A great tip when building a team of A Grade Players

Nicola Cook // July 4 // 0 Comments

We all know we want a team of A Grade Players for our businesses. A critical part of scaling our companies, but what does the term A Grade Player actually mean? And how do you find them?

 An A Grade Player is the term used to describe the top performing 15% at any given pay grade … it does not necessarily refer to the top-tier of a particular competency skill set.

 That’s because there is no direct correlation between high salary and high performance.

 It simply doesn’t follow true that if you advertise a job at the top end of the relevant salary band that you will get a better performance. Whereas an A Grade Player (i.e. someone in the top 15%) will deliver even if they are on a lower pay grade.

 Hands up if you’ve ever hired someone on a big salary who turned out to be a B or a C grade player? Yup we’ve all been there! So how do you avoid repeating these same mistakes?

 We’ve covered this topic many times before, and if you haven’t looked at them recently I strongly recommend you refer to our Recruitment Frameworks as a solid recruitment process to weed out B’s and C’s is a vital component of building a solid team.

 So here’s a quick-fire reminder of how you ensure you only attract and hire A Grade Payers;

 1. It always starts with your own culture – do you have a queue of people lined up wanting to join your business, simply because of your culture – people just want to work at your gaff?

 2. A Grade Players are rarely out of work, always aim to recruit those already in employment. Do you keep a little black book of your future Dream Team? Connect with them on Linkedin, have coffee every now and then. Keep tabs on them for when you have the right opportunity.

 3. A Grade Players like to demonstrate what they can do. As part of your recruitment process can you give them a project (perhaps initially freelance or as part of the recruitment process at a later stage) where they help you solve a critical problem, or can demonstrate their ability.

 4. A Grade Players always like to have a target (so they can beat it) and very clear direction – ensure you are clear from the outset your expectations and the measurables in their role.


 5. And I just learnt this one recently – If you are recruiting A Grade Sales People – always reject them as part of your interview process.

 I suggest as part of your initial telephone screening, once you’ve allowed them the opportunity to talk a little bit about themselves say something along the lines of …

 “We’re very proud of the culture at our organisation and our team of exceptional Grade A players, and if I’m honest, right now I’m not really hearing Grade A from yourself …”

 then pause, and see how they respond.

 If they crumble and say something along the lines of “Errm, OK well thanks anyway” then you know they would never be able to handle any objections from your customers or deal with any internal negotiation if their point wasn’t been adopted.

As well as our own CS templates, I highly recommend the following book to really sharpen your own recruitment processes. 


who book

About the Author Nicola Cook

Nicola Cook is an award-winning entrepreneur and twice published international best-selling author on professional selling and personal & business growth. She is CEO of Company Shortcuts, a business devoted to improving business results by injecting skill, passion and strategy to help those entrepreneurs and sales enthusiasts achieve the sales results they desire.

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