We help you reach new heights.

Topgrading is a proven system for improving the productivity, profitability, and progress of an organization by recruiting, hiring, and developing teams of top performers.

Our Story

You need a great team to make it to the top.

Topgrading was born from a firm conviction: That the #1 most important factor in every company’s success is talent - having a team of high performers.

Our founder, Brad Smart, completed his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology… frustrated. Academic studies of talent and hiring all but ignored the issue of how to hire high performers. And he had worked for two consultancies who relied on the same one-hour interviews and aptitude tests everyone else used. The problem was that this process only resulted in only 30% of hires turning out to be high performers. He knew companies needed a better way to hire.

Brad made it his mission to discover just how companies could hire almost all high performers, and he called the resulting methodology Topgrading. Ultimately, Brad transformed the candidate interview from a standard formality to a thorough, highly revealing engagement. He also developed his notion of candidate-arranged reference calls — notifying candidates early on that they will be asked to arrange reference calls with managers they've reported to. This incentivizes candidates to be more transparent and put less spin on their work history, so employers have an accurate representation of candidates’ roles and results, strengths and weaker points.

Soon after Brad had founded his own firm to put Topgrading into action, he was approached by Jack Welch, then CEO of General Electric, to interview candidates for hire and promotion to senior positions. It worked: more than 90% of candidates hired and promoted turned out to be “A Players.” It worked so well, in fact, that Jack asked Brad to teach all GE managers how to use the Topgrading methods, so it could become an embedded part of GE’s hiring practices. Brad trained 100+ HR managers who, in turn trained thousands of managers, and together they achieved a rate of over 80%+ A Players hired and promoted throughout the company. GE became the most valuable company in the world, shooting up in market cap from $39B in 1987 when Topgrading started, to $574B in 2000, just before Jack retired. Welch's successor chose not to continue Topgrading - and you've seen the results.

Now the word is out. Today Topgrading, Inc. provides both professional Topgrading interviews at top levels while teaching Topgrading methods to leaders at all levels. Hundreds of thousands of managers have enjoyed more successful careers because they’ve used Topgrading to put together high performing teams.

In this time of unprecedented upheaval in the talent environment, Topgrading’s approach has never been more business critical.

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What could you achieve with a team of all A Players?

Make Better hiring Decisions


“Our double-digit international growth would not have been possible without Topgrading.”

Hire The Best with topgrading

Quality of Service

“A Players have definitely improved the quality of service we provide.”

Assess Candidates. Develop Employees. Reduce Turnover


“A Players create an entirely different culture with higher engagement and results.”

topgrading growth

Start-Up Success

"If I hadn’t Topgraded, Mint.com would have failed."

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“Without Topgrading, E*TRADE would have gone under. Topgrading helped us survive and flourish.”

Hire the best


"Topgrading increased our A Players hired and promoted, and GE became the most valuable company in the world."

Ready to start your journey to success by hiring top talent?

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