process, speeding up the turnaround time to ensure it didn’t lose candidates, it partnered with TMP Worldwide for all its candidate management and candidate communications.

• The AA developed and launched its employer brand, encapsulated by the slogan ‘Ready for ANYTHING?’, which underpinned all of its recruitment communications, from job postings to the careers site.

• The comprehensive redesign of the careers site launched in February 2017. This gave the AA the perfect vehicle to combine all of the attraction and engagement elements to emphasise the brand, the breadth of career opportunities, and a fantastic candidate journey.

• In early 2017, the organisation moved to a strengths-based interview process. This was a massive change for the business and required training and upskilling of more than 100 hiring managers.

• Candidates are now more informed. The new careers site, featuring the ‘AAbot’ chatbot, provides candidates with a realistic view of the AA and its culture.

• Turnover has decreased from 45% to 24%; the offer to acceptance ratio is now 98% – it was 88%; candidates arriving on induction is now 97% – it was 75%; candidates passing probation induction is now 98% – it was 81%; turnaround time for candidate screening (from application) is now under two days – it averaged five; average time to first contact for a candidate is 0.6 days (it was 2.5); average time to offer is 26.4 days (it was 37).

Highly Commended:


Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police


Judges' Comments:

“This application stood out as an exemplar, delivering transformational results across all areas with clear supporting data.”


• BT – Openreach
• Müller UK & Ireland
• Nationwide Building Society
• Oliver James Associates
• Vestel Group of Companies


Winner: Acorn Recruitment

Recruitment and training company Acorn has a team of only six marketers, but their output is huge. Their responsibilities include candidate attraction; generating warm sales leads, and developing long-term relationships with clients; and reinforcing positioning and strategic planning. The majority of candidate attraction is carried out online and comprises bespoke material for social media activity, emailers and branch posters/flyers. The firm works with a PR agency to ensure Acorn is represented on various media channels. During the past year, the team have run two campaigns to increase applications, which boosted applications by almost 30%. Overall, the company’s permanent and temporary placement figures increased last year by 30% and 7% respectively.

• All members of the marketing team contribute to each candidate attraction campaign – from content, web development, design and delivery – so the cost is only for print and potential gift incentives, which can be only a few hundred pounds yet raise applications between 30% and 100%. The biggest spend for candidate attraction is on job boards.

• The two candidate attraction campaigns the team ran during the year in question were Make Monday Rock, which ran from September to December 2016, and Want More 2017, which ran from January to April 2017.

• Two examples of bespoke projects created for individual clients during the year in question were an agency worker attraction campaign for print agency Harrier and a peak period candidate attraction support campaign for multinational company Tata.

• The team carry out a lot of client entertainment to develop key relationships, and attend jobs fairs and exhibitions to ensure they are speaking to jobseekers at every opportunity.

Judges' Comments:

“The winner demonstrated a variety of channels and routes to market, with linked return on investment.”

  • Darwin Recruitment
  • Fircroft
  • Optimus Search
  • Robert Walters
  • Rullion


Winner: ISE Partners
Sponsored by: Centralus

ISE Partners recruits in two main categories: business support, and PR and communications. Many of its candidates come to the company via direct recommendation. All candidates go through a thorough screening and selection process. They are then given interview commentary, advice and receive full preparation before being introduced to companies, receiving feedback throughout. ISE Partners’ recruitment consultants are knowledgeable and have extensive experience of the industries and sectors for which they are recruiting. Client retention is high, with candidates commenting on how well prepared they feel for joining their new firm. Because of the time and attention paid at the beginning of the process, candidate drop-out rate in the first year is just 2%.

• Experienced consultants offer tailored career advice at interview, frequently spending more than an hour and half with each candidate.
• Proactive behaviour – ISE’s small team markets specific experiences to interested companies, as opposed to waiting for the ideal role to land across their desks.
• The company offers candidates a personal service yet with the reach and client portfolio of a much larger agency.
• Once in situ, candidates have a two-week and a two-month catch up with their recruiter to relay their experiences of the onboarding and induction into their new firms, and to share any concerns
• 34% of ISE’s new client business in 2017 came via referral and recommendation, and more than 50% of this business was via candidates.
• More than 20% of its new candidate total in 2017 came via referral and recommendation.

Highly Commended :

La Fosse Associates

Judges' Comments:

“The winner demonstrated themselves as genuine and transparent. Their deep knowledge of clients was reassuring to their candidates.”


• Audeliss
• Brightpool
• C&M Travel Recruitment
• Cavendish Professionals
• Noa Recruitment
• Recruiter Republic
• SpenglerFox
• TFS Healthcare


Kite Consulting Group

Kite Consulting Group believes that the best agency is one that delivers the most customer value and satisfaction. Accordingly, the company has overhauled its business and redesigned its processes to put value to clients ahead of its fees. Clients get a good or great hire, or they get their money back for up to a year. In an independent survey, customers rated their satisfaction with Kite at 96%, as against average satisfaction with competitors at only 60%. This high appraisal rating is due to the development of innovative tools and practices that clients can rely on. In 2017, Kite’s number of clients grew by 240% and its staff by 157%, all without a sales function.
• Kite doesn’t employ salespeople. Instead, it relies on good service and word of mouth to generate new business.

