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Learn The 4 Steps To Identify, Hire & Keep High Performers [Webinar Slides and Key Highlights]

by Dr. Brad Smart

5 minute read

    We ran a live webinar on 22nd February, 2018, for CEOs and Executives who are looking to scale up their businesses by hiring the right A-Players for their organization.

    I shared the 4 Biggest Hiring Challenges, how you can overcome them, plus how to apply the Topgrading principles in your hiring process. It was a great session and I want to give you access to the slides and share the key highlights from the webinar so you can go through them with your team.


    Here Are The Slides: 

    And Here Are The Key Highlights:

    Do you need an HR specialist for a company with less than 50 employees?

    For a company with fewer than 50 employees, it’s probably too early to bring on a Human Resource Specialist just yet.

    So, hold off for now, and when you get to be about 100 people, you'll need someone to coordinate all this. Get people trained. Do the measurements. Be sure you're measuring quality of hire.

    In Topgrading, all candidates have to arrange a call with their current manager. What if the candidate hasn’t disclosed that they’re looking for a new job? How do we go about this situation delicately?

    I think it’s important to disclose when the reference calls happen, in the Topgrading process. It happens after an offer is extended and tentatively accepted. So even if the current boss doesn’t know the candidate is looking around, at this point of the process, it’s safe to reveal. This usually solves this problem.

    I’d also like to share that we’ve never heard of a reference call with a current boss that resulted in an offer being withdrawn. Unless there's something really weird about it. There's an exception to everything.

    Personally, I would never hire someone without having a call with their current boss. It truly helps to verify the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate, and also gives me an idea on how to best work with and coach this person.

    I’ve noticed that this process does not scare away the A-Players, so that’s something to keep in mind.

    How do you deal with candidates who do not want to disclose details? And what does that tell you?

    If they don't want to reveal maybe some proprietary information about their company with a potential competitor, certainly respect that.

    However, when it comes to arranging reference calls, this is my view:

    The Topgrading process clearly says upfront that candidates will have to arrange for a call with their past and current employers. We find that most candidates who don’t want to go through this will drop out at this point. So you won’t even have to deal with them.

    Another thing I like to do is to remind candidates about this process, “Thank you for your time. Do you have half an hour, 40 minutes we could talk now? Okay. Before we get into your asking me about the job, and my asking you about your recent career history, just want to remind you that a final step in hiring is for candidates to arrange reference calls with their managers, their management and then maybe peers and direct reports as well.”

    If there's a long silence then be very suspicious — because A-Players and high performers like that idea.

    What I’m saying here is, the system is designed to resolve this issue for you. Low performers either drop out on their own, or will refuse to arrange for calls — I understand certain situations might not allow this, but if all their past employers are not available, it’s a red flag.

    What unique challenges do you see when hiring millennials today?

    This seems to be very frustrating to a lot of companies that have been around for quite a while and have a lot of managers in their 50s and sometimes even in their 60s who say, "Millennials, they're so entitled. They're so narcissistic. They want to think they're saving the world. They want feedback. They want a trophy even for showing up. You've gotta praise them all day."

    All right, think of it this way, either you adapt to those needs and provide the feedback and provide the coaching or you're going to end up hiring C-Player millennials. You do not want to do that.

    I've hired a bunch of millennials. I expect someone in that millennial generation to have — in the past five years — at least one job lasting three years. I’m not interested in those who’ve had jobs that lasted only months.

    If I see a millennial with a few years of experience from the same company under their belt, then that’s who I want to talk to. For me this means they have the stability and added perspective I need my employees to possess.

    How can the process be modified to test technical abilities for software developers?

    We’re hiring for so many “new” jobs that didn’t exist before, so yes, our techniques have to grow with the job scope. When hiring for IT jobs, I’d suggest getting the technical considerations out of the way to begin with.

    There are companies like SHL that have all sorts of technical tests. Technical tests, abilities tests, knowledge tests — get those out of the way. You don't want to get someone all the way through the Topgrading interview, and realize, "Boy, you lack a lot of the technical skills."

