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Balancing the Grind with Justine Van den Mooter, Talent & Experience Partner at Qwilr

Justine Van den Mooter is the Talent & Experience Partner at Qwilr, a document design and automation tool for sales teams.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

 I have a passion for travelling, studying and working in different countries. After a year long high school exchange in Denmark, I decided to study International Business Management, which allowed me to study abroad in Vancouver, Canada and do an internship in Amsterdam, the NL.

For my graduate internship, I joined a logistics startup that was very small at the time, there were only 7 employees! I ended up helping out in a lot of different aspects of fundraising as well as overall support and people management.

I had a heartfelt conversation with the CEO, told them the employees were overworked and we needed to hire more people to relieve their stress. And that’s how I got into Talent Acquisition! I ended up staying with them for two years and helping the team grow to about 35 people when I left to embark on a new adventure, moving to Australia! 

During my first year in Australia, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my life, mental health and where I wanted to go with my career, because to be fair, the previous job left me kind of burnt out and very stressed.

Someone from the Qwilr team reached out to me for an SDR role, but unfortunately, I only saw the message months later. The role was already filled, but they asked if I wanted to help out with some People projects.

At this point I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a full time role yet, so I ended up helping out as a freelancer on a part time basis. Truth be told, I fell in love with Qwilr and the team at Qwilr and as time went on, I took on more responsibilities, tasks and hours.

That brings me to now, I am a (full time) Talent and Experience Partner at Qwilr, a B2B SaaS Startup in Sydney. As a Talent and Experience Partner, I don’t only focus on hiring people to join our team, I also make sure that the people we have at Qwilr (Qwilroos) have the best time working here. 

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Depending on the “season”, life at Qwilr looks different! Sometimes, we have a lot of roles open at the same time, and then it’ll be my priority to just source as many people, book interviews and get hiring managers set up for success in getting their people onboarded.

Recently, it has been a bit quieter, which means I can focus on other projects. 

In general, whether it’s hiring season or not, I like to get up early. It takes a while for me to wake up and focus. 

Here’s a recent workday: 

  • 5.30 Wake up, snuggle dog in bed 
  • 6.00 Get up and have a coffee 
  • 6.30 Go for a walk with doggo 
  • 7.15 Have breakfast & read through (urgent) emails, Slack & LinkedIn messages
  • 8.00-9.00 Check-ins with recent candidates (moving them along in the pipeline, checking how they are going with take-home challenges etc) 
  • 9.00-11.30 Post office run – sending 30(!) onboarding packages, anniversary gifts to our Qwilroos around the world 
  • 11.30-12 Phone screen with a candidate 
  • 12-1 Lunch break, hanging up laundry while listening to a Podcast 
  • 1-2 Create some content for my personal LinkedIn / Qwilr.life Instagram 
  • 2-4 Thinking about / Planning office vibes / remote connection events for our Qwilroos 
  • 4-5 2 Phone Screens with candidates 
  • 5-5.15 Send summaries of all phone screens to hiring managers 
  • 5.30-6.30 Gym time! (I usually do Pilates, HIIT or Spin classes) 
  • 6.30-8 Family time (cooking, eating, tidying the house etc) 
  • 8-9.30 Unwind by watching Netflix and sewing (or doing other craft projects)
  • 9.30 Bed

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

YES! This is one of the things I enjoy most about working at Qwilr. It’s really a “work where you work best”-situation. Which I absolutely love. I personally enjoy going into the office, because I am a People Manager after all, so I love to see and connect with my people in real life.

I go into the office every Tuesday and Thursday and WFH Monday/Wednesday/Friday, this is a choice and what works best for me. I usually don’t leave my dog at home for more than a couple of hours, so she comes to the office with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

It fits really well into my routine in the sense that everyone around me knows those are my “office days” and I will be working from home on the other days.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are rest days from the gym, but when doggo gets a BIG walk in the morning, whereas M/W/F are workout (gym) days. I work best when I have lots to do and I can make a strict schedule for myself as to what I will be spending my time on. 

Sometimes I’ll start work a bit earlier and finish a bit earlier, and other days I’ll start a bit later, because I have calls in the evening with people in Europe, that’s all totally fine too! 

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I had a really big shift in mentality a few years back. I was very set on “work is the only thing that was important”, which ultimately led me to high levels of stress and burn out. Until I finally decided to take two weeks off and backpack solo through Thailand.

I met so many amazing people and I thought “this is what I should be doing, life is not about work”. And my mentality shifted from “living to work” to “working to live”. This is the balance I try to maintain.

It’s being able to part ways with work, by realising that the world is NOT going to end when something isn’t done immediately. I learnt that I have to be really strict with myself as to what is work and what is not.

My laptop closes and notifications are off at 5.30PM, people at Qwilr are really respectful of that, which I highly appreciate. Family time and unwinding is really important to me. I know I am losing my balance when I start dreaming or thinking about work right before bed.   

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I have only started to implement and change habits over the last 12 months or so. I have started to really incorporate a morning routine, and it was hard!

I had to write it out in a sequence and be very strict about it, otherwise I knew I wouldn’t stick to it and waste time running back and forth around the house with a coffee in one hand and a hairbrush in the other. That has helped a lot.

Also, getting a dog has really helped me getting up earlier and including more walks into my daily life. Having a sedentary job, movement is limited, so being forced to walk the dog every morning gives me time to listen to podcasts and spend time outside. 

Other routines that have really helped are making meal plans and doing 1 weekly shop, it saves me so much time! By planning everything out on Sundays and doing one big grocery shop, it takes away the hassle of thinking what to cook, running to Coles. 

Going to the gym at the end of a WFH day, it makes a clear cut off between work and home. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I don’t really read books, I prefer audiobooks or podcasts, because I can listen to them on the go, while cleaning the house, cooking etc. The majority of the podcasts I listen to are actually non-work related. I am passionate about true crime (for some reason it helps me unwind!).

Some of my favourite crime podcasts are Crime Junkie, Something Was Wrong and Ladies We Need To Talk. I heard that The Health Code Daily is pretty good, they have very short episodes (only 5-10 min) sharing simple tips on motivation, staying active and being thoughtful throughout the day. 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Internally at Qwilr we use CultureAmp. It doesn’t only track self reflection, evaluations and 1-1s, it actually has a skills coaching function as well, where you can take action into improving some essential skills like productivity.

With sending prompts every couple of days, you complete a course into improving these skills. There is also a learning library attached to CultureAmp with various articles, exercises and other resources on different topics. 

Personally, I have recently started using RescueTime (based on a prompt from CultureAmp that told me I needed to try Time Tracking), which tells me exactly how much time I spent a day on different websites, apps, and how much of those are actually “focus work”, “work related” or “other activities”. It’s really helpful to see how many times I get distracted. 

Besides that, I use Notion as a Project planner, to keep track of what I am working on, what’s finished and what I have in mind to start working on. 

Lastly, a good old notebook for to-do lists is a must for me. Pen and paper do the trick for me and I get way more done when I can physically cross something out. 

No work apps on my phone!

The Crime Junkie app for podcasts 

8) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

“if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”, this is extremely cliche and even though I don’t 100% believe in it (because work is still work), I do believe that if you do something you love and work for a company that sees value in taking time off, it’ll make it all a lot easier! 

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.