• The company’s client service approach includes: integrity; only top-performer placements – average isn’t good enough; a video pre-interview between Kite and the applicant, embedded in each CV; interviewing each candidate’s previous manager on their job suitability before sending any CVs; including better data in CVs, with Scorecard; and using proprietary methods for capturing job specs, with Client Story.

• One example of Kite’s outstanding client service care was holding a capital markets networking dinner where attendees gained advice from experts in MiFID II regulation, which was increasing in pace and complexity during this period. The company’s insight into the senior managers who attended then helped it select hires for various clients.

• Kite also helped clients to develop blockchain capabilities by launching Blocktribe.com as a source of appropriate talent.

• In a third example, Kite provided market information on the behaviours and profiles of top performers with a Performance Trends White Paper, launched in partnership with the Change Management Institute.

Judges' Comments:

“Kite’s innovative examples of how it supports its clients have contributed to excellent financial results, all backed up with clear metrics to underpin performance.”

  • Amberjack
  • Bramwith Consulting
  • La Salle Network
  • Oliver James Associates
  • Optimus Search
  • Strictly Recruitment
  • The Barton Partnership



Sponsored by: NatWest

LMA Recruitment specialises in banking, secretarial, finance, risk, compliance and HR staffing. The firm has enjoyed continued growth across all metrics in 2017. Its success comes from retaining and developing its team, investing heavily in training and implementing technology to allow its people to spend more time talking than typing. LMA aims to be a pre-eminent force with the professional services recruitment market. Its plans include growing its existing teams while establishing new teams in legal, tax and treasury. The company has a diverse culture that treats its employees with respect and maturity, which provides opportunities for recruiters to build and develop an amazing career, and provides an environment where staff in all areas can excel.

  • Ongoing uncertainty over the Brexit process has caused many organisations to question their people strategy. Given LMA’s proximity to the candidate market, Brexit has been at the forefront of this planning process. Average call times in the team have gone up significantly, and this can be only because the company has been trying to advise people as best it can.
  • The company saw turnover growth of 22% to £11,216,325; net fee income of 22% to £4,029,495, and group operating profit growth of 72% to £588,229.
  • Banking and financial services clients contributed £542,340 towards group operating profit, equating to 92% of group operating profit.
  • The company is becoming an industry voice on diversity. It held an event last year with the Lord Mayor of London, which generated positive press about the need for companies to embrace the diversity & inclusion agenda more.
  • As LMA has developed relationships with long-term clients, it has tried to act as advisers to them. In 2017 it began a partnership with the Will Exell change consultancy to join the dots of recruitment, engagement and retention. Throughout 2017, we took one of the Will Exell team with us to strategic client meetings. This facilitated a far deeper understanding of our clients.
Judges' Comments:

“The winner provided evidence of strong financial performance, of tackling difficult-to-fill roles, and of candidate service. It has also enhanced its offering and value to clients by partnering with a coaching business.”

  • Eames Consulting Group
  • Gravitas Recruitment Group
  • Harrington Starr
  • Investigo
  • Kite Consulting Group
  • Oliver James Associates


Winner: Fircroft
Sponsored by: The Guild of Construction Workers

Fircroft provides a range of workforce solutions to engineering companies, including contract and permanent recruitment, managed services provision, recruitment process outsourcing, global mobility and onboarding. Oil & gas projects can crop up in the most far-flung, inhospitable locations. Fircroft’s experienced international team of recruiters allows it to source engineering talent for projects, no matter where they are based. It is trusted by oil & gas companies to recruit talent for locations as diverse as Iraq, Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Europe. Every year Fircroft starts more than 2,500 contractors. In even the most challenging locations, its network of offices, strategic partnerships and relationships with foreign embassies ensures that it can take the highest possible care of staff and contractors.

  • When Fircroft starts its contractors, it arranges all relevant passports, visas, work permits, travel arrangements, accommodation, payroll, taxation, family support and more in a 100% compliant manner.
  • An example of a challenging vacancy the firm successfully filled was for Mercedes AMG HPP, which manufactures Formula 1 engines. When it needed a mechanical designer, Mercedes turned to Fircroft’s automotive division. Fircroft has since made five more placements for this client.
  • MechTool, a supplier protective equipment for use against fire, blast and radiant heat hazards, needed a HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) engineer to be deployed to Kazakhstan for a three-week-long project, at just a week’s notice. Fircroft managed to find an ideal candidate, arrange for interviews and fly him to Kazakhstan for the assignment.
  • An example of excellent candidate service in this period has been finding an HR adviser for oil & gas company Glencore’s operations in Chad. Fircroft managed to find a candidate who fulfilled all the conditions. However, after the initial interview, Chad entered a period of political unrest. Fircroft kept in contact with the candidate under difficult conditions, though, before she eventually started.
  • Several of the firm’s clients have benefited from an innovative online pay-and-billing system, which increases operational efficiency, improves accuracy and improves the user experience for contractors and clients.
Judges' Comments:

“The winner was able to adapt to challenging political international conditions and deliver great results. It supported clients with exceptional attention to detail on compliance and governance.”


