Dr. John Sullivan

Dr. John Sullivan is a well-known teacher, author, and HR thought leader. He is a frequent speaker and advisor to Fortune 500 and Silicon Valley firms. Formerly the chief talent officer for Agilent Technologies (the 43,000-employee HP spin-off), he is now a professor of management at San Francisco State University. An expert on recruiting and staffing, he was dubbed the "Michael Jordan of Hiring" by Fast Company magazine. Contact him at johns@sfsu.edu.

Articles by Dr. John Sullivan

Recruiting and Staffing

7 More Reasons Why Slow Hiring Is Bad For Your Business


Second of two parts

After several decades of work on “speed hiring,” I have put together an extensive list of the negative consequences associated with taking too long to hire.

I listed the five most damaging factors yesterday in 5 Good Reasons Slow Hiring Can Damage Your Business ResultsHere are seven (7) more of the most damaging factors. Read more…

Recruiting and Staffing

5 Good Reasons Slow Hiring Can Damage Your Business Results

Hiring speed

First of two parts

A candidate from a well-known benchmark firm dropped out of our search for a General Manager position because the hiring manager took a week to respond to his interest. He said:

It’s not like I need their job. If it takes them a week to respond to a resume like mine for a job of this importance, they’re not the kind of company I want to work for. I move fast, and I can already see that my style wouldn’t fit their culture. –Wind River Associates

As a corporate recruiting leader, know that in a highly competitive college marketplace, there may be nothing that damages corporate recruiting results more than slow hiring. Read more…

HR Management, Talent Management

Want Better Retention & Productivity? Take a Look Into “Motivation Profiles”

Photo by istockphoto.com

In a world where “Big Data” covers almost every area of the business, there is one important area where no data is systematically collected — and that is data identifying the factors that motivate and excite individual employees.

Outside of a handful of organizations, almost every major corporation lacks a formal process for collecting and reporting data covering the key issues that excite and motivate their workers. I call this a “motivation profile.”

Think about it for a minute: taking positive actions to motivate your employees is a powerful and often inexpensive approach for increasing productivity, innovation, engagement, retention and even attendance. Read more…

Talent Management

Why Most Firms Have Given Up on Matching the Talent Features at Google


Second of two parts

“Our firm can never be like Google” is to me a statement indicating surrender, submission, and capitulation.

After completing talent case studies of Google, Facebook, and Apple (all can be found in the ERE.net archives), I became intimately aware that their talent management and recruiting approaches were far different and superior to any of the 200 plus corporations that I have worked with.

However, most of their talent management practices were easily discoverable, and every talent feature that I identified was certainly copyable at other firms. As a result, an unwillingness to even try to catch up and to emulate the talent management practices at these 1 percent firms was stunning to me. Read more…

Recruiting and Staffing

The Recruiting Gap: Why 99% Have Given Up Competing With Google

From the HR blog at TLNT.

First of two parts

If you’re an executive interested in recruiting, here is a scary thought to consider:

For the first time in your lifetime, as a result of their compelling approach to managing talent, the elite 1 percent of firms now have a powerful recruiting brand advantage.

The resulting “recruiting brand gap” between the top 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent of firms is now so wide that most firms have given up trying to match the talent approach of the 1 percent. Read more…

Recruiting and Staffing, Talent Management

You’re Missing the Boat Not Recruiting High School Students Right Now

123RF Stock Photo

In case you didn’t hear about it, college football powerhouse Alabama recently offered a scholarship to 8th grade football player Dylan Moses and LSU offered a scholarship to a 9th grader.

Before you react in shock, as a parent might, consider the fact that teenage talent may be the last remaining untapped corporate recruiting pool.

Most corporate recruiting leaders wear blinders that prevent them from even considering recruiting top high school and non-degreed talent into their professional positions. But not every recruiting leader has a fear of recruiting teenagers, however. In fact the “early-age talent” benchmark recruiting standard was set a long time ago by sports recruiters. Read more…

Recruiting and Staffing

Facebook’s Billion-Dollar Lesson About the 2 Big Hires They Missed


The most costly recruiting error in recent history was revealed this month.

In mid February, Facebook announced its nearly $19 billion purchase of the instant-messaging firm WhatsApp. But the real news about the acquisition relates to the colossal recruiting failure that occurred a handful of years earlier (as reported by Forbes) when both WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton applied for a job at Facebook and were rejected (Acton was also rejected by Twitter).

As Brian Acton put it ,“We’re part of the Facebook reject club.” You could easily argue that this colossal “hiring miss” cost Facebook billions, and as a result, this hiring error has to rank near the top “not hired” errors, only rivaled by HP’s rejection of Steve Jobs for not having a college degree. Read more…

Recruiting and Staffing

How “Friends of the Firm” Referrals Can Widen Your Talent Network

123RF Stock Photo

There is a story in The Wall Street Journal recently about an emerging recruiting trend where traditional employee referral programs are being expanded to allow non-employees to submit referrals.

I call these variation “friends of the firm” referrals (FOF) because it expands the number of people looking for top talent for your firm beyond the traditional employee base.

That means that those looking for talent now include family, vendors, and other individuals who both like your firm and understand its talent needs. Read more…

Talent Management

8 Great Talent Management Takeaways From the Super Bowl

Seattle Times

A couple years back I was asked to outline “the future of talent management” in a talk at Google headquarters.

Then as now, I predicted that the future of talent management will follow the “professional sports model,” which many of you witnessed during Sunday’s Super Bowl in New York.

Some in HR carelessly make the mistake of instantly dismissing sports analogies as irrelevant, but those individuals fail to understand that the NFL and its teams are multibillion-dollar businesses with the same economic bottom line and the need to dominate competitors as any other corporate businesses. Read more…

HR Insights, Talent Management

How to Measure the Dollar Value of a High-Performing Employee

Measuring performance

In professional sports, almost everyone readily agrees that a top-performing athlete is worth their weight in gold.

That value is clearly reflected in their compensation, where for example a top-performing NFL quarterback can get paid 10 times more than the third-string quarterback on the same team.

The value of adding a LeBron James, Peyton Manning, or Lionel Messi to your team can easily exceed hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The same is true in entertainment, where adding the right actor to a film or rock star to a concert can easily double the gross over an unknown performer. Read more…