Alexandra Gyetvai

Project Lead at The Source CODΞ Agency

1. Do you remember a time when you were happiest as a child? Where were you, who were you with and what were you doing?

Any day and any activity with my grandmother. She had an incredible life story, having survived a war, the loss of her siblings, the loss of her property, a terrible marriage – yet she was still the happiest person I have ever known. And she had a life-limiting illness, which she lived with until the age of 94.

2. Who was your favourite teacher at school? What did you learn from that person?

My history and then geography teacher. I learned that we don’t necessarily have to talk about serious issues in a serious tone, and almost any deep topic can be told with humor. But to do this, we need to be masters of that subject.

3. What do you think is true that most people think is false? What do you think is false, that most people think is true?

I’m very interested in selection methods without CVs, and believe that it could be adapted in many more cases than now. What I think is false is that ChatGPT cannot replace empathy. I do think that most of the empathy can be algorithmic and the difference between humans and AI lies somewhere else.

4. What are the three books that you would unhesitatingly recommend to others? Why?

The first is The Culture Map by Erin Meyer. I’ve worked a lot with different cultures and didn’t have a clear picture of how to get the sourcing right. I took a deep dive and in a few days everything has dramatically changed, including the response rate.

Another great read is David Epstein’s Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. This is because most recruiters have an amazing range of skills and this book will help them to recognize their value (which is much needed right now).

And lastly, Hiring for Attitude by Mark Murphy, one of the most entertaining books I know. If you are interested in what a brown short can do for your selection, this is a must have.

5. What is your untrainable superpower?

I can recognize a dozen varieties of honey by blind tasting. Useful, isn’t it? What has proved more useful than that is that I can make people laugh very easily, it came somehow, but wasn’t learned.

6. What is a Ted Talk that changed your life?

Do schools kill creativity? asked Ken Robinson. This is a game changer in education and in how we can be enablers for each other.

7. In current industry conversation, what is an example of ‘making a mountain out of a molehill’?

Can I give you a small example? I’ve seen countless times, in many organizations, that a typo in a CV can stall entire hiring processes or that people have created complete character profiles from it. I’ve hardly seen any bigger molehills than that.

8) When was the last time you felt like an outsider in a group? What/How did you learn?

What did I learn? There are many more places to get really delicious chocolate! All joking aside, I’ve always tried to create my own environment and make it welcoming for others. A lot of people today feel compelled to share their opinions, a lot of them influence others, but very few people say, listen, I try to support you in what is important to you.

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

I’m a big fan of low code, no code solutions. With combining Coda, Zapier, ChatGPT plugins, I feel like I’ve found God mode in the cheat sheet.

10) What would be the perfect gift that someone could buy you right now?

The stock of the closed Bookdepository bookshop. (Will my friends read this?)

11) If you were to own a bar, and you could design it how you wanted, what would it look like?

In this bar you will get essences in small bottles from special plants. These are plants that were used in earlier historical times, but are no longer used today. They have a fantastic taste. This is a fine drinking place, with one-on-one attention to the few guests, where every moment, the nature of the drinks is planned down to the last detail (and hopefully there is a bookstore warehouse in the back).

12. If you were to survive the zombie apocalypse, what role would you play in the new society that would follow?

The harmonizer and entry stage builder. I’ve worked for various startups for over 10 years, so the zombie apocalypse and rebuilding is an integral part of my life, even within 1 day if necessary.

13. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received? Who gave it and when?

The president of a multinational company suggested during my summer internship that I shouldn’t complain if I felt I had learnt unnecessarily. Instead, I should find out where I could use the knowledge I felt I had wasted. And he was so right!

14. What's a skill that isn’t on your resume, but your former bosses would recognize as one of the reasons you are successful?

I have had two constant feedbacks from my previous jobs over the last 15 years, one that I have a solution to almost any business problem, and the other that I am a jolly joker in the organization. This sounds great, except in a resume where it is more of a detriment.

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

I am attracted to people who intentionally or unintentionally disregard the expected norms of behavior. This is not a bad quality (for me), but it has deterred many in my past. I am quite average in this respect, but it is always a pleasure to meet people who are in some way out of the ordinary.

16. What hiring heuristic do you generally go with?

My processes are based on extended market intelligence. I tend to dig deeper than average into a particular market and I’ve always found that it pays off incredibly well.

17. When it comes to our work and industry: what scares you most?

The fixed mindset. I often see people reluctant to adopt new solutions and change habits, but recruitment is a field that is constantly forced to innovate (and to invent new swear words when our favorite tool suddenly becomes inaccessible).

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

Adapting knowledge from other disciplines. How do business development managers find their leads? How do academic researchers find related authors? How do trainers achieve changes in behavior?

All of these are transferable to recruitment, the BDs’ methods are outstanding and many tools are little known in recruitment, academic researchers’ processes can be used to identify potential candidates in a discipline, and trainers’ knowledge can help in working with hiring managers. Learning only and exclusively from recruiters in recruitment, in my opinion, often results in an inefficient knowledge base.

19. If you could add a question for the next person to answer, what would it be?

One thing you can change in future sourcing or recruitment. What is that?

20. Who would you recommend to do the next 20 Questions With … ?

I work on sourcing quizzes and there is one person who has achieved outstanding results and even solved quizzes where we didn’t give the key, nor the padlock. He found both. I am sure it would be incredibly exciting to read his answers: Miguel Mayorga.

Thank you to Alexandra Gyetvai for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune. Make sure to follow Alexandra on LinkedIn.

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