Taking the Guesswork out of Hiring Decisions with Topgrading

Published On: June 25, 20212.9 min read

The most important component of successful Performance Management comes way before goal-setting or appraisal. It’s hiring the right people to begin with.

Interviewing and selecting talent is a classic case of what economists call “asymmetric information”. The candidate knows way more about their abilities than the hiring manager does.

While classic interview methods and resume reviews provide a rough sketch of a candidate’s effectiveness and values, hiring managers need something more in-depth and accurate when hiring the right talent determines bottom-line growth.

As Jim Colins says, “If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”

That’s where the Topgrading system comes in.

Topgrading provides a proven method for evaluating candidates’ abilities and cultural fit through pattern identification. Topgrading goes beyond the simple resume to uncover applicants’ work-style without sugar-coating.

We brought in Topgrading President Chris Mursau to help explain how Topgrading can transform team culture starting with hiring. This post recaps the highlights of Topgrading. Read till the end for a full recording of Chris’s webinar with Align!

Solving the Biggest Hiring Problems

Interviews with Topgrading eliminate the guesswork of hiring by painting a complete picture of an applicant’s potential fit for a role. Chris identifies 4 ways Topgrading solves the biggest problems of traditional hiring.

1. Create a Clear Picture of an A Player

Instead of working with vague job descriptions, hiring managers should clearly define what top 10% talent looks like. Start by thinking about who you would enthusiastically rehire. They create value both with productivity but also by shaping a culture in line with your organization’s values.

2. Provide Reliable Information

The resume is like a personal brochure. While it will include the highlights of a candidate’s career journey, it hardly gives a complete picture of their abilities and experience. As Stanley J. Randall said, “The closest anyone ever comes to perfection is how they represent themselves in their resume.”

Topgrading remedies this by requiring an additional Career History Form. The form establishes that a candidate’s previous managers will receive reference calls. Chris says this “truth motivator” begins to weed out any candidate who has overstated themselves on their resume.

3. Conduct Revealing Interviews

The Topgrading process replaces the standard “Tell me about a time when….” questions of behavioral interviews with pattern identification questions focused on detailed work history.

According to Chris, this approach succeeds because it is chronological, compartmentalized, in-depth, and structured. Instead of single examples, employees demonstrate strengths via repetition. This provides objectivity and accuracy to develop a deep understanding of the candidate’s on-the-job behavior.

4. Solid Verification of Facts

Topgrading does for job candidates what Carfax does for used automobiles. When past performance is the greatest indicator of future success, hiring decisions need to be made with the most accurate data. Candidates arrange calls with previous managers to provide hiring managers the most accurate source of information.

Creating a Single Source of Truth

Recent events suggest we’ve moved from The Information Age to The Disinformation Age. The abundance of false or misleading information makes it hard to know who to actually trust. Good fact-checking isn’t added hassle, it’s crucial to developing a solid understanding of people and events.

Topgrading, like the Align software, provide a source of truth to enable optimal business decisions. With high-quality information, patterns of insight emerge. By enhancing the quality of information input, the output of the decision also improves.

Full Topgrading Webinar

You are hitting your revenue ceiling.

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