A Day In The Life of an HR Executive Director at Green Key Resources
Executive Director, Office Support & Human Resources, Green Key Resources
Regina Gatti creatively describes her role as “corporate casting.” Just as a casting director is looking for the perfect person to fit a role in a movie, Regina works with her team to do the same for her clients. Her performance is evaluated by how many billings she and her team bring in and how her team’s culture is thriving.
Regina’s husband woke up with her 9-month baby girl at 6 am and let her sleep in a bit! He made soft boiled eggs with 1/2 an avocado and coffee for breakfast as Regina played with her baby and checked emails.
Regina told us the role her husband plays in her career is vital. Regina mostly supports the family financially and logistically, socially speaking, while her husband handles the home workload. Without him, she wouldn’t be able to do what she does so well.
Next, she showered, got dressed, did her hair and makeup and walked a few blocks to her office. Sometimes, during her walk, Regina makes some phone calls to family members or clients on the way if necessary. This day, she didn’t.
Regina’s commute consists of a 4-block and 2-avenue walk or Citibike ride. On this day, she walked with an iced coffee in hand.
Regina’s office space at Green Key Resources could be described as an open-trading-floor type environment. She sits in a pod with her team of 7 recruiters and they work closely together all day—strategizing, coaching, mentoring, planning and scheduling.
Speaking of her team, the hierarchy is as follows: Regina’s the team leader with a senior recruiter right under her who’s currently on maternity leave. Then there’s the second tier of management—two recruiting managers who help run accounts and train junior recruiters. Then, she has three recruiters who only handle candidate-work like screening, interviewing, resume consulting, submitting etc.
Regina defines her leadership style as hands-off, empowering and encouraging. “I try to lead by example,” Regina said, setting an expected pace to bring in high-quality candidates in large quantities. Regina and her team get paid 100% commission, 12 times a year, so she told us a lot of what she does is money-motivated.
“I try to hire people who have a competitive spirit.”
The more candidates they get, the more likely the company will find one person they like, which means a job filled and check written to Green Key Resources. Regina’s not only compensated by what she brings in, but is also compensated a percentage of the billings her team brings in. This is why she sets the bar so high for her team. She can’t be over their shoulder telling them what to do, so her team needs to be smart, resourceful and independent—everyone gets paid that way!
Regina and her team head over to the small conference room and pull up their open jobs in Salesforce on the large screen, while some of her remote recruiters dial-in to join. They go through the jobs in detail and brainstorm on candidate strategy, like why certain candidates and their experience match with certain companies but not others, as well as any issues they were having filling the roles. The Salesforce database they have is super vital, Regina said. She also admitted her team recently moved their client and candidate database to Salesforce which wasn’t as smooth as they had hoped. They’ve learned Salesforce is a great CRM, client relationship manager, but not a great ATS, applicant tracking system, so Regina said they’re working on optimizing it for their needs. The titles of the jobs include anything from entry-level to C-suite, so there’s a lot of ground to cover sourcing wise.
Regina is back at her desk and the first thing she did was run through pertinent emails as quickly as possible. Time is quite literally money in her case! The emails that take priority are any emails from a client. Whether it’s about a candidate, new role she’s sourcing for, or a pending job offer to a candidate, those emails are going to be answered right away. “Anything that’s going to make us money the fastest is where we put our energy and attention first,” Regina said. With that being said, Regina and her team and handling a lot of logistics back-and-forth between candidates, clients and team members. Regina said that just because her job is “selling people,” that doesn’t mean she can control them. The only thing she can control is the process of vetting and preparing candidates for job interviews. “A lot of things can go awry quickly so there are usually fires to put out and a lot of rescheduling or canceling interviews,” Regina said.
“The more you understand why a candidate does something, the better you can help them find the right fit.”
People lie on their resumes. People don’t answer back in time. People say the wrong things and people show up late to interviews way more often than Regina would like. Therefore, in order to keep her clients happy and the candidates in the running for the role, she has to be on top of her inbox. Regina shared one of those crises that have come up is a candidate showing up late to an interview. We asked Regina what advice she’d give to anyone that’s had this happen to them—is there any way to salvage the interview? Regina said, while it’s not ideal by any means, the first thing that needs to be done is to acknowledge the tardiness as soon as possible to the recruiter so she can tell the company. Next, which is just as dire, apologize! “If you were waiting for someone, what would you want them to do? Put yourself in their shoes and act appropriately,” Regina said. Back to the day, Regina’s hacking away at emails. The “fires” in her inbox for the 100 roles she (and her team) are responsible for took a few hours to put out.
