Most helpful positive review
The Best Book on this Topic in 21 Years
on October 21, 2003
I have been a professional recruiter for over 21 years. Topgrading is the best book that I have read on the topic of selecting impact performers. This book is a valuable read for both hiring managers and candidates. The appendix is worth the price of the book by itself.
I have recommended this book to my clients on my recruiting contracts because many have never been taught how to conduct a structured interview. Consequently, they tend to ask one set of questions to one candidate and another set of questions to another candidate for the same job. How will they be able to compare the two candidates? Brad Smart gives them a nice track to run on.
My only major difficulty with the book is the amount of time between the initial interview and the final interview a month later. In my experience as a professional recruiter, that is too long between interviews. In recruitment, time is your enemy. There are too many companies who are searching for A Players. You could lose an A Player easily within a month to another, more efficient company. As our economy moves from the Baby Boomers as the primary workforce to the Gen X'ers, we are about to experience a shortage of workers. If you wait too long to extend an offer, the Recruiterguy will get them!
On the other hand, Brad's reference checking information is so valuable that I have been teaching my clients to use it. I agree with him that it is important for the hiring manager to conduct the reference checks. It's simple psychology. If I call the manager of a candidate and identify myself as a recruiter, the former manager will give me some information about the candidate. However, their perception is that I am not their peer (unless they know me from a previous relationship). However, if the hiring manager calls the former manager, they are peers and the information given and received will be much more valuable.
The 50 manager competencies listed in the appendix are great tools for developing a structured interview and Job Description. They are also valuable for candidates who need to prepare for interviews by giving examples of their competencies.
Is Topgrading perfect for every interviewing situation? There probably isn't a perfect book. However, this one is easy to read. Take the valuable information that he offers on the interviewing process, the reference checks, and coaching (and protecting) A Players and you will be way ahead of most hiring managers.
If you are a candidate searching for your next job, Topgrading is a must read for you. He asks some tough questions. Some people may be offended. However, I agree with his points. Use the sample competencies in the appendix to strengthen your interviewing skills.
Pick up the book. You will benefit from reading it.