Canberra’s Best Recruitment Agencies

Kris from Effective People, Canberra’s most recommended recruitment company.

Kris from Effective People, Canberra’s most recommended recruitment company.

There’s no denying that choosing a recruitment company can be a daunting mission – especially when searching in a crowded recruitment market like Canberra.

But whether you’re navigating the juggernaut that is the Australian Public Service (APS) or contending with the private sector, working with a recruitment agency can save you time and stress. It can also help you land your dream job or find your ideal employee faster.

In this article we’ll briefly outline the Canberra recruitment landscape and shortlist the region’s best recruitment agencies – both for businesses and departments seeking the perfect candidate, and individuals who are new to Canberra and/or the APS.

Let’s get started.

What is the Australian Public Service?

In very simple terms, the APS is a group of government departments that rely on thousands of employees at different levels and classifications. Many of these departments and their employees are based in Canberra – hence our reputation as a public service town.

If you don’t work in the APS, the jargon can get confusing. You may have overheard people saying things like, “I’m an APS6,” or “I’m an acting EL1.”

These terms are work level standards within the APS. APS Level 1 (APS1) is the entry level. Someone working at this level undertakes routine and basic tasks against clearly defined and established procedures.

The highest work level is an Executive Level 2 (EL2). Someone working at this level completes work with a high level of complexity or sensitivity. They operate under broad direction and exercise a significant degree of independence whilst influencing and developing strategy and policy.

If you’re looking to work in the APS for the first time, a recruitment agency can be invaluable for matching your skills and experience to a classification level.

What is the private sector?

With fewer hoops to jump through, the private sector is a much less complex beast than the APS. There’s less red tape, which can make it easier to get a foot in the door.

However, experience is the key that opens the door. As a hub for innovation, government and defence, Canberra attracts bright minds. As a result, the private sector is competitive, and tends to hire according to what and who you know basis.

Most higher echelon private sector jobs tend to focus around consultancy – usually to a government department. And that’s why the next point is crucial.

What is a clearance?

If you work in the APS or for a consulting firm that provides services to government, you may need a security clearance. A security clearance means that you can handle classified resources or information.

Having a clearance could be the deciding factor that helps you land a role in Canberra in your preferred department or firm.

There are four types of security clearances:

  • Baseline Vetting – This is the minimum security clearance classification and generally the most essential for your first APS role. Permits access to classified information/resources up to PROTECTED.
  • Negative Vetting Level 1 (NV1) – Permits access to classified information/resources up to and including SECRET.
  • Negative Vetting Level 2 (NV2) – Permits access to classified information/resources up to and including TOP SECRET.
  • Positive Vetting – Permits access to resources at all classification levels, including certain types of caveated and codeword information.

Recruitment agencies that are part of the DISP (Defence Industry Security Program) can sponsor clearances up to the NV2 level for individuals successful in receiving a role in Government.

With all of this in mind, we’ve done the hard work for you and created a list of what you should look for in a Canberra recruitment agency.

What to look for in a recruitment agency

  • Knowledge. Your chosen recruitment company should have broad knowledge, both about the actual practice of recruitment and hiring as well as the administrative side of things. Do they understand payroll tax, insurance, superannuation, the rights and responsibilities of casual employees and how various organisations are structured?
  • Panel access. The APS and its departments use supplier panels to source candidates from a list of providers. As such, your recruitment agency should have access to the panel associated with the department you want to work for.
  • Transparency and trust. Your recruitment company works for YOU. They are representing you as an asset to various organisations and should be transparent with you about fee structures and what your best applicable rate is.
  • Commission structure. While a lot of recruiters live by their commissions, there are still a few that feel the money should be go in their candidates’ pockets rather than their own. Recruitment agencies that pay staff a salary-only package without commissions tend to put the interests of their candidates first.
  • Connectivity. Look for a recruitment agency that specialises in the APS but also has a network of private sector connections. Having access to multiple sectors through a recruitment agency of choice is a huge positive.