• Core Talent
• RGB Recruitment
• Rullion


Winner: NES Global Talent
Sponsored by: 6CATS International

NES Global Talent delivers compliant workforce solutions, providing candidates across the oil & gas, power, construction & infrastructure, life sciences, manufacturing, chemicals and mining sectors worldwide. With more than 45 offices in 28 countries, the company has access to the best international talent. Despite the difficult trading conditions over the 12 months in question, the company has managed to not only increase its market share within oil & gas, but also successfully transfer this brand reputation to new sectors.

• For the past 24 months NES has been on-site in Jazan, Saudi Arabia, near the border with Yemen, supporting gas and chemical supplier Air Products. Yemen is experiencing civil unrest and military conflict, so Air Products needed a partner with in-country expertise to source quality candidates and mobilise them safely, co-ordinating the visas and travel for this troubled region.

• G2X Energy had to staff an operations and maintenance team to run its greenfield gas-to-methanol plant in Texas, US. The site is in a difficult region for recruiting talent, owing to the stable workforce and the retention strategies of the many well-established plants in the area. NES, through its local and international talent pools, was able to source and attract the required large workforce.

• The firm’s response to the sudden illness of one of its contractors for BP, based in Oman, showed the excellent candidate care. When the contractor suffered a heart attack, NES first attended the local hospital and later arranged for him to be repatriated to the UK, acting as a liaison point throughout his illness and recuperation.

• The company showed innovation by embarking on a survey of the oil & gas market in partnership with job board Oil and Gas Job Search, in January 2017.

Judges' Comments:

“The winner showed an impressive knowledge of the international market it operates in, and has supported clients and candidates in some of the most challenging locations in the world.”

  • Fircroft
  • Global {M}
  • NonStop Recruitment
  • Oliver James Associates
  • Opus Talent Solutions
  • Robert Walters
  • VHR (Virtual Human Resources Group)


Winner: La Fosse Associates

La Fosse Associates is a values-based technology, digital and change recruiter, working at all levels from the board down. The company treats candidates well because it believes it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s a better way to do business. In 2016, La Fosse almost doubled its size. This experience created challenges; however, the process also gave the company an insight into what fast growth means. La Fosse decided to take these lessons and build a service line for clients, the Talent Advisory programme, that would draw on its own experiences to advise new enterprises on how to scale at speed.

• Working with fast-growing technology businesses has been at the company’s core since the start, and the Talent Advisory programme seemed to be the logical next step in providing value for the community of start-ups and venture capital-backed enterprises.

• The programme demonstrates La Fosse’s strength as a consultative partner as well as a recruiting body. Much of the programme’s structure is built around its internal hiring, HR and learning and development practices.

• La Fosse placed 25 candidates with long-standing client in 2017. La Fosse’s working relationship with the client means La Fosse now has an interview:placement ratio of 3:1 for the account.

• A case study of excellent client service during this year is a project with a public sector organisation during its transformation programme, when it was establishing a team from scratch. La Fosse helped the organisation fill 20 posts during the transformation period.

Judges' Comments:

“La Fosse clearly aspires to be best-in-class at everything it does. Sustained financial growth and high net promoter scores underline how well the agency is run.”

  • Baltic Training
  • Darwin Recruitment
  • Eurostaff
  • Gravitas Recruitment Group
  • Robert Walters
  • RP International
  • Rullion


Winner: Peel Solutions

British policing is facing a record number of retirements after recruitment drives between 25 and 30 years ago. The company provides bespoke recruitment and training solutions for the law enforcement sector. Director Andrew Smith is a former detective superintendent who served with Cheshire Constabulary for more than 25 years. With operational links to the National Crime Agency, he understands the internal structures and mission to lead the UK’s fight to cut serious and organised crime. The other director, Dylan Cooper, brings over 20 years’ recruitment experience to the company after owning a successful agency in the industrial and IT sectors.

• Peel Solutions has created an innovative course entitled ‘Investigative Skills and Evidence Gathering Refresher’, to provide retired or retiring police officers with the knowledge that is required to keep their skills relevant.

• In another example of creativity and innovation, the firm has secured the domain policejobs.co.uk to create an exciting, police- focused job board.

• As an example of Peel’s quality of service, the firm was approached by a large-scale investigation team looking to recruit 10 disclosure experts, who would be required to get an important piece of work over to the Crown Prosecution Service. Peel was able to supply 10 appropriate candidates within eight weeks and received positive feedback.

• Peel offers differentiation and competitive advantage in police knowledge, skills and recruitment, owing to members of Peel’s team having worked in these sectors first hand. The firm’s head of investigation skills, Chris Davies, was also in the police force for 30 years. The firm has taken the knowledge that they obtained from their time with the police and the experience they had during the retirement process, and used it to improve the service it offers.

• Peel has recently begun to branch out into the health and social care world, adding a division to the company. Health and social care and policing go hand in hand in helping the community stay safe. Peel has appointed Jodie Stott for this division, who brings 17 years of expertise working in healthcare.

Highly Commended:

Source Technology

Judges' Comments:

“Peel combines policing and recruitment expertise to create a business that clearly meets a need and is creating second careers for highly specialised and valuable people.”

