Well damn, it has been a minute. I must say, I was extremely demotivated with the whole blogging thing, lost my mojo but I'm back and I'm better honey..
Twirling swiftly on, I came across ANT Recruitment on Twitter a few weeks ago and I had the pleasure of speaking with co-founder of ANT Recruitment, Deji.
JF: It is an absolute pleasure to speak with you today. Tell me a little bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
Deji (D): My name is Idris but most people call me Deji. Career-wise, I come from an accounting background. I graduated college almost two years ago now and started working for a firm shortly after. I soon realised, it wasn't for me so I left and started ANT Recruitment.
JF: Okay wow. Tell me a little bit more about your venture. Where did the idea come from? How did you start it?
D: When I graduated, I literally could not find a job. I got so desperate that I began looking for roles outside of the accounting field. I mean, I did get a job after months of applications and interviews, however as aforementioned, I quit to start this venture. My business partner Tobi, graduated last summer and went through the exact same thing. We began to ask ourselves why the recruitment process was so difficult and thought of ways in which we could improve the recruitment process. We came up with the initial concept last year and launched ANT Recruitment in March 2017.
JF: Unfortunately Tobi couldn't be with us today but describe the dynamic between yourself and your business partner?
D: Tobi and I have known each other since primary school. I genuinely feel like I have started this business with my brother. We know each other so well so it isn't something that is unnatural.
JF: I think it is so important, if going into business with others, to be able to attest to the other person's character as well as having an accurate understanding of each others' working style etc.
D: 100%. We are able to hold each other accountable to our goals and deadlines.
JF: Great. What is your current team like?
D: Right now, it is just myself, Tobi and our experienced recruitment mentor. I must say, our recruitment mentor is absolutely amazing. He gives us fantastic advice and keep us in check all the time. I would advise anyone and everyone to have a mentor in your life that keeps you going in the right direction. Aside from that, we do have people involved in our design and branding, that form our wider team.
JF: You mentioned earlier that you actually launched earlier on this year, now, I would never have guessed, given the branding and professional image demonstrated on your social media pages. Props to you guys on that one. I must say, there are several recruitment agencies out there, what makes ANT Recruitment different from the rest?
D: We aim to merge traditional recruitment consultancy with the more personable, new age type of consultancy. We encourage candidates to sign up and we match them up with the right jobs. I have found that with job boards like Indeed have no real relationships with the companies. That is what we essentially aim to rectify. We aim to create a platform where companies and candidates looking for jobs, can come together and bridge the gap that traditional consultancy creates.
JF: I understand and definitely agree. Many recruitment services lack that personable nature. I think it is particularly important for graduates to be a part of an organisation that focuses on on personal and professional relations with candidates. At the moment, what services do you provide?
D: ANT Farm initially, was a community where one could go to get advice on all things related to careers. We then expanded to include CV services. This is where our recruitment mentor comes into play. He has 20+ years of experience and looks over every single thing that we do. From personal experience, I have found that a lot of people actually do have skills developed from various things i.e. extracurricular activities, but do not know how to maximise this on their CV. Our consultants build personal relationships with candidates and find a way to extract all of this kind of information to help take your CV to a higher level.
JF: As you are based in Ireland, where do you see the brand going?
D: The goal is to have serious global presence. For now, we are focusing on the UK and Ireland due to the educational similarities as well as geographical proximity.
JF: How responsive have people been to the brand and services?
D: Overall, the response has been positive, particularly on our social media platforms.
JF: From the initial idea conception right until the launch, what challenges have you faced - be it professional, academic or personal?
D: Funnily enough, most challenges were personal. The main one being actually being proactive. Naturally, my business partner and I are super laid-back so the procrastination at some points were very real. The second challenge we faced was perception - how people perceived me for example, for leaving my well-paying accounting job to pursue my venture.
JF: With those challenges in mind, what advice would you give to someone else starting up a business venture?
D: Do it! I mean, it is a very cliché thing to say and I know people say it all the time but it is the truth, just do it. If you have an idea, put pen to paper, let your ideas flow, create some sort of plan, research and literally just do it. No-one can tell you otherwise. If you want to be a designer, be a designer. I cannot stand here and say it will not be scary, it can be very scary but it is so important that you have confidence in yourself.
JF: I definitely agree. A lot of the entrepreneurs that I have spoken to have said the same thing. It is so important to just face the fear and do it anyway. With graduation season vast approaching, what advice would you give to university/college graduates?
D: The real world is very funny and the dynamics are very different from that of your academic institution. It is important to do something that you actually enjoy. Money is very important, of course, but please please consider your happiness, purpose and mental well-being. A lot of things in this life are mentally taxing so it is important that career-wise, you feel good wherever you work. When it comes to choosing a career to settle in and an organisation or firm to work for, put it into perspective and just ask yourself whether you see yourself there for your whole life? Whether there are opportunities for growth and progression. Never accept complacency.
JF: Now that right there is a summary of my harsh reality post-graduation. I'm not sure if you can shamelessly plug your own website, on your website (laughs), but I wrote a post about my life post-graduation not too long ago, be sure to check it out here. Moving on, are there any mantras or mottos that you live by?
D: It might be a weird one but 'it's not that deep'. It applies to so many aspects of life differently. I try not to take things to personally but with the way things are constantly changing, trust me, the worries of today, in the long-run are never that deep.
JF: I totally co-sign. We all focus on very trivial things a lot of the time but it is so important to remember that certain things are just not that deep. Finally now, what can we expect from ANT Recruitment in 2017?
D: Our main focus is growth and the further development of our brand. Our aim is to build fruitful professional relationships with GCSE students and assist them through their academic and career development.
JF: Deji, thank you very much for your time. I am very excited to see ANT Recruitment grow and the great exploits that I believe you guys will do.
It was an absolute pleasure to speak with Deji from ANT Recruitment. I remember seeing their brand video on Twitter and messaging him straightaway! I am so here for young people doing great things and pursuing their dreams. I hope you have taken something away from this post, his brand and story. Please be sure to follow ANT Recruitment on their various social media platforms and sign up for their services.