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“When I was a graduate recruiter I used to get enormously excited each time a candidate accepted our offer of employment. I used to hover around the mail tray waiting for the morning mail to be delivered in case an

acceptance letter arrived.”

Ben Reeves describes himself as a “rather nerdy school kid who ended up studying physics at university”. He went on to become a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte in London before being moved into the position of Graduate Recruitment Manager for Deloitte’s London offi ce. Despite this slightly unconventional career path, he has not looked back… “I was approached by Deloitte’s Graduate Recruitment

Partner, Ian du Pre to work as part of his team. Ian is a legend in the graduate recruitment industry so a chance to work for him was a ‘no-brainer’.” Ben says he learnt an enormous amount from Ian and he still applies the principles he taught him today. “One of these principles is to guide people in the

direction they want to go. In relation to recruitment this means establishing what the candidate wants to do and helping them towards that destination – sometimes this destination would be our fi rm and other times it would be somewhere else.”

But while some things still hold true, Ben has also seen some enormous changes during his time in the sector, not least the growth in the number and range of suppliers in the graduate recruitment industry. “Once upon a time employers would have done virtually everything in- house, such as campaign design, application screening, interviews, reference checks etc. Now many of these services are provided by specialist providers meaning that the role of a graduate recruiter now encompasses management of service providers in addition to management of a recruitment campaign.” Ben’s kicks have also changed, although they are

rooted in the same principle – helping others reach their destination. “When I was a graduate recruiter I used to get enormously excited each time a candidate accepted our offer of employment. I used to hover around the mail tray waiting for the morning mail to be delivered in case an acceptance letter arrived.” Nowadays, Ben says he gets satisfaction from helping

AAGE’s members move towards their destination. “Often this can be as simple as suggesting different suppliers they could use, pointing them at a website or sending

REEVES Chief Executive of the Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE)

them one of our survey reports. I think the role of associations such as AGR and the AAGE is to make life easier for our members by providing them with access to networks, information and best practice.”

He regularly attends the national conferences of AAGE’s sister associations in Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and the UK, and sees a lot of the same challenges in each country, namely diversity of intake, use of social media and retention of graduates. “The role the AAGE plays in addressing these kinds of challenges is twofold: fi rstly we conduct surveys of the graduate recruitment market to collect data and establish benchmarks in relation to these issues. So, for example, our employer survey establishes industry benchmarks for graduate retention and our candidate survey establishes the usage of social media by students to research careers. Secondly, we provide our members with a range of face-to-face events throughout the year where they can talk to students or employers about these challenges.” Ben was also instrumental in addressing the

problematic number of careers fairs taking place in each city around Australia − one of the major issues facing AAGE members. “We came up with a concept called “the Big Meet” – a single careers fair in each major city that was free to attend for all students in that location. Our members can now spend a day exhibiting at the Big Meet and can interact with students from all the universities in that city.” Not that it’s all work. As something of a fi tness fanatic, Ben swims in a pool underneath Sydney Harbour Bridge every day, and also performs a dance routine at the AAGE Conference gala dinner every year. “It gets the disco going. The very fi rst time we did this I was the MC for the evening and I pulled the names of four blokes out of a hat and called them up on the dance fl oor for a dancing competition. I was reluctantly persuaded to join in. It was all very embarrassing but the women in the audience screamed like it was a Justin Bieber concert.” Perhaps we will see the new AGR Chief Executive take inspiration from his Aussie counterpart in 2014…


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