The Topgrade Interview

I’ve learned about the Topgrade interview when I read:

Who: The A Method for Hiring

I’ve been using it ever since for every recruiting effort in which I’m the hiring manager.

The method has two distinct attributes that set it apart from typical hiring processes:

  1. The Scorecard: a quantitative blueprint describing the key areas that the person will be accountable for. For example: exceed an annual sales quota of $5M. It’s the quantitative focus on the nuanced difference that focuses on accountabilities rather than responsibilities that sets it apart for the typical job description.
  2. The Interview Day:  is structured around set of interviews each focusing on assessing a different accountability are and the candidate’s ability to meet the quantitative bar. But the “crown jewel” of interview day is the TopGrade interview. This is a longer, deeper interview that drills down on the most recent positions that the candidate held focusing on the her personal successes/failures, relationships with her boss/direct reports and reasons for taking on and leaving the job. The last part focuses on career aspirations in the short and long term.

As a hiring manager I find this process incredibly effective for the following reasons:

  • It enables me to lay out a clear game plan with the interview team, provide them with a succinct description of the role I’d like to candidate to fill, and make sure that I’ve got all the aspects of the role covered with focused assessments.
  • The “past positions” section in the Topgrade interview gives me a lot of insights to  whether the candidate can really claim credit for her accomplishments or just happened to be in the right time and in the right place. They way she perceives her relationships with her managers and direct reports helps me get a better sense of how effectively I’ll be able to manage her.
  • The “future position” section helps me get a better sense of the overall career trajectory fit, especially when I frame the position as a tour of duty, as well as identify the key points that I should emphasize if I decided to move forward and extend and offer to the candidate.

If you want to learn more about the Topgrade Interview, read the book I referenced or check out

The Topgrade Interview

2 thoughts on “The Topgrade Interview

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s