June 16, 2021

Get 3X qualified candidates that are a good fit for your team - Lavinia Vladu (#8)

Get 3X qualified candidates that are a good fit for your team - Lavinia Vladu (#8)

It’s not often that an applicant can have the opportunity to choose a team instead of choosing a job. So how does CV30 put company culture at the forefront for brands and a person’s career search?

Lavinia Vladu didn’t have it easy starting a business with no money to invest. Coupled with having to work out of a McDonald’s or some other café while bringing her coffee from home in a thermostat and her mom constantly telling her that she should get a job at a bank where there is job security and a consistent paycheck, starting two businesses was hard. But despite these obstacles, Lavinia knew that their people centric career platform, CV30, was an innovative and easy way that allowed brands to present themselves to job candidates in a friendly and collaborative way.


Listen to our conversation and discover:


-       How you can get applications from people who are more likely to be a good fit for your team

-       Why feedback from friends and family is not good when starting a company

-       What its like starting a business with no money right after completing University

-       What CV30 means and how it removes cost and the barriers of brands to allow them to present themselves

-       Some of Lavinia’s favorite restaurants in Bucharest (I’ve checked out two of them and now recommend them too!)

Hope you enjoy!


Let's say you're trying to do a new positions for your company. But you're having a hard time attracting quality candidates. What can you do? CD 30 is a people centric career platform that helps companies present themselves in a fun and collaborative way. And in doing so provides applicants, the opportunity to choose a team instead of just choosing a job. 

I sat down with co-founder Lavinia Vodou. As we discussed her experience, launching two businesses right out of university. Hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.  

I thought we could start with the name of your company.  can you tell us what that means and what it is that your company provides? Okay, so CD 30. It's linked to our idea of having your life put together when you're 30, 30 years.

Romanian it's,  and in English it's how do you see yourself? A 30. Both professionally and personally, because it's actually about wellbeing. And how do you want your life to be? We thought about it because we are helping people discover the best career path for them and the best employers where they have the opportunity to be their best version.

Let's say. Where do you see your life? When you turn 30, how do you think your life will be? Thank you very much for assuming that actually I'm 31. Yeah. When I turn. 30. I have all my life put together. I had two businesses. I had my baby a great relationship. Great coworkers. It was. Great. So I really hope that we can provide this awesome feeling of wellbeing to all our partners and contributors on the website.

Yeah, I think, I wouldn't example how your life would be at thirty. Good. Let's rewind a little bit. Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?  I grew up in a small town in the Southern part of Romania and It was a really nice and tidy and everyone knew everyone.

And when I moved to Bucharest, it was all, oh my God, this is so huge. So many people in the subway, I was  fascinated by the whole mesmerizing types of people pushing and laughing. I did not have that in my home town. So it was a great difference. And to be honest, I don't think I could live again in a small town because the vibes and the energy, a big town gives you an incredible my childhood was boring because all I did was learn and study and learn and study and get good grades.

And he never did anything mischievous or you being in nature or outside? No, I was the perfect kiddo. I just learned and get good grades and do nothing else besides school. It's not so interesting. Actually it became a lot more interesting when I'm arrived in Bucharest and went to university.

Okay. So in regards to the university, you attended the academy of economic studies here in Bucharest. How did you decide that you wanted to pursue a degree in this field? And economics is actually a very good question because in high school I was more of a bookworm and all my Major in courses or literature and geography and history,  and I started learning maths and physics and the economy and tough stuff for me because I had no experience in learning them in high school.

And my final high school year was pretty hard because I was learning for buck with all these other courses and I was learning University, which were totally different stuff, hard math problems, stuff to learn. And I did it in one year, one year. I actually managed to learn for study for both of them.

And Am very proud of me. That's impressive. Yeah. That many different subjects, especially when you haven't been exposed to those subjects prior to your senior year. So after university, what was the next big decision in your life to start the business?

Because after you university, you were at precision media, you were working as a marketing consultant, and then you took a role as a business development manager for Monday morning. And Monday morning was our marketing agency that we started in 2013. And yeah, I go from the deep sea. It was something that I already knew how to implement those campaigns for our clients.

