Building Top-Performing Teams Using The ‘Topgrading’ Technique

The hiring process has always been a challenge for hiring managers. Hiring “perfect” is almost impossible; most hiring decisions come down to hiring someone less than perfect or just good enough. To successfully hire talent for each role in your company, you need to build an “A-Team” from both, the new and existing talent.

This blog will cover topics such as: what is top grading, why it is essential to hire new talent, how to use the topgrading approach in your hiring practices, hiring employees for each role in your organization, and hiring possible talent from outside the company.

What is Topgrading?

Topgrading approach is a hiring strategy used by hiring managers to hire employees based on their future potential, instead of hiring talent that is just good enough or hiring talent that is not as good as the rest.

By putting all potential candidates through a rigorous hiring process—including interviews, personality tests, and reference checks—the goal is to find individuals who display impressive current work skills and have a record of accomplishment and success in their previous positions.

When a hiring manager wants to bring on new hires quickly to keep up with hiring demands, the newly hired will get the job done. However, the new entrants might not provide the company with the talent to accomplish its goals. Topgrading is a hiring process on steroids. It is a slow and lengthy process to vet the applicants.

Why use Topgrading?

Finding top talent does not come easily; hiring managers must create an environment to thrive. By using thorough hiring practices throughout the acquisition process—like interviewing each candidate for specific skills they possess instead of pulling from a list of potential employee skills—hiring managers can find those top performers who can do amazing things for your company in their roles.

By hiring for both current skillset and future potential, hiring managers can build a “super team” from new and existing talent at the company to help accomplish organizational goals. Conventional recruiters are not capable of hiring top-quality candidates. For topgrading, the company would need top-notch employees (or an A-Team) to shortlist the crème de la crème applicants.

Topgrading process

For hiring managers, hiring employees is key to organizational success.

This process should be done with hiring top talent in mind—while hiring employees that are just good enough will get the job done, hiring talent that goes beyond just getting the work done will help your company achieve its goals and provide a more rewarding work environment for employees.

Clarification on Topgrading and A-Player

The top management and the hiring managers should have clarity about the topgrading approach and a definite idea of who the A-Player should be. They must understand that A-players are the most productive employees who continuously contribute to organizational success. The A-Players profile includes your finest workers’ talents, experience, and personalities, dating back to high school.

An A-Player will consistently deliver good results and do so in a way that is aligned with the company’s core values. Remember, you are not just looking for the most outstanding applicant; you are looking for someone who shares your fundamental beliefs.

Tally sheets

No employee can give excellent outcomes unless the company is crystal clear about the results. Using the job scorecard tool, the company can clearly define the specific purpose of the position and desired results, required capabilities, key responsibilities, and core values that will be used in employee and applicant evaluations in the future. At the absolute least, you should commit to avoiding employing anybody until you have a job scorecard in place for that role.

Find your A-players

Leaders attract leaders; therefore, your company’s A-players should be involved in the recruitment and selection process. If you are not yet at 100%, this assessment will provide you with a starting point to work from as you strive to have all A-Players on your team.

Internal hiring

Once you have determined what you are searching for, ask people you know, trust, and admire if they have any suggestions for whom you should contact. If one of your A-Players advises you to speak to someone they have previously worked with, you should pay careful attention.

Telephonic screening

The phone interviews are meant to weed out undesirable matches and save you time. It would help if you built a consistent interviewing methodology. If the round of questions goes well and you think you have a solid prospect and want the job, the next phase is competency interviews.

Competency interview

These are typical interviews when the applicant meets with several corporate personnel to assess their knowledge, abilities, and experience. Choosing the right interview skills training might help a candidate pass this crucial phase. The Topgrading Interview is the following phase if the applicant has passed the reference check and is still interested in the role.

Topgrading Interview

It is time-consuming because many individuals interview the candidate simultaneously or individually. A top-grading interview can typically last 4-6 hours and covers the candidate’s whole professional and personal background. It takes time, but nothing compares to the expense of a mis-hire and the time lost training and finding a replacement. Topgrading interview questions are more than just about abilities.

Do not skimp on the topgrading interview

The Topgrading interview is the “silver bullet.” It takes a lot of time and effort from you and your team, but the rewards are worth the effort! You will spot trends in a candidate’s past if you spend this much time and follow the proper format and method.

So, you can see how they will fit in with the squad. It is a shame if you put in the time and effort to get to this stage just to find out that they are not a good match. That “aha” moment (and avoiding a terrible hire) will change your hiring habits for life. It is truly astounding how much people reveal about themselves after three or four hours of these interviews.

Verify the reference

Never make an offer before speaking with a candidate’s references, no matter how well they perform in the topgrading interview. The Topgrading approach provides specific advice on organizing and conducting these reference calls, including incorporating the applicant into the process. They must be aware that you intend to call, and you must follow through.

See Also: How To Harness Employee Mental Health Amidst The Omicron Outbreak

Welcome to the new A-player

If the candidate’s references are reasonable, you have just hired a valuable member of your staff. Make sure your recruit has all they need to succeed in your organization and culture by continuing to invest in them. Please provide them with orientation, books, and reference materials, and introduce them to all the other members.

Welcome them warmly. The Topgrading approach has been shown to increase recruiting success by a factor of at least ten since it allows companies to hire the crème de la crème. However, it comes at a price—in terms of both time and money. Topgrading might be a good thing for a company if they use it when they hire for senior and vital jobs.