The best recruitment agencies in Canberra

Kirk Fonseca

Kirk Fonseca, Associate Partner at Rubik3. One of Canberra’s best recruitment agencies. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

If you’re looking for work or a career change, you might want to consider using a recruitment agency to provide specialised support, removing some of the stress out of understanding how recruitment works. Expert recruiters can be especially helpful in explaining how the Australian Public Service (APS) operates, and they can save you time landing a winning position in the private sector too.

Choosing the right recruitment agency can be daunting, especially in a crowded market like Canberra.

In this article we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a recruitment agency, and share where to find the best in Canberra. But first, we’ll quickly explore the APS and private sector job landscapes.

What is the APS?

The APS is the federal civil service of the Commonwealth of Australia. It’s responsible for the public administration, public policy and public services of the departments and executive and statutory agencies of the Government. It’s made up of thousands of employees at different levels and classifications, many of whom are based in Canberra.

APS jargon can be confusing. Essentially, public sector jobs begin at the entry level, called APS Level 1 (APS1). They top off at the highest level, Executive Level 2 (EL2).

If you’re looking to work in the APS for the first time, a recruitment agency can be invaluable in explaining the APS to you and matching your skills and experience to the right classification level. They can also explain the security clearances often required for APS roles.

What is the private sector?

The private sector comprises businesses and organisations that don’t belong to the public service. It can be competitive and financially driven. It too has entry and senior level positions, but doesn’t use the same ‘labels’ as the APS.

What makes a great recruitment agency?

Choosing the right recruitment agency can take the stress out of looking for work and help you fast track winning a dream job. It can also save you time and money.

It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a recruitment agency.

  • Knowledge and experience. Your chosen recruitment company should have broad knowledge and experience on a wide range of recruitment issues, including legal requirements and the precise steps involved in matching an employer to a jobseeker. A recruiter with years of experience will be more skilled at thinking laterally about employment opportunities.
  • Panel access. If you’re looking for work in the APS, you’ll want to sign up with a recruitment agency that has won a place on various supplier panels. APS departments use these panels to source recruitment agencies to work with to find candidates. If you want to work in a specific department, ask the recruitment agency if they’re on a panel for that department.
  • Availability. Recruiters can get crazy busy and a common concern can be lack of availability. Ask your recruitment agency what their commitments are for returning phone calls and emails. Also ask how they stay in touch throughout the recruitment process.
  • Commission structure. While many recruitment agencies are modelled around a commission structure, others aren’t. Commission-driven recruiters can be primarily motivated by meeting agency targets and making money. Recruiters working for agencies that pay staff a salary-only package without commissions tend to put people before profit. After all, recruitment is about people.
  • Creativity and connections. You’ll want a recruitment agency that thinks laterally about possibilities, to provide jobseekers with more opportunities and employers with a greater talent pool. You’ll also want an agency with strong networks and connections.

The best recruitment agencies in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

face2face Recruitment

face2face Recruitment

For more than 15 years, face2face Recruitment has matched employers with quality talent. Managing Director, Kate Prior, and her team have worked more than 14,000 jobs and placed more than 6,000 people.

face2face works nationally on roles for public and private sectors and not-for-profit organisations. The agency specialises in IT and Business Support and recruits at all levels for permanent, non-ongoing and contract positions. face2face also works in executive recruitment (chief executive officers, chief financial officers, chief information officers).

Employers benefit from face2face’s deep recruitment knowledge, attention to detail, and determination to find the best candidates with the right hard skills, soft skills and cultural fit. Employers are attracted by the agency’s 100 per cent guarantee with permanent placements.

Jobseekers benefit from face2face’s personal approach, creative thinking and time spent understanding their unique stories. face2face also helps refine resumes, coach for interviews and they free advice and tools. face2face doesn’t charge jobseekers for services.

face2face was one of the first Canberra companies to break from the traditional commission-based model of recruiting, which encourages recruiters to chase quick placements with high returns. face2face recruiters are free to support all jobseekers equally.

face2face has won multiple awards, including the Australian Small Business Champion Awards 2019 for Recruitment Services.

On Google, Annie Marshall wrote, “Fantastic agency and really is face-to-face. They treat you like a valued client, not a name on a database. They went out of their way to make me feel like I had something to offer and provided valuable advice to enhance my job prospects. Definitely up there with the best!”