And It was this was not the difficult part, because to be honest, I did not think it through. I said, oh my God, I had the chance to be my own boss. It would be so great in five years.

amazing. Yeah, that was my idea of owning a business and then the train hit me.

After a couple of months of we're struggling because it was really difficult. We had no money to invest. We started doing business and we had a lot of luck, I think because we had clients from our first month or so when we started our business. So we could have money to actually implement those campaigns and.

Our first office, actually, we got it, I think after six or eight months or something like that, we would hang out on McDonald's cafe and other cheap coffees we tell, which is in our bags and coffee from. Home thermos. Yeah, it was hard. I had no idea of all the legal parts of owning a business and all the.

Contracts and all the invoices and stuff like that. I was like, oh my God, what did I get myself into now? What type of business is it an SRL? Or is it something different? Okay. Okay. And so while you were doing this, obviously you're struggling the first few months as any sort of founder does was there a moment of regret or any moment of thinking, God, I wish I had stayed at my previous role.

Or were you still excited and still happy? Yeah, on a daily basis. I had thoughts and then I would say, I should get the job. I should get the job, especially since honestly I didn't have any support besides everything around me was like Even mom, you should get a job in a bank, but because that's smooth, secure, and you have your monthly paycheck and everything is great.

And the people dressed nicely. And I had this feedback for, I don't know, the first three years or so. And they're like, oh, okay. So you tried this startup thing and this. Business owner thing, but it's time to get real and get the job. So it was difficult because back in 2013, it was not so hyped the idea of owning a startup of creating a product from zero and to build a company, to build a team and people were more Laid back and wanted some safety nets, like a state job.

Insert audio here - "It's my understanding that early on you focused on engagement companies for big companies, can you share some examples of what those campaigns were?"


It's my understanding that early on you focus on engagement campaigns for big companies. Can you share some examples of what those campaigns were?  

 we have a niche in the Armenian market especially on the BTL side of market, which means consumer engagement campaigns.

And some examples are actually,  we created some multi brand campaigns. For various big brands to participate and we offer this bag full of goodies and discounts and vouchers and products meant to give you a relaxing moment, a good moment to make you feel good.

And this one is for professionals. 10,000 professionals in a big offices from Armenia Accenture PNG and stuff like that. And we delivered those packages really nice and branded and stuff like that to people. And they are so very happy to receive these goodies, all those discounts. And actually, this is the most important part because we want to give them a moment.

Pleasure and relax and chill and enjoy their time in the office. This is one type of campaign. We work also closely with brands because we get briefs from them. They have a lunch for on your product and we present them some ideas. Implement the marketing campaigns. We have more campaigns in the mountains, on the slope, on the seaside, on the beach in universities, in our student dorms.

Actually it depends very much on the target group. So if it's a product designed for professionals, Then we go to office buildings and implement some more out of the box ideas that we implement in our a library of physical library on the beach with bean bags and Branded the umbrellas and stuff like that and read and enjoy their time.

Yeah. And the whole message was exactly this. So relax on the beach and read. And this is how we chose the implemented some other campaigns. Let me see back to that one, that is such a unique idea. I've never even heard of such a campaign before that. That is pretty cool. If you had the opportunity to go relax and read a book on the beach, what are some of your favorite books or books in the past that had a really big impact on your life?

To be honest, I read a lot. Detective books and the spice books and stuff like that because they take me out of my comfort zone and they made me think, okay, who's the killer who deals, who can hurt and stuff like that. And these books make me feel more relaxed. And I don't think about the. what's in my life.

I just focus on who's the killer. And this helps other types of I've read the past few years where. Mostly on the self-development area because I have a lot of self awareness and I want to improve myself every day. So I wanted to find out more about the, how, what triggers my decisions or my client's decisions how to keep myself motivated every day, even when my odds are not in my favor.

And helped me, especially when they present a different perspective and they make you think about the stuff that you didn't even consider until. So these types of, so let's go back a little bit. So you've got this one business running Monday mornings. What happened during this time that sparked the idea.

