Eva Zils

HR Hackathon Founder, TATech Top 100

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?

I grew up in a small German town’s outskirts. My friends and I lived close to wheat fields, vineyards and everything you would define as a countryside life. I loved the summers when we would spend all day outside climbing the trees, collecting wheat and corn from the fields to make bread or cycle in the vineyards.

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

At the end of my English and French studies, I decided to spend some time in Lyon, France. I was only some months away from my final degree but went anyway. The moment I set foot on the Lyon soil, I knew I wanted to stay or come back to live there. So I did that, and I found my first job in an international job posting agency where we consulted German recruiters on which job boards would help them find the ideal candidates.This ERASMUS experience in Lyon is the reason I entered the online recruitment industry.

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

To be honest, I am not a big book reader anymore as I get most of my information from scouting the Internet. So this is a mix of recently read books and others that I used to read when I was younger.

Never Split the Difference, by Chris Voss

Learn how to negotiate EVERYTHING without hurting the other side or give them the feeling you rushed them into a decision they will not be comfortable with in the end. Chris Voss used to be a high-profile CIA agent who negotiated in complicated hostage-taking cases. The book is thrilling and a must-read for everyone who wants to have better (sales) conversations.

White Fang, by Jack London

A story of a young wolfdog cub growing up under violent human hands. There are great lessons on how to treat other living creatures with love and respect.

The Inspector Lynley Series, by Elizabeth George

Great stories, tremendous research work by the author and a way of combining complex murders and their psychology while creating a constant storyline with the series’ characters throughout many. many volumes. If you like intricate mystery novels spiced with well-depicted erotic scenes, then theses books are for you.

4. Name a well-known person you admire and explain why you hold them high esteem?

Zazie is a well-known French singer and songwriter here in France. I appreciate the frankness and sometimes blatant truth in her songs, her views on society and on the adventure that life is. She is definitely a role model for me when it comes to speaking up against common beliefs or mainstream opinions. She does this in a perfectly acceptable way even though I guess that many people think she’s a lunatic.

5. If you wrote a ‘user manual’ for how people should interact with you, what would be the most important point in the manual?

Trust me and let me do the work I need to do, and everything will be alright.

6. What is your untrainable superpower?

Detect the needs of people, customers and the industry and cater to them. Pretty handy in business, a bit more challenging in personal life.

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

How old are you?

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

Sooner or later, I will feel like an outsider in any group. This might come from the fact that I am an “HSP” – a highly sensory processing person. This means that I am processing many more outside stimuli than most others. Being with a group over a longer period of time results in me being overwhelmed with all that is going on around and inside of me. Retreat would be the perfect solution at that moment but sometimes this isn’t possible. So I will find other ways of retreating which can look weird to others. I haven’t found the perfect way yet to communicate about this in a good way so I’m still working on this one.

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

A selfie on my balcony showing the Strasbourg skyline mirroring in the windows and a pint of beer. This pic probably describes me best 😉

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

During my holidays at the Baltic Sea in August, I found a little shop from a local artist. She creates objects from the driftwood she finds on the shores. I bought a lamp from her that is built with a wooden frame and has sailcloth in the shape of ships. I love ships and boats, and this will remind me of these great holidays forever.

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

Paris. Should be good fun.

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?

I don’t think I would be throwing a dinner party because we won’t know when the end of the world actually will happen.

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

Never take a no for a definitive answer. I want to dig deeper and get to the ground of things.

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

At the very beginning of my career, when my employer had asked me to do my first ever sales call, I presented myself (in German) by adding the definite article “the” to my name – In German, we can do that. However, this shows that you are diminishing yourself. This also reflects a lack of confidence. My mentor pointed it out to me immediately, and I changed it on the spot. It is crazy how this seemingly minor change helps growing into your professional role.

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

This depends on who and how the other team members are: Preferably, I will be observing and watching everyone for a while to find out who wants to play what role. When I realise that there is no apparent leader, I will take that role. I can appear both passive and active, reserved and assertive. My guess is that this has to do with me being the youngest of three sisters. While I felt dominated by my big sister, I also felt the need to be supportive, protective and assertive for the one in the middle.

16. What hiring heuristic do you generally go with?

Trust your gut feeling but check back with other people before you make the final decision.

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

That robots and AI will make the recruiter’s job obsolete. That would be a total disaster.

18. What common wisdom in our industry needs to be debunked?

In God we trust – all others bring data.

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

Why do you live in the place / city you are currently living in? What would make you move away and why?

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

Chad Sowash & Joel Cheesman because I am curious to see how they will answer.

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

Read more stories from the Brainfood community...

Previous Next
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this