Six Tips for Recruiting A Players

Summary:  If you had a 100% foolproof method of hiring, it could fail miserably if you did not have enough candidates to pick from.  Topgrading IS the most proven and effective hiring method BUT … unless you have at least 30 and preferably 50 candidates to choose from, even Topgrading will probably not produce an A Player … except … EXCEPT if you recruit A Players from your network.

This happened recently:  A Topgrader head of Human Resources complained to me that the online Topgrading hiring instruments failed.  Huh?  Everyone loves these hiring tools – the Career History Form produces the Topgrading Snapshot, making screening super quick and accurate, and the Topgrading Interview Guide is a breeze to use because it contains all of the honest, complete information from the Career History Form.   The head of HR said there were three candidates for a sales rep job and two of the three failed to even complete the career history form.  And the one who did was a terrible job hopper who recently had been fired.  Hence, he said, Topgrading hadn’t produced an A Player to hire.

Good grief!  A random pick of any three candidates for any job almost certainly has no A-Players, because the vast majority of people who send their resume would be low performers for you.

Topgrading cannot turn C and B Players into A Players.  Expect that C Players will start completing the Career History Form and read the “truth serum,” that THEY will eventually have to arrange reference calls with former bosses, and when they realize they will never get former bosses to talk, OF COURSE they drop out.  Good!

Here’s how the Topgrading magic works:  50 candidates send you their resume and you email all 50 a thank you, inviting them to complete the Topgrading Career History Form.  Twenty-five mediocre candidates drop out because they realize they won’t get former bosses to talk to you and they realize that Topgrading will show how fictitious and deceptive their resume is.   Again – Good!  You didn’t want to interview them anyway.

You review the 25 Career History Forms and Topgrading Snapshots and 5 candidates look good – they are NOT job hoppers, their comp is in the right range, and their bosses would give them high-performance ratings.  You screen them on the phone, bring three in for Topgrading Interviews, decide one is an A Player, ask the candidate to arrange reference calls with bosses, conduct the reference calls, and you hire an A Player.  Viola!  Topgrading has produced an A Player, but only because you recruited many candidates to choose from.

How to Recruit Dozens of Candidates:  Unless you can pick from the best of 30 – 50 candidates, you might not have any A Player finalists.  So, here’s how to recruit LOTS of candidates:

1.  Recruit from your network of A Players.  You don’t need 50, 30, or even 13 candidates if you recruit A Players you or someone you trust has worked with.  Your company should be offering terrific monetary and appreciation awards for A-Players who refer A Players.

2.  Ensure your company LinkedIn profile is 100% up-to-date and advertise open positions on LinkedIn.

3.  Use Social Recruiting, notably Twitter and Facebook.

4. Make the Careers section of your corporate website exciting and attractive.  If you’ve received honors such as being listed among the Best Companies to Work For in your area, brag about it!

5.  Advertise on major and/or industry-specific job boards. 

6. For high-level positions, engage an executive search firm, but require it to use Topgrading methods; its reports should show failures, not just successes, and what bosses will say are candidates’ weaker points, not just strengths.

Conclusion: Recruit a LOT of candidates in order to allow Topgrading to work its magic:  90% high performers hired.

Published 14, 2014

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