In-house Recruitment Awards 2014 – The Winners!

On 20th November 2014, 450 of the industry’s finest in-house recruiters arrived at the Park Plaza hotel in London for the 2014 In-house Recruitment Awards partnered by First Choice Software and organised by the In-house Recruitment Network.

With 20 coveted categories up for grabs including: Best In-house Recruitment Team and Best In-house Recruiter, the tension was electric as the In-house elite drew closer to that ‘And the winner is’ moment.


Worthy finalists

What really struck co-host Mark Lennox was just how far in-house recruitment had come in the space of 12 months. As co-ordinator of the judging panel, Mark was privy to all entries and noted astonishing advancements in referral strategies, graduate recruitment, social recruiting, video, career sites, on-boarding strategies just to name a few. In the opening speech Mark pointed out;

It is truly impressive to see what you have achieved. Each and every one of you should be extremely proud and thoroughly deserve your place here tonight as finalists.

It was also announced that on the back of the awards’ success, the organisers would launch the ultimate learning and development conference in March 2015 showcasing a selection of the winners in speaker presentations and round-table discussions.


After a sumptuous dinner and fine wine, guests we treated to an awesome display of strength and elegance from this acrobatic duo. Shortly after, the lights were extinguished to make way for a spectacular ‘jungle dance’ under a powerful cannon of UV light. It was certainly different!


The Awards

With the entertainment over, it was now time for the main event presented by our resident compere Matt Alder, MD and Owner of MetaShift.
First up was the ‘Recruitment Innovation’ award partnered by Broadbean. This was hotly contested with finalists: Birmingham City Council, Boots (andSoMe), Capita plc, IHG, Isobar, Molson Coors (Hudson RPO) and RWE npower.

According to the judges, winner RWE npower, ‘demonstrated an innovative approach to engage with potential graduates and the business, whilst showcasing them as an employer who cares about local communities and global wellbeing’.


The second award was for ‘Best Newcomer’ partnered by Finalists were: Airwave, BMJ, Catlin, England 2015 and Holler. A brand new award this year specifically for those companies that have embarked on creating a brand new team. The highly commended acknowledgement went to Airwave for ‘starting an in-house recruitment function from scratch which clearly takes an enormous effort’. 

The winner (Catlin) ‘presented a good all-round achievement showing strong delivery in the use of passive candidates and introduction of a robust PSL to delivery significant cost savings’.


‘Best Contract Recruitment Strategy’ partnered by Elevate Direct was next. Finalists were: ECS, Radley Yeldar and Specsavers.

The winner, Specsavers was credited with comments including; ‘The contract recruitment process has historically been provided by agencies where costs are high. In a tough category, our winner was able to demonstrate how their strategy has been able to significantly reduce costs and increase placements’.



‘Best Candidate Experience’ partnered by PathMotion was one of the most entered awards with no less than eight finalists including: The finalists were: Capco, Dennis Publishing, Holler, Plumbee Ltd, Raytheon UK, Starcom MediaVest Group, WilsonHCG.

The eventual winner, WilsonHCG was credited for; ‘having an outstanding service and care for candidates  is an integral part to the hiring process and with some exceptional showcasing of mentor programmes, pre-hire conversations and an increase of 70% in customer satisfaction, our winner was easily selected’.


‘Best Recruitment Advertising Campaign’ partnered by CV-Library drew entries from Boots (andSoMe), WSP, Capita, Essentia at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, University of Leicester.

The Eventual winner WSP ‘set out with a clear objective, maintained brand consistency and differentiated themselves from the industry “norm” with the campaign having demonstrated creativity, innovation and effectiveness’.


Up next was ‘Most Effective Brand Development’ partnered by Philosophy. This was an award where the finalists; Compass (SMRS), Essentia at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and The Original Bowling Company (andSoMe) had all made significant impacts however there could only be one winner which was The Original Bowling Company.

The judges remarked that it was ‘an outstanding triumph for our winner who demonstrated a clear development of their brand, linking to their training and employment process leading to a brand reputation being elevated to new heights’.


‘Best Employee Referral Strategy’ partnered by Hollaroo was one of the best examples of how In-house teams have tamed the referral beast. The finalists were;  Assurant Solutions (Creed Communications), Capco, Isobar, Johnson and Johnson and PepsiCo. The winner was Assurant Solutions supported by Creed Communications.

The judges commented; ‘A successful campaign, clearly having undergone some strong planning which was innovative, high in energy, engaging and everything that is needed in a referral programme, all backed up with some impressive statistics’.


