Pedro Olivieira

Co-founder, Landing

1. What seemed like an inconsequential decision at the time, but in hindsight turned out to fundamentally reshape your life?

When I was studying CS at University I joined this student group which had the mission to match our fellow colleagues with companies looking to hire them for internships and recent grad roles. If you fast-forward from that moment in time until today you’ll see that there’s a lot of similarities between what I was doing then and what I’m doing now with Landing.Jobs.

2. At what age did you become an adult? What happened, and how did you know?

I think I turned into an adult when I moved out of my parents place, that situation marked the moment when I jumped into adulthood.

3. What habit or behaviour or belief have you recently acquired? Why is it now in your life?

So there’s actually a few habits I picked up in the past few months. One of them is that I started using the Pocket app again in order to kind of keep up with all the content that is being thrown at me for the past few months, especially after Covid-19 kicked in. Another habit that got back into my life is just jogging outdoors because the gym is closed. The last one is something a friend of mine offered me last year which is a bottle of “Nikka whisky from the barrel” , and I just find myself having a glass of it every weekend, and it’s just delicious and it’s my private thing to do and I love it.

4. When was the last time you changed your mind about something really important? What was it and what lead you to change your view?

The last major mindset switch I had happened two years ago when I really have to reconsider alternative education paths other than university standard ones. I guess I was really “close minded” when it came to setting up engineering teams and I really disregarded people with non-traditional educational backgrounds by default. Nowadays I have the opposite opinion and I’ll share a couple examples. My wife joined a coding bootcamp and switched her whole career, and I was one of the people who supported her decision the most as a husband should. Also, I’ve hired several people for Landing.Jobs technology team from non-traditional academic backgrounds and I couldn’t be more happier about this as it increased team diversity and we’re actually a much better technology team today than we were before.

5. If you wrote a ‘user manual’ for how people should interact with you, what would be the top three things that would be useful for them to know?

It’s a very interesting concept to think about a ‘user manual’ for Pedro. I guess the top three things that someone who directed me should know is: 1. I don’t like when people pick their words in a strategic manner, I like authentic people who can throw in some more aggressive words without being overly aggressive. I tend not to like people who speak in a political fashion and are overly concerned with what they say to others… even though, I do realise that sometimes you need to be careful and think twice before externalising some thoughts. 2. This is quite important especially if you work directly with me – when you send me a written message on Slack or Whatsapp or messenger, don’t send it like if it was a synchronous conversation, give me context – what do you need? Why are you reaching out? Don’t expect me to reply to the “Hey, how are you?” and wait back for you to ask me what you need. Be more asynchronous. 3. I’m a fast thinker and it can be hard sometimes for people who need more time to think about their replies, or even people are more in-depth thinkers to have a normal back and forth conversation with me.

“I don’t like when people pick their words in a strategic manner, I like authentic people who can throw in some more aggressive words”

6. What personality trait has got you in the most trouble? What kind of trouble does it get you in?

I like to risk new things in my life when it comes to business and building new stuff. This can sometimes get me into trouble or even take me off course and make me more in focus from my long-term goals. When I was a kid I would get constantly into all types of problems at school, let’s just say my behavior wasn’t the best one and even though I had good grades. I think that is related with the fact that I love to try new stuff… I’m a lot less risk-averse than the normal Portuguese person and that gets me into trouble a lot of times so far. I’m 33 years old and I couldn’t care less as long as I respect the values that my parents taught me growing up.

7. Have you always had the same political beliefs? If so, why do you think you have held them so long? If not, what event caused you to change your view?

When I was a kid I used to be a lot more radical and outspoken about my political beliefs and that’s changed over time especially after I cultivated myself as I grew up into adulthood, but there’s two special books who fast-tracked this change. The first one was George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” which helped me put things into perspective: left and right kind of meet at the extreme ends, right? And, the second one was written by Saramago and it’s called “Blindness”, which helped shape the way I viewed society and it’s a very good book and I advise everyone to read it.

8. What do you think is acceptable today but will become taboo tomorrow?

Bullfighting. It’s a horrible “sport” – some traditions must die as society evolves. This is one of them.

9. What app or tech product have you most recently fallen in love with?

Miro. Great for online collaboration which is something we need to become better at.

10. What is the best purchase you’ve made recently? Why?

I bought Zoom stock and so far so good 🙂 I have my own private investment strategy and this was one of the “moves” I’ve done recently.

11. If you were a giant mega Monster, what city would you rampage first? Why?

Definitely Berlin. The reason is quite simple actually… the last time I flew over, there were two busses that I needed to catch. I was on time to catch both of them. I checked on Google Maps and they left the station 3 minutes ahead of schedule.  I wasn’t late and that doesn’t make any sense to me and makes me mad! I realise now this looks a bit over-the-top to pick Berlin just because of this situation but I respect “being on time” way to damn much!

12. Which fictional villain do you find yourself sympathising with most? Why?

Joker. I guess the last movie “Joker” really made me think that there’s always two sides to the same story and it really puts things into perspective especially about society today, and how messed up it is and that’s why I sympathise with Joker.

13. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

Always try to ask open-ended questions.

14. Can you give a work example of a lesson you had to learn the hard way?

One thing I hate – and I mean I absolutely hate – is losing a client when it’s my fault obviously. And, that’s happened more than I’m proud to say. At the same time, it’s always a reminder to keep me and my team on our toes because competition is out there and they will hound you. Don’t take me wrong though, I love competition because it motivates me to be better, run faster and deliver the right value to my clients.

15. What’s the one bad quality you don't mind in a colleague? Why?

I don’t mind a bit of stubbornness because it helps me come up with better argumentation.

16. Who was the best person you ever hired? Why were they so good?

It’s not really someone I’ve hired but it’s someone I’ve been matched with. It’s my co-founder José Paiva and we really complement each other really well. We are indeed very different people and we do have a huge age gap between us, and very different life experiences but I believe this diversity really plays in our favor. We do find common ground in the values we both believe and that’s why we’ve been together building new products in HR Tech since 2013! We’ve made a lot of mistakes but there’s a lot of respect and honesty and being okay with admitting your own faults in order to do better tomorrow than you did the day before.

17. What’s one industry challenge you don’t actually think will ever get solved?

I think a lot of startups are trying to remove the human element out of recruitment and that won’t happen even though technology will play a role, a very important role, in helping talent professionals do a better job. I don’t believe recruitment, which is a very human process, should ditch the humans from it – it’s counterproductive.

18. Who will be the winners & losers in our industry in the post-Covid19 world?

I think there will be less relocations in the post covid-19 world so that’s going to be bad for businesses which depend on relocations. On the other hand, I think the big winners will be all those businesses that enable remote processes from recruitment, onboarding, payroll, offboarding, etc. In sum, all the online tools that enable work getting done will be definitely on the winning side.

19. Do you have a secret tip, tool or trick that’s contributed to your success?

One thing I’ve always done is to take “leaps of faith” in myself, in my team, in my products and in my beliefs. There’s so many people who don’t do this… and, if you do it, it sets you apart and somehow people, or at least some people, will respect you for having the courage to do it, and that is beneficial for whatever you’re trying to achieve in your life.

20. Name one person who would you like to read these answers

Actually more than one. My family and closest friends because they don’t really know much about this part of my life.


Thanks to Pedro Oliveira for taking 20 Questions with The Recruiters Tribune.

Follow Pedro on LinkedIn. And if you’re hiring for tech in Portugal, Spain, Germany or elsewhere in Europe, make Landing Jobs your first port of call

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