Meet Simon De Matteo, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at Spin Master

Our Hiring Hero Series showcases talent acquisition pros across the globe who are dedicated to connecting people with their next great opportunity.

Simon De Matteo runs global recruitment at Spin Master, a leading multi-platform children’s entertainment company with offices spanning the globe. He and his international team do all of their recruiting in-house. They follow a traditional go-to-market strategy, utilizing a mixture of digital/online sourcing, headhunting, networking, and branding at events.

Recently, we sat down with him to get a deeper understanding of how he tackles hiring.


“Being able to have those commercially intelligent conversations with the business is what will separate you from a ‘typical’ recruiter.”


What does it mean to you to be a hiring hero?

“It’s great to get the recognition but the autonomy and trust that I’ve been given from Spin Master is what has allowed me to succeed. That, and the constant support that I receive from our amazing TA team.”

Outside of having a great team, what else does it take to be a successful recruiter?

“Think business first rather than HR. Delivering quality quickly is an entry pass to the party—and has to be a key daily driver—but being able to have those commercially intelligent conversations with the business is what will separate you from a ‘typical’ recruiter.”

Can you tell us a bit about how Spin Master has grown over the years?

“They actually began selling one product called the Earth Buddy which was a nylon stocking-covered head of sawdust topped with grass seeds (which grew to emulate hair). It was funded by their own $10,000 investment and it served as their springboard into the billion-dollar toy business they run today.”

And what excited you most about working there?

“I like the entrepreneurial spirit of Spin Master. It’s an innovative company at the core, and they give me the autonomy to make my own decisions. They trust me, they trust my judgement and they know I am here to support long term global strategy—that kind of autonomy is rare. I am seen as a business partner.”


“We try and give as high touch service as possible but that isn’t always efficient. That’s why a transparent candidate process with regular email feedback is key. Candid feedback is also something we try and give to set them up for future success.”


How do you go above and beyond to help candidates succeed?

“We try and give as high touch service as possible but that isn’t always efficient. That’s why a transparent candidate process with regular email feedback is key. Candid feedback is also something we try and give to set them up for future success.”

What types of roles are you hiring for at Spin Master right now?

“We hire for absolutely everything from back-office ops like traditional HR and finance, to front-end business development support like design, engineering, product development, and marketing.”

Wow! And are some positions more challenging to fill than others?

“Well, the toy market has evolved over the years and the composition of our workforce has, too. We need a lot more software engineers and different types of designers, for example, because you’ve got something like a plastic dog that sat there before and now it moves, dances, and talks.”

Ok. So you’ve had a shift in the types of roles you need to hire?

“Definitely. The biggest shifts have come in toy design (and the technologies that are involved with toy design), engineering, and our supply chain.”


“The technologies we’ve invested in over the last 18 months have enabled us to not skip a beat. Our recruiting strategy is the same and so are our goals, we’re just not all sitting together to achieve them.”


How have you adapted to hiring in an industry that’s always evolving?

“We are always looking ahead and anticipating what’s coming next. I make sure that my team is mobilized and able to change directions at the drop of a hat. We are also always adding top, innovative sourcing solutions like ZipRecruiter to our toolbox.”

Has it been helpful to have that type of agility when adapting your recruiting strategies for COVID-19?

“Yes. Even though we intellectually knew it, we’ve realized we can and have mobilized quickly to working effectively remotely. Thankfully the technologies we’ve invested in over the last 18 months have enabled us to not skip a beat. Our recruiting strategy is the same and so are our goals, we’re just not all sitting together to achieve them.”

What is a piece of advice you’d share with new recruiters?

“Ask lots of questions, try and understand the business as much as you understand your craft. Delivery is key, if you’re too slow and don’t have great stakeholder management, you’ll fail very quickly.”

Simon’s Tips for the Future of Recruiting

“The current shift from traditional technologies to AI and machine learning seems to be gaining momentum and will definitely be in the future. Employer branding is also a critical next step in the evolution of TA. Those who stand out with a great EVP (employee value prop) will win the best talent. Integrating heavily with your marketing department is crucial for this to happen.”

Spin Master

Join the Spin Master team. Dedicated to innovation and bringing entertainment to homes across the globe, Spin Master is an exciting place to work!

Simon is connecting people with great opportunities at Spin Master every day. Check out some of the roles his team is hiring for now.

Job Openings

Related Topics: ,

Written by

Our team is dedicated to helping talent acquisition professionals reach qualified candidates with industry-leading tools and strategies. We provide resources and insights on the latest trends in job seeker activity, technology, and industry changes. Learn more about Ziprecruiter's solutions and get ready to take your recruiting strategy to the next level.

More Articles by ZipRecruiter's Talent Strategy Team