Topgrading, Inc. is committed to total client satisfaction. We have made our reputation documenting dramatically improved hiring success of high performers for companies of all sizes. The average improvement across large and small company case studies is from 26% to 85% high performers hired, and the CEOs say Topgrading made their company more successful and more profitable.

Some Topgrading Clients

  • 1st Source Bank
  • Aleris
  • American Heart Association
  • American Power Conversion
  • Anthony Robbins Companies
  • Argo
  • Armstrong
  • Arthritis Foundation
  • Bank of America
  • BankOne
  • Barclays
  • Bayer Healthcare
  • BJs
  • Blackstone
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Brembo North America
  • Cancer Treatement Centers of America
  • Capital IQ
  • Carestream Health
  • Chanel
  • Chesapeake Utilities
  • Citigroup
  • Citizant
  • Covidien
  • Culligan
  • Dayton Power & Light
  • DTZ
  • eHarmony
  • EMC
  • Fed. Gov. of Canada
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Frontier Communications
  • General Electric
  • GSI
  • HEB
  • The Heritage Foundation
  • Hillenbrand
  • Home Instead
  • Honeywell
  • Husqvarna
  • ITT Education Services
  • Ingersoll-Dresser
  • John Hancock
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Jones Lang LaSalle
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Kennametal
  • Leggett & Platt
  • Lincoln Financial
  • MarineMax
  • Maxion
  • Medical Card System
  • Microsoft
  • Milliman
  • Moduslink PTS
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • National Heritage Academies
  • Nurse Next Door
  • Packaging Corporation of America
  • Paychex
  • Peoplefluent
  • Phelps Dodge
  • Quaker Oats
  • Red Bull
  • Rosetta Stone
  • Roundy’s
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Salesforce.Com
  • Shell Oil
  • Siemens
  • SPL Worldgroup
  • Staples
  • Sun Life
  • Travelers
  • TRW
  • UBS
  • United Healthcare (Uniprise)
  • USAA
  • Vertrue
  • Wachovia
  • Waste Management
  • White Lodging
  • Wickes
  • YMCA
  • Zappos



American Heart Association

Cass Wheeler, CEO (retired)
"Topgrading helped us to raise $50 million more ... Topgrading saves lives ... we've improved from 20% A players to 60%, and we're just getting started."

American Power Conversion (APC)

Andrew Cole, Senior Vice President Human Resources
"Topgrading has dramatically increased our success rate hiring A players. Our commitment to the Topgrading process is higher than ever!"


Mark Watson, CEO
“Of course Argo is more successful as a company because Topgrading has resulted in a higher percentage of A Players. A very interesting thing happened and that is, once we had a number of very good people we didn’t need as many people. And so now we’re trying to figure out how to remap some of the work flows because we’re finding that we can get just as much wealth and we can get substantially more work done with 20% less people.”


Ken Griffin, CEO
"With over $70 billion in assets ... Topgrading is key to our strategies, and ... the strategies that have generated the majority of our profits would not have been possible without Topgrading."

Columbus McKinnon

Tim Tevens, President and CEO
“Topgrading has been essential in our international growth. Without Topgrading our growth and market share would not have been nearly as impressive. We’ve always had strong market share in the US, but our double-digit international growth in recent years would not have been possible without Topgrading. Topgrading first helped us pick A Player leaders for China and other locations, and Topgrading has helped us pick A Players for all the exempt jobs as well throughout the company.
After implementing Topgrading for all new hires and promotions, I am thrilled. Our organization has embraced the philosophy and process and we are seeing the results ... the right people in the right positions.”

Rick Steinberg, Vice President Human Resources
“The Tandem Topgrading Interview using the Topgrading Interview Guide has become critical to our staffing process. It is set up in a logical and systematic way and permits the interviewers to hear a thorough review of all the previous jobs that got the person to where they are today – the events, motivations, accomplishments, and failures. It’s really opened our eyes to important things that we otherwise would have missed.”