Of applicants having the ability to consider choosing a team instead of just a job and thinking that this idea could actually be turned into a new kind of business. Back in 2015, I think we had some clients from Monday morning. That was the name of the agency back then. Now it's all under the cv30 umbrella.

Actually, our whole name is CP 30 worldwide group. So we also incorporated the marketing and Jesse under the, under this day name and it's all cv30. And back in 2016, we had some clients from the marketing agency that recommended us to their HR departments because they wanted to promote their jobs and add some online presence and make it more engaging.

So well, We thought. Okay, why not? Let's give it a, try it and see what's happening. And then in 2016 I think this is every business owners we had the challenge and the hard challenge was to find team members that match our company culture because we had lots of candidates that were not a good fit and they put, just apply for any job.

And it was actually a waste of time. Both for us. And for them, we said, let's try a different angle. Let's take some pictures and let's make some videos about our work culture, about the, what we love most about our job. Then the, how are we different than presenting ourselves as the young and dynamic thing that who we are, or there's some pictures of you guys sitting on a beach, reading a book and having a drink or.

Actually, no, because this would have been a lie and transparency. So no, there are some features with us back then we had or something like that, because we didn't have money to buy him some facie chairs and stuff like that. And we, weren't just looking nice and young. Basically, because this is the idea that we wanted to share that this is us.

And if you like us, Come and join us. Yeah. After that we've received different types of applications and those people were more likely to be a good fit for our team. And then that was actually our hot moment when we decided to create that for the website. And we had our first version as a WordPress site.

Where did we put together our pictures and videos and some things not very much just some text. And we presented it to some of our partners from the marketing agency and they loved it we were filming and taking pictures, incorporations like KPMG, Microsoft, PNG orange, and the meanings actually. Wow. Wow.  So you have this platform, CV 30 that allows applicants to meet the teams of employers. See what the culture is like all before even submitting their job application.

What are the strongest strengths of the CV 30 platform for both employers and job applicants. I think for employers , the best one is that they, even if they don't have a career websites, if they don't. Have any materials to promote their brand. They have altogether a way of provide all the services they need to with photos.

We there should be, we actually help them discover their employee value proposition and what makes them a great employer. So they had in one place. All this information and connected also with the themes and the jobs all in one place. So I think that's the best the best advantage for employers and it's free.

It's completely free. It's for employers to have a safe place where they promote an image for free.  Obviously for applicants, they can see the team they can see use of the team. What other things

 For 30, we offer everyone the possibility to talk about what they love about the job how they succeeded in their career.

It's more than just a platform to present them, to show off to to showcase. Some parts of the job. It's a place where you have some answers to your career questions. Or if you want to talk with professionals from marketing, HR, it, you can live there. And You won't see any ads. You won't see any kitten videos.

You won't see any shoe ads or flashy banners and stuff like that. It's all career. It's all about career questions, career path, and it's a safe place for everyone to, to share that experience, to share their stories and actually become a better professional. Got it.  Now, since COVID most job interviews are now being conducted remotely and online Lavinia, from your point of view, what do you think employers can do to really highlight their company culture and boost their company brand?

If they're not using the cv 30 platform? Actually, because we are ahead of our times, we have. Profiles and company profiles that call with the companies who post images and the videos from employees in their home office, working from home and presenting the company, culture, benefits and perks and satellite flexibility on the job, like working from home and actually, you know what, it's more natural and it's more intuitive, more human because.

Once you see that employee in his own apartment, the drinking coffee from his mug, talking about what he loves most about the job. It's more real. And you have the tendency to believe it rather than a corporate language, corporate PR and stuff like that. I think that Now more than ever being there for employees and letting them share their opinion and share their experience is more valuable than just posting some technical details.

And we do this and we do that and we are great. So on that note, from your perspective, what do you think is wrong with how most companies are managing the recruiting efforts? I don't think it's wrong. I think everyone does what things it's best for them in that particular moment. It's not right or wrong.

It's just many times I've seen this, Romanian companies they're not allowed to. BeReal and to be transparent and to be authentic. Most of the times, and the one big challenge that we had is that the KPIs, the digits, the visuals branding set strategy comes from the company's headquarters, which is not located near me.

