It’s been more than 12 months since I undertook the Topgrading course developed by Brad Smart and made famous by Jack Welch. It follows a process Jack rolled out across GE’s businesses giving his management team the skills to identify and recruit ‘A players’. Jack made hiring ‘A players’ one of his top priorities. He also made famous his practice of asking his managers to cull the bottom 10 per cent of their ‘C players’ every year. Brad Smart says his process was designed to provide an easy methodology for line managers to recognise A players.

At Carroll Consulting, we have seen strong value from incorporating some of the Topgrading techniques into our culture-fit recruitment process – including the following three critical steps.

The job scorecard (an outline of performance measures) tangibly defines exactly what success in a role looks like in 12 months. This is a great way to ensure that, right from day one, a candidate knows what they’ve got to do to be successful. It removes ambiguity for candidates and line managers and is a good way to ensure you are focusing on the key issues.

Then, tandem interviewing is a great method for demonstrating to an employer the competencies within a particular candidate’s background. Carroll Consulting is well known for the way we seek to identify repeating patterns of behaviour in candidates’ backgrounds – behaviours that align with those necessary for success in the company and role. When a candidate is interviewed in front of the client (ie tandem interviewing), they have the opportunity to rank the various behaviours required. This interviewing style requires some training, but it gives the employer/line manager first-hand insight into the candidate’s behaviours.

Finally, a particularly powerful tool in the process is what Brad Smart calls his ‘truth serum’. When you are going through a candidate’s previous roles, it involves asking them if their referee is contactable and what that referee would say they were good and not so good at. It reinforces with the candidate that referees will be contacted in part to verify the capabilities they felt were good or needed improvement in the candidate.

In using these techniques for more than a year now, we have enhanced our ability to identify a candidate’s suitability for a particular role and created a more robust verification process. When combined with psychometric testing and reference checking, these three techniques form a powerful process to verify what we have discovered on the journey.

To demonstrate these processes to existing and potential clients, I put together an overview comparing the key recruitment steps that typically occur inside organisations with those in the Topgrading process and Carroll Consulting’s process. I originally intended it to simply demonstrate what should be done in any effective recruitment process, but it has become a powerful gap analysis adopted by several clients to assess their internal recruitment process. Fancy that…a recruiter helping clients get better at recruitment!

If you are interested in completing a gap analysis on your recruitment processes, or you want to take a closer look at a proven recruitment methodology, please give us a call. I would be more than happy to take you through an overview of what we have discovered and the techniques we use. And, if you have found strong value in particular recruitment processes, we welcome you sharing those with the Carroll Consulting community.

Happy recruiting!