Unit 10 3-5 Phipps Close
Deakin ACT 2600


Professional consulting powerhouse, Rubik3, are well regarded amongst the local business community and indeed nation-wide.

From humble beginnings in 2015, the team quickly established themselves as category leaders, collecting an impressive swag of industry accolades, from Australia’s number one start up in 2018, to the Business Services Growth Company of the Year in 2019, and stepping up five places to reach position 29 the AFR’s Top 100 Accounting Firms list in 2020.

Working across both private and public sectors, Rubik3 specialises in strategic resourcing and workplace planning. Their strategic resourcing capability is all about ensuring clients have the right workforce in place at the right time.

This specialisation is more than merely matching vacant positions to CV’s. It ensures each business is equipped with the team that will transition forward and grow in line with performance. Having the right people onboard is a cornerstone of effective business evolution; and Rubik3 are well placed to assist.

6 Lonsdale Street
Braddon ACT 2612

Cantlie Recruitment

Cantlie Recruitment specialises in executive recruitment and providing insourced recruitment services. Established recruitment partnerships have enabled the Cantlie team to develop a deep knowledge of Canberra and the ACT Region. With more than a decade of service behind it, Cantlie has extensive networks and expertise in the public, private, not-for-profit and education sectors.

On Google, Andrew Louis wrote, “Great team of people, helpful and insightful as well as going out of their way to assist.”

Emanate Technology

Emanate Technology is a technology recruitment company that provides high touch, consultative and specialist services. It’s six areas of specialisation are project services, technology sales, cloud and infrastructure, digital and applications, cybersecurity, and data and analytics. Consultants have deep specialist technical knowledge in matching candidates to technical roles.

Michael Huynh wrote on Google, “Emanate have been excellent for me … II was well looked after and always made to feel they cared about me.”

If you’re looking for more information on making the most out of your pay, you might like our article on the best financial planners, the best payroll services and the best salary sacrifice services Canberra has to offer.

Your experience with recruitment agencies in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the recruitment agencies listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly does a recruitment agency do?
Recruitment agencies work to find employers quality talent for their business needs. If they need to fill a position, they can use a recruitment agency to do the heavy lifting for them. Recruitment agencies also support jobseekers to find meaningful work.
Is there a charge to use a recruitment agency?
As a jobseeker, you don’t pay to use a recruitment agency. Their service is free, no matter where you’re located in Australia or what type or level of job you’re looking for. As an employer, you pay a fee to the agency for finding you a successful candidate.
As a jobseeker, do I need to sign an exclusive contract with a recruitment agency?
Some recruitment agencies may ask for this but it’s not a legal requirement and the agreement likely wouldn’t stand up in Court. This is, in part, because it’s a ‘restraint’ on your ability to look for work. If your recruitment agency asks you to sign such an exclusive agreement, you might want to look around for another agency that won’t hold you back
How will a recruitment agency help me find work?
The level and type of services recruitment agencies provide varies from agency to agency, so it’s best to talk to a couple and test this out. Some will spend a lot of time getting to know your story, help you refine your resume, coach you on interview skills and stay with you throughout your recruitment journey. Others don’t invest as much time in individual jobseekers.
I’ve registered with a recruitment agency but never hear from them. Is this appropriate?
Recruiters are busy people, but you’ll want to select an agency that is 100 per cent committed to responding promptly to your emails and phone calls. You’ll also want an agency that keeps you informed on job opportunities and your progress after you’ve applied for roles. Ask your recruiter what their agency responsibilities are for keeping in touch and consider this when deciding who to use.

What's Your Opinion?

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2 Responses to The best recruitment agencies in Canberra
Jodi Gatfield Jodi Gatfield 8:24 am 25 Sep 20

Simon Cox - HorizonOne

sense sense 11:56 am 29 Aug 19

The team at Effective People care about their clients whether companies, Government or the people they recruit. They are focused on finding the right person for the right job and creating a win-win outcome that benefits the employer and the employee.

We have had the pleasure of working with Effective People and have the first-hand experience with how they operate. The calibre of the personnel they recruit is a step above and they go above and beyond for everyone evolved in the process. We would highly recommend them to companies, Government and anyone looking for new roles or opportunities. It is no surprise to us that they made the top of this list.

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