  • Broadgate Search
  • Broster Buchanan
  • Oakwell Hampton
  • TRIA Recruitment


Winner: DMJ Recruitment

DMJ Recruitment specialises in placing legal and company secretarial professionals into private practice and in-house clients. It has signed a preferred recruitment partner agreement with a professional institute (ICSA: The Governance Institute). As part of this agreement, DMJ was asked to increase the profile of the profession among students and graduates interested in a company secretarial or governance career. At the end of 2016, the company launched Insight Days, a CPD-accredited initiative that offers students and graduates the chance to spend half a day with a prestigious host organisation to learn about the role and responsibilities of a company secretary.

• The agency saw an impressive 51% increase in profits in 2015/16 and £1m net profit in 2016/17.

• DMJ has worked with insurance company Aviva as part of an internal transformation plan for its company secretarial/governance function, for which Aviva found difficult to attract and retain talent. DMJ has since assisted Aviva in implementing its longer-term strategy to retain its best talent, appoint high-calibre individuals and assist those being managed out.

• A case study of a challenging vacancy that DMJ has filled is the role of UK head of legal and company secretary at Bank of Georgia. The company managed a successful hire, improved internal practices and a positive recruitment experience.

• An example of excellent client service involves work with Tesco, which approached DMJ to help it with hires in its company secretarial/legal function. DMJ worked with the client on role profiles and eventually successfully placed five people on the team.

• A case study of excellent candidate service over the year is its work with a business law graduate seeking an alternative career. DMJ suggested the idea of her becoming a company secretary, and worked with her on obtaining a permanent role.

• Innovation during this period is shown by the Insight Days initiative that DMJ started to raise awareness of the governance profession among students and graduates. Benefits include increased student membership for ICSA, development of the future pipeline of candidates for DMJ and increased awareness of the brand in the market in which it operates.

Judges' Comments:

“The winner demonstrated a clear link between valuing its own employees and business success… Taking the long-term view pays off.”

  • Balance Recruitment
  • LMA Recruitment
  • Procurement Heads
  • RedLaw
  • Strictly Recruitment


Winner: Commercial Services

The recruitment division of Commercial Services is wholly owned by Kent County Council. Connect2Kent provides a master vendor recruitment managed service for the council for all categories of temporary, interim and contract positions. When required, the recruitment team engages with its OJEU-compliant supply chain, with zero off-contract spend. Increasing demand from other public, third and private organisations have led it to operate an external trading business, Connect2staff. An example of the company’s expertise contributing to clients’ success is its work connected with resettling Syrian refugees in Kent, where it swiftly mobilised an interpreting and translation business to source qualified agency translators, ensuring families were fully supported from arrival through to full integration into the UK.

• The company sourced assessors for adult social care. The council had a backlog of deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) assessments, but a combined effort to source qualified best interest assessors allowed the assessments to be completed within the necessary timeframe.

• A challenging vacancy filled by Connect2Kent is placing six independent chairs, for domestic homicide and for the safeguarding adults board, into the council and Kent Police – all six workers are ad hoc consultants and still work on a regular basis for the service.

• Connect2Kent provided temporary admin and education support staff to Virtual Schools Kent, which promotes the progress and educational attainment of children in care and young care leavers.

• Connect2Kent helped a care and support worker in their career path, assisting them in a move to work at a reception centre for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, and then to gain skills to eventually become a shift leader at this centre.

• Innovation during this period is shown by the company’s development of a mobile app, MyTimesheets, to meet the challenges of clients with shift workers. The app enables real-time approval of individual shifts that are captured for finalised authorisation by the hiring manager for the week as a whole on a secure client portal.

Highly Commended:

Baltimore Consulting

Judges' Comments:

“The winner showed a clear focus on delivering solutions in a difficult environment … and showed innovation in creating an in-house recruitment agency, adding real value to the community and the council.”


• Charles Hunter Associates
• Gravitas Recruitment Group
• Pertemps
• TFS Healthcare
• The Finegreen Group
• TPP Recruitment


Winner: Class People
Sponsored by: The Recruit Venture Group

Class People is an independent education recruitment specialist, providing supply teachers, teaching assistants, tutors, special educational needs staff and early years practitioners to schools and settings across the South West of England. The company runs a foundation that provides sponsorship to key clients using money that has been put aside to give back to schools. In various schools, it has sponsored a behaviour reward system, sports kit and country dancing t-shirts, and contributed to an end-of-year production. Its corporate social responsibility initiatives include a project that ran over the 2017 summer holidays.

• An example of the company’s contribution to client success is its work with Field Court Junior Academy, which has been a client more than 10 years, during which its teachers have contributed to the school’s success and its Ofsted rating has gone from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’.

• A challenging vacancy was an Apple education sales consultant for Western Computer. Class People realised this would be the perfect opportunity for a teacher looking to use their relevant experience towards a new challenge, and approached a candidate sourced recently for supply teaching work, who mentioned that he had been looking to leave the teaching profession. The candidate jumped at the prospect of staying in a field related to education but not in the classroom.

• Excellent client service is shown by company’s strong relationships with its schools. Its consultants often give up their evenings or Saturdays to participate in clients’ summer fetes, circus days, face painting or running of bouncy castles. Over the summer holidays, the Class People team took time out of the office to build a pond and nature garden at another school.