The top Canberra recruitment agencies

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 19 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 over 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.

Although Canberra based, they work nationally covering both public and private sectors and not-for-profit organisations.

face2face recruits at all levels, covering permanent, non-ongoing and contract positions. They specialise in information and communications technology and business support (including human resources, finance, policy and governance). They also work in executive recruitment covering chief executive officers, chief financial officers, and chief information officers.

Employers head to face2face for extensive recruitment knowledge, meticulous attention to detail during all stages of recruitment, and sheer determination to find the best candidates with the right hard skills, soft skills and cultural fit. Employers are also attracted to the company’s 100 per cent guarantee with permanent placements.

Jobseekers are attracted to face2face’s personal approach and ability to think creatively about possibilities. They appreciate the team’s enthusiasm for understanding their unique stories and willingness to help refine resumes, coach for interviews and provide free advice and tools. They don’t charge jobseekers for recruitment services.

They were one of the first companies in Canberra to break away from the commission-based model of recruiting, which encourages recruiters to chase quick placements with high returns. face2face expert recruiters aren’t under such pressure; they’re free to support all jobseekers equally.

face2face has won awards for its years of star performance, including the Australian Small Business Champion Awards 2019 for Recruitment Services. It’s all the little things that face2face does that makes it different.

Unit 10 3-5 Phipps Close
Deakin ACT 2600
Effective People

Effective People

Effective People in Deakin is a family-owned business with an exceptionally strong candidate focus. With success measured by outcomes, its team consistently provides the right person to the right job.

Effective People has access to APS services panels, providing individuals with more opportunities to land their ideal roles.

What makes Effective People different is its insistence on doing business the right way – and it’s been that way for 20 years. Its recruitment consultants don’t work for commissions, so you can be confident that they’re acting with your best interests at heart. And, as a bonus, more of the money that you work so hard to earn goes back into your pocket.

Effective People provides high quality, client-aligned labour hire for both the public and private sectors. It combines vast knowledge and experience with a holistic view of the market. It does this by using industry-leading end-to-end recruitment systems and an integrated payroll service provided through trusted partners.

Effective People also offers a cost-effective, all-inclusive permanent placement service. For just $4,400, its team takes care of everything from job advertising and interviews to reference checks and contract administration.

Effective People handles the recruitment process efficiently and dare we say it… effectively to its clients and candidates.

After talking with casual employees that have worked with Effective People it’s very difficult to keep them out of this list.

Suite 5, 18 Napier Close
Deakin ACT 2600


Specialising in government and private sector consulting, Canberra’s own Rubik3 offers contract and permanent resources in ICT and support, accounting and finance, policy, program and administration. Its strategic resourcing business provides the right person for the right team and environment. Founded in 2014, Rubik3 was also named Australia’s number one start up in 2018.

6 Lonsdale Street
Braddon ACT 2612


Finite has sourced sourced and placed high-quality technology, digital and business transformation professionals in roles since 1998. A national company with an office in Canberra, Finite offers services including permanent recruitment, contract recruitment, executive search and payrolling solutions – both for government and commercial clients.

If you’re looking to hire (or seeking work as) a cloud architect, SAP developer, Azure specialist or software engineer, Finite might just be the recruitment agency you need.


Emanate Technology

Emanate Technology is a technology recruitment company with a strong reputation for providing high touch, consultative and specialist services. It has six areas of specialisation: project services, technology sales, cloud and infrastructure, digital and applications, cybersecurity, and data and analytics.

Emanate Technology’s consultants have deep specialist technical knowledge, so they understand how to perfectly match candidates with technical roles.

This approach has resulted in Emanate Technology being recognised in the Australian Financial Review’s list of Fast Starters for 2018 (#25).

Your experience with Canberra recruitment agencies

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 companies listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

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One Response to Canberra’s Best Recruitment Agencies
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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