Professor, Corporate Speaker and Advisor
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Corporate Advisor

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Dr. John Sullivan has written extensively on the following topics:


"The Michael Jordan of Hiring"


Latest Articles

Recruit Top Prospects During Their ‘Angry Hours’ — Because Timing Is Everything

An in-depth analysis on how the right timing can dramatically improve recruiting

In my experience, the hardest-to-recruit exceptional targets are those who I label as “no, and stop calling me” passive top prospects who simply won’t accept a recruiter’s call. Even though most recruiters will tell you that their lack of interest in changing jobs is unwavering, my research has found that there are exceptions that may occur once or twice during each year, and I call them “their angry hours.”

During this brief time period the prospect is open to a recruiting discussion because something has recently occurred that makes them angry about their job, their manager, or their company. And for at least a few hours … that anger makes them suddenly receptive to recruiter calls and to new job opportunities.

Timing Is Everything in Sales and Recruiting

If you’re going to be strategic in recruiting, realize that finding top performers and superstars on the Internet, on LinkedIn, and on social media is actually now quite easy. The remaining part of recruiting is selling, because it is extremely difficult 1) to get top identified prospects to even talk to you and 2) to “sell” these individuals to the point where they are willing to apply for your job. (more…)

HR Ranks at the Bottom — Reasons to Adopt Metrics and Predictive Analytics

When you survey the most frequent users of analytics and metrics in the corporate world, not surprisingly you find that HR ranks at the very bottom. Compared to finance, which is ranked No. 1, HR compares poorly with only half of its functions being classified as advanced users and three times more HR functions are classified as non-users.

HR shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the executive team came in No. 2 because they (along with finance) are at the forefront of demanding more metrics and analytics from HR. The remaining business functions, operations, R&D, marketing, and sales all had a higher percentage of advanced metrics users than HR in this excellent 2013 AMA/i4cp study. I have been a public advocate of talent management and talent acquisition shifting to a data-based model for decades but the transition at most corporations has been slow, expensive, and painful. Because I give regular presentations on analytics and metrics, I’ve been able to capture a long list of reasons why firms should shift to a data-based model. The remainder of this article is simply a list of credible reasons that resonate with most HR audiences as to why your corporate talent function should embrace metrics and a data-based decision model.

Part I – Reasons Why Every Firm Needs to Shift to Data-based HR Model Using Standard Metrics and Analytics


What’s Wrong With Retention Bonuses? Pretty Much Everything

In 30 years, I have yet to see a retention bonus retain, let alone motivate, anyone. – Kate D’ Camp, former VP of HR at Cisco

Let’s face it: only a few people voluntarily spend any time thinking about the use of employee retention bonuses (ERBs). I wouldn’t either, except for the fact that a majority of major firms use them instead of much more effective retention approaches. The use of retention bonuses is at an all-time high but I wonder why, because they’re expensive and only occasionally do  work. In my over 20 years of work as a thought leader and practitioner in retention, I have been unable to find any credible corporate data that even comes close to demonstrating the effectiveness of retention bonuses.

The major flaws of employee retention bonuses fall into three categories, which include:

  • ERBs are evil because they are a form of “paid servitude,” where you buy rather than earn employee loyalty.
  • ERBs don’t actually work in a time when turnover rates have gone up 45 percent.
  • ERBs have many negative unintended consequences that unintentionally create damage.


  • I have found the resources on your website to be an invaluable treasure in my recruiter toolbox. Working for a small office of four other employees is incredibly exciting and we are always seeking out creative ways to provide the BEST talent for our clients. Keep up the good work!
    Jeremy Boguslawski, Recruitment Specialist at Alliance Technical Solutions
  • John,
    it's probably impossible for you to ever fully understand the very positive impact your work has had on a global basis. I have become a much better recruiter as a result of reading your articles. This has helped me place the right people into the right roles. A few years back I met with a candidate I had placed at a large global macro hedge fund. I asked how he had been settling in in the first 3 months. He smiled and said, its a great job, the team and the manager have been terrific to work with and my wife is happy. Your wife ? Yes , in my last job at Bank of America I was very unhappy and came home complaining and stressed out and my wife could see this. Now she sees I am happy, less stressed and she is too. This same candidate almost didn't get hired because one of the hiring team had raised doubts about the number of jobs the person had in the last 5 years and labeled him as a job hopper. Fortunately I had read your article and was able to convince the hiring manager that this was not a valid reason for rejecting the candidate. He was hired and in his second year he helped raise $700 million in assets. So your positive influence extends beyond the US and impacts the lives of people - such as house wives that you may never even have thought about. Thank you once again and keep those great articles coming.
    Thomas De Brun, Recruitment Manager EIRE Systems
  • I just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed reading your article and took away some great pointers!
    Megan, Recruiter,
  • Just wanted to tell you that your presentation was both entertaining and informative, I enjoyed your direct style and willingness to take a stand without compromise. Thanks for also picking on me a bit, I enjoyed it, not to mention I came out of the presentation with a new sense of empowerment and a renewed sense of  doing whatever is necessary to hire the best and brightest.
    Tony Ishwar Brijpaul, BASc Vice President, Operations Miovision Technologies Incorporated
  • Dr. John was the best teacher and mentor I had as an undergrad at SFSU. He taught me real world HR that I use every day in my current postion.
    Tracey Helton, Consumer Employment Manager at Asian American Recovery Services, Inc.
  • Dr. Sullivan's HR Management courses have taught me the critical lessons applicable in real world business. His courses are hard, but hammer down on the critical aspect that HR practitioners must learn how to measure and validate their HR programs in order for HR to earn the respect it deserves.
    Daniel Lopez, Human Resource Manager at Universal Custom Display
  • I regularly read articles written by John, and always find them insightful. John pushes the envelope of recruiting practices, and it desperately needs pushing.
    Phil Ojalvo President, The Best Talent Services, LLC
  • Dr. John Sullivan is one of the smartest people I have ever met. Though I graduated from his class 6 years ago, I still refer to him as my teacher and mentor. John has a lazer focus on what actually makes a difference on the bottom line and is never afraid to push the envelope. A thought leader on articulating a tangible, step by step process to take your results to the next level. Do not pass up the opportunity to learn from or work with John Sullivan and his team
    Nicole Drake, Senior Director at BTS Brussels
  • John is a forward-thinking visionary with regard to promoting and advocating progressive and strategic human resource development. John has a knack for discerning what is cutting edge practices, and improving upon them to yield the very best results. I highly value John's expertise, know-how and perspective.
    Steve Navarro

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