There are many ways to select and hire candidates for a company.
Many organizations employ hiring managers who review applications, interview potential employees, and process paperwork for new hires more or less on their own. Some organizations, on the other hand, rely on a much longer and more in-depth interview process called topgrading.
Topgrading is a multi-step interview process in which candidates face a number of different interviewers over several rounds of questions. Candidates are often asked to elaborate at length on their education, previous work, long-term career goals, professional strengths and weaknesses, and other relevant topics.
With topgrading, recruiters aim to gain greater insight into the quality of their job candidates – and in doing so, applicants also gain greater insight into the company they are applying for.
If you are a recruiter about to begin the long and complex process of hiring in Metro Manila, you may want to learn more about top ranking and the many benefits it can bring to your business.
THE term “topgrading” was first coined by Bradford and Geoffrey Smart in a 1997 article titled “Topgrading the organization”. To identify the most talented candidates for a particular job, the Smarts recommend a 12-step process with a variety of different components, including in-depth scorecards, in-depth interviews, detailed background checks, and more.
The topgrading methodology was originally developed to help large, established organizations find the most qualified candidates for important leadership positions. Today, however, top ranking is common in nearly every industry at every level of hiring, as organizations around the world have found it to be a useful way to improve their recruiting practices. .
The process has been found to allow for more informed and evidence-based hiring decisions compared to conventional recruitment methods that rely heavily on resumes or other general job application documents.
The ranking process
As mentioned, the original topgrading methodology developed by the Smarts involves 12 steps.
Depending on the nature of your business and the position you are hiring for, you may find it helpful to simplify or even eliminate certain parts of the process. The general process for higher ranking, however, is as follows:
1. Assess and revise current hiring practices. Determine how many of your company’s new hires are currently performing well, as well as the number of bad hires made in the past few years. Assess the quality of your written job descriptions and think about how you could make them clearer, more concise, or more detailed for potential candidates.
2. Create a comprehensive scorecard to give your recruiters a complete idea of what an ideal candidate should look like on paper. You can make a list of 15 to 20 criteria and score your interview candidates’ responses against those criteria.
3. Recruit candidates by first developing a clear and complete job offer. It should list in detail the skills, attitudes and work experience required for the position. You can then begin to distribute your job offer within your network, on job sites and on social networks.
4. Review applicants’ employment history by having your applicants complete employment history forms. These forms are fundamental to the ranking process and ask questions about applicants’ compensation history (in jurisdictions where it is legal), self-assessments, assessments from previous employers, reasons for leaving previous jobs and other professional matters.
5. Arrange phone or video interviews, which mark the first step in the ranking interview process. These preliminary interviews usually include only a few basic questions about the candidate’s interest in the position and the most recent jobs. From there, you can narrow down your list of candidates to those you want to interview in person.
6. Organize skills interviews. These are more intensive face-to-face interviews that ask candidates to discuss their skills, competencies and professional demeanor in more depth.
7. Hold a classification interview. This interview is most often conducted in tandem by the hiring manager and another manager or team leader and can take up to four hours for management positions. Higher ranking interview questions involve a chronological review of the candidate’s entire career history and ask candidates to discuss each of their previous jobs at length. Interviews typically ask candidates about memorable successes, challenges, their relationship with their managers and teammates, key decisions they made, and other related questions.
8. Provide interviewers with feedback and advice to help them improve their skills for future hires. It can also be helpful for the co-interviewers to evaluate each other’s performance.
9. Have interviewers write summaries about each candidate that record important information about the candidate’s work history and work experiences. These summaries will help you compare your potential hires later.
10. Ask candidates to set up reference phone interviews with their chosen character references, which can be former employers, supervisors or mentors. This step is a unique feature of the ranking process and is based on the idea that high performers generally have no difficulty contacting their former bosses. Ideally, your best candidates will relish the opportunity to reunite with someone they parted ways with on good terms.
11. Provide new recruits with advice and coaching. Once you have chosen a candidate, carefully discuss next steps with them. Be sure to give them advice, recommendations and points for improvement to help them better understand what is expected of them and how they can succeed in their new position.
12. Evaluate your recruiting process annually to measure hiring success and employee performance throughout the year. The information you gather here will help you refine and improve your hiring practices for the future.
The ultimate goal of upgrading is to focus hiring efforts on the most talented available candidates in order to attract high performing employees who can benefit your business in the long term.
By using this methodology, you’ll have a better chance of connecting with the people you need and improving the quality of your company’s workforce as a whole.