Alina Croitoru

Talent Manager

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?

Hmm.. that’s a really good question- going down the memory lane :). Each time I’m going home for holidays, my mum and my grandma tell me stories when I was a kid.. and they always say I was a happy kid, hyperenergetic..I remember I loved (LOVED) being outside with other kids, playing games, climbing trees, biking, going to the forest with my grandpa..at some point I remember I even had a band with some of my best friends (not that I was able to sing) but we liked the entire process of organising, doing paper invitations, improvising a performing scene, selecting songs etc.. I remember it was a pain for my grandma to put me to have midday naps. I used to pretend for half an hour that I’m asleep just to get out as quickly as I could. I was the happiest when I was outside, doing activities with other kids or just by myself, climbing trees. I had a tree right in front of my courtyard and I used to climb it only to sit there, eating mirabelles. Sometimes with salt 😀

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

Probably I had an adult side in me since I was young.. I remember feeling responsible for things.. when I was outside, I felt responsible even for the other kids to be safe somehow (even if the other kids were older than me). Mentally, I started questioning things in early life and took responsibilities in highschool. Practically, probably I officially became an adult when I left home to go in the unknown world. I knew that’s what I wanted and I knew just by feeling the weight, being excited but at the same time, being so damn scared, knowing that it’s only me without any fishnet.

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

Running and living more in the now, rather than the future. Running, I started a few months ago because I simply needed to move outside. I never liked running, I used to be more into high intensity trainings and I was like.. I have to do it now when I do not have many other options to escape it, running helps me clear my mind. And living in the present, why..hmm. Probably because I was too focused on the future, focused in a sense of thinking, planning, always thinking about what happens next or what could happen and probably I needed this pandemic to slow down and understand I am enough to take everything day by day, to understand that my friends and my family need me now, not tomorrow. And I need myself, now. Sounds weird, but that’s how I feel and I’m happy I got to feel this.

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

Leading with Dignity by Donna Hicks, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. Recommend all of them to everyone, anytime! All of them stir up distinct senses and perspectives.

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

Stubbornness, determination, it depends how people interpret it. Definitely it put me in trouble to be misunderstood or simply rejected. Oh, and honesty.. I tend to be straightforward and that didn’t work well for me sometimes.. And I still choose that regardless. Sometimes the truth is wanted until it is said or shown, truth shakes people’s ego and comfort.

6. What is your untrainable superpower?

Hmm.. perhaps that I see people and try to understand them beyond what they portrait. It’s a blessing and a curse.

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

The answer came quickly in my mind, for a few seconds I was hesitant to say it.. It’s easy to be vulnerable until it hits you right in the face.. But I’ll say it.

I felt like an outsider at my most recent workplace. When you are an outsider, you collect by observing and analysing others, communication vs. reality, by analysing how you are doing things, you gather new concepts, different ways than what you know and after a while you can decide how you want to define the reality so that you can progress, in that environment, if possible or if not, somewhere else. I personally learned to accept what is not meant for me, to choose my battles, what is worth of my energy and most importantly, time, when it’s time to move forward. I learned to trust my real instinct, my logic and my values even more.

8. On what topic would you never make a joke? Why?

People’s worst pain… or discrimination. I’m referring to non-physical pain or non-visible discrimination.

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

Definitely Strides and Strava, not sure I fell in love, but I definitely like them, they are both very practical and help me maintain good habits.

10. What’s the last image on your camera roll? Care to explain?

Haha. Unexpectedly, a picture with me trying to cook something yesterday evening. I took it to show my friends and my mum that I was cooking. Positively, it ended up a good meal. Cheers to the veggies for helping me out!😜 Haha.

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

I would make different rooms for different vibes, 1 looking like a jungle, 1 looking exactly like space, 1 full of utensils that you can build things with, 1 looking out of this world.. something imaginary, fantasy inspired, 1 all in white with walls that you can write on, 1 full of chaos with bright colours and multiple patterns and I can continue for hours. I would make a big round table instead of small tables everywhere and every room would have a different music genre played in.

12. Aside from family & friends, if you could invite any 3 people - living or dead - to your final dinner party before the end of the world, who would they be and why?

Boudicca, Freddie Mercury, God, Elizabeth Fry, Nelson Mandela, David Attenborough..to hear all the stories of our earth and maybe.. rethink how to stop the end, re-giving birth to the world. Ha! How would that be?

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

My first manager told me to never give up. I remember he told me that right after an intense meeting where all of us involved in that project were debating the next steps and I remember I was intensively pushing for something while some did not agree. And another great piece of advice I received from actually 2 people, in different environments, was ‘’to pick my battles, otherwise I’ll burn myself’’. And I did, a few times, to learn by doing so.

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

To never give up.. each time people underestimated me or didn’t give me chances. Quickest example I can give is running after opportunities and moving from one country to another (from leaving Ro to UK, then NL and FR). It looks beautiful from the outside, but the unknown is not easy and we all know it. It’s just worth it, that’s how I get to learn and live.

Choosing my battles, I think I finally learned this one recently by choosing to continue on my path separately from an environment where I picked up all battles, only to realise after a while that some of those battles are not mine and I cannot solve some issues if people don’t want to face them, it’s like a circle effect. And my mind needs to flourish, I can’t let it down. My experience and the lessons are with me for a reason and I have to trust and use them elsewhere.

15. What role do you find yourself playing when you join a newly formed team? Can you explain why this happens?

A bit of everything.. to be honest. It depends on the team, on the people, on the scope of the work, if I’m looking back, I tried to adapt based on each circumstance. Sure I know why, it depends because one part of me likes to do things that I know I’m good at and the other part wants to be challenged and explore, that’s how I am, I like to be actively involved in various things to get different perspectives and try even things I don’t know much about, I like to solve complex issues while taking care of people and the aim of the project.

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

I don’t believe in bad qualities. If it’s a quality, how can it be bad? To answer your question, if we’re talking about things that I don’t particularly appreciate when I’m working with someone.. it is entitlement, duplicity, selfishness.

17. Name one person from your professional life who has had an extraordinary impact on your career. What did they do and what did you learn from that person?

Oh, there are a few. If I have to pick one I’ll say Fritz Singer, one of my previous managers, from him I learned what it means to be a real leader, a genuine one, while achieving the results needed and being there for the team with integrity. Because I feel people think they can’t be humans while shooting for the stars. Yes, I think you can. You don’t need to give up humanity to get results. From him I learned patience, how to focus, how to de-prioritise (very important at that time and much needed for me) and trust my expertise.

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

I think everything will get solved with time and effort. The recruitment industry has a bad image nowadays.. because of many elements. An image that affects the interaction with people’s lack of trust or generalisation. But everything can be changed, we just have to put individual effort in doing our job curiously. It’s an industry that is constantly changing, but people have the same basic needs.

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

What does recruitment mean for you? Why do you do what you’re doing?

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

Hmm. What about someone that worked in different jobs before getting into recruitment or HR, someone that would not be considered a specialist of recruitment but is naturally gifted to be in recruitment.. for more variety.
Maybe Matthieu Birach, if he has time.

Thank you to Alina Croitoru for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune.

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