Jim D’Amico — A Profile of an Exceptional Corporate Recruiting Leader, Part 2

Note: this two-part article is part of my continuing series of profiles on exceptional corporate recruiting leaders

Last week in Part 1 of my compelling profile of recruiting-leader-extraordinaire Jim D’Amico, I covered his recommended actions, the firms he admires most, and his top best practices. This Part 2 covers how he measures success in recruiting, how to maintain leading-edge learning, and some additional best practices.

Note that throughout this profile, whenever possible, I used direct quotes from Jim D’Amico (they are surrounded by quotation marks). Most of his key learning points are in bullet point format for easy scanning.

How Jim D’Amico Measures Success in Recruiting

Jim and this author both share a high level of support for the extensive use of metrics for effectively measuring and then quantifying in dollars your success in recruiting. Some of his recommendations in the metrics and analytics area include:

Recruiting success starts with metrics basics

Jim recommends a variety of recruiting metrics. They include:

First focus on quality — Jim reveals that “the metrics that will truly showcase your expertise are quality related.” Jim also suggests that these “take time to develop and track these because they are ideally linked to the ability of new hires to generate revenue or produce cost savings.”

  1. “Show the revenue impact of new-hires — ultimately, as a TA Leader I have accountability for producing shareholder value.” Jim asserts that recruiting leaders “have to be able to show that there is a positive (revenue or savings) impact from the candidates that we provide. Not just positive, but top-level performance!” “I know, I know, the hiring manager decides who to hire, but shame on me for putting anyone in front of them that I wouldn’t stake my reputation on.” He has found that increasing corporate revenue has a much greater impact on executives than reducing recruiting costs.
  2. Measure the performance of new hires — the easy way to measure quality is to “compare your interview scores against performance scores, assuming you performance scores actually tie into quantifiable results.” To save yourself headaches, “only do this for differentiated roles, as opposed to transactional roles. Use “class of” to continuously measure this performance (and turnover, and progression), but you can express it as the ratio of top 10 percent performers in a class vs. total number of hires to that class.”

Project the number of hires — in order to measure recruiting success, “I work backward. From a numbers perspective, how many positions do you estimate you will fill in a year? Then I, break that down quarterly, monthly, and weekly. I then determine the production that I will need from each recruiter in those same timeframes.”

Send out to hire ratio — Next “I look at their funnels to help recruiters be effective. How many candidates do recruiters need to source and interview to produce enough send outs (e. candidate referrals to hiring managers), to produce the required hires?” Within this, “the send out to hire metric is, to me, the productivity keystone.” As a leader and a recruiter “you need to watch that number, since variation can be a leading indicator of issues, and will give you enough warning to adjust on the fly and correct.”

How Jim D’Amico Learns and Remains on the Leading Edge

Both Jim and I recommend that in the fast-changing world of recruiting, a key to continuous success is reading and learning continuously in both business and recruiting.

  • Voraciously reading is a critical success factor — Jim loves blogs, and his top four recommendations include “ERE.net daily, Recruiting Daily, Fistful of Talent, and the Tim Sackett Project. I take 15 minutes a day to read each, a small investment on my future!” “I also read a lot of books. Some of my favorites: Work Rules, Freakonomics, Hire With Your Head, It’s Your Ship and The Differentiated Workforce.” “I also read the daily business news, usually the WSJ.”
  • Listening to podcasts — Jim notes that “I wish there were better TA podcasts out there, I spend 90 minutes a day in the car, and if I’m not on the phone, I’m listening to a podcast.” “HCI and Drive Thru HR are both good, but obviously aren’t solely focused on TA.”
  • Pick up the phone! — Jim “talks to folks in the TA space all the time. If I don’t know them, I’ll ask for 30 minutes of their time. It helps me to learn what others are doing and why.” He is particularly interested in “what I call “guerilla” recruiting functions, those that are doing well without a ton of financial resources or that are challenged by location or industry.”
  • Conferences can be a mixed bag — Jim notes that conferences “are time-consuming, costly, and you can never be sure of the quality of the content. Last year ERE did some facilitated roundtables and I found those extremely valuable. Any conference where you don’t sit in a room and just listen, but instead can interact with peers is the way to go.”

