Topgrading, Inc. is an internationally renowned consultancy to many Global 1000 companies, but also to hundreds of small, midsize, and growth companies.
The company was founded by Dr. Brad Smart, who completed his Ph.D. in organizational psychology at Purdue University, entered consulting, and after two years launched Topgrading, Inc. (formerly Smart & Associates, Inc.), based in the Chicago area.
Before launching Topgrading, Inc. Brad was appalled at the poor results of his peers’ recommendations. Only 1/3 of the managers assessed and recommended for hire turned out to be high performers. Brad attributes typically poor hiring results to the reliance on ineffective methods still commonplace today — the use of personality tests and behavioral interviews, both of which are easily faked.
In his first year of consulting Brad created two of Topgrading’s key principles. One is the Threat of Reference Check (TORC) Technique in which candidates are told from the start that THEY will have to arrange reference calls with former managers and others. This motivates low performers and those who fake their resume and lie in interviews to drop out. With nothing but honest, high performing candidates remaining in the candidate pool, Brad’s famous Topgrading Interview becomes extremely revealing. It’s a chronological Interview in which candidates reveal all their strengths and weaker points as they describe, for every job, their successes, failures, key decisions, and key relationships throughout their career. Of course, finalists DO arrange reference calls, which the hiring manager makes in order to get highly credible verification of what candidates have said in interviews.
In the 1980s and 1990s Brad consulted with CEO Jack Welch at General Electric. Brad contributed to many of GE’s talent initiatives, but the greatest impact was in training thousands of managers to use Topgrading to hire and promote people. GE’s success hiring and promoting A Players soared to over 90% and GE became the most valuable and respected company in the world. Hundreds of companies have embraced Topgrading as the best practice in hiring.
Today Topgrading, Inc. professionals continue to offer in-depth interviews of senior candidates (where the cost of a mis-hire is extremely high), and have products and services to train all levels of management in Topgrading. World-class Topgrading software provides online tools for pre-screening and interviewing candidates, and it connects to HR systems.
As Topgrading, Inc. grows it remains committed to providing user friendly, legally defensible hiring methods that are shown in dozens of named case studies to be the only hiring approach to double and triple hiring success.