• The company’s excellent service to temporary workers is illustrated by its support for a primary teacher who moved to its area from London. He said he left his induction appointment “feeling enthused and ready to face the fresh challenges of teaching in a new part of the country”.

Judges' Comments:

“As a small private company, they were going the extra mile to deliver exceptional service … the passion and enthusiasm were shining through. We were impressed by their innovation, especially around corporate responsibility.”


• Amoria Bond
• Evolve Hospitality
• Gravitas Recruitment Group
• LaSalle Network
• PMP Recruitment
• Taskmaster Resources


Winner: Gravitas Recruitment Group

Gravitas Recruitment Group is a global specialist recruitment company that provides contract and permanent services in the technology, insurance and banking sectors. The business needs global support for five offices in the UK and Asia, including accounts, credit control, contracts, customer care, first-line IT support, administration, travel booking, marketing, communications, management information reporting, facilities management, HR and personnel services. The back office team works with an external legal consultancy when necessary, within legislative environments in the UK and Asia that cover employment law, agency worker regulations, HMRC/financial law, data protection, immigration law, equal opportunities, privacy and electronic communications, and contractual law.

• In 2017, Gravitas bought boutique search firm Atlas Global Search in Hong Kong. With the purchase complete in the first week in June and the go-live date for the initial transition of staff and systems into the Gravitas Hong Kong office scheduled for 1 July, the back-office team had to react quickly. The business-critical project needed collaboration – not only between teams, but also internationally. The various functions worked together across borders to meet deadlines, and the project was a success.

• The team’s contribution to customers is shown by its work on advising contractors in the public sector what HMRC’s IR35 changes might mean to them.

• The team has made improvements to the efficiency, effectiveness and compliance of the business, including the amalgamation of Gravitas UK with Gravitas Asia into one global business. There were huge differences in back-office processes, policies and procedures, leading to inconsistency, process inefficiency and lack of compliance. The team ensured that systems data and reporting are now accurate and consistent globally.

• Process efficiency is woven into the business, and back office is expected to take the lead on this. As well as being reactive to business demands, the team also proactively drives its own projects forwards, consistently bringing innovative ideas on improving and growing support.

Judges' Comments:

“This entry showed sound knowledge of legal considerations and the contractor care service offering showed great value added. We were impressed by the collaborative approach in managing the acquisition in Hong Kong.”


• Cathcart Associates
• Cavendish Professionals
• Class People
• Eames Consulting Group
• ECS Resource Group
• Your World Recruitment


Winner: Venari Partners
Sponsored by: Class People

Venari Partners is an emerging international executive search firm that places strategy and commercial executives across a range of sectors. It has launched a series of training workshops to equip its 10 consultants with the tools to be the best in their respective sectors. The firm has rewarded employees for success with annual trips to the Dominican Republic and Spain and monthly incentives such as spa days for the team. In the year ending October 2017, the firm’s turnover increased by 42% year-on-year to £1.64m and its profit increased 29% in the same period to £863,396. Having established itself in the travel, transport and logistics industry, Venari focused on its recently launched life sciences and technology, media and telecommunications practices.

• The firm further aligned executive search with strategy consulting to deliver targeted talent management networking dinners. Building on the success of the previous year, it co-hosted a further three roundtable dinners with McKinsey management consultancy, and there are plans to extent the events to digital health and medical technology.
• The firm has maintained its position in the travel, transport and logistics industry, winning new mandates. In life sciences, it has carried out transactions with more than 10 new clients across the world in the past 12 months, from the US to Eastern Europe.
• The training workshops launched in 2017 focus on areas such as sourcing candidates, new business development, and managing the offer process.
• On the environmental and social responsibility side, the firm has started moving towards a paperless product. It has increased its charity work over the past 12 months. With each search, it sends out a brochure detailing its charitable efforts and encouraging clients to sponsor or join it in supporting these causes.
• The firm continues to hold innovation meetings where everyone is encouraged to present an idea that will further improve the product offering or the company. It expanded this arrangement and encouraged employees to present specific ideas to further improve the standard of customer service.

Highly Commended:

Flair 4 Recruitment

Judges' Comments:

“The winner has evidence of extremely strong financial performance, and is a clear global expert in its field. A clever strategic partnership has supported its impressive success.”

  • CMR Recruitment
  • Dove & Hawk
  • Infosec
  • Octopus Personnel
  • SpaYse International


Winner: Trust in Soda
Sponsored by: Flexr

Trust in Soda is a digital recruitment agency with international reach. Its consultants work with technology organisations, brands and agencies, offering candidates and clients a range of opportunities and roles on both a contract/interim and permanent basis. The company has seen rapid growth, achieved without compromising its commitment to diversity & inclusion, corporate social responsibility and partnerships with charitable institutions. In 2017, it contributed £32k in donations to charities. The firm is committed to giving back to the digital community. It frequently interviews experts across a variety of new and trending topics, and shares this information with the digital community, via free podcasts, events, videos and specialist blogs.

• The firm’s staff retention rate is 83%. Initiatives include: an enterprise management incentive scheme that gives every consultant the opportunity to gain shares in the company; flexible working to ensure a good work/life balance; a free weekly personal training session at lunchtime; and fruit deliveries to promote health and wellbeing.

