Argonne National Laboratory

Mike Sullivan

November 11, 2016

Mike Sullivan is a senior talent acquisition specialist in Argonne National Laboratory's Human Resources Division, where he plays a lead role in attracting diverse and highly qualified talent to the lab. Before joining Argonne, Mike spent five years playing professional baseball for the Detroit Tigers organization and the Windy City Thunderbolts, an independent professional baseball team, and held recruiting and sales roles in various staffing agencies.

What's your role here at Argonne?

Talent acquisition is a resource to the hiring managers and the divisions to facilitate the hiring process. Right now I do this for our Photon Sciences (PSC) directorate and our Computing, Environment and Life Sciences (CELS) directorate. When a manager or team in those directorates is ready to open up a position, they'll contact me and I'll conduct an "intake" meeting with the manager to talk about the position, the requirements, and then help craft an outreach and sourcing strategy.

I also provide consultation to hiring managers, division teams and search committees on the entire recruitment lifecycle, from organizing implicit bias training to designing the interview framework and helping support the selection process with facilitation and tools. It's important that we have consistency in this process because that enables us to build strong, diverse candidate pools and hire the most qualified employees.

What do you like most about the work you do?

What I like most is the mission here at the lab. I've worked in for-profit organizations where it really was all about the bottom dollar. While it's still important to be productive and do a great job, the meaning behind your work should always be more than just a dollar value, and that's clear in our lab's mission. Here the focus is on enabling our scientific community to do good work, part of which means hiring the best people, and that's exciting for me. Although I'm not involved directly in the science, indirectly I'm making an impact on what they do and I am part of supporting the mission.

What other activities are you involved in at Argonne?

I am the vice-president of membership for the Argonne chapter of Toastmasters, an international association that trains individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Coming from a more traditional sales background, I was used to having one-on-one meetings and conversations but never really spoke in front of groups, so I see this as an opportunity to get better at public speaking. And given my role as a recruiter for the lab, it just makes sense that I would be the VP of membership, where my job is to attract more people to the club.

I also participate in Argonne's three-on-three basketball league, which ended its season about a month ago. The teams normally meet over lunchtime at Argonne's outdoor court, and you get to see people from all the different divisions and directorates participating. It's really a fun way to get some exercise in and meet new people.

How have your personal experiences influenced your career path?

My background prior to my roles as a recruiter was focused on athletics, and that experience exposed me to people from all over the world who have different backgrounds, personalities and points of view. Coming together, we all had to unite around a common goal. So even though we were all different, we had to find a way to get along and work together to accomplish our goal. And the same exact thing is needed here at the lab. Obviously we're not catching a ball or swinging a bat, but the same effort to build a "one team"-type working relationship is necessary in order to be successful.

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