What Does An “A-Level Candidate” Look Like And How Do I Hire One?

What Does An "A-Level Candidate" Look Like And How Do I Hire One?

As recruiters, we are constantly talking about and trying to help organizations capture the elusive “A-player” to join their team. There are many articles that tell you exactly how to interview and what questions to ask to uncover these A-level candidates, as if you are going to be polishing off the coal to find that diamond. When in reality, you first must believe that YOU are an A-player/Leader for your organization and have the confidence in your leadership skills and methods. Only after you have done this can you even know what this person looks like from a skills and attitude standpoint. This takes guts and the right mentality to look deep within oneself to determine if you are an A-player or not. Next, you must determine what you have that makes you great and what you are lacking that would make you better. Only then, can you truly determine what an A-level candidate is and how you can hire them.

If you look at yourself, not from your biased eyes, but from an outside perspective, and determine what makes you great, you can then determine the right questions to ask potential candidates to determine if they have that same stuff.  You can also see what you are missing (so that you can work on that aspect of your life to get better, but that’s a different blog), then you can have a better understanding of what qualities and skills this A-player will need to fill the gaps on your team and take you to the next level.  If you are truly an A-Leader in 2017, you are constantly on the lookout for the skills and competencies your team is missing and trying fill the gaps. You are also looking not just for people that act and think like you, but bring a different perspective to the organization.

I truly believe that many people have passed up on the best talent because they didn’t even know what an A-player looked like. Our preconceived notions of what a successful employee looks like might not always align with what your team actually needs to be successful and grow. Many of my clients say they only want the top performers. My opinion of top performers is different than theirs and we must first be able to truly understand what that is, before we can find it. We hear all the time that one must define the goal in order to achieve it, and it’s no different in recruiting.  You must determine what you are looking for before you can succeed.

So how do you hire that elusive A-level candidate? Ask yourself these 5 questions to help you determine which qualities to look for in an interview:

  1. What has helped me be successful in my role?
  2. What could I do better?
  3. What commonalities do the members of my team have?
  4. What is my team lacking?
  5. What is my favorite part of my job?