Dear Finalists for the NORAs

NORA1014AcademyAward640x240Firstly, many congratulations on making it to this stage. Please be assured that this is entirely on merit. Over 29,500 nominations from the public for over 500 separate websites, has now been reduced to 72 Finalists in 13 award categories. The NORAs are all about how recruitment websites serve jobseekers, so not only are their nominations vital, but our judges (themselves hugely experienced in HR and recruitment) are instructed to assess all contenders from the perspective of candidates themselves.

It is a time consuming task, but our judges are tasked with visiting every website, searching for vacancies, registering as a candidate and applying for jobs. Given their experience, they know what to look for, and precisely what makes for excellent candidate experience. Having said that, the consistent response from any newly appointed judges is that the task is both rewarding and surprising, and very educational. Just like many who operate recruitment websites, often experts themselves rarely have the call to act just like a candidate, and actually apply for a job online. You would not believe the number of truly shocking sub-standard job boards there are.

However, we much prefer to focus on those sites which truly demonstrate a real affinity with the needs of job seekers, and bring together all the elements which make a great site. In my opinion, every one of our Finalists has shown that they do. Yesterday the owner of a website said that he sometimes suffered “loser’s fatigue”, after his firm being shortlisted for awards which they never won. Given the credibility of our nomination and selection process, I believe the achievement of becoming a NORA Finalist could never be described as such.

This is the 14th year of the NORAs, and in that time we have had over 300 separate websites shortlisted as Finalists. Some only once, others many times, and others who have won an award on multiple occasions, like Monster, who have won 22 times in total. Of the 72 Finalists across 13 award categories this year, 49 are new websites which were not Finalists in those award categories last year. This means that only 23 recruitment websites have been shortlisted for the same award in both 2013 and 2014.

Every Finalist in the history of the NORAs will also be able to vote for our new NORA Academy Award. Voted for by your peers, this will be awarded to the 2014 Finalist which all former and current Finalists have chosen as representing the very best in online recruitment this year.

If yours is one of those 49 new websites, or you have never been to our awards event before, let me give you some pointers. The NORAs is most definitely not a formal affair, with tuxedos and ballgowns, and we’re not in the business of selling expensive chicken dinners. The 400 or so attendees comprise a who’s who of the UK recruitment sector, and represent a fantastic opportunity to network and celebrate with your peers (and even some rivals).  Tickets are only £20 (till Saturday 11th Oct), and it is anything but dull.  We do not reveal our winners until the event (or even drop hints), so it’s important for each Finalist to be represented on the night, to accept the award on stage and bask in some well-deserved glory.

I am really looking forward to my favourite night of the year on Wednesday 12th November (don’t tell my wife), and I hope to see you there too.

Stephen O’Donnell


The National Online Recruitment Awards