American Recruiters Chicago Franchise Owner


– Craig Wilson, CFSP, American Recruiters Franchise Owner – CHICAGO


It was May, 1999, and I was finishing up a consulting project for Carl Carieri, who was at the time, the co-owner with Gino Scialdone, of American Recruiters. Their successful Executive Search Firm was positioning itself to roll out a franchising model for recruiters who wanted to own their own businesses but needed or wanted an established and solid infrastructure to work within.

As part of the Middleby Corporation, a commercial and residential cooking and industrial equipment manufacturer, I was asked to consult with them on developing new marketing materials for their franchising push. I had helped Middleby grow from a $17 million business to nearly $200 million, and then launched Rational USA, a combination oven manufacturer, in the US, so I was there to share my expertise and to help them with ways to market the benefits of franchising with American Recruiters.

It’s funny how opportunities can present themselves when you least expect them.

As we wrapped-up our sessions, I asked them both if there was anything else I could do for them.” Carl and Gino both looked at each other and replied, “How about becoming our first franchisee?”

I laughed politely at what I assumed was a purely artificial, although entertaining comment, and answered back, “That’s not really what I do.”  Then something unexpected happened.

Carl, who is one of the warmest humans anyone will ever meet, leaned in like he very clearly knew something I didn’t, and said “I’ll bet that if you went back and asked some of your colleagues in the foodservice industry for their input on how you could better help them – if you were to actually be the recruiter, you’d be surprised to find out just how valuable your expertise would be to them, – and to others like them. And subsequently, how lucrative that could be for you.”

Well, as they say: the rest is history.

It’s now been twenty years since that conversation and since I did indeed become that very first franchisee for American Recruiters. I’m grateful every day for Carl and Gino’s insights, and their confidence and trust in what I would ultimately bring to the American Recruiters Brand.

For those of you who don’t already know, my business focusses on the Commercial Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, HVAC, Food Processing and Packaging sides of the industry, on a global basis. We have nine employees now and have been the leading firm in our industry segments for several years.  You can find out more about our areas of specialty, and the types of searches we work, on our website at

I often reflect on the reasons why we’ve been so successful for so long, and without fail I always come back to the fact that my core principles have remained unchanged and I’ve always been sure to make them clear to Clients, Colleagues and employees alike, throughout the years. They’ve always been centered on this:

  • Candidates can, and do become Clients and Clients can, and do become Candidates. That in mind, it’s important to treat every individual you come in contact with, with equal respect and with the utmost integrity.
  • Never take on a search you don’t truly intend to honor by providing the very best Candidates available.
  • Become a partner with, and to your Clients. Do everything you can to help them in every way possible -beyond merely finding exceptional talent – because they’ll want you back.

These key principles are also reflected in each of my employees and have helped my business, not only to grow, but to thrive. I’m proud that I would put any of my team members in front of any Customer because every one of them holds these principles, and our Corporate values near and dear to their hearts.

Being an American Recruiters franchisee, has been a complete win-win-win for my Clients, my Candidates and my recruiters. We have an American Recruiters corporate mantra throughout the organization – to always aspire to “beBetter”, at everything we do. With the extensive home-office support from American Recruiters, I know that its unwavering support and guidance related to business strategy, training, web and IT support, and ancillary services, such as temp-to-hire, placement onboarding, and a tremendous CRM and database, give my team more time to do what we do best: recruiting and serving our Clients.

Lastly, as I consider all of our successes over the last twenty years, I’m most proud of the fact that my team and I have made an incredible and invaluable difference in the success of our Clients as well as in thousands of people’s lives. That is a recruiter’s ultimate reward, which energizes me even more now than when I began my business. Businesses are mere bricks and mortar. People make the difference. Accordingly, so do recruiters.

In this extremely tight labor market, our Client-partners utilize us to find the stealth talent they could never find on their own.  I’m proud to say that we fill a vast majority of these hard-to-fill positions, and even on the very rare occasion that we don’t, it’s always a reward to have our Clients thank us for still providing them with the best selection of hiring choices possible.

Again, people are what make the difference, and at the end of the day, I’m infinitely grateful to be one of those people.


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