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Topgrading: Is Your Company Using This Hiring & Promoting Method?
Not sure where I discovered Topgrading: The Proven Hiring and Promoting Method That Turbocharges Company Performance recently, but after reading it I was challenged to engage in some self-examination and soul-searching related to my understanding of hiring practices and methodology.

I found Topgrading to be both exhilarating and exhausting as I combed through all of the rigorous, process-driven suggestions. The book resonated with me on many levels and data related to the cost of mis-hires was particularly compelling. But I have to admit: It was tiring to study the Topgrading technique-and that's before I've had a chance to try it out or adopt it to my hiring/recruiting practices, which will take even more effort!

That said, I think it's worth the read: Former GE Chairman Jack Welch is a big supporter/user, and that says a lot: The retired chairman, CEO, author, and chemical engineer is one of the most followed people on LinkedIn-the go-to social site for business people-and we know how successful and celebrated GE became using these methods under his leadership; you'd be hard-pressed to find a better endorsement.

And, like the TV program Survivor, I can understand why only the A players-people in the top 10 per cent of talent available for each position-can survive the rigorous Topgrading methodology. But this may be the best book I've read on selecting, mentoring, and retaining "A" employees, so I plan to incorporate elements of the methodology into our recruiting process. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes-stay tuned.

Can we figure this out together? I'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to weigh in below in the comments section to share your experiences with or impressions of the Topgrading methodology. We learn from each other.

Here are some summary points to consider in relation to the Topgrading method:

Describing the Talent Problem
Whether you're a CEO at a Global 1,000 company, an HR Talent Acquisition professional or a hiring manager you can probably relate to the following:
  • You have a mixture of talent, and your marginal performers cause you the most frustration;
  • You'd like to spend more time helping your high performers achieve even more, but chronic low performers take up too much of your time and your high performers' time, dragging down your entire organization;
  • You value talent-you really do-but you only have about 25% high performers. You try to coach the poorer performers, but it rarely works.
What's more, you've tried to replace poor performers, but:
  • Recruiters are not presenting quality candidates.
  • Resumes are fabricated-C Players hype their resumes to look like A Players.
  • Your competency ("behavioral") interviews are not very revealing.
  • Reference checks are generally worthless.
  • Too often the people hired disappoint you.
  • All those mis-hires are VERY costly.
Understanding the Cost of Mis-hires
Thousands of case studies from Topgrading companies reveal that only about 25% of the people hired and promoted were turning out to be high performers before starting to use the Topgrading method. This means three-out-of-four people hired turn out to be mis-hires-yikes.

Topgrading surveys conducted among top human resources executives at Global 100 companies found the following:
  • 75% of the people hired by the biggest and most sophisticated companies turn out to be a disappointment...or worse!
  • Most managers live with 25% high performers (A Players), about 50% adequate or good performers (B Players), and 25% poor performers (C Players). But you know in your heart that even a good performer doesn't cut it if you expect a true high performer-the best person available for what you are willing to pay.
  • You only want to hire the best people available at a given salary-level for every job-that's what you're supposedly paying for, right?
  • But most of the time you don't get the high performer you paid for, so your talent challenges become your biggest challenge. (1)
Understanding Topgrading's Tools
The author uses his Chronological In-Depth Structured (CIDS) interview process to ferret out "B" and "C" players in an effort to find the "A" Players. The tools and resources offered in the appendix provide insights into how Topgrading works:
  • Chronological In-Depth Structured (CIDS) interview guide: Used for internal and external candidates, this guide offers a structured interviewing track for interviewers to get the most information possible from candidates.
  • Career History Form: "A" players may not want to spend time completing an application, so the Career History Form can be offered as a means of saving a few hours during the review process.
  • In-Depth Reference Check Guide: This is a written track record hiring managers can use to execute the reference check.
  • Interviewer Feedback Form: Filled out by hiring managers after an interview, this form provides a holistic view of the candidate's potential.
  • Sample Competencies - Management: This tool provides a way for hiring managers to rate (on a scale of 1-6) the importance of specific skills to the specific and measure the candidate's ability in relation to them. (2)
Boosting Your Performance With Great Hires
How's your recruitment process going? If you've worked with Victoria James Executive Search before, you already know that you'll have a strategic partner who understands your organization's goals, corporate culture, and onboarding strategy.

Give us a call today at 203.750.8838, if you'd like to chat.

Victoria James Executive Search recruiters  have a proven track record of senior-level placements at Fortune 500 firms as well as start-ups. We look forward to hearing from you and having the opportunity to be of assistance. 

Victoria James
Victoria James Executive Search, Inc.
Email: vjames@victoriajames.com
Call: 203-750-8838

What topics interest you? What subjects would you like us to explore? Contact us and we'll do our best to make sure the topics that interest you most are examined in depth at www.victoriajames.com. Your opinion matters - contact me today!
Smile! We leave with the following superb job-interviewing tip guaranteed to land your next job with style from the folks over at The Poke in the UK (try these at your own risk ):
Be confident: After each question, kiss your fist and say, "nailed it" to yourself under your breath.

1. Smart. Bradford D., Topgrading, The Proven Hiring and Promoting Method That Turbocharges Company Performance, Third Edition, and Topgrading 301 eBook. Accessed April 12, 2016: http://www.topgrading.com
2. The Humbert Group, LLC, Topgrading Review at RecruiterGuy.com. Accessed April 13, 2016. http://www.recruiterguy.com/reviews/corp/topgrading.html