How To Hire An “A Team”

ATEAMA company can’t use the same process to hire core team members as it does to build the A-team. This clash of process is one reason hiring process have evolved little in the past 30 years.

… you can’t use the same methods to hire the A-team that you use to hire everyone else.

As hiring needs accelerate, I’m doing a number of talks for recruiters and hiring managers on how to reengineer their hiring processes to find stronger talent. It turns out that this involves as much dismantling as it does rebuilding. I refer to this overhaul as The Staffing Spiral of Doom–Catch 22. If you’re not into videos, following is a quick introduction to the Spiral of Doom and what you need to do to get out of it. Once you do, you’ll discover hiring the A-team is pretty straightforward.

The process of hiring the A-team begins by classifying all new hires into one of three big groups. The first is those who shouldn’t have been hired in the first place (about 15-20% of total hires). The second and biggest group (about 50-60%) represents the core team. These are the solid people who have the skills and meet their performance objectives on a consistent basis. The third group is the A-team, the achievers. These are the over-performers who consistently exceed their performance expectations.

Most companies want to hire more people on the A-team but find it extremely difficult for a number of big reasons. The biggest: Companies spend most of their efforts figuring out ways to hire the core team more efficiently. The problem here is that you can’t use the same methods to hire the A-team that you use to hire everyone else.


The Catch-22 in all of this is that people who lead their company’s hiring efforts make excuses as to why they can’t do these five things (an excuse buster is offered below):

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