Let’s take a step back and map out the client-recruiter-candidate journey from the beginning. Step 1, as mentioned, the client will give Regina and her team a job order. Then, she’ll get on the phone with the client to discuss the expectations, the challenges and overall thoughts for the job order. Regina’s team handles new job orders from clients sort of like a rotation. “We try to make it as fair as possible,” she said. If there are long-standing relationships with clients, those roles would be given to the recruiter that the client trusts. Otherwise, the upcoming role would go to the person on the team who’s willing to take it on and best suited. Then, Regina will go to work sourcing for the candidate, which brings us to 1:oo PM on this day. Regina pivoted to “feverishly sourcing” for candidates as well as intaking new job orders, which brings us to Step 2. In Regina’s role, she’s working more on client work and managing the team, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t get her hands herself! As mentioned, time is of the essence when they’re sourcing candidates because they don’t want other recruiters to poach stellar candidates. Many decisions are made in this timeframe, and fast! Regina uses GKR’s database, LinkedIn Recruiter and even her own personal network to search for candidates. She sends InMails, messages, emails and, sometimes, she’ll even cold call candidates at their office. Then, Regina will say something to the effect of, “I’ve got this job, you look like a great fit on LinkedIn, would you be interested in hearing more information?” This is step 3 in the client-recruiter-candidate journey—reaching out. If you’re a professional looking for a new job opportunity, Regina said in order to work effectively with recruiters, she said to remember that they’re people too. “We just want you to be nice and reasonable. We can’t work magic… we can’t make you something that you’re not,” Regina said. If you only have certain years of experience, don’t be asking for a salary outside the bounds of the market range. If you want a certain location or benefits package or PTO policy, Regina said to share that with her as soon as possible so she can gauge if the roles she has are the right fit for you. No one wants their time wasted with unrealistic expectations.
“People get mad that we can’t place them, but our clients pay the bills. We’re a completely free service to candidates… if you’re not qualified for the job, I can’t send you.”
Step 4 is meeting the candidate in person, which is something they always do before the candidate interviews with the client. (Tip: dress to impress and come with your A-game even in this round of interviewing because it’s up to the recruiter then and there if they’ll move you on to the next round.) Step 5, after confirming the candidate is qualified and prepared, Regina will submit their resume, bio and compensation requirements into the system for the client to review and from there, the client will confirm or deny the candidate. If they say yes, Regina’s coordinating with the client and the candidate for Step 6—the first interview. Take this process, and multiply it by 40-50 candidates and then multiply it again with the 100 roles they have and that’s the workflow at Green Key Resources… that’s A LOT to keep track of. This stage is where Regina lets go of the reigns a little and lets the candidate and client do their thing, which could be a good or bad thing. She said, “people also go rogue and do all types of crazy sh*t on interviews.” Some examples she gave were…
- Candidates have said things like, “happy hour’s being my favorite part of the day”
- Candidates have chewed gum or held a coffee mug in their hand during the interview
- Candidates have also mentioned their aspirations to go back to school.
When talking about candidates’ performances in interviews, Regina said, “we just want them to talk about how they’re good for the job that is available right now.” If you want the company to sponsor your MBA, that’s something you tell the recruiter before the interview—don’t just spring it on the hiring manager. That could hurt your chances. To the other cringe-worthy scenarios brought up, if you thought those things were ok before reading this, now you do not! In the meantime, Regina’s prepping the candidates, soliciting feedback from the clients, offering that same feedback to the candidates, editing resumes, so she has an active role in making sure there’s a good fit on both ends. There are always at least two rounds of interviews with clients and candidates and the most she’s seen is upwards of five rounds! After the client has met with all the candidates and like Regina’s candidate, they send a verbal job offer to Regina, who will go to the candidate and get their answer. If that’s a yes on both ends, she’ll start the background check process, which is Step 7, transitioning perfectly to Step 8, which is also what Regina was handling at 4:00PM on this day.
