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George P. Amato is the founder of Faro Consultants International (FCI), an executive search firm based in Dallas, Georgia. FCI specializes in the employee benefits industry. They are comprised of experienced search consultants with exceptional recruiting expertise in areas such as defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans, group health benefits, compensation, ERISA/tax, and human resource strategies.
FCI's clients range from the most well-known accounting firms and international consultants to small, single-office boutiques. Through their extensive market knowledge, FCI has been extremely successful in recruiting and placing attorneys, compensation consultants and actuaries, as well as benefits consultants.
Prior to establishing FCI on January 1, 1997, Mr. Amato served for five years as a founding partner and president of Harbor Consultants International, Inc. He has been a leading executive recruiter since 1980. When asked what particular region Mr. Amato focuses on in the U.S., he explained, "I now cover all of the US because of my narrow specialty in ERISA/Compensation & Employee Benefits Law and consulting. For a short time I had an office in Brussels to cover the EU but that was much too expensive an operation to be profitable. I have worked exclusively in these specialties for the past 15 years."
Mr. Amato was born and raised in Northern New Jersey. He earned his BBA from Hofstra University and participated in graduate work in Political Science at the University of the Philippines. Mr. Amato attended college on a four-year athletic scholarship.
When the legal recruiter isn't working, he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling (Mr. Amato has visited, lived in, or spent time in more than twenty-five countries). He also volunteers his time with Lions International sight and hearing projects in addition to fund raising for them. Mr. Amato's favorite author is Isaac Asimov. He is a frequent visitor of New Orleans' Antoine's Restaurant.
Mr. Amato's Successful Career Path and Tips for Legal Recruiters
Does Mr. Amato have a top memory from school? "My top memory from college is when I played in my first NCAA football game against Temple University."
What does it take to become a successful legal recruiter? Mr. Amato noted:
"To be a successful legal recruiter requires being smart, self-confident and having a lot of determination. At the same time one needs to generate a lot of activity so you are not dependent on any one project and can have the posture you need to be in control of the process. It is absolutely necessary to have complete cooperation and a good deal of control of one side of the equation. That means if you are conducting a search you need to have the employer side pinned down very well. If you are marketing a candidate, of which I do a lot, you need to have that side of the equation pinned down. If you are not in control of one side then you are not likely to make a placement and will not know what is going on. That can be very frustrating. A successful project is made prior to making the first call."
What motivated Mr. Amato to work as a recruiter? He stated:
"I was in international sales for 10 years in Southeast Asia and South America. Upon returning to the US while looking for new employment I was impressed with a franchise of Management Recruiters and decided to work for them rather than have them find me a job. After about 5 years of success with them I formed a search boutique with another MRI recruiter, Harbor Consultants. After about 3 years I spun off to form Faro Consultants International, LLC."
What's one of the things that he finds most challenging about his job? "The most challenging thing about this job is the juggling of many interests and motivations from candidate recruits and client employers, many times in conflict. There are so many details to be handled that it is difficult to stay on top of them all. Another big challenge is changing technology. I cannot seem to keep up with it all."
What does Mr. Amato look for to find the right fit? He acknowledged:
"The key to success is finding the right fit. That means finding out why a client really needs someone and what it is they have to offer other than more money. On the recruit/candidate side it means finding out what their motivations are for making a move. There are literally dozens of reasons some will make a change and money is not the primary motivator. Once one understands that money is a secondary motivator then one is able to get to the heart of what someone is really looking for. (By the way, if money is the primary motivator and/or the only motivator, then you have a problem. If the candidate is any good he will get his money from his current employer when he attempts to resign)."
What are his strengths and one weakness as a recruiter? "My strength is recognizing what someone is really telling me and not assuming anything. My weakness is my unwillingness to make a high volume of calls on a daily basis."
Where does Mr. Amato see the legal recruiting field in the next five years? He stated:
"The legal recruiting field and the recruiting field in general is going to move up the ladder. Recruiting and placing associate level attorneys or what I call fungible commodities in any field will be a thing of the past due to technology. Therefore the role of the recruiter will be to find key senior level managers and producers in all professions. The recruiting field as a whole will probably expand considerably at the senior levels because this country is going to see a real shortage of talent in the next few years. The demand will outstrip the supply, so this profession has a good future despite what technology has done to it.
This profession is a constant learning experience. Every project gives you more insight to the markets you work in. You also have to learn from every project that is not successful. There are so many variables you have no control over that you better make sure you have done all your homework on the ones you do control. What did you forget to ask that resulted in a negative result and how can you avoid it next time? You learn more about your client base and candidate base in every project and you should learn more about your profession from the mistakes you made."
Why has Mr. Amato's job been rewarding? "My work is rewarding because I am highly compensated for each success. That to me is a measure of my value in the market. I also receive recognition and respect from very senior level professionals who recognize my value. That is very motivating."
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