• Trust in Soda was one of LinkedIn’s Top 25 Most Socially Engaged Staffing Agencies in Europe, recognising that the firm invests in its professional brand, engages with its followers and industry network, and creates thought-provoking, locally relevant content.

• As regards diversity & inclusion, more than 60% of the firm’s consultants are women.

• The firm has also invested in a tailor-made training academy to ensure both long-term and short-term development programmes are at the forefront of best practice, covering smart sourcing methods and staff competencies.

• The firm’s offline event activity includes sponsorship of the Agile.Delivery conference, which brings together the software community, leading market professionals and influential speakers. It organises a meet-up for ‘Women in DevOps’, to combat diversity problems and celebrate the achievements of women who have overcome these barriers in the technology community. It also runs the Soda Social Meet-up series of events, with guest speakers such as Jonah Jones from Facebook, Brian Flanagan from Expedia and Jose Alves from Sky.

Judges' Comments:

“The level of investment – in thought, research, care, time and finance – was impressive, and the blend of value-add services, events and innovation was outstanding.”

  • Bramwith Consulting
  • DMJ Recruitment
  • Girling Jones
  • Harrington Starr
  • Kite Consultant Group
  • LMA Recruitment
  • Profiles Creative


Winner: Investigo
Sponsored by: CV-Library

Investigo was established in 2003, initially specialising in recruiting accountancy and finance professionals. The business now employs more than 170 people and recruits across audit, business change and transformation, compliance, business intelligence and data analytics, HR and talent management, pharmaceutical and life sciences, procurement, property, facilities management and construction, risk, SAP, strategy and technology. It reached a turnover of £100m, and its profit rose to £21.7m. It launched offices in Oxford and New York, hosted six diversity & inclusion (D&I) events, and introduced a flexible working policy. Investigo was ranked 20th in the Recruiter HOT 100, and featured in LinkedIn’s Top 25 Most Socially Engaged Recruitment Agencies in the UK.

The firm made more than 1,000 temp placements and more than 1,100 perm placements.
The company’s D&I team meets monthly to discuss how the firm can continually push forward and be at the forefront of the recruitment industry. Its LGBT network is going strong, and inductions include D&I training to ensure new starters are onboard. As a result of a gender inclusion survey, the firm chose one of its female directors to lead a network called Women at Investigo – an open forum to discuss projects, work life and career goals.

• The firm has created an information channel for clients and candidates called Investigo Network (IN), to bring insight on topics that are relevant in today’s business world through publications, events and seminars. It has hosted several INevents over the year, including Securing Your Next Executive Role and a career coaching event.

• The firm has organised many activities for charity, including: collection of donations of food, money and clothes and delivery of these to Calais during the refugee crisis; a charity quiz attended by 180 clients and candidates, and raising more than £23k via a raffle and auction; a recruitment five-a-side football tournament, which involved 16 rival recruitment teams; a London-to-Amsterdam bike ride; and several cake sales and marathons.

Highly Commended:

Green Park

Judges' Comments:

“This company has shown year-on-year growth in revenues and profitability, and well-executed expansion plans. It has demonstrated accomplishments in all parts and facets of the business.”


• Amoria Bond
• Annapurna Recruitment
• Goodman Mason
• Harnham
• La Fosse Associates
• Opus Talent Solutions


Winner: Robert Walters
Sponsored by: QX Recruitment Services

Robert Walters is a specialist professional recruitment consultancy operating across 28 countries and employing more than 3,700 people. It experienced a record-breaking financial year, with high profit growth and an expanded marketshare. In a year-on-year comparison, the firm saw revenue grow by 23%, net fee income by 19%, operating profit by 13% and profit before taxation by 25%. During 2017, it operated an effective social media strategy, being named as one of the top three most socially engaged recruiters on LinkedIn, and increasing its follower numbers by 13% in the UK and 14% globally. It also created a dedicated innovation team to explore technology innovation, as well as being involved in several business partnerships, and in initiatives generated by its corporate social responsibility and sustainability strategy.

• In the firm’s most recent full-year financial results, it reported a 9% increase in terms of productivity, with an average of £133.7k generated by each fee-earner.

• Recent activity by the innovation team includes: an artificial intelligence sourcing project with US-based AI firm Arya; investment in data-led sourcing technologies; and use of technology to support meritocratic recruitment.

• Business partnership activities during the year included sponsorship of the British and Irish Lions rugby union tour of New Zealand, which involved creating branded content and an online contest to win a trip for two to New Zealand to watch the Lions play.

• CSR and sustainability activities during the year included: holding a global charity day which raised more than £32k in the UK alone; and becoming a corporate partner of charity Global Angels, which works with disadvantaged communities around the world.

Judges' Comments:

“The winner demonstrated a clear advancement of UK business interests for the sector while delivering on its charitable agenda and supporting social campaigns”

  • Fircroft
  • Search Consultancy


gap personnel
Sponsored by: The Recruitment & Employment Confederation

gap personnel supplies temporary, contract and permanent staff to companies across the industrial sectors, nationwide. With a turnover approaching £140m in 2017, its business is predominantly focused on temporary labour. It places up to 9,000 temporary workers each day and covers more than 2.5 million shifts per year. Within the organisation, every individual is responsible for upholding compliance principles as part of ethical practice. The central compliance team comprises five specialists across the firm’s national network, supporting all business divisions and departments. Four of the team have been promoted internally from operational positions, so they know the business, appreciate the needs of both candidates and clients, and have faced the challenges the operational teams face day-to-day.

