Dov Zavadskis

Founder, The Power of Indie Ltd / Career Coach

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?

To those who know me it wouldn’t be a surprise that music means the world. Only a few people know that I was totally hooked on the radio as MTV was only introduced to us much later. So from the age of 11 I started competing at different radio programmes and very soon I had my own strategy and I knew how to get “on air” and be the next caller in line to win the prize. I was doing so well that I was blacklisted for quite some time too. However, what I really wanted was to start singing radio karaoke. However I was way too young for that as I think the minimum age was 14. I was 11. On the 1st of November, my brothers took me to their friend’s birthday. Little did I know that he was a radio DJ for a karaoke show on one of the radio stations. He told my brothers that everyone at the radio knew about me. I told him that I really wanted to sing and that it was unfair to have a minimum age. He told me to try next week. I did. And that took me on a journey of singing radio karaoke and winning most of the times for the next 3 years.

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

Let’s just say that I wasn’t a big fan of school as I felt very limited. We all needed to do the same things, there was no individuality.
When it comes to teachers, in year 9 we got a brand new Lithuanian language teacher Zivile Bandoriene. Apparently she was a legend as she was training other teachers. Zivile told us that we were chosen. She was the best teacher and we were the best students and we will show others how it should be done. Years later I saw a Ted Talk ‘Every kid needs a champion” by Rita Pierson

She had quite a character and most of the students were afraid of her. I absolutely respected her uniqueness and strong character. She challenged all of us. At the age of 16 we were already picking up to wear different masks and she was the person who could see through that. When she would call your name in class you would get the shivers as one could never know what to expect. What I’ve learned was that it is important to stick with your guns, embrace your uniqueness and challenge others (and allow yourself to be challenged too) as this is how we grow.

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

Mid July I challenged myself to try out the cold baths. I was working with a PT and after one really warm day I just decided to fill the bath with cold water. I have no idea what made me do this but after spending 30 mins in a cold bath I was full of energy. The next day, I decided that I need to find a more efficient way of doing it. So I turned a garden waste bin into an outdoor cold bath. I’ve been doing it for most of the days. Of course when the weather started to cool down it became harder and harder. But when you start the day with something that truly challenges you not only physically but also mentally, all the other challenges that I am facing look doable. Once you get out of the bin, you feel the energy flow and activate every single cell in your body. Normally I would be first to feel cold really fast and start adding layers. Now even in December I am not as bothered.

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

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. We have dreams and visions, we want to know the meaning of them and find our hidden treasure. You can take these metaphors and apply it to your life. . Sometimes we rush into making stupid decisions, and sometimes we simply need to wait it out. I believe in the power of the Universe and law of attraction and this was the very first book

Free to Focus by Michael Hyett. I discovered this book earlier in the year and I read it several times. It is full of strategies on how to master your time, identify your priorities, learn how to delegate and eliminate the things you don’t want to do.

Stop Saying You’re Fine by Mel Robbins. I have issues when people use the word ‘Fine’. It is so generic and doesn’t really say anything. When someone asks how we feel, we should able to tell the truth. This book will teach you how.

5. What’s one misconception people generally have about you?

That I am nice. Don’t get me wrong, I am a genuine and positive person, but what people underestimate that just because I am polite and happy that they can take advantage of me. They are shocked that when they do that, I know how to stand up for myself.

6. What is your untrainable superpower?

Challenging others. This goes way back to my childhood. I had this inner gift of not accepting BS and questioning things that made little sense. When I grew up, it switched into challenging my colleagues, managers, and processes. I feel like it is my personal mission to improve the process so we wouldn’t be wasting time where it is not necessary.

7. What is that thing which is OK to ask you about, but which other people are wary to do so?

I don’t really have taboos when it comes to conversations. I consider myself to be an open and honest person so you can ask me anything. I remember way back at uni days, when we would have parties and we would play Truth or Dare. I enjoyed seeing how people felt uncomfortable coming up with a rather provocative question which was very easy for me to answer. In reality, you can ask me absolutely anything. The depth of the answer will depend on who is asking.

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

It was my last role in the office. Big company, very big team. There were moments when I would come into the office, say hi, and no one would respond. It was a very confusing and uncomfortable time as I really wanted to be part of the team, but things didn’t go as planned. Situations like that have an impact on the quality of our results. When I look back, my only regret was that I shouldn’t have extended my contract for that specific role. I was a little desperate and that backfires big time. We are more vulnerable. What i’ve learned from the situation, that if the team cannot accept who you are for who you are, it is not the right team for you.

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

Notion. It changed my life. I was first introduced to it a year ago, but I wasn’t ready for it. Now my whole life is on Notion. I am showing it to everyone who is ready to listen. You can build so many amazing things and keep things in one place.
If anyone needs any tips around this, let me know!

10. What is your most prized possession? What’s the story behind it?

This is a tough one as I wouldn’t call myself a materialistic person. In the last 7,5 years since I moved to the UK I moved cities, houses, and countries. Everytime I would re-evaluate my belonging and give at least 30% to charity or friends.
As I need to pick one possession, I would go with a guitar that I shipped from my hometown. There is a story behind it. It was given to me by my mum and group of friends while I was locked in a TV show. This was a long long time ago. Even now when I am writing this, I can see the guitar with a corner of my eye, right there, next to my bed. I’m glad that I started to play it more often.