On a good day, Regina said at this point in the day, one or more official offers come through and its time to close down the candidate and push the acceptance through the database. On this day, there was one—this happens after the background checks came back clear. Generally speaking, the candidates in this stage will give their current employer two-weeks notice and Regina’s praying that they don’t get/take a counteroffer in the meantime! That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for negotiation. Some candidates are easier to negotiate with than others so, Regina said, “there’s a lot of strategies and emotional intelligence required here.” She wants to get the best base salary for the candidate because that means the best fee for her services. That being said, she also offers to coach her junior recruiters through this process as well. Going back to the general client-recruiter-candidate journey, if all goes well, the candidates accepted and showed up to the first day of work. That’s when Regina sends the company the bill—Step 9—and hopefully, get paid within 30 days. The company gets paid and then the recruiters get paid at the end of the month. “If you’re working for yourself, you’re just going to work harder, I think,” which is why Regina likes this commission model and thinks every company in every industry should incentivize their employees like this. More money for you means more money for the company, which is also why Regina said it’s important to get along with the rest of the team. It’s a group effort to get stuff done so everyone can get paid!
“Sometimes it’s so easy and other days, it’s the hardest job in the world.”
She had a meeting with a Partner of Green Key Resources about the end-of-year reviews and compensation changes for her teammates. Regina describes the relationship with her bosses as “wonderful.” She did express she wishes there were more women in these leadership positions at the company. However, the men she does works with now make her feel supported and empowered. They care about the growth and progress of her team and her career as a whole. “I can be pretty candid with my boss,” which is helpful not only in bringing up room for improvements in her own performance but the performance of her team as well. On other days, she could be meeting with another division head to talk about candidate strategies or job orders. She could also spend this time to reconvene with her team to see if there are any issues they need her help with before she leaves.
Regina tied some loose ends and left the office to get home to her baby before bedtime! But, just because she’s out of the office doesn’t mean the work is done for the day—checking her phone and email is a 24/7 type of situation.
“You really can’t half do the job. You have to be available.”
We asked her what her work-life balance is like and brought up an interesting point. Often, Regina thinks about what this job was like before the Internet or email, how long all these things you just read about in this day would take to finish. If you’ve seen episodes of Mad Men—not the same industry, but still—you know the administration work could take more than 8 hours a day to finish with your presence in the office completely mandatory. Therefore, when she thinks about having to work all the time now, at least she can work on the go from home, in transit, on vacation even. Taking that into account, she doesn’t mind being “on” 24/7 because she loves what she does, but she does have the opportunity to take time for herself! Green Key Resources doesn’t have a PTO policy, so Regina said she vacations “as much or as little” as she wants. Cumulatively, Regina said she takes off around three months off in the year, which is pretty sweet! However, given her leadership position on the team, she’s there for support, to offer direction and set the pace. Again, when she’s out of the office, that doesn’t mean she’s off-duty. Regina said she knows she’s “not ever really off, if they need me they know they can text me or call me if they have questions.”
Regina’s evening routine consisted of checking and responding to emails, having dinner with her family, putting her baby to bed and one of three things will happen next. She’ll either watch a TV show, read a book, or catch up with a friend. On this night, it was TV.
Regina Gatti graduated magna cum laude from East Carolina University with a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance & Dance. A former professional actress, Regina’s performance credits include “Rosie” in the National Tour of Bye Bye Birdie as well as the once in a lifetime experience to travel the world as a singer/dancer aboard Holland America’s Prinsendam, visiting 80 ports of call throughout 40 different countries.
She then pivoted from being under the spotlight to being behind the scenes working in Broadway theater and corporate events production.
After retiring from the stage completely, Regina parlayed her experience into what she calls “corporate casting.” Regina was referred to meet with Green Key Resources as a candidate, seeking their help to be placed in an assistant or coordinator role.
That meeting at GKR turned into a role at that company as a recruiter, became the top biller in her firm of 200+ recruiters 2 years running, and the rest is history.
What was the most impactful experience of your career?
There are two things about Regina’s job that she finds extremely rewarding. She loves seeing her team succeed and achieve the lifestyle they’ve always wanted with the kind of money they bring in. Regina finds mentoring and giving advice to her team one of the most impactful experiences of her career. The other aspect of her job that’s rewarding for Regina is seeing the candidates she placed in certain roles move on to bigger and better things, especially if those roles are at the same company. She added, “I do feel like I change lives, for sure… it’s almost always for the better for everyone. It’s like a trifecta of excellence.” She’s making money, the candidates get a new job and the company gets a qualified candidate, everyone wins!
What is your advice to those who aspire to be like you?
“If you want to be like me, do what I tell you to do,” Regina said with a chuckle. In all seriousness, Regina’s advice for anyone in this role or thinking about making the switch to recruiting would be to not think too much! There are a lot of strategies that come with working with candidates and clients in filling roles, but if you think too much, that could mean you’re focusing on the wrong things or leaving crucial people out. Trust your gut and your training and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Which job do you want to experience next?
Jobs like Regina‘s
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