• The company defines compliance as meeting all requirements that govern the business: laws, rules, regulations, contract requirements, and internal policies and procedures. gap personnel conducts its business and other practices in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations of the UK and officiating bodies at all times.

• The compliance team focuses on creating an environment and company culture that not only carries out what it is required to, but also finds ways to achieve more as an ethical partner for its entire people.

• In addition to upholding operational processes that are subject to regulatory oversight, the company has longstanding industry memberships, affiliations and accreditations with among other the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; and the Gang masters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

• Each compliance manager has their own specialism, and is responsible for ensuring they are up to date with the latest regulatory requirements within their remit.

• To keep its clients up to date, the team carries out client training and professional adviser workshops, holds regular client service reviews, provides legislation-specific documentation, and invites clients to training opportunities at industry events.

Judges' Comments:

“Our winner is a stand-out, which demonstrated an ambition to go above and beyond the legislative requirements to seek out excellence. It also showed GDPR preparedness that stood out from the crowd.”

  • Carmichael UK
  • Charles Hunter Associates
  • NES Global Talent
  • Rullion


Winner: Amberjack

Amberjack provides end-to-end outsourced recruitment services including consultancy, candidate attraction, online recruitment systems, candidate management, assessment and selection, onboarding and development. The company has been proactive in promoting innovations, and in using knowledge and industry insights to improve recruitment effectiveness. Its ‘insights’ research continues to grow. Its ‘future talent group’ is the largest group of its kind on LinkedIn, with more than 10,500 members. The firm has also hosted ‘masterclasses’ – free events that share insights on research findings, gamification, candidate experience, diversity, the Apprenticeship Levy and return on investment.

• Clients including Mars, Network Rail and Unilever have all benefited significantly from Amberjack’s research and its recommendations, through the improvements the firm has made to their processes and the results achieved in partnership.

• Achievements during the year in question include: winning two Recruiter Awards; winning more than £2.2m-worth of new business; attracting new clients including BGL Group, UK Power Networks, PwC, Deloitte, EY, Spirax Sarco, RWE Innogy and nPower; publishing of market-leading insights research based on 500,000 candidates; the launch of Amberchat platform and the hosting of more than 100 chat events for clients; the launch of a paperless digital assessment platform called imPACT.

• Outstanding results against industry benchmarks include: 40% happier candidates (based on Inavero UK staffing report, 2017); 23% faster time to offer (based on Institute of Student Employers annual survey); 25% less cost per hire (based on ISE annual survey); 17% greater diversity (based on ISE annual survey); 20% fewer reneged offers (based on ISE annual survey); 17% greater diversity (based on ISE annual survey); and 61% happier clients (Inavero UK staffing report, 2017).

• An example of innovation was a project carried out for Network Rail to attract more candidates from minority groups. Amberjack’s innovative technology underpinned the entire process, providing real-time reporting for complete campaign visibility and enabling accurate pipeline forecasting. It enabled the company to apply positive action through analysis of big data at the item level.

Judges' Comments:

“This entry stood out owing to its personalised approach to client solutions … A strong blend of technology and people-led features ensures a holistic and effective solution in every case study.”


• Cielo
• Team24
• TMP Worldwide


Winner: Syft

Syft is an online temporary staffing platform, set up in 2015 but launched as an easy-to-use app in June 2017. It connects employers and workers, bringing transparency and efficiency to temporary staffing. The platform covers a range of businesses, and thousands of experienced workers who have been interviewed and vetted by the company’s recruitment team and ready for hire. A ratings and feedback system allows the user to see an employee’s past reviews and performance ratings after each completed shift. The company says its system saves employers up to 55% on agency fees while paying workers more, and that it tackles long-term industry problems such as a high no-show rate – while the industry average no-show rate is 12.5%, Syft achieves an average of 1.7% rate by implementing a strict recruitment process and ensuring workers are engaged and motivated. The company offers employee perks and benefits to its workers, including free phone insurance and discounted gym membership.

• The company screens every worker on the app, vets them face-to-face, and checks their skill and experience.

• The Syft app sends reminders before shifts and reminds workers to clock-in digitally with a QR code scanner.

• The company ensures workers are motivated by enabling clients to pay staff on average 22% more than the industry average hourly rate.

• Syft’s algorithm saves time by enabling clients to fill dozens of shifts in a matter of minutes. The app automatically pairs workers who fit the job requirements, so clients can make job offers in batch. Digital timesheets save clients’ time on handling paper timesheets and avoid inaccurate payroll.

• Syft’s latest innovation, Syftforce, allows clients to manage and share their internal staff across multiple sites, achieving operational efficiency as well as reducing agency spend.

Judges' Comments:

“Syft’s strength lies in its simplicity. It represents a win-win for the client and candidate, and has the potential to scale.”


