Meet Thomas F.X. Licari, Corporate Recruiter, And Activist Founder of The Illinois Recruiters Association

Thomas F.X. Licari
Founder, The Illinois Recruiters Association
Office: 847-923-0822
Mobile: 847-609-9065

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Meet our friend, Thomas Licari, RBC Community enthusiast, founder of his own activist local staffing organization, corporate recruiter and family man.

Thomas is a Human Capital Management Professional with 15 years of experience working with fortune 500’s, the U.S. government and startup’s companies providing cutting edge talent acquisition strategies. He specializes in recruitment, retention, compensation, global strategic sourcing, OFCCP regulations, and training/development. Overall, he is primarily Client-focused with strong relationship building and strategic planning skills and particular strengths in the broad areas of Recruitment Optimization, Recruiting Technology Expertise, and Executive Recruitment Specialist.

I have communicated over the years with Thomas but had a chance to finally meet him one-on-one while he sat next to Jason Davis interviewing live on a webcam at ONREC last September. Thomas did not disappoint, he has a keen sense of humor, the kind where his answers to some of JD's questions would have caused a fountain of soft drinks to burst out from noses had they been privy to his candor and wit. (If you were there, you would attest to the accuracy of my statement!)

Thomas has that rare tenacity of not merely being a follower, but a leader in his own right, who cares deeply about the quality of topics and events of the Illinois Recruiters Association he founded, and has been active in referring his own membership to the RBC community.

Q&A With Thomas Licari

Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.

Thomas: I married my beloved dream girl Kelly Sue August 19th 2005. We rented a private house with its own beach “McKenna” on the island of Maui, HI. We had a huge party with all our family, friends and the giant sea turtles that came to witness our nuptials. We have two kids a girl 2 1/2 years; Alexandria Soleil Licari and a son 6 months old; Dallas Hawk Licari

Thomas: My hobbies include but are not limited to: playing the guitar, rocking the mic, geeking out on the computer, watching way to much TV, making up loving nicknames to call my wifey, singing the Dora the explorer theme song to make my daughter smile, becoming mental over the play of my Dallas Cowboys, FYI, some day my daughter will buy the Cowboys for me as a gift, boxing, and teaching my son Hawk how to throw a perfect punch at six months of age

Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?

Thomas: I have been a Human Capital Management Professional for 15 years and still love it! I must be sick in the head.

Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?

Thomas: I became a recruiter by mistake. I graduated college with my 1st degree in Criminal Justice with an eye on becoming a FBI agent. After obtaining my degree I started the testing process for state and federal law enforcement positions. The problem was that I needed a job now so I could eat, and the testing process takes months to achieve a result. So I put together a resume, you all know the kind of resume I mean, as a recruiter I am sure you’ve read thousands of them. The kind that says you did all these wonderful things, but is a really big stretch. I sent my resume for a COO position to a very success female owned temp to perm agency and was called in for an interview. So I dressed up in my only suit and when in with high hopes knowing full well that I was totally 100% not qualified for the position. I met with the president of the company her name was Hallean. She got me in that interview chair and went for my throat for the start. I was too dumb to recognize that she was messing with me. At the end of the interview Hallean offer me a job as a Jr. recruiter. I was totally excited to have a job as it meant that I could eat something other than ramen noodles. I had no idea what a recruiter even did, but you can be assured Hallean taught me in her own very direct way. I think about her sometimes and would love to show her what I became or in other words what she helped create.

Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?

Thomas: I was very young in my recruiting life and still wasn’t sure that I wanted it to be my career. I worked for a small technology firm as a recruiter and was given a great deal of authority when it came to the hiring process. Remembering the lessons that Hallean taught me about understanding the “resume stretch” I implemented it into my selection process when choosing talent to interview. I quickly became the top producing recruiting at the small tech firm. After a few months of working there one of my recruits sent me a card all about how I changed his life by giving him a job. I sat in my chair reading the card and suddenly realized that I in a small way could affect change. I fell in love with recruiting right then and there. Come to think about it, I think I still have that card, I should dig it out to show my son and daughter one day when they are older.

Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?

Thomas: Short answer my Pop! I wanted to prove to him that I could be the best recruiter. You see he wasn’t sold on the fact that I turned down offers to go into law enforcement at the time. So when I decided that I would continue my career as a recruiter I made up my mind that I would succeed at it.

The second person would be Scott A. Spear currently the co-founder and Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Acquity Group. I worked for Scott at Modern Business Technology when he founded the company. Scott always had a way that I can’t explain fully around the hiring process. When I recruited for him he always had a great eye for talent and a different approach for judging all candidates. It wasn’t behavioral, skills, or matrix driven I think you’d call it instinct. Anyway I told you I couldn’t explain it. He had the uncanny ability build structure where there was chaos. He is a good guy look him up & connect with him

The third person would be Tim Simmons the guy is just unbelievable at dealing with people. You’d just have to see him work to know what I mean. He is a top notch people person and I tell him often that he should write a how to book

Six Degrees: Tell us about your job, Thomas

Thomas: I can description my current roles in two ways; I am the president and founder of the Illinois Recruiters Association and a professional consultant. As the president and founder of the Illinois Recruiters Association my responsibilities are providing strategic direction, building membership, constructing the organizations web channel, virtual marketing and participating in speaking events. The size of the Illinois Recruiters Association is a moving target because we grow larger every day. We currently have over 2500 active members with a national newsletter that reaches over 10,000.

