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 a panel of expert judges. 

Join us at this prestigious 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 14 to August 03.

Our panel of expert judges will choose the winners ahead of the awards ceremony, announced on November 22 at the Auckland Museum Event Centre, Auckland.


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 (1-5 full-time consultants)
  • Medium Recruitment Agency of the Year (6-19 full-time consultants)
  • Large Recruitment Agency of the Year (20+ 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 a New Zealand 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.

Andrew Confait, Group Manager, Customer Strategy & Support, Site Safe New Zealand.

Andrew Confait has spent more than twenty years working in health and safety industry in both Australia and New Zealand.

 Passionate about communicating an ethos of health and safety by education and example, he has held a number of senior roles including ten years as national health and safety manager at Hawkins. This role oversaw health and safety projects across construction, civil/infrastructure and engineering/manufacturing sectors.

 Andrew is currently Group Manager, Customer Strategy & Support at Site Safe New Zealand and is committed to helping construction businesses improve their health and safety culture.

Bridget Cooksley, Manager Specialist Recruitment, Department of Corrections

Bridget has a wealth of recruitment experience within both agency and in-house environments in both New Zealand and Australia. She is currently the Manager Specialist Recruitment with the Department of Corrections (in New Zealand) where she looks after a national team of Senior/Recruitment Advisers, focussed on providing high quality recruitment support to the business and profiling the Department externally to excite people about the range of opportunities we have available.

Bridget manages the Department’s relationships with external partners including psychometric testing, advertising and pre-employment screening providers, recruitment agencies and is the main point of contact at Corrections for the All-of-Government recruitment solution. During her career she has worked tirelessly to increase the professionalism of industry, both when leading teams within recruitment agencies and building the in-house team at Corrections. She recognises that the best results are achieved when recruitment agencies work in partnership with their clients, where there is transparency, mutual respect and understanding. She expects to receive professional service from the recruiters the Department engages and is often heard reminding her hiring managers to ‘be a good customer’.

Catherine Taylor, Group Manager People and Capability, Ministry of Health

Originally from Dunedin, Catherine gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Otago University.  Her experience includes the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Mitsubishi Motors, Rudd Watts and Stone, Sun Alliance Life and Disability, State Insurance, ENZA and Land Information New Zealand.

In 2001 Catherine joined the New Zealand Post Banking Project Team (Kiwibank Limited) and developed and led the Human Resources strategy, programmes and processes for this start-up from scratch and was instrumental in creating a very successful culture that was, at the time, highly regarded by many other companies in New Zealand.  In her role of Group Manager People, she was a member of the Kiwibank Leadership Team.

Catherine has been working, most recently, on assignment at the Ministry of Health as Group Manager People and Capability, reviewing the People and Capability function and people processes for the Ministry, developed a new People Strategy, and delivered a range of projects and initiatives.

Catherine is a current member of the Te Omanga Hospice Board and the Victoria University MBA Advisory Board, and was previously on the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) Board between 2007 and 2014 (including holding the role of President from 2011 to 2013) and is a Fellow of HRINZ.  She is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Management, the New Zealand Institute of Directors, and Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Grant Burley, Past Co-Founder and Director, Absolute IT

Grant started a career in IT Recruitment in 1993, some 25 years on he’s helped establish and build some of New Zealand’s better known recruitment brands including Absolute IT which was recently sold to NZX listed AWF. 

Grant is now retired but is actively involved in new ventures and business mentoring.

Jeremy Sole, CEO, Electrical Training Company

Jeremy Sole is the Chief Executive Officer at The Electrical Training Company, New Zealand’s largest Group Apprenticeship scheme. Previous roles have included six years as CEO of the NZ Contractors’ Federation (Now Civil Contractors NZ) and MBIE, where he held roles in stakeholder engagement and as an engagement lead in the Sector Workforce Engagement Programme (SWEP). He has experience across a wide variety of sectors and role types including; sales, marketing, division management, training and development, engineering, HR and organisational development. Jeremy has also spent time privately consulting in NZ, Australia, Japan, and the Pacific. His qualifications include a G.Dip.Bus.HR and an MBA from University of Auckland and he is a member of the Institute of Directors and the CEO Institute.

Leslie Taylor, Head of Employment and Corporate Brand, The Warehouse Group

Leslie is the Head of Corporate and Employment Brand at The Warehouse Group – one of New Zealand's largest general merchandisers. They have 5 core brands, 12,000 people, over 250 locations and close to $3 billion in sales.

Leslie leads the Corporate and Employment Brand team to promote The Warehouse Group as a brand of choice for customers, communities, candidates and employees. She is responsible for defining, articulating, bringing to life, advocating and protecting The Warehouse Group corporate brand and The Warehouse Groups employment brands (The Warehouse Group, The Warehouse, Noel Leeming, Warehouse Stationery and Torpedo7).


With over 10 years’ experience in recruitment and Employment Brand, Leslie is an expert in her field. Leslie was the winner of the 2018 Employer Brand International, Global Employer Brand Leader award and also the 2018 HRINZ Specialist of the year award. The Warehouse Group has won numerous awards under her leadership. She has mentored over 60 Marketing, Communications and HR Interns. She is a proud advocate for Employment Brand and therefore co-founded and manages the Auckland Employment Brand Network.

Matt Bartlett, Vice President Talent, Succession and Engagement, Orion Health

Matt is VP Talent, Succession and Engagement for Orion Health. He leads the team that looks after Employment Brand, Recruitment and Talent Management globally for the business, focused primarily on leveraging Orion Health’s purpose and product roadmap to attract talent in the highly competitive tech sector. Matts passion lies in helping individuals grow and develop, to achieve their goals whether that be in their career, personal life or successfully combining both – as should be the way.

Matt has 14 years recruitment experience, starting with 2 years in executive agency recruitment before moving in-house. He spent 9 years with The Warehouse Group, expanding his portfolio from just the ‘red sheds’ to a group wide responsibility where he had to manage the competing dynamics of brands that were part of the same group, competing for the same talent, but having to also ‘play nice’ to grow the overall profitability of the organisation. Matt loves creativity in recruitment, believes strongly in the power of story telling in marketing and promoting opportunities, and looks for ways to stand out from the crowd while still retaining authenticity and honesty.

Penelope Barton, Chief People Officer, Crimson Consulting

Penelope is the Chief People Officer at Crimson Education, a high growth education startup, recognised in the Deloitte Fast 50 for 1000% growth in the last 12 months. She oversees the full employee experience across 28 locations (and growing) globally. 

A serial entrepreneur, she is also the Co-Founder of People Labs, a company focused on supporting people practitioners to courageously challenge their organisations, and owns and operates two restaurants in Auckland.

She is passionate about the future of work and how new technologies, AI and automation can help organisations and their people thrive. 


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.