Monday AM August 10th, 2009

Some large corporations have improved their hiring success by conducting longer, chronological “top grading” interviews. Ed Mayberry reports.

Companies like GE, Honeywell and HEB save time and money on mis-hires using the method developed by Dr. Brad Smart.  He coined the phrase “top-grading,” or packing management teams with all high-performers.  In Smart’s book How Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching and Keeping the Best People, he says interviewers should ask candidates about every full time job, starting from the first and coming forward in time.

“Take me through every job and tell me exactly what you did on the job, all your important successes, your accomplishments.  I’d like to hear about your failures and mistakes, as well.  Every key decision you’ve made, every key relationship.  Tell me all about it.  And obviously, we’re going to spend most of the time on the most recent jobs.  You know, this tends to be a long interview-very detailed–but the advantage is you hear everything.  But it’s the patterns, you see, Ed, through high school, college if they had it, job one, job two, job three, job four.  You see how the acorn evolved into this oak tree.”   

Topgrading interviewers spend more time interviewing, but money and time is saved that would have been wasted on mis-hires.  And Smart says start by telling job candidates they will be arranging calls with references.

“They will eventually, at the appropriate time, have to arrange for reference calls with their bosses.  This is truth serum.  It really works.  C players just drop out, thinking ‘oh my gosh, I can’t get my former bosses to talk.’  But A players, every salary level, say ‘sure, I’d be happy to do that.  Matter of fact, I want to do that, because if you talked to my former bosses, Ed, they’re going to sing my praises, and it’s going to be more likely that I’ll get a job offer’.”

The author offers a 50-page eBook download at  Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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