What Makes an Award-Winning Recruitment Business

Learn what sets exceptional recruitment firms apart and how they earn the recognition of peers and industry professionals.


Having had the distinct privilege to serve as a judge for the prestigious APSCo Awards for Excellence this year, I have gained a unique insight into the traits that set apart a truly exceptional recruitment firm. What does it take to shine amidst the multitude of recruitment firms out there, and more importantly, to earn the recognition of one’s peers and industry professionals? Here’s what I’ve discovered:

Understanding Your Unique Positioning

Before you can convince others that your company is different, you must first have a deep understanding of what sets you apart from your competitors. This doesn’t necessarily mean being the biggest or having the most resources – it means understanding your unique value proposition and communicating that effectively. An award-winning firm knows precisely what makes it different and makes sure that message is clearly articulated in every aspect of its business.

Clear Vision and Strategy

The ability to articulate a clear direction for the business is vital. This includes understanding the challenges that will need to be overcome and the opportunities that lie ahead. An award-winning recruitment firm doesn’t shy away from these challenges but faces them head-on, using them as stepping stones towards success.

Solid Commercial Performance

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Exceptional performance metrics are a must for any company vying for recognition. Award-winning firms consistently demonstrate growth, backed by commercial stats that show they have a good handle on company performance and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

True diversity and inclusion stretch beyond buzzwords or well-drafted company policy. Award-winning recruitment firms recognise their unique position to shape not only their own hiring processes but also those of their clients. These firms ensure their workforce mirrors the diversity they advocate for, reflecting a balanced and inclusive culture. They probe the uncomfortable questions when gender disparities arise within their teams or leadership, and address these gaps proactively.

Moreover, these firms breathe life into their diversity and inclusion commitments through pioneering initiatives like LGBTQ+ Networks, or programmes supporting underprivileged adults entering the workforce. They leverage their expertise to guide their clients towards more inclusive workplaces, making a broader impact. In essence, for these firms, diversity and inclusion aren’t just corporate speak, they are woven into their core business strategies, turning them into instruments of meaningful change.

Robust Compliance Procedures

An award-winning recruitment firm understands that robust compliance procedures form the cornerstone of trust and reputation in a sector often criticised for lax standards. They ensure that every aspect of their operations, from internal processes to supplier selection, reflects a commitment to ethical business practices. These firms know that their choice of suppliers, in particular, mirrors their company ethos and impacts their credibility.

As they grow, these firms fortify their compliance mechanisms, proactively ensuring alignment with evolving legislation. They realise that a casual approach to compliance can lead to severe reputational damage and legal penalties. Consequently, they implement regular audits, checks, and maintain a transparent approach to their compliance efforts.

Authentic Desire to Win

Aspiring for an award isn’t merely about the pursuit of recognition or prestige; it should be a reflection of what that award truly represents for your company. Authenticity is paramount in this journey. Why does your company seek to win? Is it to acknowledge the hard work of your team, to benchmark your success within the industry, or to validate the innovative strategies that have driven your growth?

The founders or owners of the business should exhibit an inherent interest in this process. Their involvement, be it in preparing the application or reviewing it, signifies a genuine desire to win and an appreciation of the accolade’s importance.

Giving Back

Finally, a truly award-winning firm recognises the importance of giving back. This could involve contributing to the industry, community, charities, environment, or any other area where they can make a difference. It’s not just about being a successful company, but also about being a role model in guiding others.

It’s been an immense pleasure to have been part of the process, sifting through the excellent applications, meeting the finalists, and being part of the rigorous judging panel that APSCo takes very seriously. I’d like to extend my warm congratulations to the finalists from all categories – you are all winners in your own right.

Choosing the winners was no easy task given the high standards and the quality of applications this year. We are all eagerly anticipating the award ceremony at the end of September, where we will finally get to celebrate the exceptional talents within our sector. Until then, keep up the good work and continue striving for excellence in all that you do.

Need advice?

Our friendly team provides a full range of financial and business advisory services, call them on 0845 606 9632 or email

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