Catrinel Hagivreta, Co-Founder & CEO of MEDIjobs, Could Write a Book with All Her Reading Learnings
Catrinel launched MEDIjobs in 2016 together with George, her brother, with the aim of changing the way medical recruitment is done in Romania – a country where more than 15.000 doctors emigrated in the past decade. The recruitment process is slow and inefficient, and clinics spend on average between three and 24 months (not a typo!) to hire a physician.
With the use of digital technology, transparency and automated matching, MEDIjobs makes the hiring process more efficient and reduces it to only 72 hours. MEDIjobs also offers coaching programs for health practitioners who want to invest in their professional development.
Catrinel is also the co-founder of ADOM, a Romanian association that unites experts in dental office management.
In an interview she gave for The Trends, Catrinel talked about the “perfect child” syndrome among entrepreneurs: everyone wants to build the perfect product, service or platform – a risky process that takes time (if you want to know more about this, you should read “The Lean Startup”).
We talked to Catrinel about the business books that shaped her entrepreneurial journey – including the one book that changed the way she sees the concept of “company culture”, how and whom to hire, the best investment you could make in your education, her system for choosing what books to read next, and more.
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
Zero to One – Peter Thiel: clear, practical guide about what it takes to build the next successful start up.
Psycho-Cybernetics, written in 1960 by Maxwell Maltz, an American surgeon; you understand about how your mind works and how you can take control over your actions and results. This book helped me understand that there is no context or circumstances that prevent you from getting where you want, but only consequences of our own habits.
Shoe Dog, written by the founder of Nike, Phil Knight. It’s an amazing book about passion and entrepreneurship. You will learn that it will never get easy to run your business, but you have to enjoy every moment because, as funny as it may sound, what doesn’t let you sleep at night now eventually turns out to be one of the best memories of your entrepreneurial life.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
There are so many things, I could compile them all in a book ?
One in particular that was really relevant for me was a capture from “Hard thing about hard things” by Ben Horowitz about startup culture.
As a startup entrepreneur, it is easy to get distracted by so many things: how to capture your first client, solving the bugs of the platform, writing an article or hiring your first employees. And all this chaos is affecting the company’s culture and its energy, especially when you have a small team.
I remember I was together with my partner and brother George one day and we were concerned about the culture of our company. How can we keep employees engaged and motivated when, sometimes, it’s difficult even for us to be so? We were considering team building events, bonuses and other things we could do to keep our colleagues happy when I read in this book something that turned out to be the answer to our question: Until you don’t have a product (or company) that works, don’t care about culture.
This is essential because it makes you understand how and whom to hire. You understand that you cannot compete with big companies when it comes to incentives, the looks of an office or financial rewards.
On top of that, you will have good days, but most of the times you will have bad days at the beginning, when it looks like nothing is working or making progress. So if you want a happy and engaged team, first develop a product which clients love and use and hire people who are extremely attached to the mission of the company.
What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)
From my point of view, it is not a specific book that had the biggest impact. Important is the accumulation of books that I have read so far because the knowledge I gained with each new book was added on top of the one accumulated one book ago. This is why when you read many books on a specific topic, your knowledge in that area is grown exponentially.
What five books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)
I would probably start with recommending a subscription to Harvard Business Review magazine. It’s by far the best investment you could make in your entrepreneurial education because it covers different topics and industries.
When it comes to books, I would recommend:
- How to win friends and Influence People; Dale Carnegie – because you need to understand people before trying to sell them something.
- Good to Great: Jim Collins – to learn about the most successful companies and their keys of success.
- The Tipping Point – Malcom Gladwell – to understand better the expression “baby steps in the right direction is still moving forward” .
- The Hard things about hard things – to prepare yourself for the ride 🙂
- Zero to One: Notes on startups by Peter Thiel – to understand how important it is to think different and have the courage to act on it.
I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?
I usually read before falling asleep (helps my brain to be productive during night) and the weekends. I am clearly a classic when it comes to formats, for I prefer printed books.
What I like to do all the time is to write down on the first page of each book the date and exact location of the moment I start it. Then, I like to highlight with my pen the interesting paragraphs in the book, with a small word next to it which is relevant for me. From time to time, I go back to these books and I like to re-read the highlighted passages. I am amazed of how much I learn about yourself and the topic presented in the book every time I do this.
How do you make time for reading?
I love to read because it proved to be useful for both me and my company. You find time for the things you love. 🙂
How do you choose what books to read next?
I have a habit of ordering books two times a year and I have a note in my phone where I collect titles for my next order. Now I have more than 10 books for my order this month (before summer).
This system helps me keep track of how many books I read and how fast. It also brings excitement and order in my book shopping experience. Last it is more convenient for me as I order most of my books from Amazon.
Do you prioritize the books recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?
I take most of my recommendations directly from the books or magazines I read or from other entrepreneurs.
Unfortunately, I did not keep track of the people who made the recommendations. I guess it became a habit to ask for book recommendations and I just make instant notes. For example, the Churchill, JFK and Tolstoy biographies I bought after reading the book Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.
Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?
I am reading now the biography of Churchill. In general, I strive to learn as much as possible from people who marked the history of the world, without judging their decisions, lives or personalities.
Links where you can follow Catrinel Hagivreta or find out more about his projects:
- Catrinel Hagivreta on LinkedIn
- MEDIjobs – Official Website
- ADOM – Official Website
- Catrinel Hagivreta’s interview on The Trends [in Romanian]
All books mentioned by Catrinel Hagivreta in this interview:
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel, Blake Masters
- Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
- Churchill: A Biography by Roy Jenkins
- Kennedy: The Classic Biography by Ted Sorensen
- Tolstoy by Henri Troyat