‘Best Onboarding Strategy’ partnered by Bird & Bird was another clear demonstration of how In-house Recruitment Teams have embraced technology and combined it with the care and attention needed to retain hires. The finalists were; Capco, infinite group, The Insurance Octopus and Towers Watson. The eventual winner was The Insurance Octopus.

The judges commented; ‘A relatively small organisation with a dedicated individual involved in the whole recruitment life cycle, allowing continuity throughout the whole process. A lot of personal thought has gone in to the process and as such there has been a significant reduction on attrition’.


‘Best Graduate Recruitment Strategy’ partnered by Milkround proved very popular with finalists including; Boots (andSoMe), Capco, Compass, Dstl, ECS, Johnson and Johnson, Raytheon UK, The LateRooms Group and Thorntons.

The winner, Capco, was credited with; ‘Recruiting graduates requires a range of skills and initiatives often distinct from the ordinary process. This category winner displayed an innovative approach to the graduate-attraction strategy through video interviewing at assessment stage, enabling them to gain highly positive feedback from the business’.



As you can imagine there was great interest in the ‘Best Social Media Strategy’ partnered by Social Media Search. The finalists were: Boots (andSoMe), Capco, Isobar and WSP. Whilst there were some excellent examples of social media recruitment, the accolade was handed to Boots supported by andSoMe for#FlywithBoots.

The judges commented; ‘A clear winner, with an incredibly thought out, well-planned strategy which was put out across all media channels in varying formats which resulted in huge unscripted and real engagement along with tangible results’.


‘Best Career Website’ partnered by 4mat was also an extremely competitive category. The finalists were: Antalis (Philosophy), Airwave (Philosophy), Assurant Solutions (Creed Communications), Capco, Compass (SMRS), Delaware North (Eploy), Jagex Games Studio, Nationwide Building Society, RWE npower and The LateRooms Group. The judges decision was unanimous in awarding Airwave (supported by Philosophy), this crown.

The judges commented; ‘With a clean, simple and effective website which showcased the brand ethos through a short video on every job description, the winner was also able to brand their message, impacting on their SEO and overall online visibility’.


‘Best Recruitment Video’ partnered by Shortlister was an eagerly anticipated award which will no doubt lead to other video-based awards in the future. The finalists were: Antalis (Philosophy), Airwave (Philosophy), Assurant Solutions (Creed Communications), Jagex Games Studio, Lebara Ltd, Nationwide Building Society and Plumbee Ltd. After much deliberation it was Nationwide that emerged victorious.

The judges comments were; ‘The increasing use of video engagement as part of employer branding strategies has accentuated the need for initiative and creativity. This winner produced an extremely engaging video with a great use of imagery along with some very clever visual messaging ensuring they stood out from their competitors’.


As RPO’s often make up a key ingredient with in-house recruitment, the ‘Best RPO’ award partnered by The Job Post was both relevant and justified. The finalists were; Cielo, People Experts Limited, Resource Solutions, The Curve Group and WilsonHCG.

In the words of the judges, the winner The Curve Group was; ‘able to provide clear evidence of a strategic partnership, not solely focused on costs but on quality as well’.


The ‘Best In-house Recruiter’ category partnered by Learndirect was understandably popular with the most talented individuals in the industry patiently waiting to see if they had done enough to clinch victory. The finalists were: Adrian Wightman – RWE npower, Aimee Falconer – BMJ, Clive Cooper – Healthcare at Home, Clodagh Downey – Essence, Ebony James – Plumbee Ltd, Grace Brodie – Essence
Kerry Richards – Delaware North (Eploy), Leti Taylor – Dennis Publishing, Lexie Newnham – MVF, Sian Amato – Starcom MediaVest Group and Tania Musolino – Capita plc.

This was again a fiercely fought contest however the judges finally crowned Kerry RichardsDelaware North their winner and commented; ‘Within any team there is often a stand-out performer and the winner of this award is no exception. They were able to clearly identify the needs of the business through listening to stakeholders to improve various processes which ultimately improved the quality of hire throughout the business’.


The ‘Best In-house Recruitment Manager’ award partnered by Gumtree was equally popular and no less fierce in competition. The finalists were: Amy Scargill – Dixons Retail, Debbie Robinson – PepsiCo, Jamie Cooper – Immediate Media, Jamie White – Dennis Publishing, Jonathan Hart – Paddy Power, Julie Johnson – Johnson and Johnson, Mark Bass – RWE npower, Paul Thornton – Royal Mencap Society, Robert Mould – Specsavers, Simon Daykin – Healthcare at Home, Sue Kellaway – Dstl and Vanessa Corsie – EDF Energy.  The tension in the room at this point was electric as the ‘brilliant’ Amy ScargillDixons Carphone, was announced as the winner.

