Risk & Business Magazine California Risk & Business Magazine Summer 2017 | Page 24
How I Avoided A
Costly Mis-Hire In
s founder of Topgrading, Inc.
and the author of five books
on how to hire (and avoid
mis-hires), I am also a business
owner who of course wants
to hire A Players. This morning I avoided
a mis-hire, and it took only a minute of my
The Topgrading Snapshot saved me the time
and cost of a day of interviews, and more
importantly, prevented what would have
been a costly mis-hire.
We’re hiring sales reps, so I posted an entry
sales job on job boards and on our website,
and I used a contingency recruiter. The
recruiter called me, all enthusiastic about
a “fantastic” candidate. Let’s call him John
Doe (all names changed of course). Look at
part of his resume, his first job out of college:
Leading Insurance Company changed on day
One of the nation’s largest life insurers.
Sold life insurance and drove business
expansion and profitability by engaging
proactive contact strategies, performing
front-end business development activities, and
providing exceptional customer service.
Top producer in a highly-competitive
corporate headquarters sales team with
– Developing a healthy sales funnel and
sales pipeline through a highly-disciplined
systematic lead generation and lead
development regiment that met 120% of
sales plan goal within first 45 days;
– Meeting 100% of monthly appointment
goals, averaging 10 appointments each
– Instrumental contributor in producing
$357K in premiums; one of the highest
within five districts;
– Achieving a cold-calling success ratio of
50% or more—the highest in the district;
– Converted three of five referrals into
sales - highest in the company that year
This was total BS! Research shows that over
50% of resumes have deliberate falsehoods.
Good grief! C Players easily create A Player
resumes, and all the books on how to get
a job recommend lying on resumes and in
interviews. Reference checks are usually
worthless (C Players get their buddies to lie
for them). This is the #1 problem in hiring,
but you know it, right? You’ve mis-hired a lot
of people who fudged their resume and lied
to you in interviews.
Aha, but I avoided that problem. I sent him
an email, saying I was impressed with his
resume (I was – but I needed to be sure it
was for real) and would like to talk with
him, but first, would he please complete
the Topgrading Career History Form.
He responded yes, I sent the link, and he
Like all Topgraders, rather than delve into
the candidate’s detailed Career History Form
I first glanced at his Topgrading Snapshot.
In only seconds this Topgrading Snapshot
showed me he had lied on his resume. The
Snapshot showed he had been fired from the
Financial Representative job, but he claims
in his resume he was a superstar in it.
I went to his Career History Form and
saw that he admitted being fired for NOT
achieving quotas! Wow! In seconds the
DR. BRAD SMART,
AUTHOR, PRESIDENT & CEO
OF TOPGRADING, INC.
Snapshot told me to reject him, and in less
than a minute I found confirmation in the
Career History Form.
Why would John tell the truth in the Career
History Form? Simple. Decades ago I
stumbled on to a “truth serum: Candidates
are told in the Instructions to the Career
History Form: “A final step in hiring is
for candidates to arrange reference calls
with their former managers and others.”
No doubt John concluded, “I’m BUSTED!
so I’d better tell the truth on this form.”
About 25% of candidates – low performers
(like Jones) and liars (like Jones) drop out.
Good! You didn’t want to waste time
screening them! I had already scheduled a
day of interviews with Doe, but of course I
cancelled that day.
Topgrading Snapshots save 25% of hiring
time because the low performers and BS’ers
drop out. But the main value of Topgrading,
including the Snapshot, is avoiding costly
mis-hires. Other hiring methods do not
have the “truth serum,” and their reference
calls are almost worthless, and those are
two reasons they suffer from way too many
Topgrading has many methods to hire
almost all A Players but you might start by
telling all candidates, “A final step in hiring
is for candidates to arrange reference calls
with their former managers and others.”
This simple but powerful tip has prevented
millions of mis-hires. +
Dr. Brad Smart is an internationally renowned management psychologist and is generally
regarded as the world’s leading expert on hiring best practices. He has written five books
on hiring including the New York Times/Wall Street Journal best seller Topgrading: 3rd
Edition. Topgrading methods have enabled hundreds of small companies and leading
companies such as General Electric, American Heart Association, and Barclays to more
than triple their success hiring high performers.