The impact on the Romanian market, on the Romanian candidates, then it's not the same. They don't not react to those messages that apply. I don't know, for Germany or for the million market. So what we advise our clients and our partners is to actually think about the Romanian market. Think about other target group and who they want to.

Listen to their messages and to create a strategy that impacts. Their views about the company. So I think this is the most important one, too, and to be transparent and to give people the option to talk about what's happening in the job, it doesn't have to be all rainbows and sunshine, and we are so great.

And this is so awesome here. It has to be real because nobody believes it. That it's all great.   Let's talk about life outside of . Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing? Yeah, I enjoyed doing.

Lego and drawings with my son. Actually. I love baking, especially for him, but my husband's 50% of the pastries I took for my son. So these are my hobbies now, to be honest between taking care of my son and the jobs. Because there are more of my mind. It's pretty difficult to have some free time for anything else, actually.

And this pandemic times I couldn't Go to the gym or meet up with my friends or stuff like that. So yeah, there are not so many options. Hopefully that will start to change as re restrictions are loosening up a little bit and life comes back to normal a little bit. Looking back. Is there anything you would have done differently the first year when you started CV 30?

Yes, actually, I think

the most struggling part was managing our expectations because we were so high on the power that we build something great. And people love it and stuff like that. Oh, we actually didn't. Take into consideration there. Yeah. Which it's a good thing. If you are a startup founder, because we need the vision and the optimism for great stuff.

But I think it would be, it would have been helpful to be more grounded in reality, and to see how we can manage our expectations from this point of view. And. I think that's it. We had some great dreams about how to expand and what to do, but the implementation was not so great. It was really difficult to build a tech product like cv30 to that core, which is.

Online and fully digital or with no digital backgrounds because neither me or my husband's brother and my partner had digital backgrounds. So we needed to hire and to bring in the team. Other people are great at this area and it was really difficult.  Yeah. Managing expectations is really hard when you're so enthusiastic about.

Your product and your company you believe that this is like the greatest thing since sliced bread. Everybody who sees this is either going to want to invest in it or join it, or, participate in it somehow. So I definitely have been there. Are there any favorite restaurants here in Bucharest that you want to go back to now that restaurants are starting to open up again?

Yes. It's a book on the bull. It's a social one. I don't know if it's still social one or inside your mouth. And there's this grumpy straw around the piata Victoria, which has the greatest brunch. In the weekends. Oh my God. It's hysterical. So you just eat and die for the table. , my wife and I had been looking for a good brunch place.

So we may need to check this place out. Okay. So it's one more, but I really don't remember the name where they help for this year. It's called they have this great pancakes. Oh my God.

What style? Pancakes. Cause there's the American style that are like big and fat pancakes. Now you're talking now you're talking and they have this recipe.

Search the internet for that recipe. And I found it and now I'm making them home. So that's good. Okay. Lavinia for those out there who are working for an employer, but are thinking about starting a business, what is some advice you'd like to share with them today?

Yeah. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone but you need to have a great mentor. Development actually work great under stress because. Every day is stressful and every day is full of challenges, especially in the first few years in the business is a little more stable. I think that I should give it a try because until you try it, you don't know if you can manage being an entrepreneur or not.

And they should have some. Great prospects regarding their business. They should have their target market. They should have their product design a little bit. And constant feedback helps a lot constant feedback from potential clients, from potential investors, from not friends and not family because they are biased.

But from other people who might actually support your product and to help plan how to. Get those diehard fans, because once you have a great base of fans, it's a lot more easier to share the news to other people and to make them a byproduct. So these are some tips and. Honestly, good luck. Okay. Okay, Lavinia.

 Thank you so much for being on innovators can laugh. Where can people learn more about you and CV? 30 where on every social media network. So certainly on Facebook, if you want to talk about how work. The make your Mondays happy and the website. So we are present everywhere. You got the message and thank you very much for the invitation.

I really hope I answered your question questions and the answers help other people decide what's best for them and what makes them on this head? Absolutely. My pleasure. And for everyone listening until next week, this is Eric melchor saying goodbye and la revedere.