    So, when you create the ad, you analyze the job. Analyze what the accountabilities are, then you map out what are the necessary knowledge and skills. Consider testing them. Consider technical experts interviewing them, all before you get to the Topgrading interview stage. This is where tandem interviewing comes into play.

    Why are Tandem Interviews necessary?

    The tandem Topgrading interview is an incredibly robust process. General Electric improved from 25 - 50% success hiring A Players with solo Topgrading interviews. With the tandem interview (2 interviewers) GE improved to 90% A Players hired and became the most valuable company in the world. 

    Interviewing is hard work. I know, I've done a lot of them. It's not only better but a lot easier with a tandem partner. One interviewer typically asks most of the questions for a job, and the other takes more notes. And you can alternate with — "I'll take Job One, you take Job Two."

    Now there's some considerations. If you're a hiring manager and you're not an expert in IT, it'd be smart for you to find a tandem partner in a small company — they don’t have to be from your company, but it’s also okay to bring in a consultant or someone who is in your network to participate.

    This is because this person will have the expertise to ask the right questions and the right follow-up questions.

    After the Topgrading Interview, tandem partners can compare notes and look at all the key competencies. And the next half hour, it's amazing how light shines, it’s either, "This is not someone we want to pursue," or, "This is definitely someone we want to go to the next step with," which is reference checking. So, try it, you'll like it.

    What are two things that are critical to implementing Topgrading?

     First is Threat of Reference Check or the TORC technique. Always run a reference check. You'll have to get the candidates to arrange the reference calls. Two, do the references calls. Three, do a tandem, Topgrading interview.

    Are You Ready to Stand on the Shoulders of Giants?

    If you’re ready to take your business further and succeed, I invite you to stand on the shoulders of today’s industry leaders by joining Business Growth Lab — a series of free webinars about business topics with top business experts and thought leaders, including many of the people I mentioned here and myself.

    During your journey with us you will learn about new opportunities about scaling your business, developing processes and finding best ways to win new markets.1

    Subscribe to Business Growth Lab for free << here >>

    Dr. Brad Smart

    Dr. Brad Smart

    Brad completed his doctorate in Industrial Psychology at Purdue University, entered consulting, and since the 1970s has been in private practice as President and CEO of his own company, now called Topgrading, Inc., based in the Chicago area. Brad is frequently acknowledged to be the world’s foremost expert on hiring. The company consults with many leading companies and hundreds of small and growth companies. Brad has conducted in-depth interviews with over 6,500 executives. He is author of seven books and videos, including Topgrading 3rd Edition: The Proven Hiring And Promoting Method That Turbocharges Company Performance; The Smart Interviewer: Tools and Techniques for Hiring the Best; and the training series Topgrading Toolkit, featuring the 12 Topgrading hiring steps and demos of all the interviews. In addition, he has co-authored the following books: Topgrading for Sales: World-Class Methods to Interview, Hire, and Coach Top Sales Representatives, with Greg Alexander; and Smart Parenting: How to Raise Happy, Can-Do Kids, with Dr. Kate Mursau.

    Brad completó su doctorado en Psicología Industrial en la Universidad de Purdue, ingresó como consultor y, desde la década de 1970, ha ejercido en el sector privado como Presidente y CEO de su propia compañía llamada Topgrading Inc., con sede en Chicago. Con frecuencia, se le reconoce a Brad como el principal experto en contratación del mundo. Brad ha realizado entrevistas en profundidad con más de 6,500 ejecutivos. Es autor de 7 libros y videos, incluida la tercera edición de Topgrading: El método de contratación y promoción que acelera el desempeño de la empresa; The Smart Interviewer: herramientas y técnicas para contratar a los mejores; y la serie de capacitación Topgrading Toolkit, que presenta los 12 pasos de contratación de Topgrading. Es coautor de Topgrading for Sales: Métodos de clase mundial para entrevistar, contratar y asesorar a los principales representantes de ventas, con Greg Alexander; y Smart Parenting: Cómo criar niños felices y capaces de hacerlo, con la Dra. Kate Mursau.

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