Topgrading for Better Hiring

Topgrading for Better Hiring

Savvy leaders recognize the cost of a bad hire. For small to mid-sized companies especially, one bad hire in a key position can have far-reaching, even catastrophic results. One of the most effective ways to safeguard your leadership team from a poor hire is to improve your hiring practices. Topgrading is a powerful, effective tool that companies of all sizes can benefit from.

Common Sense on Steroids
The methods of topgrading may strike you as plain common sense. In a way, they are. But they will supercharge your hiring outcomes and have a unique ability to reveal the truth about a candidate’s accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses. Implementing topgrading is simpler than you may think. It’s less about preparation and more about practice. Once your team becomes comfortable with the key steps and flow of topgrading interviews, they will quickly become like second nature.

Topgrading Truth Serum
The first step of topgrading is letting candidates know that the final step of your hiring process is for them to arrange reference calls with former managers. Why? It infuses accountability into the process – candidates prone to over-embellish past roles and accomplishments are sensitive to this checkpoint. For hiring managers it’s a revealing addition to the interview process that quickly and effectively weeds out candidates who know that past employers would not speak favorably of their contribution.

Topgrading Interviews
There are several aspects that define a topgrading interview. Length and format are key components. Topgrading interviews allot up to four hours per candidate interview. Yes, four hours. If it sounds long, consider this: candidates who have ‘pumped up’ their resume are far less likely to be able to sustain those career-enhancing facts over extended periods of time. Of equal importance is the desired impact that the position you’re hiring for will have on your mission and corporate culture. If both are important, consider extended interview times as due diligence for assessing fit. Topgrading interviews are conducted in teams of two – particularly for managerial positions. A specific series of questions is used that will result in a more revealing, truthful interview.


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