• GatedTalent
• Hinterview
• Imperial Brands in partnership with Amberjack
• Lloyds Banking Group in partnership with Capp & Co
• SourceBreaker


Winner: Amberjack

Amberjack provides end-to-end outsourced recruitment services including consultancy, candidate attraction, online recruitment systems, candidate management, assessment and selection, onboarding and development. The company’s advanced systems and intelligent solutions are designed to deliver an improved candidate experience, which the client benefits from. As a strategic partner, Amberjack focuses on not only optimising return on investment for all its clients, but also creating tools and processes that deliver results, from intelligent attraction to recruitment process outsourcing, and bespoke assessment and selection tools. A deep emerging talent specialist, its tools and understanding enable it to differentiate an employer’s propositions and ensure it recruits the best early talent. All the support and the tools it develops are tailor-made for each organisation. The company’s technology makes volume recruitment more effective, and it is also expert in diversity and adverse impact management.

• Client Mars – which nominated Amberjack for the award – says the supplier ensured “world-class levels of candidate experience” in its recruitment partnership with the food manufacturer. The supplier provided transparency and efficiency, it cared about Mars’ processes as much as the client itself did, and it was fun to work with, says Mars.

• The company delivers effective research in the Future Talent space – The Future Talent Insights Report – and engages the professional community by running Masterclass events.

• Innovations that make volume recruitment more effective include the imPACT paperless assessment platform and the Amberchat platform. The Ambertrack applicant tracking software includes integrated net promoter scores to measure candidate experience.

• The company is regularly recognised for its commitment to diversity & inclusion, as can be seen from its work with Network Rail.

• Amberjack carries out an independent Do, Check, Review process, which guarantees that it identifies any potential inconsistencies for Amberjack and its clients before they become problems.

Judges' Comments:

“The winner was a good all-rounder, applying technology insight, innovation and social good. We were impressed with the detail and exceptional client focus.”


• 4MAT
• Candidate Source
• CareersinAudit.com
• CV-Library
• Firefish Software
• Saville Assessment
• TribePad


Winner: All we need is you!: Guidant Group in partnership with Shop Direct

Recruitment outsourcing provider Guidant Group has a tailored managed service partnership with digital retailer Shop Direct, fulfilling the retailer’s requirements for temporary warehouse staff across all its fulfilment centres. To support peak hiring, Guidant’s internal recruitment marketing team worked directly with its on-site team and Shop Direct to deliver a cost-effective and innovative candidate attraction campaign. Guidant’s campaign was underpinned by a well-researched, planned and executed recruitment marketing strategy. It targeted specific types of workers, and challenged perceptions that warehouse work was not really for women. Guidant successfully recruited more than 1,500 temporary warehouse operatives for the peak period. The budget for the entire campaign was just £15k, making the average cost per hire £10 (based on the 1,500 recruited during the peak period).

• Guidant met key stakeholders at Shop Direct to discuss the importance of the retailer’s reputation in the local candidate market, hiring trends and the main benefits of working at Shop Direct. These became a core focus of Guidant’s strategy and helped to form its campaign, ‘All we need is you!’.

• The company focused on four key personas – Daytime Dave, Weekend Wasim, Night Shift Nick and a new target demographic, Female Farah – and what would appeal to them in terms of pay and monetary benefits, work environment, random acts of kindness within the workplace, and a strong charity culture.

• Guidant based its campaign theme on real workers at Shop Direct, to help candidates relate – as well as be able to imagine themselves working within the team in a warehouse environment.

• Guidant’s in-house design and copywriting teams worked closely with the marketing team and Shop Direct stakeholders to come up with concepts for creative across all chosen media platforms, and accompanying engaging job advert copy.

• The Female Farah persona proved a success, as 69% of all female hires occurred during the period Guidant’s candidate attraction campaign was live. In addition, it has also further developed diversity within the workplace.

Judges' Comments:

“This was an extremely well researched campaign – we loved the use of personas. It won, though, because of its stand-out cost-per-hire and other impressive metrics.”


• Talent Spotters: Assurant in partnership with Creed Communications
• The Apprentfish: Firefish Software
• Aldi in partnership with Penna
• Ready to make your mark: Boots in partnership with Pink Squid
• Christmas Starts With You: The White Company in partnership with Pink Squid
• Target. Attract. Recruit – Apprentice campaigns that exceed expectations: Vodafone in partnership with QA Apprenticeship
• We’re growing our Team – OVO Energy in partnership with ThirtyThree


Winner: Christos Tsaprounis, Head of People and Culture, Auto Trader UK

Nominated and voted for by the Recruiter Awards judges, the Impact Award recognises a recruitment professional who makes a profound difference to their own organisation, their profession and the wider world.

This year’s winner describes himself as a “people geek and diversity & inclusion advocate”. Those who know him describe him as “extraordinary”. He believes in creating spaces for people to thrive – and that the first step in effective recruitment is to be a great employer, that you need to make your organisation worthy of being loved.

Teaching children to code, pushing his business to participate in community events such as London and Manchester’s Pride and active involvement in charity work, our Impact-ful winner exemplifies the best amongst recruitment professionals today.

Working at Auto Trader UK for four years, where he has also held the role of Head of Resourcing, he previously worked at The Co-operative Bank.