Welcome back to #WeAreGreenKey, where we shine a spotlight on the people behind our powerhouse recruiting team.  

Today we talk with Kara Ruettiger, Principal at Green Key in the Pharma Temp division. After receiving her Marketing degree from Bradley University, Kara jumped right into the world of recruiting, where she’s grown for the last twenty years. Kara walks us through her journey in recruiting and what motivates her and the Pharma team to succeed here at Green Key. 

How did you get your start in recruiting?  

I’ve been in the staffing industry for over twenty years. After graduating college, I did about a year and a half of IT and Telecom staffing. From there, I moved on to an IT sales role, but I really missed recruiting. So I went back into staffing, this time in the pharma industry, where I’ve been for almost nineteen years now. Pharma intrigued me; I didn’t know a lot about it, but there was more stability versus the industry I was in prior. Other industries experience peaks and valleys, but you see less of that shift in Pharma. After eight years at my previous company, I joined Green Key in March 2011 and helped kickstart the Chicago office. 

What’s your motivation to work every day?  

I majored in marketing in college, but I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was interviewing my entire senior year and trying my hand at anything to be able to get a job.  

I didn’t know much about recruiting, but when I was offered a role, I immediately liked the social aspect of the job and getting on the phone and getting to know people. I love keeping relationships and building foundations with my candidates. You get that gratification of helping people progress through their career. There’s nothing better than seeing a candidate land a role they really wanted, and knowing you brought that opportunity to them. That’s what brings me back to work every single day. 

What does your typical workday look like?  

Every day is different, which is what makes this job fantastic. My role is unique; I’m still recruiting, but the bulk of my time is spent managing several of our key large accounts. This includes making sure the team has all the information about the account and job openings, fielding questions from our recruiting staff, reviewing resumes, assisting recruiters with their searches, examining who they’ve hired in the past, and submitting qualified candidates based on job requirements. There are also unexpected situations that need attention, whether it’s a request from the client or an existing consultant.  Additionally, our clients will conduct spotlight calls on new openings, and I make sure that information goes out to the team to help with recruiting. 

We also have monthly internal calls with the partners and principals in the division. This helps us touch base on our recent successes and what we need to work on. That management piece of the job gets factored in daily. 

What does training in the Pharma division entail? 

In terms of training and development, as new recruiters come in, they experience their first week of training, including LMS training and training calls. I get brought in with each new recruiter specifically to talk about the accounts I manage. I give them a high-level overview of each one and answer any questions they may have. 

Once the recruiters get their initial training, they get paired a week at a time with the account managers. This helps them get to know the accounts, as well as various recruiting skillsets and building a pipeline of candidates. So far this has worked out really well – recruiters coming right out of the gates having success with submittals, which leads to interviews and offers. 

What makes the Pharma team so successful?  

A lot of us have been working together for a long time. When we started the Chicago office, we had a clear idea of which direction we wanted to go in this division and what type of talent we wanted to bring in. We wanted an attractive type of environment, where we work hard and don’t micromanage. We want to support our team with questions and check-ins, but also give everyone their freedom. 

What sets Green Key apart from other recruiting agencies?  

I am beyond grateful and lucky to have been here for the last eleven years. This is the first company I’ve worked for where the owners care for every single employee in the organization. You’re not just a number here. The owners are patient, understanding, and want to give you everything possible you need to succeed and be happy doing it. That’s been the consistent message from the top every single day that I’ve been here. 

Now that you’ve made Principal, what are your goals moving forward?  

It was such a pleasant, amazing surprise when they made the promotion announcement around the holidays. I’ve seen my progression over the eleven years I’ve been here, since I first started as a Senior Recruiter and moved up from there. The next step would be Partner, so my goal would be to hopefully get to that point in the next five years or so. Green Key really wants people to come here, work hard, and do well. They want to see their career progression and being at that top level someday would be fantastic. 

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Green Key
Jun 6, 2023

COVID’s Effects Drag Down Pharma Rankings

In a year of “unparalleled economic and healthcare shocks,” Informa’s Global Pharma Insights says the pharmaceutical industry is still healthy even as “COVID-19’s implications for pharma growth, revenues and the supply chain are still emerging.”

CPhI’s Pharma Industry Rankings & Annual Industry Report 2020 shows how pharmaceutical executives from across the globe assess the state of the industry, ranking the major pharma markets on a range of indicators including growth potential and innovation.

The overall industry index, which is a compilation of the scores across each market, fell for the first time in four years. The index reflects the accumulated scores in five main areas: growth, API manufacturing, finished dose manufacturing, competitiveness, and knowledge of professionals.

While the report doesn’t specifically explain the decline in the overall index, it’s apparent that China’s sharp decline in several categories was a key factor.

“It is China,” the report says, “That has suffered the biggest score decrease of 5.80%, which sees them fall down the rankings into 10th place.” China’s role and its lack of transparency in the early months of the pandemic “has negatively impacted the Chinese pharma market’s reputation in nearly all major sub-sectors,” notes the report, reflecting the views of the survey’s 550 respondents.

However, the report predicts that the effects will be short term. “China’s fundamentals remain too strong. We expect a dramatic bounce for China in 2021.”

Pharma report rankings - blog.jpg

Despite the decline of 7 of the 10 countries detailed in the rankings, the report says “many of the leading pharma economies have scored strongly in knowledge and pharmaceutical quality statistics and much of the fall on 2019 results reflects reduced confidence in growth rather than quality.”

The United States fared well, coming out on top in the CPhI Pharma Index with a score of 7.41. Japan and Germany followed in 2nd and 3rd place. In terms of market growth potential, India was the big winner, coming out on top in rankings for the category for the first time. The country, like China, has long benefited from the outsourcing of high-volume production. This year, as Big Pharma and smaller firms sought to de-risk their global supply chain, India became the primary beneficiary of this rebalancing.

Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash


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Green Key