Cressy & Company

Bryan C. Cressey
“I was amazed by the wisdom in your book. It’s sort of like The Gospel, very true but few of us practice it very well. Topgrading should be a must-read for all executives.”


Scott Clawson, CEO
“Topgrading has definitely made two companies I’ve run more profitable. The Snapshot is amazing – even before talking with a candidate you know if they are a job hopper and how their bosses would rate them. Nothing has been more important for my career success. Really – at least half my career success is attributable to Topgrading and Brad Smart’s counsel.
Topgrading is required for all hiring; as CEO I must mandate Topgrading, or else I’ve found managers will cut corners and hire lesser performers. I’d recommend a would-be Topgrader to Topgrade the whole company. Why not – it works at all levels and yes, it’s simpler and shorter at lower levels.”

Detroit Manufacturing Systems

Bruce Smith, Chairman / CEO
“Because of Brad Smart and his Topgrading methodology, I have been able to attract, hire, coach and retain exceptionally talented candidates who have driven impressive cultural and financial results at numerous companies across a variety of industries over several decades. I strongly encourage you to make Topgrading an indispensable part of your leadership toolbox. It works!”

Envision EMI

Richard Rossi, Co-Chairman
“When I look back at the dramatic success of our company, I can clearly point to the implementation of Topgrading as the pivotal moment that made our success possible. I implore every business owner to make Topgrading mandatory in their company. A Topgraded team is the ultimate secret weapon to crush the competition.”


Paul Idzik, CEO
“I came in as CEO in 2013, and E*TRADE was struggling – it needed a turnaround. It was an existential crisis. Without Topgrading, E*TRADE would have gone under. Topgrading helped us survive and flourish.
The rigor of the Topgrading method sent a message to the financial world that E*TRADE is serious about talent. This attracted A Players.
Don’t just fight fires replacing a couple of people. Make achieving 90% A Players a never-ending quest to be discussed and reinforced daily. Don’t settle for a B Player replacement for a C.”

General Electric

Jack Welch, author of Winning and former Chairman
“Brad helped us develop the tools to hire almost all A Players at GE.”

Bill Conaty, Sr., V.P. Human Resources
“Topgrading is a continuous process of identifying and developing top talent to enhance overall organizational vitality. It has worked for General Electric during the Welch years.”

Hayes-Lemmerz (now Maxion)

Curtis Clawson, President, CEO, and Chairman
“The company emerged from Chapter 11 one of the strongest automotive suppliers, and Topgrading contributed a lot to that success. Hayes Lemmerz competes in one of the toughest markets in the world; the global automotive OEM supply industry. We slug it out all over the world in head-to-head competition against the Asians, Europeans, Indians, and Latin Americans. In this tough industry with demanding customers, powerful suppliers, and relentless competition from low-cost countries, we have to have the best people to be successful. Therefore, Topgrading is a central part of our culture and the most important of our core competencies. We can't win if we miss on people.
I urge you to read Brad Smart's Topgrading so you too can get an edge on your competition.”

Home Instead Senior Care (Franchise)

Michael Steinberg, Franchise Owner
“Topgrading has allowed us to triple the projected sales for the office. A Player caregivers impress clients, who refer us, and A Players refer other A Players for us to hire.”


Larry Bossidy, author of Execution and former Chairman
“Topgrading is the definitive manual for becoming an A player and for recognizing those traits in others.”

JLL Partners

Earl Powell, Founding Partner and Chairman Emeritus
“Brad’s second opinion interviews and Topgrading methodology have helped us pick the right executives, which is key to making money in private equity.”

K & N Management

Ken Schiller, President and Co-Owner
“Our Rudy’s “Country Store” & Bar-B-Q restaurants increased average unit sales from just over $3 million in 2000 to slightly more than $7.5 million in 2010 (for food sales only). From its inception in 2007 through 2010, Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries and Shakes increased annual unit sales from just over $2 million to more than $3.5 million in 2010, triple the unit sales of its best competitor. These results would not have been possible without Topgrading.”

