How to hire great people that don’t need a job – How to hire a Michael Jordan

In the increasingly difficult recruiting market you must learn how to “think outside the box” if you are to get the best (or even the average) in fields like IT and Hi-tech. This is how I recommend you do it. Stop putting butts in chairs and hire “better people”. “The one with the best people wins!”


  • The best are not in the job search mode often and especially the day we happen to have an opening.
  • We need to stop recruiting Unhappy/ Unemployed people and focus on people that can really make a difference.

Action Steps

  1. You must find the names of the best without any help from them. It should be the manager’s job to know the names of the best and what makes them better than the rest.
  2. Assume you need to build a long term relationship with the best in order to get them to say yes. Most of the relationship will be electronic.
  3. You have to WOW them continually to get them to even consider you.
  4. Assessment of candidates will be done over time and in non-traditional ways (at conferences, through e-mail etc.).
  5. The best need a “Triggering Event” to get them to leave a job. We need to have a long term relationship (be in constant touch) with the candidate to ensure we are aware of their job search triggers and when they occur.
  6. We need to do a “candidate profile” of what they need in a job offer in order to accept it. This will be done mostly without their help.
  7. You will need “Help” from others to get them to work for you. Their “friends” or Mentors will need to encourage or OK the move to your firm before it will occur.
  8. Both the Assessment and the Offer Process must be “Fast and Easy” if you expect to get a Yes. Expect them to be on the job market one day or less! If you are not available and prepared that day, you will lose them. Assume you will NOT have an opening that day, so you will hire them even though you have no current position!
  9. You must have an offer that is such a WOW that they will not even consider the inevitable counteroffer they will get from their current boss.
  10. Once they accept they will expect you to keep every promise made during this lengthy process or they will leave you also.

As seen on Gately Consulting

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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