A Day in The Life of an Executive Recruiter

Executive recruiting is a misunderstood occupation. So today, we’re giving you a day-in-the-life sneak peek and an exclusive interview with Govig & Associates’ ambitious recruiter, TJ Decker, to highlight the true nature of executive search. 


5:05 am

TJ sets his alarm for 5 am. Yes, you heard that right, 5 minutes after 5 am. TJ believes those additional 5 minutes give him an upper hand later in the day as energy dips. TJ then brushes his teeth, changes clothes, says goodbye to his wife and dogs, grabs his pre-packed bag from the night before, and runs out the door! 

5:30 am

At the break of dawn, TJ begins his morning run with a group of friends, typically traveling along the Arizona canal or Arcadia/Camelback Mountain.

6:30 am

After his morning jog, TJ heads to the gym to shower off and prepare for the work day!

7:30-7:45 am

TJ rolls into our beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona office and begins prep for the day ahead. His recruiter prep includes:

  • reviewing an everyday notebook with plans from the previous day
  • returning emails
  • checking LinkedIn
  • listening to any pressing voicemails

But most importantly, Wednesday is ‘Bagels in the House’ day courtesy of the man, the myth, the legend, Brad Francis!

8 am

The Local Division (TJ’s team) has their weekly Hotsheet meeting from 8-9 am. Wednesday is the only day his entire team is present in the office. Wednesdays provide the opportunity to run through the team’s Hotsheet, discuss active projects, and work down the pipeline. TJ and his team are highly collaborative, so this is an excellent opportunity to discuss any ideas/issues/best practices.

9:00-10:30 am

TJ breaks his day up into four total blocks. This time frame marks the first block of the day, typically consisting of marketing calls. He hopes to hit somewhere between 10-20 calls during this period.

10:30 am-12 pm

TJ’s second block of the day is his first recruiting block. Right now, he practices one marketing call block and three recruiting blocks.

12-1 pm

Time to grab lunch! Typically, on a Wednesday, TJ likes to walk next store to grab lunch at the Fashion Square mall food court. This area offers various options, including Chipotle, Pita Jungle, Sauce, Fired Pie, Panda Express (shhhhh), and more! After lunch, TJ browses around the mall for 15-20 minutes, then heads back to the office.

1-2:30 pm

We’ve reached the third call block of the day – active project recruiting calls.

2:30-4 pm

At last, the end is near! This block is somewhat interchangeable depending on current needs. Sometimes it’s a fourth call block, sometimes targeted sourcing, and sometimes cash calls (job orders, preps, debriefs, references).

4 pm

Hang up the phone! Take a breath, reply to urgent emails, send follow-up texts, and return calls. And now, it’s time to plan. First, TJ takes 25 minutes-1 hour to strategize and plan for the following day. He stresses that this is key. Any remaining time is used to collaborate with team members he couldn’t catch earlier in the day.

4:30-5:30 pm (subject to change)

And just like that, it’s time to head home! Once home, TJ takes a moment to tie loose ends, send email calendar invites, and source.

6-9:30 pm

To wind down, TJ loves to hang out with his dogs or water the plants. Then, as dinner time approaches, he cooks up a steak or chicken thighs (reference ‘What’s Cookin in TJ’s Kitchen’ on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tj-decker/) just in time for his beautiful wife to feast when she arrives home from work! After dinner, TJ walks around the neighborhood or turns on the ole’ TV to do some expert-level binge-watching.


9:30-10 pm

GET TO BED! Rinse, repeat.


What are the benefits of being back in person surrounded by your team?

TJ: “I currently work in a hybrid model, so I’m 50/50 in the office versus working from home. There are perks to both. When working from home, there are fewer distractions, so typically, my heaviest call days are when I’m home alone. It’s nice to collaborate with my team members in the office. The ability to stand up, walk over to a team member, and get a question answered immediately is fantastic!”

What is your best strategy for finding high-quality candidates? 

TJ: “There’s no better strategy than picking up the phone and cold-calling passive candidates. In an environment where most ‘used car salesman recruiters’ only reach 30% of the candidate pool who are actively looking, I pride myself on uncovering the remaining 70% of the passive talent market.”

To whom do you report? Is there anyone who works under you to support you in your efforts? What are their tasks? 

TJ: “I report directly to Rod Santacruz and Jen Meyer. Kiana Hyman works alongside me as a project coordinator. I also have to shout out my internet researchers, Sarah and Colby. It’s a total team effort on the local team here at Govig – I’ve worked with everyone on our team in some capacity.”

Is there a quote that you live by in your day-to-day recruiting life? 

TJ: “I tell every potential hire two things: 1) no matter how crappy of a day you had or if you had the best day ever, walk out those double doors and leave it all behind you. When you come in for your next day, start fresh and have a plan. 2) our company mission is “we change lives every day .” If you’re in this business just for the money, then you will go crazy. We have the opportunity to make a difference. Don’t take it for granted!”

What skills and characteristics are most important for working as a recruiter? 

TJ: “Simple: honesty and timely communication.”

What’s challenging about being a recruiter?

TJ: “I think anyone would tell you that those first couple of years are challenging. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The best thing you can do is surround yourself with great people at work and at home to support you and encourage you to keep grinding.”

What’s enjoyable about being a recruiter? 

TJ: “Flexibility, the potential to control your income, daily challenge/grind, and working with genuine, awesome people.”

Thank you TJ!

Until next time,

Govig & Associates