The Awards

About the awards

The SEEK Annual Recruitment Awards are all about you – the innovative people and agencies pushing for excellence in the recruitment industry.  

The awards recognise the work of industry leaders and best practice, as chosen by an expert panel of judges. 

Join us at this iconic event to celebrate all you do within the sector, because 2018 is your year!


Each of our winners will be formally acknowledged at our awards evening and will gain access to a range of benefits including:

  • Raise company or personal profile in the market
  • Be recognised and endorsed as a leader in the sector
  • Gain exposure to our judges – all of whom are industry leaders and influencers
  • Trophy recognising your achievement
  • Branded SARA winners logo for marketing and promotion purposes
  • Promotion through SEEK content, discussing key themes affecting the Recruitment Industry. Shared through SEEK’s marketing channels, including social media.


Want to be part of the awards?

Nominate yourself, your agency or a colleague you admire using our entry form. Entries are open from June 07 to July 27.

Our panel of expert judges will choose the winners ahead of the awards ceremony, announced on November 15 at the The Forum, Melbourne.


Recruitment Agency of the Year

This category is open to all recruitment agencies and there are three Awards given, based on agency size:

  • Small Recruitment Agency of the Year
    (1-10 full-time consultants)
  • Medium Recruitment Agency of the Year
    (11-50 full-time consultants)
  • Large Recruitment Agency of the Year
    (51+ full-time consultants)

Judges are looking for commitment to workplace culture, innovation, candidate engagement, commercial growth/achievement and the agency’s contribution to the success of the recruitment industry as a whole.

Recruitment Leader of the Year

This category is open to all recruitment professionals at management level, or in a leadership role. 

Submissions will demonstrate the ability to foster relationships, solve problems, communicate effectively, and adapt to change.

Judges are seeking someone who inspires and motivates others, performs to business objectives, and is making an impact within the agency and recruitment sector as a whole.

Most Innovative Agency of the Year

We want to hear from progressive recruitment agencies that are harnessing data and analytics to provide insight, solve clients’ challenges and fuel innovation.

This may be as insights delivered to clients to influence recruitment strategies, or analytics that enhance business practices, relationships and processes.

Excellence in Candidate Engagement

The hiring process influences a candidate’s acceptance of a job offer, as well as their perception of the recruiter, the organisation and the sector as a whole.

Submissions should demonstrate how the agency goes above and beyond to provide an exceptional candidate experience which helps promote the professionalism of the industry.

Judges will be looking for recruitment agencies demonstrating best practice in candidate engagement with special emphasis on ethically building and retaining candidate pools.

Recruitment Consultant of the Year

This Award is open to all recruitment consultants currently employed by an Australian Recruitment Agency.

Recruitment consultants can be either self-nominated or nominated by a peer within their agency.

The submission will demonstrate the achievements of the recruitment consultant, how they have excelled in an area of client and candidate engagement, and how they have contributed to the recruitment industry as a whole.


Experts in their field, our exceptional judges have been hand-picked to select the winners of the 2018 SEEK Annual Recruitment Awards.

Claire Planinsek, Head of Talent Acquisition and Careers, People and Culture, Australia Post

Claire Planinsek is a senior Talent Acquisition leader that is focused on delivering efficiencies and improved business outcomes. Throughout her career, she has become proficient in establishing or transforming recruitment functions, designing talent acquisition strategies, building long standing client relationships and effective vendor partnerships.

Claire has worked in-house or onsite at brands such as Johnson and Johnson, Macquarie Bank, Hudson Global Resources, Melbourne Commonwealth Games and Department of Human Services.

After moving home to Melbourne from Sydney in 2017, she joined Australia Post Group to oversee the volume recruitment team, and in May 2018 became the Head of Talent Acquisition and Careers for the Australia Post Group.  The teams comprise of 90 recruiters and specialists who manage approximately 11000 hires per annum.

In her spare time, Claire enjoys Melbourne’s cosmopolitan lifestyle, playing tennis and mastering making delicious cocktails!

Darrin Campbell, General Manager of HR Support, Boral

Darrin Campbell is the General Manager of HR Support at Boral where he manages Recruitment, Workers Compensation, Payroll, and Fleet across Australia.

Over the last 20 years, Darrin has designed and implemented internal recruitment functions for ASX listed companies, and worked for some of Australia’s biggest recruitment agencies. Darrin also ran his own recruitment company specialising in international recruitment programs for skills short industries.

Combining a Masters in HR with a vast knowledge of the recruitment and Human Resource marketplace, Darrin is a veteran at creating and developing uniquely structured recruitment solutions for domestic and international markets.

Eva Brookes, Asia-Pacific Recruiting Leader, EY

Eva is a future skills specialist with experience in all aspects HR practice.

In her current role as Director of Recruiting for EY Asia Pacific, she leads the strategic recruiting efforts across ASEAN, Greater China, Korea and Oceania and is a key member of EY's Global Recruitment Centre of Excellence. She also leads the strategic recruiting efforts for EY’s Transactions practice globally. 

As the world of work is experiencing such significant change, Eva partners with her internal clients to identify the future skills they will require to ensure continued business success and devise how they can evolve their recruiting practices to achieve their desired talent pool and hiring outcomes.

Prior to joining EY, Eva worked as an agency recruitment consultant with Mahlab Recruitment and as a Solicitor with Ashurst.

Eva holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons)/Bachelor of Laws from Monash University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resources from RMIT.

Hazel Thurlow, Director of Talent, Culture and Capability Development, Bupa

Hazel is a member of Bupa’s Senior Leadership team as Director of Talent, Culture and Capability Development. She is responsible for the strategy, design and execution of Talent, Recruitment, Culture and Organisational Capability Development across the Bupa’s A&NZ business and into global markets.

