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How to Choose the Right People to the Team

Oct 13, 2014 by Petr Kudlacek | Post a Comment

Hiring the right people for your team is one of the most important aspects of any project. Have you ever hired someone who has performed below your expectations? I wouldn't be surprised if you have. We've all done it!


In our last article we looked at Project Management in Software Outsourcing and discussed how a good vendor is important to start with. In this one, we'll look at how we hire the team members to ensure we provide the best services possible as a vendor.


right people


Why You Need Topgrading


The majority of hiring managers have only a 25% success ratio in hiring top performing candidates. Did you know that 50% of hires will underperform and only 25% will perform at an adequate level?


This is why we utilize the Topgrading method for hiring our team members. This method has proved to provide a 90% chance of hiring top performers for any section of any industry. This is due to the fact that the method delves deeper into the applicant than can be gleaned from the resume or competency interviews.


We have a good history of hiring top performers that will create the best software. We have utilized the Topgrading method for hiring all of our team members and it has been very successful for us. Let's take a look at what it means to conduct a Topgrading interview.


Full Defined Job Descriptions


Hiring the right people always starts with having your job descriptions fully defined. We all want to know what exactly is expected of us and by providing this information to potential clients, you can ensure they understand the scope of the position fully. If a job description is vague, there's too much left to assumption and this not what you want.


An accurate job description is provided to all applicants. This way all top performers have a clear understanding of what they are applying for. This eliminates those that are simply looking for an easy paycheck.


On top of this, we ask every applicant to reiterate the job description in his or her own words. This allows us the opportunity to clear up any confusion or to identify those that do not understand the job description in the first place.


The Career History Form


Many companies rely on resumes alone. However, a career history form allows us to get a more accurate look at each applicant. Each applicant is required to list out all previous work history as well as the complete dates of every job, a rating for every boss and true reasons for leaving every employer.

We highly suggest that the rating of former bosses is paid attention to a well as the reason for leaving places of employment. This can provide significant insight into the individual you may be hiring.




The questions about previous bosses provide insight into how each applicant views individuals of authority. A poor rating can actually indicate a problem with the applicant rather than the employer.


The reasons for leaving places of employment can also provide insight as well. The career history form actually requires the applicant to schedule reference phone calls with tier previous bosses and when they know that these people will be contacted, low performers typically do not return the form and simply eliminate themselves from the interview process.


Preliminary Interviews


Prior to the main interview, it is necessary to perform screening interviews. These are typically telephone interviews that last about 45 minutes and look at the applicants past two jobs. These questions discuss why they left the position, their goals and other competency questions. If the applicant still looks like a good hire, a competency interview may be scheduled.


We believe you should conduct  one-hour competency interviews. These interviews allow you to narrow the ratio to the 25% of high performers for the position. While these are standard interviews, underperformers can be coached to get through and those who do not bother will be weeded out. The real purpose of these interviews is to give the top performers the opportunity to find out more about the company the people who work there. They can ask questions and learn with every interview. This sort of interest is a beacon to the interviewers that are familiar with the Topgrading interview process and will be noted.


The Topgrading Interview


The Topgrading interview is the main event and the meat of the entire process. This interview delves deep into the individual and goes beyond competency.


During this interview, two people from the company will be present and will ask questions. This can be unnerving to those who lack confidence in their abilities. However, top performers will dazzle their audience.

 job interview


There are six basic questions that are utilized in this interview and will be in relationship to their previous job positions. These include:

  • What were your expectations in taking the job?
  • What were your previous responsibilities and accountabilities?
  • What were your successes?
  • What were your failures?
  • What were your boss's strengths and weakness?
  • What would your boss tell me if you I asked you to arrange a call? What do you think they would say about your strengths, weaknesses and overall performance?

With each of these questions, you follow up their answers with deeper discussion, such as "How did you achieve your successes?"

When speaking about their previous employers, you can look for signs of whether or not you would work well with that person or if you notice any disturbing trends or patterns in their responses.


It's important that each step of their career is talked about in depth. The more you talk to them about their history, the more willing they are to be open and honest. Take your time.


It's also important to realize that this type of interview is not intended to be completed in twenty minutes. This interview may last up to three hours. This length of time has a purpose as well, as it shows how interested and how important this job is to the applicant. Some will simply state that it's not worth their time to go through a three-hour interview.


The Time is Worth it in the Long Run


While this interview and candidate selection process seems length and time consuming, it's important that it's followed precisely in this manner. By taking your time, you're ensuring that you weed out the low performers and you hire the highest quality individual that you can.


Additionally, you'll find that you end up going through fewer final interviews because you've taken the time to weed out the low performers and those that were simply not interested. You also cut down on your turnover rates as a company and have the benefit of working with some of the best people in the industry.


Tags: software, team, job interview;
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