Don't give up

Don’t give up. Don’t try and conform. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes: Meet Ann Radford, Ad Idem’s Fearless Founder.

Hi Ann. Can you tell us about when and why you founded Ad Idem Recruitment? And what have been your highlights and your challenges as Managing Director?

I found myself post-divorce and with a choice to make: Did I play it safe and go and work for an executive search firm? Or did I gamble, at the age of 43, and start something of my own? I was advised against it, and my parents thought I was insane to take the risk and gamble with my children’s future; three years on we haven’t looked back and I am very glad I took the plunge.

Highlights as Managing Director would be seeing new members of staff making their first placements and seeing the buzz of the office, which is something we have created. Challenges are definitely hiring the right staff and attracting people who share our vision.

There are numerous Financial recruitment companies based in London. What makes Ad Idem different for your clients and candidates?

We strongly believe that by focusing on the candidate experience we differentiate ourselves. Current clients were once newly qualified candidates and clients of today will be candidates of the future, as they like how we treat them from both sides of the fence. It sounds cheesy but we genuinely care and don’t see candidates as invoices, and by so doing we win business and gain a reputation for being a little bit different.

Lots of people start looking for new jobs in the New Year. What would you recommend people do before the Christmas holidays to give them the best chance to find a job they really love? What are your five top tips?

  1. Find a handful of agents you can trust and make an appointment to meet them. This allows them to understand what you are looking for. You need to find someone who will add dialogue to your career and not just send your CV out and hope for the best.
  2. Rework your CV, making sure to highlight your achievements and not just your responsibilities. This is your time to grab someone’s attention and see how much you have to offer them.
  3. When you are invited for interview, take time to research the company and prepare for your interview thoroughly. There are lots of sites offering common interview questions and advice on how to prepare your answers. This is your career. Take it seriously.
  4. Don’t enter more than two processes at once. Less is more.
  5. Make sure you set up your voicemail on your mobile. You’d be surprised how many candidates don’t. Everyone is very busy and you want to make it as easy as possible for someone to get hold of you. Plus, you’ll be kicking yourself if you miss an interview opportunity.

Where do you see the Financial Services industry going in the next ten or twenty years? And how do you think this will affect Ad Idem? For example, do you think you’ll see different roles coming up? Or changes in the kind of experience/qualifications needed to enter the industry?

I think the city will always need good people. Risk, Compliance, and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) will be desired in greater numbers as businesses continue to be tightly regulated.

As a business, we will continue to deal with decision-makers directly. Plus we will be less likely to partner with large financial institutions and more likely to deal with boutique hedge funds and medium-sized asset managers.

As for experience needed, I don’t think this will necessarily change, but many more businesses may look at hiring bright grads instead of asking for years and years of experience (which they won’t necessarily have) as the regulatory requirements change.

It would be great to get to know you a little better. What else are you passionate about besides Ad Idem?

I am a mother of two gorgeous daughters, so after working twelve hours a day I love spending family time with them both and with my partner. We love to travel and always have a holiday booked. Also, I am a (now not so) secret history nerd and love a trip to a place of historical interest.

If you could give your twenty year old self three pieces of life advice, what would they be?

  1. Think before you speak. Walk away from a situation, breathe, and go back to it. Then act.
  2. Be bold and take risks. Trust in your instincts. I should have started Ad idem sooner.
  3. Work hard. Don’t give up. Don’t try and conform. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

And lastly, how do you plan to spend Christmas this year?

We are actually spending it at home with the four of us. Friends will pop over for drinks in the evening and we are looking forward to some board games, terrible cooking, and time away from the office.

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