Ri5 Profile: James McFadzean

Ri5 Profile: James McFadzean


Big Brother’s loss is our gain, take a walk with us as we follow James to London and GuardianJobs and on to Employer Branding at Qatar Airways, via Turkey and Brazil.

How did you first get into the industry?

After moving to London with dreams of working in fashion, I had a horrendous 26 day experience at a leading luxury brand and decided I needed to make some money fast; having very little network or resources, I stumbled across GuardianJobs and within 2 days they’d hired me.

Would you do the same again?

Without a doubt; that job not only gave me a really solid foundation to build from, but being a big young and lively team it gave me a network that still support me to this day.

What would you do if you didn’t do this?

Plan B was to go on Big Brother.  I’m unsure whether BB or end-of-the-night RAD Awards is the biggest opportunity for public shame but I’m still glad I went Plan A.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?

I remember very clearly being told “Not everyone will like you or get where you’re coming from” quite early on in my career, and at the time, the idea of not being a ‘hit’ everywhere I went was horrifying.  However, throughout my career there have often been times where my ideas weren’t received the way I wanted, or people found me quite overpowering, and remembering those words, and having the confidence to brush myself off and find a better ‘fit’ have helped me progress, and continue to be bold and unapologetic with my approach.

And what piece of advice would you give somebody starting out in the sector?

Nobody has a clue to start with, so just pretend you do until you learn stuff.  That, and don’t be a dick.  We all move around, but the industry is very small and we never forget a face.

What’s your favourite recruitment ad?

I remember when looking to go ad agency side, TMP’s Coventry CC campaign “Do it for Daniel” really struck a chord. Brave, impactful, and a real call to action.

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And what’s your favourite non-recruitment ad?

The Heineken #OpenYourWorld ad still gives me goosebumps

You’re entertaining industry contacts. Where do you take them, and why?

If I was back in London, it’d always be Chotto Matte.

Here in Qatar, Morimoto at the Mondrian, followed by banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery.

If I was ever stuck for lunch-spiration, I’d always ask “Professional Luncher” Dave Brooks at TMP

And what are you listening to?

I’m a bit obsessed with Kehlani at the moment.  But to break it up, some early noughties playlists on Apple Music are helping me adjust to the 5am starts.

Which five guests would you invite to your ideal dinner party?

Gemma Collins, the Queen and Michelle Obama.  Between us we’d get through a dinner for five.

What are your top three films?

Mean Girls, Silence of the Lambs & Still Alice.  Variety is the spice and all that….

Something or someone for Room 101?

Powerpoint.  Just the mention of it makes me want to put my head in an oven.


I’m a big fan of actual conversations and discussions, like a regular human.

What items do you never leave home without?

2 pairs of sunglasses.  I like to have choices, and they’re easier to transport than a whole new outfit.

What’s your biggest achievement – career or otherwise?

Taking the plunge and moving abroad has been something I’ve always thought about, so actually doing that and being here in the Middle East is something I’m proud to have done.  That, and coming second in ITV’s Tipping Point.

What is your ideal holiday?

Well obviously it would have to be somewhere on the Worlds 5* Airline, preferably somewhere extremely warm, where cocktails are extremely cold, and there’s that perfect mix of relaxed lazy days and plenty to go and see (and eat) in the evening.  Brazil & Turkey are particular favourite destinations, and in my new role I’m super excited to discover more.

Three words to describe yourself?

Bold, brown and bearded.

Your best and worst habits?

Tenacity for both.  I’m as subtle as a sledgehammer, so will chase you down until you surrender, but it also means I’m super passionate and like to make stuff happen.

What has been your worst/most boring job you’ve ever had?

I was once a toy promoter, for this new toy which was like a cross between a yoyo and a really complicated toy.  I used to just play the video of someone who actually knew how to use it whilst I drew attention to the TV screen and got shown up by 8 year olds. 

Thanks James.  If you would like to nominate someone for an Ri5 Profile, or participate yourself, please contact the Ri5 Editorial team at editorial@ri5.co.uk


Thursday, 15 March 2018

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