Putting together a team of talented professionals is a lot like putting together a sports team. You want high-performing players who work well together and make each other stronger. Topgrading can help your construction company build a dream team. Topgrading is a hiring philosophy and methodology developed by Brad Smart. The goal of topgrading is to fill empty positions with the best talent and to replace low-performers with top players. This strategy also helps to create a high-quality team for your company by only focusing on the best candidates during the hiring process, particularly during the interview phase.

Types of Performers

There are three types of performers. “A” talent can be considered your best employees. These employees are competent, well-rounded, and highly adaptable. They often have natural leadership abilities and are eager to learn. “B” players are considered your steady performing employee. They know what they’re doing and get the job done, but they’re not the all-stars that the “A” players are. They might not be as creative when it comes to problem-solving. Maybe they take less initiative. These are most of the candidates you will encounter. “C” players are your problem employees. These are the employees that don’t finish their work on time, consistently show up late, and always seem to have an excuse. “C” players bring the whole team down and may even make the other employers perform worse than they would otherwise.

Topgrading Interviews

Topgrading helps make sure you hire the best talent. The goal is to fill your team with as many “A” performers as possible. Much of this comes down to the quality of interviews. Many interviews focus on competency or on behavior. While employers of course want employees who are competent, these types of interviews don’t tell you as much as you think they do. Most interviews are very standard, so if candidates go on enough of them, they will know what to expect and will present themselves accordingly (which may not be authentic). A topgrading interview is different. This methodology uses a chronological approach, systematically going through the candidate’s education and work history to identify patterns. The interview focuses on successes, failures, decision-making, employer-employee relationships, and other important factors that give insight in the competency level of a candidate.

Evidence-based Hiring Decisions

Many hiring managers rely on first impressions or intuition when making hiring decisions. During the topgrading interview, you end up with a thorough profile of the candidate’s employment history, which allows you to make a more evidenced-based hiring decision. Still, first impressions can be very telling. They’re a great way to narrow the field. Topgrades often involves a pre-interview round where the manager assesses whether candidates appear to be a good fit for the company. During the main interview round, you want to rely more on facts.

In the construction industry, having the best talent can make all the difference. You need the best talent to stay competitive. Implementing some aspects of the topgrading interview methodology, along with behavioral-based interview strategies can help you weed out low-performers so that when it comes time to make a hiring decision, you’re choosing from a pool of high-quality candidates.

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