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The ToTalent Recruitment Masterclasses from Silicon Valley: introducing Jim D'Amico

After a brief stint as a soldier within the US Army, Jim D’Amico pursued a career in stand-up comedy… before finally finding his true passion. His route was far from conventional, but now, he is widely viewed as one of talent acquisition’s game changers. Before his Silicon Valley masterclass, he answered our questions in an exclusive Q&A.

Jasper Spanjaart on October 26, 2020 Average reading time: 3 min
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The ToTalent Recruitment Masterclasses from Silicon Valley: introducing Jim D'Amico

Q: Mr. D’Amico, thank you for your time. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you end up being one of the leading and smartest voices in recruitment?

“Thank you, that’s very kind to say.  My background, like many, isn’t a straight path into Talent Acquisition.  Early on, I was a soldier in the US Army, and a graduate of Military College with a degree in Secondary Education. I was neither a great soldier, nor really inclined to be a history teacher, so I began pursuing a career in stand-up comedy. Contrary to what I believed at the time, that was not the high paying glamorous job I envisioned, so to make ends meet, I began working for a Recruiting Agency, and I was hooked!”

“I spent several years on the agency side, which included building one of the first RPO’s. Upon selling that business, I shifted to in house roles, building best in class TA functions for large complex companies.  In 2015, my team at Spectrum Health was named the best large recruiting organisation by ERE.  For the past 4 years I’ve led the Global TA for a Fortune 500 Chemical company, Celanese and served as an advisor for several exciting TA Tech start ups, and have served as President of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP) for the last year and a half.”

Q: Has talent acquisition always been in your blood? 

I think solving problems has always been in my blood, and to me that’s the essence of Talent Acquisition. I’ve always run towards chaos, and have had a passion for solving complex problems, which is what I do everyday in TA.  I think that passion has kept me engaged and excited every day for the last 25 years!”

‘I’ve always run towards chaos, and have had a passion for solving complex problems, which is what I do everyday in TA.’

Q: It’s been a tumultuous year for recruiters. What do you think has been the biggest thing to come out of 2020?

Last month I delivered the State Of Talent Acquisition address for Global TA Day.  2020 was a year no one predicted and has created an unprecedented level of uncertainty and highlighted a great deal of division in the world, and kept many of us physically separated from friends and loved ones.  Contrary to all of that, I think the biggest thing to come out of 2020 is our connectedness.  2020 wasn’t a gradual change into isolation and fear, it was sudden, allowing no time for evolution, but instead leading to revolution, a revolution where our true north became our care and concern for each other.”

I think the biggest thing to come out of 2020 is our connectedness.’

We (TA) immediately rallied around our peers that needed our support, whether it was in finding new roles or just reaching out and talking.  For all of the difficult news of 2020, this stands out to me: relationships built and strengthened!  This serves all of us well.  For as long as I can remember, TA functions have been too isolated from each other, often trying to solve the same problems independent of each other, and now, through our forced isolation, we are more connected than ever before and discussing and solving problems as a group, leveraging all of our unique experiences.  In 10 years when we sit down and look back at 2020 (hopefully in person and over a well aged Scotch), the two words that will fill our conversations are Covid and Zoom!

Q: You have been active in on one of the most admired areas in the world: Silicon Valley. For those that haven’t been in and around The Valley in the last few years, how would you describe that particular area of the world in a few sentences?

A: As an advisor to several star ups, Silicon Valley is concentration of intellect and willingness to take risk that is rivalled nowhere else.  It is an experimental playground, that feeds improved execution in TA around the world.  

Silicon Valley is concentration of intellect and willingness to take risk that is rivalled nowhere else.’

Q: Your masterclass on November 11th will be all about a subject close to our heart: storytelling. What are some of the key benefits of a successful strategy based around storytelling?

A: Storytelling is powerful if done right. It creates lasting engagement, and relationships. It allows us to communicate with authenticity that resonates with candidates that are inundated with yoga babel and corporate doublespeak from recruiters constantly.  Additionally, a compelling and interesting story will be retold, and candidates become evangelists for our brand as well.  This increases our reach without extra effort on our part, and increases high quality referrals.

A compelling and interesting story will be retold, and candidates become evangelists for our brand as well.

Q: Finally, without giving away too much, what do you think will be the biggest takeaway for recruitment or those working in talent acquisition on November 11th?

A: How to leverage what we learned from a Hollywood screenwriter to create compelling and authentic stories in a serialised fashion.  Believe me it’s been a gamechanger for us, and has been to easy to implement and see immediate benefits.

Do you want to learn from Silicon Valley’s leading recruitment experts? This is an exclusive opportunity to attend 3 masterclasses with John Sullivan, Kevin Wheeler and Jim D’Amico. Sign up here.
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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Writer and editor at ToTalent

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