Most successful Topgraders attend a Topgrading Workshop (our public workshop or one just for their company) to learn Topgrading methods. Very successful executive and turn-around CEO Jim Kanir did it differently.
I interviewed him for a CEO job, he got the job, and then he read one of my Topgrading books and used Topgrading ever since. He told me recently, “I was so impressed with your Topgrading Interview of me that I read your latest book, developed my version of Topgrading, and I’ve used it in all my jobs since then. I guess that 90% of the people I’ve hired have turned out to be high performers, and I know that using Topgrading jacked up my career trajectory and success.”
Way back in 2006 I interviewed Jim for Blue Chip, a venture capital company client. Jim was a candidate for CEO of Cohesia. He got the job and was very successful preparing to flip the company. Since his experience as CEO of Cohesia, Jim has mostly worked for venture capital companies, building and preparing to sell portfolio companies. He’s been amazing at cementing partnerships that got partners to use their sales reps to sell his products. He recognized the potential value of Big Data long before others discovered it. And the sale price of his companies has been far above average (but confidential).
Jim’s “training” in how to Topgrade was my interview with him plus reading one of the editions of Topgrading. There are 12 steps to Topgrading, and he read and incorporated most of the 12. Step 6 is the Topgrading Interview, the most important step because it reveals everything necessary to decide if the candidate will perform at the A Player level. In our Topgrading Workshops we ask for volunteers to be the interviewee and promise attendees that they will not regret being an interviewee rather than an interviewer.
That’s exactly what Jim experienced. As he put it, “As Brad interviewed me, I saw patterns emerge – patterns of successes and learnings that helped me succeed in the next job. And some patterns helped me spot my blind spots – areas for improvement that if I didn’t fix, my career would not be as successful.
Jim’s Version of Topgrading:
- Before taking over a company I do Topgrading Interviews of the top team. I’ve found my Topgrading Interview assessments so accurate that I’m able to make the right changes in the team very fast.
- For replacing executives, I use the Topgrading Truth Serum – I screen resumes and then tell maybe 10 of the best that a final step in hiring is for them to arrange reference calls with their bosses from the past decade. That scares away ¼ of the candidates, the ones with a lot of fiction in their resumes, the BSers. Then it was easy to spot the best candidates to interview.
- Next, I do a phone screen interview for an hour – a Topgrading Interview but much faster than the real one, but good enough to identify just the best 2 or 3 candidates to invite in for the full Topgrading Interview and other interviews.
- The “other interviews” include a team interview (questions from 3 or 4 interviewers to see if candidates can handle group meetings), a pressure interview in which the interviewer pushes back hard, and a background check interview in which the interviewer questions any discrepancies between the candidate’s resume and LinkedIn and Facebook information.
- Finally, I use the Topgrading method of getting reference calls with bosses – the candidate always arranges those calls. Speaking with candidates’ managers, I get the most accurate verification of what candidates have said, and there is no phone tag.
Jim Topgrades “his way” and it works. For managers not wanting to read my latest book and create their own version, here are ways to learn more: