A topgrading interview is much more than an average job interview. The questions asked here are extremely detailed and follow a specific order starting from high school to the current scenario and then into the future as well. This process also looks into thorough reference checking where the prospective candidates are needed to arrange interviews with all of their supervisors going a decade back. Candidates are then given scores on the basis of predetermined criteria.
There is no denying the fact that this process is a lengthy one and involves a lot of time. But it also gives a much more holistic view of every candidate. It becomes easy to find dishonest or unqualified candidates by asking questions from their employers or supervisors questions.
Moreover, you can also use topgrading interviews to evaluate the performance of your current employee and think about their promotion. For instance – If your organization is in New York and it deals with product management, it can follow the approach of topgrading interviews to get the best product manager NYC. This way, you will have an excellent fit for your organization.
Let’s find out more about this interview process.
Preparing For Topgrading Interview
Job description – Draw a clear job description of the candidates. Specify the personality traits, duties, experience, roles, and responsibilities that a candidate should have to be successful. You can also mention the strengths that can give them an edge over other candidates.
Candidate scorecard – List the criteria on which you will have to rate the candidates on a scale of 1-10. The criteria could be – personality traits, technical skills, soft skills, etc.
Phone interviews – Pay attention to the job satisfaction and work history of the candidate. Asking them general questions will help you become clear about the mindset of the candidates and whether they are results driven and culturally fit. Only the best and strongest ones reach the stage of topgrading interviews.
Scorecards – Maintain the scorecards of the candidates through the entire interview process. Call the highest scoring candidates for a topgrading interview. Let them know what you are expecting from them in the interview to make the process easy.
You have selected the candidates and are all set to conduct the interview. Let’s understand what questions you can include in this process.
Formative years – The topgrading interviewing process starts with knowing about the formative years of the candidate. This part is short yet revealing. The questions you can include here are –
Any formative experience that influenced your values.
Your biggest disappointment and your biggest achievement in high school.
What did you think of your career after graduating from high school, and what did you end up doing?
Work History – This part includes the information about the previous work experience of the candidate. Often termed as the lengthiest part, work history can reveal a lot about the candidate. Some questions to ask here are –
What were your expectations from your previous job? Did your expectations match reality?
Were you able to meet the goals in your previous position? If yes, how?
Any major mistake you made and the lesson you learned from that mistake.
Strengths and weaknesses of your team leader or supervisor.
Future plans – Asking the candidates questions about their future plans will give you a clear idea of their personality and how focused they are. The questions could be –
What do you expect from your next job?
List two measurable long-term goals you want to achieve in your life or career.
Your hobbies or skills (non-work related).
The thing you like most about yourself. And one thing you would like to change about yourself.
Reference interviews – Comprehensive reference checks is the thing that sets apart topgrading interviews from the other ones. Hiring managers will tend to speak with each and every supervisor the candidate has had in the last decade. They will ask questions to the supervisors like –
Tell us about the candidate’s role in your company and your relationship with them.
The thing you like most and the thing that annoys you the most about the candidate.
Do you think the candidate is a good fit for the role he/she has applied for?
Rate the candidate as excellent, good, fair, or poor on the given skills (mention the skills from the scorecard)
After the completion of the interviewing process, analyze the information. Separate the scorecards of the candidates into A, B, and C categories, with A being the top scorers (who made it to the next round); you can draw opinions and subjective notes on the “B” candidates and decide whether take them to the next round or not, rest all are in “C” category means eliminated. Discuss with your interviewing team about the top candidates and select 2-3 among the finalists to meet with the higher authorities. You can choose to have a complete skill assessment or personality test of the candidates to get more information. After having the input of the higher authorities, arrive at the final decision and welcome your new employee.