How To Spot Top Talent

Whether they are candidates for a role or current employees, reliably working out who is in the top 10% of talent is difficult. Here are some indicators used by Topgrading*, a methodology aimed at identifying the top 10% of A Players

Genuine A Players

Know their career goals and have the next step planned
A Players proactively manage their careers. Look for people that can talk in detail about their career goals and their road map for getting there.

Recognise their successes and how they affected the business
A Players know what they are worth. They will be able to tell you not only about their achievements but how those achievements contributed to the success of the organisation. More often than not, they will be able to support their claims with facts and numbers.


Knows what their mistakes have been and learned from them
A Players accept failure and use the experience to improve. As a result, they are not embarrassed to talk about their mistakes.


Remain in touch with their former managers and colleagues and are happy to put you in touch with them
Non A players often don’t remember who their managers were or they would like to forget. A Players are actively engaged with their bosses and often keep in touch with them after they move on. They are confident in you talking to a previous manager because they have an excellent idea of what they will say.


Left their previous roles for good reasons
Short of mass re-organisations, A Players don’t get pushed out of jobs. So if they left a position, you should hear that it was for a good reason – probably because it was time for their next career move. They may find that next step on their own but are often head-hunted.

* Topgrading was developed by Dr. Brad Smart, Founder and CEO of Smart and Associates Inc