CBR face2face takes out national award for Recruitment Services

Wendy Johnson
Thu 11 Apr

Small businesses make Australia tick. They’ve even been called ‘the engine room of the nation’s economy’, which is no surprise when you figure there are more than 3.3 million of them, employing more than 5.7 million people.

One small Canberra business—face2face Recruitment—has just won a national award for their stellar performance, at the ‘Oscars of Small Business’ held in Sydney on 6 April.

It was no mean feat given that more than 2,200 applications were received for the Australian Small Business Champion Awards this year, a record number.

Founder and Managing Director of face2face, Kate Prior, said winning the national award for Recruitment Services is amazing for Canberra, amazing for all ‘champion finalists’, and amazing for her 20-member team who work hard every day finding employers great candidates and candidates great job opportunities.

‘We’ve placed more than 3,700 people in jobs since opening in 2005,’ says Kate. ‘We get a buzz out of enriching lives and workplaces by matching people with jobs.’

Sixteen Canberra businesses placed finalist in various categories at this year’s awards, which Precedent Productions has been running for 21 years. face2face is the only ACT business to place finalist in four categories—Business Entrepreneur, Business of the Decade, Business Growth Award and Recruitment Services. It’s also the only ACT Business to win at national level.

‘Winning the Recruitment Services title was special,’ says Kate. ‘It’s a very competitive industry and we won the national award against 17 other agency finalists in this category, including from Melbourne and Sydney.’

Kate founded her business determined to provide exemplary face-to-face communications—so much so she named the company accordingly.

‘For us, recruitment is about people and relationships,’ says Kate. ‘I turned the traditional commission structure on its head when I started face2face. Our policy is to only engage recruitment experts who are driven by helping people, not by earning as much commission as possible by focusing on areas with the highest profit margins.’

Even though face2face is now the largest privately owned business in the recruitment sector in the capital, success hasn’t always come easy. At more than one juncture, Kate has had to dig deep for the will to continue, when external circumstances beyond her control severely affected her business.

‘I remember the year we got hit with what I call the quadruple whammy,’ says Kate. ‘It was 2011 and we faced the global financial crisis, a federal election, a local election and a report that recommended the public sector cut back on information and communications technology contractors, which was our main source of business at the time. A total of 233 mostly small recruitment companies closed across Australia and I didn’t want to be number 234.’

The quadruple whammy caused face-to-face to lose more than 50 per cent of its business in a matter of months.

‘It was demoralising but we’re survivors,’ says Kate. ‘We developed a plan, with the advice and support of my financial advisor and accountant, and executed it with precision. It involved making hard and uncomfortable decisions but small business owners need courage and resilience to survive.’

Today face2face has three specialised business units—ICT, Business Support and Scribing.

The company services the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, across all sectors, locally, regionally and nationally. It’s structured for continual growth, helped by face2face competing for, and winning positions on 20 public and private sector preferred supplier arrangements. Including the three new ones for ATO, Digital Health and the AFP. ‘It’s a huge effort to even apply for these panels and we’re ecstatic to be on so many,’ says Kate, especially for government departments like the ATO, AFP and Digital Health.’

Giving back to the community that gives so much to them, is a huge priority at face2face. Kate’s book, Resume Success Secrets, which shot to be #1 Amazon Best Seller in its category within two days of being published, is one way the company gives back. face2face has donated copies to local and regional libraries and 600 copies to organisations such as Communities at Work and Carers Act.

face2face also periodically holds free workshops for specific job seeker markets, like mature-age workers, return-to-work mums and dads and Indigenous candidates.

Kate recommends that any job seeker consider using a recruitment agency for the many benefits it brings.

‘Our services are free to candidates, and we save candidates heaps of time and effort,’ says Kate. ‘We also have access to position that are filled so quickly they’re never advertised and provide expert support to refine and update cover letters and resumes. The most important thing we do, however, is to meet face-to-face with candidates to get to know their stories and aspirations, and help them think laterally about career opportunities.’

Kate can’t imagine not owning her own business. She says opening a small business isn’t for everyone but it can be incredibly rewarding for those who have sheer determination, the ability to think innovatively and the willingness to work hard, especially when the going gets tough.

For your recruitment needs check out face2face Recruitment