How to Shorten the Time Hiring an A Player: Method #4

Whether you are a Topgrader or not, these proven methods can save you a lot a time but maintain the standard of hiring all high performers, for ALL jobs.   We keep learning from clients the methods that they have discovered, so this is a series of blogs and might go on and on indefinitely!

Before explaining time saving methods, please take one minute or more to learn the basics of Topgrading.  Or, because this is an ongoing series of time saving blogs, if you’ve already read About Topgrading and Topgrading Steps, just skip down to Time Saving Method #4.

About Topgrading

Why learn about Topgrading?  I want you to hire better, NOT just save time mis-hiring people!  If you aren’t familiar with Topgrading I want to get your attention: Topgrading truly is the best, most effective, most proven method to hire.  Learn by reading the couple of paragraphs below (one minute) , go to and download the free eGuide, which will take 15 minutes to read.  Or be very impressed with the dozens of case studies at   The first page is a Master Chart with all the results by company and that will take you one minute to skim through; or click on any company and read the details.

The average improvement hiring HIGH performers across all the companies is from 26% to 85% — that’s HIGH performers — and all the CEOs say Topgrading made the company more profitable.  No other hiring approach we are aware of has even one case study with a fraction of the results, and not one has a CEO saying it improved profits of the company.   Sorry for the sales pitch but if you haven’t heard of Topgrading, I wanted to let you know these tips will help you hire better AND save time.

Key Topgrading Steps.

  1. Job Scorecard. Topgraders convert a vague job description (which is confusing and leads to mis-hires) into a Job Scorecard with clear, measurable accountabilities (and that assures better hires).
  2. Everyone knows this, and Topgraders use job boards, but they say their best hires come from referrals a Player made – they recommend A Players they’ve worked with.
  3. Candidate Screening. In Topgrading candidates complete your application form infused with Topgrading IP including with a “truth serum” that really works.  The candidate presses Send and you get the Topgrading Snapshot, the best candidate screening tool ever created.

Even before talking with candidate’s Topgraders know a) low performers have dropped out, b) liars with fictitious resumes have dropped out, c) full salary history, and d) how all bosses would rate their performance.  Amazing but true!

  1. Phone Screen. After screening candidates with the Topgrading Snapshot, talk to candidates for the first time in a phone screen interview, to determine if it’s worth the time to bring the candidate in for a day of interviews.  Phone interviews cover what the candidate is looking for and delves into the most recent two jobs.
  2. Visit to the company. Topgraders typically use competency Interviews and the Tandem (2 interviewers) Topgrading Interview during that day.
  3. Candidate-arranged reference calls. There is no phone tag because finalist candidates do arrange the calls, and these calls with managers and others YOU want to talk with provide solid verification of everything the candidate said.

 Here are the most important hiring truths:  More than half the people hired every day turn out to be disappointments because of rampant dishonesty (C Players lie and get away with it), shallow interviews, and weak verification (reference checks are almost worthless and everyone knows it so C players can get away with fudging the truth).  Topgrading assures total honesty, the most revealing Topgrading Interview, and solid verification (in reference checks millions of A Players have arranged with former managers).

 But, the biggest criticism of Topgrading is the time it takes.  “It’s very time consuming to bring a candidate in for a full day to conduct maybe four 1-hour competency interviews plus a 4-hour Topgrading Interview; is the 4-hour Topgrading Interview of a manager worth the time?”  Yes; of course, it is because that Topgrading Interview enables you to hire 75%, 80%, or even 90% high performers.  Non-Topgraders mis-hire at least half the people they hire, and each mid-management mis-hire cost them $250k+ plus 200 wasted hours.

Although Topgrading SAVES TIME, because mis-hires are avoided, clients have discovered many ways to save even more time.

Time-Saving Method #4:  Spend less time on lower level candidates.

The Topgrading Interview is a chronological interview covering high and low points of all jobs.  How long do the interviews take?  Our experience suggests:

  • Manager – 4-hour Topgrading Interview; 2 hours on most recent decade
  • Sales Rep – 2 hour Topgrading Interview; 1 hour on most recent 5 years
  • Cashier – 40-minute Topgrading Interview; 20 minutes on most recent 2 years

I’m suggesting spending half the interview time on the most recent jobs because managers we’ve trained are usually too conscientious.  Seriously – … the thousands of managers who have attended our Topgrading Workshop are sooooo conscientious they not only ask all the questions about the early jobs, they ask follow up questions, and more follow up questions, and too often … run out of time.  If 4 hours were scheduled for the interview, they might find they have only ½ hour to cover the most recent 5 years and that’s not enough.

So in our workshops, just before they conduct their first Topgrading Interview we say, “This interview will be the most revealing of your career, and our experience suggests that you will want to ask too many questions about the early career, so:

  • For the early jobs try to ask no more than one or two follow up questions after the main questions. For example, you’ll ask about successes and accomplishments for every job and it’s appropriate and necessary to ask maybe 10 or 15 follow up questions about successes in the current job.  However, try to ask only 1 or 2 questions about successes in the first full time job.

After ½ hour we take a short break to say:  “You’ll need to move the interview along with fewer follow up questions.  When covering the early work history you are just getting your antennae focused and you do not need to know all the specifics; sure it might be interesting to ask Chris, “How did you go about organizing that Christmas party in that first job out of college, when you were an Executive Assistant,” but now the candidate is Executive Office Manager for the C Suite of a billion dollar company.  Get through the early jobs so you have time to explore the details of much bigger projects in her current job.”

If you have run out of time – perhaps because the candidate is scheduled to go to lunch with the President, no problem – just schedule a phone call or GoToMeeting extension of the interview when mutually convenient.

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