Driven to Innovate: Jacob Kramer of US Xpress

“Don’t be afraid to fail!”  Authentic advice from Jacob Kramer, the Vice President of Talent Acquisition at US Xpress, Inc.  His career is the culmination of audacious goals for process improvement and big bets on tech to accomplish them, making him the Mr. Fixit of high-volume recruitment.  A scrappy Minnesota native and self-proclaimed introvert, Jacob has a drive to solve big recruiting challenges, making him an unintentional rising star in the Talent Acquisition world, and my guest on Episode 40 of the Big Fish in the Talent Pool podcast.  

Jacob was hired into his current position at US Xpress after transforming end-to-end recruitment for Regis Corp., the giant hair salon chain with tens of thousands of hourly workers.  Armed with a big idea to use Recruitment Process Automation to replace time-consuming, manual steps and reduce time-to-fill by weeks, his timing was perfect as Regis was transforming almost every area of their business.  But Jacob also learned the valuable lesson that big ideas are great, as long as they are conceived and pitched through a business lens. 

After streamlining and automating Regis’ candidate experience with Conversational AI tool Paradox, Jacob set his sights on the transportation industry as one ripe for hiring renovation. He researched the major trucking firms and created a pitch for the CHRO and CEO of national transporter, US Xpress. Initially ignored as the “hair guy” because of his time at Regis, his good ideas won him a second meeting, and eventually the top TA job, requiring a move to Chattanooga, TN – just in time for the pandemic.

Rising to the challenge of Covid-19’s effect on the trucking industry, Jacob worked to gain buy-in for a more advanced use of Conversational AI that recognizes the diversity of the driver population, and uses it to attract diverse talent. Never one to be content with the status quo, Jacob challenged his vendor partner, Paradox to create and deliver groundbreaking enhancements, such as a geo-fenced AI Assistant who, based on census data, matches candidates with an avatar likely to be similar to them. No more generic bots for US Xpress candidates! 

Listen and be inspired as Jacob shares these and many more professional and personal stories from his relentless pursuit of re-thinking all things TA.  A rising star indeed!


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Erin McDermott Peterson is a Partner with PeopleResults helping clients as a Talent Acquisition Consultant, Interim Leader, and RPO Advisor. She has led TA and RPO globally for some of the most successful organizations in the world including Accenture, Aon Hewitt, and Amazon. She translates her unique global experience to help clients with TA strategy, candidate experience, and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) decisions.

Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPeterson, connect via or email at