Author Archives: Brad Smart

Short of candidates? Here’s a solution: hire A Players age 50+


Across the US and Canada companies large and small are hurting for qualified candidates. Most favor hiring young, energetic people, to flourish in the fast lane of global competition and ever changing technology. Hiring experts (maybe including me) emphasize the importance of hiring energetic “doers,” to flourish in the fast changing tech environment. But there just are not enough high performers under 40. Or under 50. Or under 60.

Here is a New York Times article making the case for tapping a rich source of talent: older candidates!

 Click here to read the New York Times article.

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When to Replace…or Keep…B Players


Topgrading is all about getting A Players, high performers, in EVERY job, from CEO to cashier. So Topgrading companies have raised the bar from only replacing C Players to also replacing B Players with A Players.

But there might be a good reason to keep your B Players.  B Players are rated Good, and A Players are rated Very Good or Excellent.  Huh?  There is a “good” reason to hire Bs, people who admits not one boss in 10 would rate their performance Excellent, or even Very Good?


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Three Definitions of an A Player


The term A Player has been tossed around a lot and causes a lot of confusion. Here are 3 of the most useful definitions I’ve found.  In some circumstances I use all 3:

  1. High Performer. Topgrading Professionals have conducted tens of thousands of chronological interviews, asking managers 10 questions about every job. One of those questions is:  what percent of high performers, A Players, did you inherit, and what percent did you end up with.  Managers can relate to “high performers” without further description.  But their definition of high performer/A Player might be a lot higher or lower than yours.
  2. Excellent or Very Good performer. Our software has a “truth serum” built in and candidates for hire are asked to guess how every boss would rate their overall performance on a scale of Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.  Literally millions of reference checks with bosses they arrange calls with (no phone tag!) have proven that candidates are amazingly accurate when they guess how their performance will be rated.  Across hundreds of companies and several decades, we’ve learned that A Player = High Performer = Excellent or Very Good performance ratings.
  3. Top 10% performers at a given salary level. Aha!  You would love to hire people in the top 10% for the compensation you can afford, right?  So, do your comp studies to see how much experience seems to coincide with various comp levels.  What clients learn is that to hire an undisputed high performer, A Player, they have to pay a lot.  “Undisputed” means experience and huge accomplishments.  If they can’t afford top dollar, they hire people with less experience (but high potential), or sometimes recently retired 55-year olds who were top dollar and now would take less for a less demanding job.

I hope this helps!

Interested in learning more about Topgrading? Click here to download our FREE eGuide and get started!

A Good Performer Ain’t Good Enough!

We at Topgrading, Inc. assess managerial talent and train others to do it.  And we have software that motivates candidates to accurately guess how all their bosses would rate their overall performance on this scale:

Very Good

Literally millions of managers of candidates have been asked to rate their former employee’s overall performance and here’s the good news:  Candidates accurately guess boss ratings.  And here’s a valuable insight:  Candidates whose bosses rate them Excellent and Very Good turn out to be high performers, A Players.

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