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How to hire varsity players – only the best

Great talent is abundant in the marketplace right now. Even the best and the brightest have been furloughed or let go through no fault of their own.

And whether you’re trying to decide who to keep or who to hire, you’ve got to be able to test for and recognize great talent – A-players.

Because you’re going to need A-players on your team in order to recover and rebuild as the fog of the pandemic lifts.

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman have researched more than 4,100 executives and analyzed over 50,000 performance reviews, studying the difference between B-players vs. A-players.

So, what are the signs of A-players? Here they are, ranked in order of importance and impact. Zenger and Folkman maintain that the best individual contributors:

  • Set stretch goals and adopt high standards for themselves. The best individual contributors set — and met — stretch goals that went beyond what others thought were possible. They also encouraged others to achieve exceptional results.
  • Work collaboratively. They solve problems and find the necessary skill sets in other team members.
  • Volunteer to represent the group. The best individual contributors were highly effective at representing their groups to other departments or units within the organization.
  • Embrace change, rather than resisting It. The best individual contributors are quick to embrace change in both tactics and strategy.
  • Take initiative. Great contributors develop a habit of volunteering their unique perspective and providing a helping hand.
  • Walk the talk. The best individual contributors do what they say they are going to do, making them excellent role models for others.
  • Use good judgment. They don’t wing it, but rather research it carefully, weigh options, and then proceed with a sound plan.
  • Display personal resilience. Everyone suffers disappointments, failures, and disruptions. If they make a mistake, the best individual contributors acknowledge it quickly and move on.
  • Give honest feedback. The best individual contributors were able to provide feedback in a way that was perceived not as criticism but as a gesture of good will.

Keep these characteristics in mind when adding key executives or partners to your team. When interviewing, ask questions directly related to these behaviors such as “Tell me about a time you volunteered to represent your team” or “provided honest feedback” or “had to muster personal resilience.”

Great teams will get through this. Make sure yours is one of them by assembling A-players who are up for the challenge.

Have a great week.

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