Topgrading, 3rd Edition: The Proven Hiring and Promoting Method That Turbocharges Company Performance

Topgrading, 3rd Edition: The Proven Hiring and Promoting Method That Turbocharges Company Performance

by Bradford D. Smart


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Great companies, large and small, rise or fall because of their talent; the more high performers on your team, the more successful your organization will be. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Research shows that only about 25% of all new hires turn out to be high performers.

But companies that have used Brad Smart’s Topgrading system over the past two decades have boosted their hiring success rates dramatically—sometimes even to 90%.

Three huge problems account for the typical poor results in hiring: dishonesty (via deceptive résumés), incomplete information (via shallow interviews), and lack of verifiability (via biased references). Topgrading shows how to solve all three problems. Instead of hir­ing by your gut reactions to résumés and interviews, you can start using a scientifically honed process that compels candidates to be totally honest.

Smart, one of the world’s foremost experts on hiring, has personally helped hundreds of compa­nies double, triple, or even quadruple their hiring success rates. His clients have ranged from global giants such as General Electric and Honeywell to midsize and small businesses in every field imagin­able, and to not-for-profits such as the American Heart Association. And hundreds of thousands of readers have applied the lessons and tools of the first two editions of Topgrading.

The Topgrading system makes hiring easier, faster, and more successful than any other process. And it works at every level, from the front lines to senior management.

For the first time in seven years, Smart has fully revised and updated Topgrading with many new tools, techniques, and case studies. This edition now features 40 companies of all sizes, across a wide range of industries and home countries. It’s the most advanced and useful version of Topgrading ever. The third edition includes:

  • Simplified Topgrading methods for entry-level jobs.
  • The new Topgrading Snapshot, which screens out weak candidates in just 15 seconds.
  • The latest version of the acclaimed Topgrading Interview script.
  • Case studies from 35 companies not featured in any previous edition.
  • Many additional innovations created by Topgraders.

Topgrading isn’t just about hiring and promot­ing—it’s also about developing talent. It enables leaders to reward their A Players, coach their Bs to become As, and weed out the Cs who are beyond improvement.

Many great leaders know that Topgrading works. Find out how it can help your company gain a big competitive advantage.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591845263
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/16/2012
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 511,831
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

BRADFORD D. SMART, PH.D., is the president of Smart & Associates, Inc., a group of professionals who assess candidates for executive positions and train managers to implement Topgrading. A well-known industrial psychologist and consultant, he has personally helped hundreds of companies of all sizes dramatically improve their talent. His other books include Topgrading for Sales. Brad lives in a suburb of Chicago.


Table of Contents

Introduction: Topgrading Will Make Your Company More Successful 1

Chapter 1 Top Grading Basics 9

Chapter 2 All About a Players 24

Chapter 3 12 Topgrading Steps To Hiring 90% High Performers 53

Hiring Step #1 Measure Your Baseline Success Hiring and Promoting People and Your Costs of Mis-Hires 62

Hiring Step #2 Create a Clear Job Scorecard (Not a Vague Job Description) 77

Hiring Step #3 Recruit from Your Networks 86

Hiring Step #4 Screen Candidates with the Topgrading Career History Form and Topgrading Snapshot 98

Hiring Step #5 Conduct Telephone Screening Interviews 107

Hiring Step #6 Conduct Competency Interviews 110

Hiring Step #7 Conduct Tandem Topgrading Interviews 117

Hiring Step #8 Interviewers Give Each Other Feedback 144

Hiring Step #9 Write a (Draft) Executive Summary 147

Hiring Step #10 Conduct Candidate-Arranged Reference Calls 168

Hiring Step #11 Coach Your Newly Hired A Player 171

Hiring Step #12 Annually Measure Your Topgrading Success 175

Chapter 4 Advanced Interviewing Techniques 179

Chapter 5 Topgrading Innovations: Case Studies 199

Chapter 6 The Art of Topgrading 247

Epilogue 274

Appendix A Sample Job Scorecard 277

Appendix B Topgrading Snapshots 287

Appendix C Topgrading Vision 289

Appendix D Topgrading Cost of Mis-Hires Form 291

Appendix E Starter Topgrading Interview Guide 293

Appendix F Short Case Studies 295

Appendix G Sample Executive Summary and Individual Development Plan 323

Appendix H Topgrading Resources 331

Index 335

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Stated simply, the best talent wins and Topgrading helps identify and hire the best talent. This is true for internal promotions and external hires.”
—KEN CAMP, CEO, Hillenbrand “The Topgrading interview process is one of the best tools in our arsenal for getting an in-depth understanding of high-potential managers. It probably improved our success promoting high-potential managers from maybe 50% to over 80%.”
—BILL CONATY, former Senior Vice President of Human Resources, General Electric “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.”
—PRICE PRITCHETT, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO, PRITCHETT LP “Topgrading is the best practice I know of for hiring and promoting people who turn out to be A Players. In a not-for-profit, that can translate into raising more money to educate the public, and that can save lives . . . Having the best talent at every salary level is crucial.”
—CASS WHEELER, former CEO, American Heart Association “Turnover came down, and sales and profits skyrocketed. With 98% hiring success due to Topgrading, the business took off.”
—JACK HARRINGTON, then CEO, Virtual Technology, now CEO, Thales Raytheon Systems “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. A Topgraded team is the ultimate secret weapon to crush the competition.”
—RICHARD ROSSI, Co-Founder, EnvisionEMI “We’ve Topgraded the entire company and our sales and profits have soared.”

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