Toni Gimeno Solans,

Inbounding Recruiting, Trainer & Consultant

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 was born and raised in a small village in Catalonia in the middle of the country-side, so I had total freedom to spend my afternoon as I pleased, and the most common feeling that I remember was, meeting with my friends and our bicycles and start wondering around to find the adventure for that day, that went from building houses in trees, playing different sports, swimming in the river or breaking-in old houses and a long etc. Seeing it now, it was the most present thing ever, going without expectations to see what live would bring to us.

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

Creating a recruitment software company, having no salary for more than 8 months and being just 24 years old. Back then, starting startups wasn’t such a thing like it is now, and my parents and friends couldn’t understand why I accepted to work for a company that wasn’t even mine, working really hard and not having no salary, after spending several years studying to have a degree and a master. I accepted to be part of that project, because I believed Inbound Marketing was the future of Digital Marketing. After a couple years, we were the 1st success case in Spain in Inbound Marketing by HubSpot and now I even created a Recruitment methodology called Inbound Recruiting inspired by it, and I created a new company around it.

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

The habit of doing an exercise called “Wheel of life”.

I do my own version of it, where I list the 8 most importants areas of my life, and I list the most important elements of each area and I grade them based on the feeling of fulfilment or happiness with all of them. That lets me see in which areas I’m not fulfilling what I want, help me recenter to know what’s really important for me and what is not, and once I got all the grades for each area, I design a life plan for the next 3 months that help me go towards a happier life, prioritizing certain habits or activities or myself, and erasing bad habits or things that I was spending time on and they were not important. Doing this exercise every 3 months helps me design a better life and see and monitor my progress.

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

4 hour Work Week, by Tim Ferris

It lets you see other ways of working rather than being an employee. It influenced me to become a solopreneur and encourages people that are really good at what they do and they don’t feel fulfilled, to start their own thing.

How to win friends and Influence people, by Dale Carnegie.

It’s a classic but it made such an impression on me the first time I read it, that changed the way I did marketing and also now, I apply several of his advices in my Inbound Recruiting trainings. Probably it’s the book I re-read more times.

Untethered Soul from M.Singer.

It’s more of a spiritual book about how our mind and lives work and how to detach from our thoughts. The first time I could only read half of it because it blew my mind so much that I had to stop in the middle to process it all. If you are new to this, I’d recommend the “Surrender Experiment” from the same author.

5. If you wrote a ‘user manual’ for how people should interact with you, what would be the top three things they should know?

In an honest and direct way, saying what they think, being as straightforward as they can, while having a good intention in any interaction. And also with a smile and wanting to have fun.

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

Being a “rebel”. When I see things that people do just because it has been done in a certain way or because that’s what it’s expected, either in a job or in life, I do it my way. I think I become “unemployable” in certain ways, because in companies that are a lot of politics or there are no values or vision, I fight like it’s my own company to change it or improve it, and sometimes people feel I’m overstepping. But I always do it with the best of the intentions. I even quit my own company because I didn’t share the vision with the CEO, and I asked her to step away, and since she didn’t, I did.

7. Have you always had the same political beliefs? If so, why do you think you have held them so long? If not, what event caused you to change your view?

Being from Catalonia, a region in Spain that has a totally different culture than the rest of Spain, I always had the belief that we should be independent and I was quite emotional about it. Now I don’t care anymore. I understand that politics is a kind of theater where politicians are looking for the best outcome for their own party, and nobody looks after the country neither they have a long term vision about how a country should be managed. So now I believe that we have to be good people, that differences make a country more diverse and interesting, and now I feel that I’m a citizen of the world more than just a country or a region.

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

About my feelings, my fears, my doubts about myself or how I deal with anything about my life. I think people are too afraid of being vulnerable and we fight a lot to be liked. I have no problem to talk about any topic and explain to you what I really think. I think if we all behave this way, we would become better people, we could learn more and also, by talking about what we really think or feel, we would learn a lot about ourselves. Just try it, you will see that nothing happens.

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

A picture of a drawing about a framework of the 6 De Bono’s thinking hats adapted to Inbound Recruiting. I’m creating different types of content to explain differently the Inbound Recruiting methodology and I’ve started working with someone that is helping me with ideas out of the box. The previous one is one in the middle of the mountain surrounded by snow. Not everything is “work”.

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

It’s not a purchase itself, but I’ve just moved to a new house that has a fireplace, and being able to light a fire every evening, gives me a sense of tranquility and a warm feeling that I love.

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

Any industrial city that has no green spaces and parks, and it’s polluting. I think we should reconsider how we build cities and some of them would need a fresh start.

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

I’ll try to create a community of people that we helped each other, giving more than we took, making everyone contribute with their best ability and talent, and living in harmony. I could be what politicians should be now, a facilitator to make a community stronger and make it cooperate and efficiently.

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

If you want to do something, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. It’s simple but sometimes we are surrounded by people who are too afraid to see yourself succeeding in whatever is your idea because they didn’t dare to do it by themselves. Don’t accept the status quo, don’t accept the way things are done if you believe that they should be done differently. Don’t try to change a whole organization, try to change yourself first and be the example of this change.

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

When I joined Adecco after leaving my own startup, I thought I could fix all their problems, and I involved myself in any initiative that could help change the company. At first to prove to everybody my value and the genuine believe that I could. Afterwards I was working on 16 projects, which was super crazy, and at the end, I didn’t have a major success in almost any of them. My learning: step by step, focus on one thing, change it, improve it, give your best in one thing, and then go to the next one. What were you thinking Toni? That you could change a multi-national company by yourself? Hahaha

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

I find myself encouraging everyone to give their own best version. Even though I’m not in a position to lead or I’m no expert in whatever we are doing I always find myself pushing everybody to give their best and to see the bright side of any situation. I guess because I like to work in motivated teams and people who bring me energy, so I don’t let the team be negative or passive, so my energy level doesn’t drain.

16. What hiring heuristic do you generally go with?

I try to understand what had been the learnings of that person in past experiences, what “grade” they give themselves in previous jobs and why and understand what frustrated them, and then, understand what is the real motivation to get the job that we are offering, in order to see if what that person want to gain by working with us, is aligned by why we want people to join us.

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

What scares me the most is how HR professionals are trapped in a completely obsolete way to do things since the very first moment they got involved in this industry. Now that I’m a teacher in some master schools, I see how disconnected and obsolete the HR education they have received is and how unsexy is for a lot of young professionals the Talent Attraction or Hiring activities because how a lot of hiring agencies or companies train them when they do internships for example. Also, what scares me the most, is the limiting believe that HR is less important than other departments in a company. But, we will change it for sure!!!

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

See HR problems with a Business, Entrepreneur or Marketing mind. Whenever I see a challenge in HR, I change the word employee/candidate to customer, and I try to see what the best companies do to solve those challenges for their customer. Then I take this initiatives or strategies and I apply them to HR.
The secret tip is to try to learn from the very very best in the world (not my country or industry) and to copy and then improve what they do. And always be learning. There are tons of blogs, podcasts, youtube videos of people sharing their knowledge. For me it is a mistake to try to learn all by yourself. Invest some time before you do anything to try to learn from the best and then implement it. You will be starting from a privileged position.

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

What has been your biggest professional learning this year?

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

Gianluca Rosania – he has an amazing passion for what he does and to help people succeed. Also, he is super generous in the way he shares all his knowledge and tries to help both recruiters and also people to find their true purpose. And I’d love to know his personal side, because I know he had lived a really intense life, in all ways imaginable, and It would be beautiful to know this personal side of him.

Thank you to Toni Gimeno Solans for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune.

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