Successful Berklee Alumni #110: James Giannoni

James Giannoni

Listen to the interview (approx. 50 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2016 with a major in Performance.  Principal instrument:  bass.


Position:  IT (Information Technology) Recruiter at Pinnacle Group, Inc.  Pinnacle Group is a multinational staffing firm, which places candidates in higher-end jobs in IT, banking, and executive level positions.  James scours the internet to find and reach out to qualified candidates for the available positions.   When someone is interested he explains the position, polishes up their resume if needed, and passes it along.   Functionally this works like a sales job, where he is paid a combination of salary and commission (James earns money when someone he reached out to takes a position.), while working to meet a quota.  He averages several people placed in jobs each month.

Overview:  Finishing his degree in the summer of 2016, James wanted to stay in Boston, and he applied to “tons of jobs,” getting a job with a catering company as waitstaff.  However, by late 2016 he wasn’t enjoying it, nor was he getting ahead financially, so he moved home to Dallas, Texas, where he would be able to save money.   He arrived home and started applying for waitstaff jobs.

However, his sister’s husband was a manager at Pinnacle Group, and suggested that James try his hand at recruiting.  James gave it a shot.  The first two months were rough, and he was nervous he wouldn’t hit the required minimum quota to remain employed after month three, but then a work buddy took him aside and trained him better, and he made his 3-month quota in the last five weeks.  James continues to do well there and hopes to be promoted to the next level of recruiter later this year.


You can see James’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:  “Now that I’m in it, I enjoy the depth of technology, specifically development–you’re building a world! If you can understand it in a deeper sense you can find better candidates in my job, but the whole world is moving that way and it opens a lot of opportunities.

“I was hesitant to take 9-5 job at first, as that would mean means I won’t be able to gig as much. But the more I thought about it, I realized that I was considering 2 waitstaff jobs which would’ve give me much free time anyway, and at minimum at Pinnacle Group I’d be learning something new.”

Get your hands in everything and really get after whatever you get in. Give it 100% If you’re in catering, be the best one on the team. I’m still friends with my boss and you’ll never know where these connections will get you.”

“As a recruiter, it’s tempting to look at a positions and think of all the competition from other companies and recruiters and it seems hopeless that you’ll be the one to find someone. Don’t think about that!   Review the requirements, then look look and look. I’ve had times where I was about to pack up and leave, then looked for 30 more minutes and found the perfect person for the job.”


James as a Berklee student, performing in the caf.  “At Berklee, I’d be meeting new people every day, playing and gigging around. In my job you say hi and bye to so many people in a given week. I can warm up to people quickly. I’d say that’s one of my strong suits–being personable and treating people like people–like I’m meeting them a a gig. ”



James with one of the bands he plays with in Dallas, where he continues to gig several times each week.  “Too many musicians identify themselves as musicians and forget there are so many other things they may be really good and and may turn out to be passions too! Don’t turn down opportunities to study something else.”




See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.