A Day in the Life of a Recruiter: Sara Kolis

A day in the life

Hi all! I’m Senior Professional Recruiter, Sara Kolis. I live in Cleveland, Ohio, with my husband, two kids, and two dogs. I have an MBA from Case Western and worked in the restaurant business for 15 years (even longer if you count my part-time jobs through college) before making the switch to the recruiting side about a year ago. I’ve always been passionate about working in the restaurant/ hospitality field, but the long hours and nights/weekends spent working presented a problem when my children came along. My transition to recruiting has allowed me to continue to work with restaurants during hours that actually fit with my kids’ schedules. It’s been an exciting adventure taking on this new challenge, and it’s one that I’m happy to share with you! Today, I’ll be taking you through what a typical day in my life as a Goodwin recruiting partner looks like.  

6:00 a.m.: Before my husband and kids wake up, I let the dogs out, pour myself a cup of coffee, and sit down at my computer. I like to email prospects first thing in the morning, not only because I like them seeing the early time stamp on my emails but also because I know the early bird gets the worm. When I was young, as the other kids were running home after school to watch cartoons, I was turning on the Food Network to learn as much as I could about the newest cooking trends. Passion is important. I’ve always been passionate about food and hospitality, and this has helped me to identify other passionate restaurant workers to connect with my clients.  

7:30 a.m.: Usually, by now, my kids are up. That means it’s time for breakfast and Blippi before getting them dressed and out the door for daycare. In my previous positions, this time of the day was a stressful mad dash. But with already an hour of work under my belt, it’s not that way for me anymore. While I always keep my calendar open between 8-9 for an emergency, I do not schedule any appointments before 9 a.m. so I can make sure my kids are where they need to be before I’m back at it in my home office.  

9:00 a.m.: I have a couple of interviews set up to talk to candidates on Zoom, where we share our war stories about particularly crazy dinner shifts. I really enjoy this part of my job — being able to stay closely connected with the restaurant industry and the types of people who share my passion for food and service. Also, having worked in operations for so long, I can discern after a 45-minute conversation if they are who they say they are and if they’ll be a good fit for my client.  

10:30 a.m.: After a couple of interviews, I run downstairs and start a load of laundry to keep up with the demand for clean clothes that my two kids create. By now, it’s a good time for me to reach out to a couple of prospective clients to see if they have any changing staffing needs or issues with their current recruiters. Over my years working in restaurant management, I’ve had several recruiting agencies reach out to me for my business. After speaking with them, I noticed the difference in quality between the different agencies and how much time they took to understand my restaurant’s culture and our needs before suggesting candidates for us to hire. I keep this memory at the top of my mind when I’m making these phone calls — always to represent that we’re looking to create lasting connections, not just temporarily to fill an empty spot in the kitchen. That’s a quality about our work that sets Goodwin Recruiting apart from the others.  

12:00 p.m.: I head back downstairs and do a 20 to 30-minute spin on my exercise bike. After that, I throw some leftovers in the microwave and hop on a video call with my colleague and accountability buddy, Joey Paravati. Since we all work out of our home offices, I like to use these lunchtime video conferences as a virtual breakroom to catch up with my coworkers. Joey and I went through the Goodwin Recruiting onboarding process at the same time, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. From day one, we decided that we were going to pull each other through and hold each other accountable every day. Goodwin Recruiting has a fantastic culture with so many supportive recruiting partners. While I work alone in my home office, it has never felt that way! 

2:00 p.m.: I’m out the door to visit a few of my local clients. I have 10 clients based locally and eight who are spread across the country. While I regularly touch base with my out-of-state clients with video or phone calls, I love to get back into the restaurant setting for face-to-face meetings! It’s also great to visit the candidates that I’ve placed to see how things are working out for them. I think it’s crucial that I spend that time with our candidates after they join our clients. Not only because I know they’ve trusted me enough to move on from their previous job to the one I’ve placed them in, but also because it’s quite common for our candidates to move up in the restaurant group and eventually become a future client. I want to make sure I take good care of them now, so they’ll remember me down the road.  

4:30 p.m.: Usually, around this time, I’m back in the office reviewing my task sheet to ensure I’ve accomplished everything I needed for the day and tying up any loose ends. Sometimes I’ll have some candidates that should have finished their interviews by now, so I’ll reach out to them for a debrief on how it went. After that, usually around 5, I’m done for the day! It’s time to go pick up my kids from daycare and take them to the park.  

That has been a typical day in my life as a Goodwin recruiting partner. I will tell you that I work an hour or two on Saturdays and Sundays as well, looking at resumes and emailing candidates, but that’s only because I’m incredibly competitive and don’t want to miss anything. I also get to do the fun things that I would’ve missed out on in my old jobs. Working with Goodwin lets me do some of the stay-at-home mom stuff but still have a career. When my kids’ school hosts events or Mother’s Day luncheons, I’m able to book that time off to go. I absolutely wouldn’t have been able to do that in the restaurant industry. At Goodwin, even though Recruiting Partners are in separate offices, we cover for each other so we can enjoy the things in life that we all would otherwise have to miss. It’s wonderful being a part of a team that does those things for each other.  

I absolutely love what I do! One of the tenets of Goodwin Recruiting is that you are the creator of your own success. I have found this to be completely true! You put in what works for you and are rewarded for your hard work.