Tom Michael

Senior Recruitment Consultant

How did you get here? Describe your career history and background that led you to your role at HorizonOne

In case you can’t tell by my accent, I’m originally from Ireland. My wife and I married and left Ireland in 2009, and set out for Singapore. Singapore was supposed to be a 2 year plan, we ended up being there for 7!

In that time, I joined a recruiting firm focused on recruiting engineering-based roles in that sector. I happened to meet someone from Canberra who was setting up a new tech-focused recruitment company. This came at a fortuitous time as my wife and I found ourselves at a crossroads: go back to Europe or try a new adventure.

We decided to take a chance and made the move to settle in Canberra. Everything you hear about Canberra is true: fresh air, open spaces, good for kids, lifestyle perks. The cold did take some getting used to after being in a tropical climate for a long time, but it was nice to finally have seasons again. At the time I didn’t realise it, but Canberra equals opportunity.

Helping to set up a successful recruitment business was challenging, fun and exciting. It required a lot of energy and many, many face to face meetings with clients and candidates. I had to not only gain an understanding of how the market operates but the nuances that come with doing business in Canberra. The biggest government panel at the time had no inclusion clause, so we didn’t actually do any business with the federal government for 18 months. In that time, we focused on the private sector while also fostering government relationships, so we were well placed when the market and panel opportunities opened up again.

The fundamentals of recruiting remained the same, regardless of being in a new industry and location. But the ability to understand a tech project from concept to completion allows you to have that conversation with a client about their recruiting needs. There was a lot of research into where the projects in government were, and where to target business development.

When it was time for a new challenge, I made the move to H1 where I am continuing to specialise in the Canberra tech space.

What drew you to HorizonOne’s recruitment approach?

The approach HorizonOne takes towards clients and candidates was similar to my own approach in terms of sticking with your principles and ethics while producing quality results.

Specialising in technology, I also found I shared clients and candidates with the HorizonOne team. The feedback I got about H1 was always really positive, proving a strong reputation in Canberra. The brand and market presence is also very strong. In Canberra, it can be easy to stand out, but so many organisations choose not to. HorizonOne is not one of those companies. More importantly, they stand out for the right reasons, their reputation, quality of work and client and candidate experience made them a very attractive team to join.

What do you believe are the 3 key elements to being successful in recruitment?

  • Specialisation – you really have to know what you’re talking about. It is critical to understand the unique ways in which the Canberra market works, what makes people who work in the tech space tick, and to learn your field inside and out. Which brings me to…
  • Adding value – to be of genuine benefit to your clients and candidates, you need to be able to add value, not just place someone. You need to be able to step away from the transactional, impersonal side of recruitment and really work to have a deep understanding of what the client and candidate are looking for. This is a business all about people.
  • Hard work – it’s a bit cliché but also true. You need to work hard and have the commitment to be successful. It’s all about building long term relationships, staying up to date with the ever-changing market, and taking the time to really understand your clients and candidate needs. And that is hard, but very rewarding work.

What do you like best about being a recruitment consultant?

Meeting people. This may seem obvious in our industry, but it really hit me during COVID. When going about your day to day in this business, you often don’t get time to think about what you really enjoy. However, when we went into lockdown and lost those in-person interactions, I really came to understand how much I missed it.

There is nothing quite like face-to-face meetings to build and strengthen relationships. It also helps to add real value to those people’s lives. All of that happens through meetings people. And it’s meeting people that keeps me in the recruitment game.

Outside of work I love to…

Last year my family and I moved to the south coast. We had never lived in a landlocked city before and we really missed the ocean. I commute into Canberra during the week but one of my favourites things to do at the weekend is to go to the beach with the kids. At the moment I’m trying to fit in with the cool surfer dudes, but it’s not going too well… I’ve got Irish skin and I can’t surf!

I also like to go camping with the family, anywhere on the south coast, as long as it’s near the beach.

Lastly, a month ago we added four chickens to the family. They are just starting to lay eggs now – about 2 a day which is pretty… eggciting!


I don’t know if I’ve been here long enough yet, but there are certainly some big personalities in the office. Sarah Tamasi is definitely the loudest.

A lot of people have said David is the biggest stirrer, and I can see that, but I guess we will wait and see…