The Best I Ever Worked With …by Gui Lozano
Talent Acquisition Manager, UpCloud
Editor-in-Chief, Meio&Mensagem, São Paulo (2011)
This is a story I had never told anyone.
Most people don’t know, but I studied journalism and I my passion was to tell stories. That’s how I met Lena. Lena is precise, intelligent, outspoken. She can talk about pretty much anything – marketing, politics, football. The journalist I would like to have been. She was the maestro of our newsroom – if you’ve been to a newsroom, you know it needs a maestro. It is loud and messy, and deadlines are tight. This is the kind of place that is packed with brilliance and talent, but with that persistent touch of ego and arrogance that can make it hard to control. It is a weird combination, capable of producing outstanding work, but in a somewhat tense (maybe a little toxic?) environment.
Lena is short, yet she was the most respected person in the room. When she spoke, everybody listened. She never raised her voice. A very tough woman without ever having to show how tough she was.
I was just an intern and I went mostly unnoticed. It was my first job, working on a 1-year contract. Interns in Brazil are treated as junior employees and you are expected to deliver as much as everybody else. As an intern, you don’t just shadow others – you are expected to get things done. I was going through a somewhat hard period of my life and was suffering from mental health issues but going to work helped me. I genuinely liked what I was doing. 6 months into my contract I had a mental breakdown that led me to consider harming myself in a, let’s say, more permanent way. As these thoughts grew on me, I decided I wouldn’t need to go to work anymore (obviously…) and one day I just decided not to show up at the office anymore. My mother advised me to at least offer my resignation letter in person. Reluctantly, I showed up at Lena’s desk – she immediately recognised something was off and took me to a separate room, where I broke down. I told her I didn’t understand what was happening to me and that I needed some time to figure it out.
“You don’t have to quit, do you? Take two weeks off and come back when you feel better”. But as an intern I am not entitled to holidays, I thought out loud. “Well, now you are. Paid ones. Go and come back when you are better. You are good at this. I need you back”.
That was so important for me to hear that today I am here writing this text.
Recruitment Manager, Krakow (2014)
Arnaud is not like any corporate manager I have ever had. He dresses the way he wants, he speaks his mind, and in a sense, he was very laid back. It was almost like he couldn’t care less about what was going on. But that would be a mistake to refer to Arnaud in that way. In fact, he was just able to understand the game so well that he could afford to take things at his own pace.
We started working for that company on the same day. It was my first job as a recruiter and he was responsible for a very junior team, myself included – we had so much potential, but we had a bit of a rebel attitude and we loved fucking things up. It was the period of my career that I learned the most and that I had the most amount of fun, but I am sure that we did cause Arnaud a bit (a lot?) of trouble.
He would openly encourage me to make mistakes. Maybe this is a common thing out there, but for me, at that point of my life, that was a complete revolution in my way of working. In my previous jobs or at university I always felt pushed to strive for perfection in every situation – and then comes this dude, full of tattoos, wearing yellow socks and going to work on a skateboard, and tells me that making mistakes is not only alright, but desirable? Eye opener.
Another great quality in Arnaud is that he had time for me and my bullshit. I felt invited to come to his desk every time I had an issue because he would just make time for me. Another great guy I used to work with – Daniele Filippini – told me once that there’s always time for absolutely everything. It depends on how much you care about it. It is a matter of priority. That did make me a bit spoilt and I had to re-learn how to cooperate with people above my ranking after that. “Would you like to have a meeting? Check my calendar and no back-to-back please”. Two weeks later and I had already forgotten what it was about.
I felt that I really was Arnaud’s priority and that single quality made him the most important leader I have ever worked with in recruitment.
Sourcing Trainer, Alexander Mann Solutions, Krakow (2014)
There is no other way to put it. Drabik is a machine.
He was already fascinated by sourcing back in the beginning of 2014. Sourcing exploded in the past few years, with so many new tools, techniques, and dedicated events, but those were times where nobody cared about it. I remember new joiners at AMS rushing to get promoted to “Resource Specialists” because nobody wanted to have “Sourcing Specialist” as a job title. It was something to be avoided. And, to be honest, it was the same with me. I hated spending hours going through endless databases of candidates in Taleo or BrassRing (how is it possible that companies still use those?) or spamming those poor souls we were trying to convert to candidates on Linkedin. That was until Drabik showed me what real sourcing was about.
I won’t exactly be talking about sourcing here because my best sourcing days are definitely gone, but what I learned from him was what kept me in recruitment for the past 7 years – it sparked that passion in me that kept pushing for new ways to get creative and find those candidates that nobody else could. Not that I was the best. No, I never was. But he taught me how to think sourcing, how to plan and be creative about it – and as we are all different, our creativity will always lead us to different paths and results. Different interactions and conversations. Suddenly, sourcing wasn’t just about keywords anymore.
Once Drabik was hosting a sourcing workshop at AMS. We were going through advanced sourcing techniques and it was probably the first time I heard names like Martin Lee, Glen Cathey and Irina Shamaeva. At some point, Drabik said he was going to teach us how to interact (allow me to call it ‘hack’) with a voicemail box and gain access to a company’s phone directory, tricking the system into giving the phone numbers and email addresses of people working there. I was like
I was like ‘Jesus Christ, I wanna learn how to hack stuff”