Today’s hot tech job market, paired with a historically low unemployment rate, can work against an SMB or mid-size business looking to grow a high-performance team. In fact, stats from CareerBuilder show that for every one engineer looking for a job, there are six available positions to pick from. Talent has the upper hand, that is for certain.

Add to that, tech skills are evolving quickly with rapid innovation in IT, so finding the exact right fit for your business and your open position can be even more difficult. All that makes for fierce competition over “A+” hires, because, as we all know, the right people can make or break an organization.

How Can You Improve Your Hiring Process

If you’re struggling to find, recruit and hire that A+ level of talent in your business, there are several steps that can make your process streamlined and effective, part of what’s called the Top Grading Hiring Process. Here are four easy changes that can have a significant impact.

  1. Start with an existing talent review

    Take a look at your existing staff and calculate who are A, B, and C players. You want to understand how your team looks, and who is succeeding. Then, to define what an A player looks like in your business, completing a job scorecard provides a clear overview of responsibilities and deliverables, and how success is defined. TIP: Start with your CEO; every other scorecard should roll up into that leader’s scorecard.

  2. Inspire current A players to connect and recruit other high-performance candidates

    Sometimes finding more amazing hires is as simple as asking for help from the A players you already have on the team. Smart, capable people tend to network with similar personalities, so ask your best hires to consider who they may know. This option is the most under-utilized and under-funded recruiting tool, and is easy to activate. TIP: A simple bonus program can help inspire those connections.

  3. Key questions to ask during screening interviews

    There are four key questions to ask during the first screening call: What are your career goals? What are your really good at? What are you not so good at? Who were your last five bosses, and what would they say about you? A players will likely provide direct, thoughtful answers that reflect on their self-awareness. TIP: Keep the language of your questions simple and straightforward.

  4. Why you should conduct tandem interviews

    Take the time to arrange a tandem interview with two interviewers handling the meeting. The goal of this interview is to discuss the candidate’s failures and success. By playing back and forth, the interviewers can turn the meeting into more of a conversation, and that allows you to uncover how the person works and relates to a group of peers. TIP: After each step of the interview process, provide feedback quickly to the candidate.

How the Top Grading Philosophy Drives Business Growth

Following the Top Grading system can help you move from only 20-30% A hires within your business to 80%—driving significant change in your culture and fueling a new level of business growth. This process will help eliminate wrong hires, avoiding the lost opportunities and alienated clients that can cost significantly more than just one wasted salary.

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