The judges commented;  ‘This award goes to a highly strategic, engaged and involved individual. They went above and beyond the normal realms of many aspects of the recruitment process with the involvement of hiring managers, focusing on candidate experience teamed with some impressive reduction metrics which all contributed to creating a more efficient in-house recruitment team’.


The ‘Best Financial / Professional Services Team’ award partnered by ICAEW was one of three brand new categories designed to credit industry sector specific recruitment teams. The finalists were: Capco, ECS and EY. After an extremely difficult decision, the judges agreed ECS would be honored.

They commented; ‘In a tough environment this team has achieved outstanding attraction results with no agency utilisation which is even more significant with their lack of brand presence in a competitive market.  Clear evidence of a strong internal referral programme and achievement of their recruitment goals’.


The second industry specific award was for the ‘Best Public Sector / Not-for-profit Team’ award partnered by Drum Resourcing. Clearly a popular category from teams needing some well-deserved credit, the finalists included; Dstl, People Solutions HR (Birmingham City Council), Royal Mencap Society, Salford City College, Save the Children, Teach First and University of Leicester.
The judges finally announced Royal Mencap Society as their winner and commented; ‘A strong category with some all-round  impressive achievements, the overall winner of this category is being awarded to the  in-house recruitment team that was able to best showcase their team and business engagement, their strive for constant improvements and innovation alongside some strong metrics around cost saving, time to hire etc’.


The ‘Best Retail / Consumer Goods Team’ was the final industry specific award up for grabs and partnered by RetailWeekJobs. The finalists were: Britvic, Dixons Carphone, River Island, Specsavers and Thorntons.

Noted to be ‘an outright winner’, Dixons Carphone were credited with the following judges comments; ‘We have an outright winner for this category who provided comprehensive evidence of the work being performed across the resourcing spectrum and measurements of success. An entry that showed strength and depth as well as a level of creativity’.


The penultimate award was for ‘Best Recruitment Team (SME)’ partnered by Qandidate. An award that proved you don’t have to be a corporate to have in-house successes. The finalists were: Capco, Dennis Publishing, ECS, Essence, Jagex Games Studio, Lebara Ltd, Salford City College, SThree LLP, and The LateRooms Group. For an unprecedented third year in a row it was Essence Digital that walked away with the trophy.

The judges commented: ‘With a variety of challenges while working in a small team with a huge geographical remit, including opening a new office in the APAC region, this team has been able to demonstrate a hugely impressive overcoming of obstacles to bounce back and win this category!’


And finally, the ‘Best In-house Recruitment Team’ partnered by First Choice Software was by some way the most entered award, unsurprisingly. The finalists were: Barclays, Britvic, Capita plc, Compass, EDF Energy, EY, Healthcare at Home, Molson Coors (Hudson RPO), Paddy Power, RWE npower, Specsavers, Thorntons and WSP. As you can imagine, this was an extremely difficult award to adjudicate and took our eagle-eyed judges a great length of time and deliberation to eventually confirm EDF Energy as their worthy winner.

The judges commented; ‘A compelling and honest entry which highlighted all aspects of their recruitment strategy, this winner was able to share and detail their successes, challenges overcome and also their change management processes they’ve been through. This recruitment team has an obvious and very successful purpose within the business, which is why it has been awarded a winner’.


 Until next year!

And they you have it, with the awards now complete for 2014, congratulations were extended to all the winners and finalists.  Feel free to view all the event night pictures here.

And here’s the video:


We’d also like to extend the judges who gave up so much of their precious time.

And a cap tipped for the sterling efforts of Event Manager Natasha Preocanin and Marketing Manager Jane Sherwood.

Last but by no means least, huge thanks go out to all of the companies that supported the awards and made it such a special and prestigious evening:

Headline partner:

First choice software 200

Category partner:

Bird & Bird 150 x 80 Broadbean 150x80 cv library address 150 x 80 drum resourcing 150 x 80 elevate direct 150 x 80
Gumtree 150x80 hollaroo 150 x 80 icaew jobs 150 x 80 learndirect 150 x 80 milkround 150x80
only-logo (2014) 150x80 Pathmotion 150 x 80 Philosophy 150 x 80 Qandidate beta 150 x 80 RetailWeek 150 x 80
shortlister 150 x 80 social media search 150 x 80 4MAT 150 x 80 thejobpost 150x80
Don’t miss out in this year’s awards!

Entry for the 2015 In-house Recruitment Awards will soon be open. Register here to ensure you don’t miss out on all the news, updates and entry.

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