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A-players: the top 5% of people. They work hard, go over and above, are well liked and respected and typically move “up the ranks” fast.
A-players love to hire other A-players and build teams of super smart people that love to win. They genuinely want to be the “dumbest” person in the room and love learning from those around them.
BUT.... how to you find and identify these high performers?
Let's break it down together with 7 questions.
Q1: Have they been promoted at least once in a previous role?
A-players are great at what they do and good managers will pick up on that fast, offering them more responsibility and eventually a more challenging role. Look at their LinkedIn profile and see if, at any of their previous companies, they’ve been promoted. Once is great, twice is amazing and three times is out of this world.
Q2: Have they had to lead a big project in a previous role? How did they handle it?
A-players like to take on more responsibility over time, not less. Have they had a previous manager that was so confident in their abilities that they were given a large or important project to run on their own?
Q3: Is this the same role as a previous job or is it somewhat/completely different?
A-players love challenges. I found that most A-players don’t change companies so much as they change roles — because they like the challenge of constantly learning new things and being in new situations.
Q4: Can they speak about your company and tell you what they like and what they might change?
A-players do research on a company before an interview. They try to understand your strategy, what’s going well and even what’s not. Can they clearly articulate what they like about your company but also provide some constructive feedback on something you might want to change?
If they don’t know what your company does or they have no opinion (positive or negative) about it, that’s a red flag.
Q5: Are they confident without being cocky?
This is a fine line. A-players have great track records and you want someone who talks a lot about being on great teams and having great managers and mentors, not someone constantly saying “I this, I that”.
Q6: Are they committed to continual learning? Can they prove it?
A-players love learning new skills. Ask them what they learned in their previous role. Ask which book they’re currently reading. Ask what they plan to learn in the next 6–12 months and how they’ll go about doing that.
Q7: How would you rate the quality and quantity of questions they ask YOU during the interview?
A great interview is always a conversation — it’s never one-sided. Look at the quantity and quality of questions they ask YOU. A-players care about the team they’ll be on, their manager and where you want to take your company moving forward.
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