Prior to Joining Bupa in 2015 Hazel has worked across a range of industries traversing Banking & Finance, Government, FMCG, Oil & Gas and Manufacturing. Throughout her career Hazel has led a variety of teams across the HR function, with strengths in Talent, Recruitment, Employment Branding  and Outsourced Solutions as well as running commercial operations across multiple regions.

Julian Clarke, Executive Director Human Resources, Telstra

I am currently Head of Talent & Organsational Effectiveness for Telstra. I work in HR because I am passionate about enabling people and organisations to be their best. For me the key to this is great leadership and having the right workplace culture. I love working with businesses to achieve this – and so deliver great outcomes for customers, employees and shareholders.

I have worked in HR since 2010. Prior to that I was a lawyer, both in-house at Telstra, at Freehills (where I worked in the employee relations practice for 8 years) and in the UK, where I was born and bred. Outside work, I enjoy living in the country (and working flexibly), breeding Arabian horses, as well as cooking and good food.

Julie Mills, Managing Director, APSCo Australia

As Managing Director, her key focus is on ensuring the Association’s standards and business intelligence is at the forefront of every Member’s agenda and that of their clients and candidates.

Julie’s representation of the contracting and recruitment sector spans sixteen years and, throughout that time, her interest has been on the nature of work, the flexibility and diversity of the workforce and the necessity for a strong contracting and on hire workforce.

Her engagement with research and statistics to encourage conversations on these topics has ensured her involvement in working groups at all levels of Government across issues as diverse as Australia’s unemployment, EEO, Disability Frameworks, Mature Age, Upskilling Youth, Skills Taskforce, Immigration and more recently, ICT qualifications reviews in Australia and New Zealand.

She is currently a member of Deakin University’s Chancellors Round Table, the Queensland Government’s ICT Advisory Group and The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland QAssure Steering Committee as well as a non- Executive Director on several Boards.

Julie is an active social media contributor on Twitter as well as a guest columnist in a number of online and print journals and a regular Conference speaker and MC.

Sarah Derry, Vice President, Talent & Culture, AccorHotels

Sarah Derry joined AccorHotels in April 2017 as Vice President Talent & Culture Australia. Sarah is degree qualified and has completed post graduate studies in Human Resource Management, Training and Coaching. Currently completing her Masters in Human Resources and Organisational Development.

Sarah has worked extensively in the hospitality and tourism industry and has significant work experience in the fields of education, marketing and recruitment prior to this role, Sarah was Director of HR consulting firm People Reaching Potential (PRP) and was previously Regional Director of Human Resources for an international company responsible for the businesses in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific region. Currently Vice President of Talent & Culture AccorHotels Australia.

Sarah is also an ACC member of the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and AHRI (Australian Human Resources Institute).

Sarah specializes in the areas of culture transformation, strategic business planning, leadership development, employee engagement and organizational behaviour. Sarah is also an Associate Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour at Charles Sturt University.

Sarah has been married for 23 plus years, has a young family and lives in Sydney, Australia. Sarah is a passionate, committed and driven individual, who enjoys developing others.

Specialties: Human Resources, Coaching, Learning & Development and Transformational Leadership

Sinead Hourigan, Director Brisbane, FRCSA

Sinead Hourigan is the Queensland Director for Robert Walters and has been recruiting in the Brisbane market for over sixteen years. Recruiting across both the public and private sector, Sinead has assisted clients with a wide range of senior assignments ranging from executive management through to C-suite level roles. With an enviable network in the Brisbane market, Sinead calls upon her extensive network to work with clients in securing and attracting the best talent for their organisations. Prior to entering the recruitment industry, Sinead worked within the ‘Big 4’ in Sydney, and previous to this, worked in executive positions within the Irish Government.

Sinead is also a CEDA (Committee for Economic Development in Australia) Trustee in Queensland, President of the RCSA (Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association) and is a member of the QUT Business School Industry Advisory Group.

Tom Richards, General Manager of Organisational Change, NAB

Tom Richards is the General Manager of Organisational Change for NAB.  Having spent more than 15 years in senior HR roles across the Financial Services, Insurance and Distribution industries, Tom joined NAB in 2012 and prior to his current role was the General Manager, Talent Acquisition.  Tom also held a number of HR Business Partnering roles looking after NAB’s Technology, Product, SME and Retail businesses.  Tom has an Honours Degree in Business from Sheffield Hallam University in England.

Trevor Vas, Director, ATC Events

Trevor has 24 years’ Recruitment Industry experience and is the Co-Founder and CEO of both the Australasian Talent Conference (ATC) and Human Capital Management Solutions (HCMS). 

Over 11 years the ATC has put on more than 40 major Recruitment/Talent conferences in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. These events have been attended by over 4,000 delegates and sponsored by over 300 companies.

Through HCMS Trevor has consulted and implemented Recruitment Centres for both permanent and contingent staff.  He has worked with the likes of, AGL, BHP Billiton, GE, Origin Energy, Westpac, Suncorp, New Zealand Post, Sky City, Auckland District Health Board and many others.

Trevor is also a Director of the PNORS Technology Group and Have a Voice.


Check out what the 2017 winners have to say about writing a SARA submission!

Winners Benefits

Winners will have access to a range of benefits, including:​

  • Trophy recognising your achievement
  • Branded SARA winners logo for marketing and promotion purposes
  • Promotion through SEEK content, discussing key themes affecting the Recruitment Industry. Shared through SEEK’s marketing channels, including social media.