Topgrading, 3rd Edition: The Proven Hiring and Promoting Method That Turbocharges Company Performance

Bradford D. Smart, Erik Synnestvedt (Reader) · First published June 11th 2013 (first published August 16th 2012)


Great companies, large and small, rise or fall because of their talent; the more high performers on your team, the more successful your organization will be. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Research shows that only about 25% of all new hires turn out to be high performers.

But companies that have used Brad Smart’s Topgrading system over the past two decades have boosted their hiring success rates dramatically—sometimes even to 90%.

Three huge problems account for the typical poor results in hiring: dishonesty (via deceptive résumés), incomplete information (via shallow interviews), and lack of verifiability (via biased references). Topgrading shows how to solve all three problems. Instead of hir­ing by your gut reactions to résumés and interviews, you can start using a scientifically honed process that compels candidates to be totally honest.

Smart, one of the world’s foremost experts on hiring, has personally helped hundreds of compa­nies double, triple, or even quadruple their hiring success rates. His clients have ranged from global giants such as General Electric and Honeywell to midsize and small businesses in every field imagin­able, and to not-for-profits such as the American Heart Association. And hundreds of thousands of readers have applied the lessons and tools of the first two editions of Topgrading.

The Topgrading system makes hiring easier, faster, and more successful than any other process. And it works at every level, from the front lines to senior management.”

Book Summary

“Topgrading, 3rd Edition: The Proven Hiring and Promoting Method That Turbocharges Company Performance” is a book by Bradford Smart. The book provides a comprehensive guide to the “Topgrading” process, a hiring and promoting methodology that the author argues is the most effective way to build high-performing organizations. The Topgrading process involves several steps, including creating a candidate profile, conducting thorough reference checks, and using structured interviews to assess a candidate’s potential.

Key Takeaways

1. Develop a detailed candidate profile to identify the key traits and characteristics of your ideal employee.
2. Conduct thorough reference checks to gain valuable insights into a candidate’s past performance.
3. Use structured interviews to assess a candidate’s potential, skills, and fit with your organization.
4. Hire the best candidate for the job, not just the most available or easiest to hire.
5. Promote based on merit, not seniority or political connections.
6. Continuously monitor and assess the performance of your employees to identify areas for improvement.
7. Foster a culture of accountability and continuous improvement within your organization.
8. Encourage open communication and collaboration among team members.
9. Reward high-performing employees and provide opportunities for professional development.
10. Invest in employee training and development to build a knowledgeable, skilled, and motivated workforce.