Meet Jason Pankow, Covering Creative and Software Talent for Fistful of Talent

Kris Dunn Uncategorized

Jason Pankow is a Senior Recruiter for Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE and Xbox Software groups.  Jason supports the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, bringing in technical as well as creative talent to Redmond.  Look him up on Xbox Live, where he’ll ring you up for a triple-double as Steve Nash on NBA 2K8 or kick it old-school via a 7-digit score on Galaga…   

See Jason’s Rants and Riffs on Fistful of Talent by clicking here


1.  The elevator just closed and you’ve got 30 seconds to pitch the random reader on who you are and why they should read your rants.  Go..

Hi there!  I’m Jason from HR.  I just started contributing to this awesome blog called Fistful of Talent and I think EVERYONE at this company should read it.  Hey…isn’t your review coming up in a few weeks?  Oh, this is my floor.  Bye.

2.  Now for the mundane – break down your location, title, company/firm and what you do for a living..

I recruit for the Xbox and Game Studios division of Microsoft’s Entertainment and DevicesPankow group.  This essentially means that I have the coolest HR job in the entire world.  My office is in Redmond, WA (East of Seattle) but our recruiting efforts are global.  You will frequently find me at conferences for both gamers and artists.  I am usually the guy walking around to every booth possible trying to stack my closet with free t-shirts (I haven’t actually paid for a t-shirt in almost 4 years). 

3.  One more question that everyone expectsWhat’s the reason you’re in this game? (why do you do what you do?)

It was purely accidental.  I was supposed to be a teacher.  Unfortunately, at the start of the 2nd semester of my senior year of college, I decided that I didn’t like kids.  A contract agency hooked me up with a gig at a Tribal casino after saying, "Hmmm…you could make a good recruiter."  I guess they were right.  I’ve stayed because it’s way too much fun.  I am interacting with brilliant people who teach me new things every day.  Oh…and, I get free video games.

4.  If you’ve ever been to a professional baseball game, you know batters from the home team get to pick their own theme music as they walk from the dugout to the plate.  If we ever have a FOT convention, what theme music will you come out to to pump the crowd up and why?

"I Feel Good" by James Brown.  Or the "Sexy Boy" remix by DJ Rekha (look her up…she does some cool shiz). 

They’re funky, like me.  And, I think they pretty much sum me up.

5.  Let’s stick with the baseball theme.  If you’ve ever been to a pro game, you also know that the visitor doesn’t get to pick their own music.  The home team picks that for them, and it’s usually less than stellar as a means of attempting to crush them.  If you could pick theme music for your arch-rival to walk into a conference room to, what would it be and why?

"Big Eyed Fish" by the Dave Matthews Band.  First of all, what kind of theme song comes from the Dave Matthews Band?  I love Dave, but he’s certainly not who you call on when you want someone to feel macho.  Secondly, here’s a sample: 

Look at this big – eyed fish swimming in the sea oh,
How it dreams to be a bird swoop and diving through the breeze
So one day caught a big old wave up on to the beach
Now he’s dead you see beneath the sea is where a fish should be

An alternate, and clearly HR inappropriate choice, is "Lift Your Head Up High (and Blow Your Brains Out)" by the Bloodhound Gang.

6.  Finish the following sentence – "When I’m interviewing, I can tell within one minute that this thing isn’t going to work out because _________…"

He/She was late.  Don’t be late.  I hate when people are late.  I’ve got things to do, and making up the 10 minutes you put me behind isn’t on the calendar.

Also…he/she is cocky.  Confidence is great.  Cockiness is BS.  Does my title say "Executive Recruiter?"  No?  Oh…well, that means No…you can’t have a limo pick you up from the airport.  And, I’m certainly not giving you a BMW.

7.  Name the actor/actress that will portray you in the movie about you.  Why the heck is that a fit?

I’d have to say Hugh Jackman.  The lead actor would have to be both good looking and able to sing, as my life story would be a musical.  Most likely a Rock Opera.  Jason P: Superstar.

8.  List three of your favorite books to pander to the educated segment of our readership…

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – Aliens, lasers and fights in zero gee.

The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling – Wizards, magic and Good vs Evil.

Wait…sorry.  Are these supposed to be work related?

Be the Pack Leader by Cesar Millan – you would be amazed at how many of these skills work on people. 

9.  List three of your favorite movies to connect with the segment of our readership that doesn’t like to read…

The Godfather.  Every recruiter needs the skill to make one an offer they can’t refuse.  And…my grandfather looks like Vito Corleone.  I’m not kidding.

Ben Hur – possibly my favorite movie ever.  Uplifting, spiritual without being overt, and it has chariot races!

Bring it On – What?  It fits.  I got some killer Spirit Fingers!

10.  Let’s reach out to what remains of our readership.  Who’s your favorite Old-School Rapper and why?

Kriss Kross.  No reason.  Just wonder when the last time was that someone brought up the Miggity miggity miggity miggity Mac Daddy. 

10.5.  My first car was a <blank> and here’s how it defined who I am….

1990 Maroon Ford Tempo.  Cars don’t define me.  The fact that I was a National Honor Society, Band/Drama geek driving around in my parents’ car defines me.


See Jason’s Rants and Riffs on Fistful of Talent by clicking here