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

The thing is that instead of having a bar I would prefer to have a smoothie/fresh juice pop up place on a busy London street instead. I would call it “Juice It Up” and serve fresh juice with a kick. I am now focusing on a healthy lifestyle and gone are the days when I cared about alcohol. I have a feeling that after the pandemic a lot of us started looking and re-evaluating our life and opting in for healthier options. As the question revolves around the design, it would be bright, funky and fun pop up that you will remember for its quality and positivity. And also for that extra kick (ginger shot) 😀

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

Never respond to the first inMail/email. If they truly want to talk to you, they will follow up. This advice was shared with me back in 2016 when I was Sourcing TA professionals for other big companies. I was on a mission to find a Senior Sales Recruiter and it was quite a challenge. During a screening call with one top recruiter she made a comment that she loved my first message. Me being cheeky, I straight away asked why she didn’t reply to me then. That’s when she said that she was curious to see if I will follow up. This stayed with me and now this is one of my rules too. This is so true, majority of people who send us messages (especially on LInkedin) are not going to follow up. Then you don’t want to reply to them. Don’t waste your time.

13. What decision makes you say, “What was I thinking??” when you look back on your career?

When I decided to walk away from Sourcing and start my own company with a focus of helping musicians. Music is my passion and it was one of the most difficult decisions that I had to take. I had to listen to my gut as it is the compass that is always guiding me into the right direction. I knew it was time. I know that there are so many friends from the industry who don’t necessarily agree with me, but hey this is my life and it’s the one that I need to be comfortable with. It all started for me when I felt comfortable using ‘Career Coach’ to describe what I do too. I am passionate in helping others and I feel that I bring more value to those who are looking for work than focusing on finding that one candidate for the business. Seeing the shift in people’s eyes when you share some secrets about what could be done differently is so rewarding. I never take an easy route. And boy oh boy was it a challenging one 🙂

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

Game changer. It doesn’t happen straight away but I have a personal mission to improve things. I would be asking questions and digging deeper, understanding the processes and trying to get the ins & outs of the tech we use to make sure that we are truly using the things in the right way.

15. Have you ever been the weakest member of a team? How did you handle it?

I didn’t handle it well, because what I realised only later was that my team didn’t really know what Sourcers are supposed to do. I was blinded by the promise of what company stands for and what we will be doing. I was very specific about how I see my role and on day 2 I was told that I am expected to do all the other things that I specifically didn’t want to do during the interview. There was a lot of confusion. It was an internal battle as I knew I can do so much better but the overall expectation of what I should be doing in the team was totally unrealistic. There was no other way but to leave. I even shared this experience in a Sourcing Challenge Show podcast with Mark Lundgren.

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

That recruiters are overworked and they literally are spinning way too many plates at the same time. My friends who are not working in Recruitment complain about so many things. If you don’t work in the industry it is very hard to understand the workload that Recruiters are carrying. And especially now, it feels like it is even more intense. I think it should be illegal for Recruiters to have more than 15 unique roles. The quality suffers and candidates are being left behind.

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

What really helped me was having a mentor. I met Mark Lundgren on the same day as Hung Lee. We clicked well and I was fortunate to have his never ending support. I already knew about Mark before we met and I heard so many awesome things from other people in the industry about him. I would come to him with an answer, as at the beginning I was rather lost. He always had time to show me the way. His guidance played a massive role in my Sourcing career. He also nudged me into volunteering at Sourcing Summit (when everything in my world was crashing down). He also taught me that everyone has a story to tell and it took him a few months to convince me to share my story on his podcast, The Sourcing Challenge Show.

This one decision changed the course of my career as then I started getting invites to talk at different conferences.

18. What is the number one thing you would recommend every person in the world to practice from now on in order to increase their happiness and wellbeing?

Changing the way you talk to yourself. We live in a crazy busy time when others might be having unrealistic expectations of us. Which then might lead us into thinking that we are not good enough. Tony Robbins said that 2 biggest fears that the majority of people have is that they are not good enough and they are not loved.

We need to experience the sense of belonging. The hardest part of the journey is for you to accept who you truly are. Embrace your imperfections and celebrate your quirkiness. And talk to yourself as your best friend would.

Mel Robbins said in her Ted Talk, that if we connect a speaker to your brain and we could hear how you speak to yourself, we might need to institutionalise you.

Few weeks ago I discovered Marisa Peer’s work and started doing her quest on Mindvalley. She explained that our mind is on a mission to do what we need the most. However we are the ones sending the signal.

If right now you feel overwhelmed, stuck, tired, unloved, heartbroken or whatever the negative mood you are in, you have the power to change that.

Simply twist that statement into a positive one:

– I finish everything that I start

– I can easily set and achieve my biggest priorities

– Sourcing comes easy to me

– I can achieve any goal that I set

– I have all the the tools needed to achieve this

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

What is a Ted Talk that changed your life?

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

Mark Lundgren. Mark is the person who had the biggest impact in my professional life. And even though he is the one who was on a mission to share the stories of others, he has quite a story to share too.

Thank you to Dov Zavadskis for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune. Make sure to follow Dov on LinkedIn. Need a CV audit or career coaching advice? Contact Dov here

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