What is top grading and how does it work?

by Danique Geskus | Nov 15, 2023

Hiring the right employees is critical to the success of your organization. One method that has attracted a lot of attention is “Topgrading. In this blog, we will delve deeper into what Topgrading is, why it is so powerful and how it can help build a top team. Would you rather start recognizing your low and high performers right away. Then download our free e-guide “Map low and high performers with objective evaluations.


What is Topgrading?

Top grading is a rigorous approach to recruitment and selection. It is designed to ensure that only the very best candidates are hired and retained. Developed by Bradford D. Smart, this method aims to improve the quality of the workforce through an in-depth and structured interview process.


Why is Topgrading important?

Hiring the right employees is critical to achieving business success. Here are some reasons why Topgrading is of great importance:

  1. Higher performing teams: top grading ensures the selection of employees who consistently deliver above-average performance.
  2. Lower staff turnover: by hiring top talent and developing them, Topgrading reduces staff turnover, ensuring organizational continuity and stability.
  3. Cost savings: although the process is thorough, it can ultimately save costs by attracting employees who are productive from day one.
  4. Improved corporate culture: top talent attracts other top talent and contributes to a positive and productive corporate culture.


How does Topgrading work?

The process involves several steps, including:

  1. CV screening: begin screening resumes to identify suitable candidates.
  2. Telephone interviews: conduct short phone interviews to get a first impression of candidates.
  3. Top grading interviews: conduct in-depth, structured interviews to assess the candidate’s employment history, performance and personality.
  4. Reference checks: contact references to verify candidate information.
  5. Career timeline: have the candidate create a detailed career timeline to get a complete picture of their career.
  6. Discuss organizational behavior: analyze the candidate’s behavior in different organizations to determine if they are a good fit in the current organization.


Topgrading with Learned

Learned offers tools to support top grading within your organization. With our platform, you can easily identify, develop and retain talent through personalized learning plans and continuous dialogue.

Learned UI AI Job Matrix, showing the job house with a library of job profiles.

With Learned, you make expectations and evaluations transparent. With the help of AI easily create market-based job profiles with objectives, competencies and skills. Try Learned now for 14 days for free!

Explanatory image: This example shows the job profile for an HR manager. This profile and over 4,000 others are available for free in Learned. You will see how the success of this position can be measured and what behaviors are required for which competencies and skills.

Gratis downloads

Chart low and high performers with objective evaluations

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