As a professional consultant in area of Human Capital Management. I have 15 years of experience working with fortune 500’s, the U.S. government and startup’s companies providing cutting edge talent acquisition strategies. I have proven abilities in recruiting, retention, compensation, global strategic sourcing, OFCCP regulations, and training/development. I am Client-focused with strong relationship building and strategic planning skills. Other key areas I might be able to help you with include: Recruitment Optimization, Recruiting Technology Expert, Successful Instructor, Networking leader, Team/Project Leader, Executive Recruitment Specialist. If you need help feel free to give me a call if I don’t have time to assist I’ll refer you to someone that can.

Six Degrees: (A) What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?

Thomas: I admire the following: Doug Berg the founder and chief innovation officer of Jobs2Web because of his vision. Shally Steckerl from JobMachine, because the guy is just that crazy good, also I believe in what RD Whitney is doing with Onrec.

(B) In what aspects are they superior?

Thomas: Doug Berg all you need to do is visit To understand why I dig Doug is visit read the page and you’ll get it I promise.

Shally is best in class as a recruiting technology strategist, he is always willing to help people, and constantly comes up with new great ideas, he seems to drive the industry.

RD Whitney I’ve gotten to know personally/professionally and he really goes all out to build strong virtual marketing channels for all his exhibitors at the OnRec shows.

Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?

Thomas: Government bail outs, the down economy, global recession. The WHY just bums me out when I think about it. Hiring slows down to a snail’s pace and my fellow recruiters starve. To all my fellow recruiters out there reading this keep your head up things will get better. If you are looking for a new job email me and I’ll try and help.

Six Degrees: Tell us about speaking events, awards, publications, where you have you represented your company:

Thomas: The event I’d really like to focus on is the January 28, 2009 Training Seminar & Networking Event. I am invited an expert panel of Web 2.0 recruiting strategists to discuss Topic: “Web 2.0 Recruiting & the Latest Trends”. If you are going to be in Illinois 01/28/09 come check out this event. For more information visit

My events can easily be found with a simple Google search or visiting

Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?

Thomas: My next career goal is to build the largest professional recruiters network in the industry, which include educational/networking events. All I need to accomplish this is more time.


“Thomas is able to build relationships with Hiring Managers quickly, thereby, jump starting searches with accurate information. Thomas is creative in his sourcing approach and keen on networking to find the right people at the right time for the right job. He is a great team player and a delight to work with!” November 12, 2007
Mary Claire Ryan, Dir. of Global Exec. Search and Diverstiy Staffing, Abbott Laboratories

“Thomas is a knowledgeable recruiter and an expert 'networker' who works tirelessly for the Illinois Recruiters Association. He has arranged and promoted a number of very useful educational and networking programs for local recruiters to hone their skills and enhance their professional networks. I have known Thomas for a number of years and all of my interactions with him have been positive and productive.” October 24, 2008
Marianne Murphy-Orland, Executive Recruiter & Training Specialist, Electro-Motive Diesel

“I have had the opportunity to attend several Illinois Recruiter Association meetings that have been hosted by Tom. He does an excellent job in providing relevant information to his audience; things we can use right now. I definitely look forward to interfacing with him in the future.” April 22, 2008
Mike Madura, Manager Recruiting, KPMG

“I had the opportunity to see Tom "work his mojo" at the Illinois Recruiters Association's meeting. He provided an excellent presentation and was able to talk with a diverse set of recruiters in the room. He was able to explain it so that it made sense to all levels and was able to get into some advanced topics without losing the room. Based on his presentation I could see clearly why he has been such a successful recruiter. I would highly recommend Tom for speaking and recruiting engagements.” April 17, 2008. Top qualities: Expert, High Integrity, Creative
Scott McCance

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Replies to This Discussion

Shout out from a fellow Dora dad and recruiting guitar player........Swiper - no swiping! (It took me a few months to figure that one out...)

Excellent interview Thomas! I am hoping to make one of the next Illinois Recruiter Association meeting - if you'll let a neighborly Hoosier in the door!

P.S. I dig the cuffs!
A shout out from Tokyo to both Thomas and Dave for sharing a positive inspirational story. I love reading stuff like this after coming home from a busy day in the trenches. (That is, AFTER I finish singing the Dora song with my 7 year old--priorities...) Really enjoyed the part about the card. Those are the best!
Nice to meet you, Thomas! Big fan of your videos and it's nice to finally meet you in person (well, sort of in person : )

You have a beautiful family! And one day when your daughter buys the Cowboys team, please don't forget me - I'll gladly be your Chief Butler in the Owner's Suite! As long as I get all the free carmel corn I can eat.

Best of luck with the IL Recruiters Assoc - sounds like you guys are doing some very cool things. I look forward to shaking hands at an event some time.

Keep the videos coming!


*thanks Dave, for introducing us to the Licari family!
Good to know someone else will understand me when I go "aw man!!

I smiled when I read your story about your first recruiting job. Hallean seems to be a tough-love kinda gal, and I am pretty sure that the lesson taught there was a 100 times more meaningful that if she had nicely told you to re-write a more realistic resume.

And now it's your turn to mentor new recruiters - as witnessed by the card you received.

Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Great interview. I will be in Chicago the last week of January. Let me know if you have time to meet and go over what we spoke about a few weeks ago.
Thomas - you are the BEST recruiter I have ever worked with. Great article my friend!! Catch up soon dude!

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