IP Targeting — Details on One of Jim’ D’Amico’s Most Recommended Best Practices

When interviewing Jim D’Amico, he is quick to point out one of his favorite bold-talent-advisor practice, which is IP targeting. Unfortunately, this approach is not frequently used in recruiting. He notes that “why more TA leaders aren’t using it is beyond my comprehension. It’s easy, cheap, and most importantly, it’s highly effective!”

If you’re not familiar with IP targeting, Jim explains the process this way. “Most of the ads you see online are based on the search history of your browser (thank you cookies). IP targeting is a way to serve up recruiting ads to folks based on their specific IP addresses.” Jim’s entire description of his ad placing process is listed below.

“It can work in several ways:”

  1. Start by pulling a directory or list to target — “for example, a state nursing registry. It will list the person and their home address. You then give this information to your partner (the company that launches your ad campaigns) and they will find the IP address associated with the home address. They will then serve up your ad directly to those IP addresses. The tech is smart, so it won’t serve up ads to someone that is on a children’s site for example. Ads can be a specific as you want, and I have found early correlation between specificity and response rates.”
  2. Target a specific physical location — “say you want to hire engineers directly from a competitor. Well, guess what? They probably have Wi-Fi and it has an IP address. And those engineers you want to target probably have their phones connected to that Wi-Fi. You can serve ads up directly to those phones or any computer connected to the Wi-Fi. Again, specificity of ads pays! If you want to amp it up, I usually target restaurants near my competitor as well for lunchtime ads. You know those engineers have to eat, and you know they are checking their phones during lunch. You can apply this same strategy to schools. Generally, each building will have its own IP, so target the engineering building for example.”
  3. Conference Wi-Fi — “we’ve all been to conferences and we all know that people are on their phones, checking Facebook, googling a speaker, etc. a lot, all while on the conference Wi-Fi. You can serve up ads specifically to those folks. They can be immediate calls to action, such as directing them to a booth or event, or just ads targeted at their specialty.”
  4. Post-conference — “this is slick! So maybe you missed a conference you would have like to target, well it may not be too late! Your advertising partner can pull the unique phone IPs of every phone that pinged that conference Wi-Fi from the time of the conference for up to six months. Now you can serve up an ad campaign directly to those phones. Again, be specific — be successful.”

Some More of Jim’s Recommended Actions

  • Do not go it alone — Jim notes that “we have a wonderful community in TA, and there are many many folks that will help you along the way, you just need to ask!” He further notes that “for too long TA leaders have worked in isolation, repeating the same mistakes that someone else made.” So he strongly recommends that you “use your network to bounce ideas around, ask questions and share successes!”
  • Jump at any international experience — Jim notes that “as you expand the reach of your TA strategies, they become more and more complicated.” Having “the ability to demonstrate hands-on experience and speak knowledgeably about global talent markets will only have a positive impact on your career, so when the opportunities come around, take them. If they aren’t coming around, find a way to create them.”

More Details on Jim’s Background

Jim D’Amico has worked in recruiting for over 20 years. He states that “his background is typical, in the sense that there is no “typical” path into TA.” His degree is in Secondary Education from Norwich University the Military College of Vermont. Notably “he is 6 Sigma and Lean certified, as well as a product of the Second City Conservatory program.” Experience-wise, “he was a Tanker in the Army, and then he spent time in third party recruiting, contingent, retained search, and RPO recruiting.” More recently, “he has spent the last dozen years improving corporate TA functions.”

Final Thoughts

Even though I teach at a major university, I’ve long acknowledged the best way to learn leading-edge innovative practices in HR and talent acquisition is directly from acknowledged industry practitioners. And among the many that I have profiled, Jim D’Amico is clearly the leader in many areas but especially when it comes to making a powerful business case for fully funding the recruiting function. Follow Jim D’Amico on LinkedIn and continually read his leading-edge articles on ERE.net, just as I do. Because of his exceptional work and contribution to the recruiting profession, I select Jim D’Amico as the Corporate Recruiting Leader of the year.

Author’s Note: If this article stimulated your thinking and provided you with actionable tips, connect with me on LinkedIn.


As seen on ERE Media on 04/16/2018.

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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