Danielle Robinson, Topgrading Director
“Since we started using Topgrading, we have decreased the number of involuntary terminations within our company from 37% in 2009 to 14% in 2010. We have been able to do this as a result of hiring A Player team members and implementing an effective coaching process. We have also increased our number of internal promotions; 63% of our General Managers were once hourly team members. Topgrading has allowed us to promote people already familiar with our culture and expectations, rather than always having to search outside the company for A Player managers.”


Kevin Chittin, CEO Ocean Optics
“Labsphere was a growing, nicely profitable company at the start of this story. The results:

  • First year after adopting Topgrading, Sales +19%, Profit +73%
  • Second year, Sales +47%, Profits +91%
  • Third year, Sales +23%, Profits +36%

Three consecutive record sales and profit years! More than doubled sales and quadrupled profits in less than 3 years. That’s not all—at our annual CEO conference attended by the Presidents of the now 42 company Group, Labsphere was recognized for:

  • Largest sales growth in the Group
  • Received the Group People Development Award
  • Was Recognized as the Group Company of the Year

Oh yes, one other thing, I was promoted from my old job as CEO of Labsphere to become CEO of Ocean Optics, another Halma company that’s about 3X larger than Labsphere.”

Lincoln National Corporation

Jon A. Boscia, Chairman & CEO (retired)
“Of all the changes I’ve made to improve our company, none has been more important than Topgrading.”

Los Niños Services

Scott Mesh, CEO
“Topgrading is the #1 reason for our company success.”

MarineMax, Inc.

William H. McGill, Chairman & CEO
"MarineMax is one of the largest boat dealers in the US. As a result of Topgrading, which we implemented 3 years ago, we have taken our company from $280 million to $762 million. There's nothing that's done more for our company than Topgrading. MarineMax is a huge fan of Brad Smart’s Topgrading system. We began the process in 2002 and we’re totally convinced Topgrading has significantly improved our bottom line. We are in the people business, and now with Brad’s gift, Topgrading is the heart of our culture and a primary focus of MarineMax. It will be the key to our culture as long as we have our company.”

Aaron Patzer, Founder
“In a previous start-up I worked for, hiring was done haphazardly. At, I’ve had very rigorous hiring. We use a technique called Topgrading, which reveals patterns in behavior. In the history of Mint, I've only fired two people and one left voluntarily.”

National Heritage Academies

Aric Dersheim, Vice President, People Development
“Using the tandem Topgrading interview approach has been hugely beneficial for us. Business results have followed. From a financial perspective, we are primarily a capacity utilization business; every seat we fill in a school generates revenue. From a quality perspective, we are focused on delivering outstanding student learning results across all our schools. Our capacity utilization has set records over the past three years while academic achievement metrics have increased steadily. As we have increased the percentage of A players in our organization, employee satisfaction ratings have also consistently improved as we ensure we have more of the right leaders in place.”


Orrin Klopper, CEO
“Topgrading has definitely improved Netsurit’s performance. Prior to Topgrading we made 3 serious management mis-hires, and the replacements have all been A Players. We’ve Topgraded the whole company and our sales and profits have skyrocketed. Most important, the A Players have definitely improved the quality of the services we provide. Today, Netsurit is recognized by the industry as one of the country’s top outsourcing businesses for SMEs and is one of Microsoft`s Gold Certified Partners. The most recent acknowledgement of Netsurit’s success was its recognition as one of the top companies at the 2010 Small Business Partner of the year Conference”.

Nurse Next Door

Ken Sim, Founder
“We’ve grown from 1 to 46 locations and have experienced 50% - 100% growth annually since Topgrading.”

Onyx M.D.

