Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street

The Big Idea: to win in business, learn how to recruit A players.

Chapter 1: Your #1 Problem

  • Stop using voodoo hiring methods: gut instinct, lots of interviews, brainteasers, personality questions, small-talk questions, pop psychology tests, IQ tests, hypothetical cases
  • An A Player candidate: has a 90%+ chance of achieving a set of outcomes that only the top 10% of possible candidates could achieve.
  • A Player Method based on research studies and interviews.
  • Four steps to the A Player Method 
    • 1) Scorecard: outcomes, competencies
    • 2) Sourcing
    • 3) Select: series of structured interviews
    • 4) Sell
  • The fastest way to improve a company’s performance is to improve the talent.

Chapter 2: Scorecard

  1. Mission: executive summary of the job’s purpose
  2. Outcome: 3-4 specific outcomes to achieve
  3. Competencies: behavioral and cultural fit

Chapter 3: Source

  • Best: referrals from your personal and professional network
  • Encourage your team to be 24/7 talent scouts.

Chapter 4: Select

  1. Screening interview: short, phone-based, eliminate B and C players (see book for script)
  2. Who interview: 2-3 hours, chronological walk-through of a person’s career, divided into chapters (see book for script)
  3. Focused interview: focus on the scorecard, not the candidate, evaluate behavioral/cultural fit (see book for script)
  4. Reference interview: call all references, 3 bosses, 2 peers/customers, 2 subordinates, a lukewarm endorsement is a clear no (see book for more tips)

Chapter 5: Sell (5 F’s)

  1. Fit: culture, vision, goals
  2. Family: mostly related to relocation
  3. Freedom: autonomy
  4. Fortune: financial stability/upside
  5. Fun: work environment and team

Chapter 6: Your Greatest Opportunity

  • What contributed most to business success?
    • Management talent 52%
    • Execution 20%
    • Strategy 17%
  • Make people a top priority.
  • Follow the A Player Method.
  • Cast a clear vision for the company.
  • Recognize and reward people for following the A Player Method.
  • The scoreboard for a CEO depends on the situation and the stage of the company.
  • Using scorecards to evaluate your existing team for promotions, raises, and bonuses.

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