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

Today we catch up with Michael Khalili, Principal at Green Key and Head of the National Accounting and Finance Recruitment Division. Michael came to Green Key 11 years ago after two years with Smith & Nephew. Since then, he has taken pride in his ongoing business development efforts, the growth of his team, and the opportunities that Green Key has provided to him. 

What first inspired you to pursue a career in recruiting? 

I worked for one of the big four orthopedic medical device companies for two years after college. The career path was excellent and had tremendous long term potential, but the lifestyle was difficult to sustain as I frequently worked 80-100HR weeks.  I have a number of family members in the recruitment industry so I researched some firms and applied. When I walked into the door at Green Key, I knew it was the place for me. That was May 2011, so I’m coming up on 11 years with the firm.  

I have had a great experience during my time at Green Key.  Back in 2018, due to personal circumstances, I left New York to move home to Pittsburgh.  My immediate thought was to expand the company and to increase our business which led to the National Team.  The first few months of the new venture were very pressure-filled but extremely enjoyable.  That initial period of time crystallized for me how much I enjoy putting myself in uncomfortable situations!   

How have you grown over the years as a recruiter? 

I have tried to develop as a manager.  I take great pride in developing salespeople and providing necessary guidance.  I’ve invested a great deal of time in learning how to teach, something in which I pride myself as well.  I’ve also made a concerted effort to advance my business development skills.   

What makes your team successful?  

It’s the willingness of the team to work with a lot of volume and to gracefully handle the resulting repetitive pressure. Every person who has succeeded on the National Team has shown a desire to learn and grow requiring a great amount of tenacity.  That has led to a continuously developing staff, rather than people who have become stagnant. 

What does your day to day look like in Accounting & Finance?  

My day is an even split between management of the team, new business development, and ongoing client management. Within the team, there are interpersonal situations with clients and/or candidates, as well as ongoing coaching and development, such as hosting trainings. In terms of new business development, we must constantly be prospecting, figuring out new areas to explore, and overall strategic thoughts. With client management, it’s consistent servicing of our existing business. 

What makes Green Key stand out compared to other recruiting agencies?  

It’s the leadership of the partners who founded the firm, the partners who have come into the business, and the leaders in every group. Everyone is in line with the betterment of the company and the people who work for them. Not all organizations are set up that way. There’s a genuine caring nature here that you can feel even through remote work. It really shines through. 

What are your goals in recruiting and at Green Key? 

My biggest goal is for our team to be a major part of the company’s overall revenue. I’d like our staff to reach 50+. I’d also like to improve the revenue of the Accounting and Finance group as a whole, at least 2- or 3-fold.  I also want to continue developing people so that each one can feel that they have a legitimate chance to have a self-sustaining career, where they don’t need to consider other options. I want people to be happy with their work-life balance and compensation. 

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Lauren Pratt

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

We recently met up with Lauren Pratt, Executive Director on the Architecture, Engineering and Construction team at Green Key. Lauren started her career at Green Key in 2022, with 6 years of previous recruiting experience. As an expert in her field, she works within the Architecture, Engineering and Construction team focusing on the construction side of the business for the Southeast US.

How did you first get started in Architecture and Engineering recruiting?

Honestly, just at the right place at the right time! My undergraduate degree is in Petroleum Engineering (I chose to follow in my dad’s footsteps). I worked within the oil and gas industry early in my career and when we went through a downturn, I interviewed with a recruitment company who helped hire within O&G. They asked me to come work for them and build out a technical discipline, which was construction. I ended up loving the juxtaposition of the technical aspect with the personality and sales piece of the candidate and client side and never looked back!

What motivated you to pursue a career in this niche?

I grew up in a family that pursued very technical careers, so I was a bit naive to the niche in general. I ended up loving the detail and technicality I could bring to the role with my more unique background, paired with the personality and sales piece. To me, recruitment is like a puzzle – finding out the details and pairing the right candidates and clients together. That gives me a lot of fulfillment when it comes together and knowing you are helping further a candidate’s career or helping a company continue to grow with a great hire.

What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of your career?

From a personal aspect, nothing will ever top a grateful candidate or client – the call, the text, the LinkedIn recommendation – knowing that you have made a positive impact. From a professional aspect, being able to work in a sales role allows you to get out what you put in – and to be compensated for that success.

How do you identify and attract top talent in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction fields?

We as a team have a great track record in the space, which helps attract talent through reputation and referrals, but it’s really just continuing to make a name for yourself in the industry – going above and beyond for our candidates and clients and that translates into other people wanting to work with us as well. We utilize LinkedIn and our networks extensively; we continue to stay on top of new technology and are not afraid to try something new if it means bringing in new talent from either a candidate or client side!

How do you stay updated on industry trends and developments to better serve your clients and candidates?

Straight from the source – the best is always through candidates and clients as they are the ones in it every day. We also have websites and tools we utilize as well and always share information and articles across the team collaboratively.

What are some key factors that clients typically consider when selecting candidates for Architecture and Engineering positions?

I can only speak to construction and development specifically, but we look for alignment in project portfolio, tenure, who they work for, what they are looking for in a new role, and compensation and where applicable, dig into those pieces so we can paint a clearer picture for our clients when representing these candidates.

2024 marks 20 years of Green Key and how would you describe your experience since starting here?

Rewarding – from a compensation perspective and a mental health perspective. I appreciate the autonomy and flexibility granted to you here to run a business, the capability to offer input on things like new tech or processes. I love the team I work on here and am grateful to get to work with them every day!