Jamal Pilger, Chief Operating Officer (COO/CIO)
“Onyx M.D. has embraced the Topgrading approach to hiring and management throughout our organization. Although it took an almost 100% turnover in our sales force to get to this point, we are now beginning to see some amazing results and continue to attract some of the best A players in our industry. We are on track to become one of the top 10 players in physician staffing over the next 2-3 years if this trend continues.”


Pam Smith, Regional Sales Director
"Although in a recession in which all sales forces in the industry were selling less, I'm confident that our Topgraded sales force sold much more than if we hadn't Topgraded."

Pritchett LP

Price Pritchett, Ph.D., Chairman & CEO
“The most valuable management skill a person can have is the ability to produce high-talent teams. Nothing else even comes close. That’s why Brad Smart’s Topgrading approach should be a top priority process in your organization.”

ProService Hawaii

Ben Godsey, President
“We are the largest Human Resources Outsourcing company in Hawaii. As we implemented Topgrading, we went from very high turnover with new hires (because we were disciplined about wanting a high performing culture) to very low. This took us two years to really perfect, but over that time we rolled out Topgrading at every level of our org. Before Topgrading, only 45% of the people we hired or promoted turned out to be A Players; since Topgrading the success rate has been 91%.
We powered through the recession and are continuing to grow 20%+ annually (only slowing down because we are big and dominant in our small market, with 65% plus market share).
This past year we only had two people score as B players of our 110 people on staff. Our net promoter scores (measured correctly) are between 80-85%! Our client retention is currently running at 98% - best number we’ve ever had – and well above the top quartile level in our industry, which is 89%. Also, our investors have been well rewarded. Our company has more than tripled in size since we acquired it 6 years ago and we’ve returned capital representing a significant multiple of the original investment.
Topgrading is a key discipline for the success of our business.”

Red Door Interactive
Reid Carr, CEO
“There is no doubt Topgrading has made Red Door Interactive more successful. With more A Players, we can achieve higher margins on our services. And, clients appreciate the results driven by the high caliber of people we hire and retain. All we have to sell is people.”

Roundy’s (now Kroger)

Bob Mariano, CEO
“There is no doubt about it – the company as a whole has performed better because of Topgrading. A Player executives do a better job of setting direction. 4 times as many A Player store directors of course get better results, and when we’ve Topgraded entry employees and the social media rave about how positive and energized the whole store is, record sales no longer surprise us!”

Sigma Marketing

Kenyon Blunt, CEO
“When I came to Sigma just over four years ago, the company was badly hemorrhaging. We needed to make wholesale changes in our staff and change the culture from a “debating society” to a more sales and client focused environment. Over this time, we changed out 65% or our employees and went from 45% “A” players to 90%. Our new and Topgraded talent has helped us achieve four solid years of revenues and EBITDA. I believe that Topgrading will live beyond our tenures at Sigma and help propel the company’s growth for many years to come.”

Gidgett Ingalls, HR Manager
“Having used many recruiting processes and methodologies in the past, I can honestly say that Topgrading is the best investment for ensuring that your company hires A player talent. To be successful in all aspects of business, you must get the people right – first and foremost! From the leadership to the general employee population, A players create and require an entirely different culture which correlates with higher engagement and positive results.

Southern Tide

Jim Twining, CEO
“There is no doubt that Topgrading contributed a lot to our 3000% growth since we began Topgrading.”

Synergia One

Fred Mouawad, Chairman and CEO
“Synergia One is definitely more successful because of Topgrading.”

Triton Management Group

Frank Evans, CEO
“Topgrading has definitely enabled Triton to perform better as a total company.”

Virtual Technology

Jack Harrington, CEO
“As a company whose business model is to provide the best and brightest people to our customers, we were not satisfied with our employee selection. In the past, hiring other than A players led to turnover and other problems that hurt our growth. Following Topgrading guidelines … all seem to be As. With more As, bigger contracts are sought, won, and delivered with top quality. Turnover is down, and sales and profits have skyrocketed. With 98% hiring success due to Topgrading, our business has taken off.”

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