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031 | "A Players" Only Please with Chris Mursau, President of Topgrading

031 | "A Players" Only Please with Chris Mursau, President of Topgrading
Published on
August 4, 2020
031 | "A Players" Only Please with Chris Mursau, President of Topgrading
Juhll Online Marketing Agency
Juhll Online Marketing Agency
A boutique digital marketing consultancy with over 20 years of experience. Transparent, data-driven, committed to your goals.


Chris Mursau
Company Name




Chris Mursau is the president of Topgrading, a firm that helps companies and individual managers hire top talent. They've been doing this since the early 70s. Chris has been with the firm since 2001, and has conducted over 2,500 in-depth Topgrading assessments, and has helped numerous people achieve their best potential. Topgrading's list of clients includes many on the Fortune 500. And they also work with small to medium-sized businesses, including nonprofit organizations.


  • Chris Snyder introduces Chris Mursau, President of Topgrading, as he gives his view of the company and what it took to get to where they are today
  • There are four common hiring mistakes we make when seeking top talent
  • Chris Mursau talks about whether or not job-hopping is beneficial when considering new hires
  • How to improve your job description to get the best candidates?

Chris Mursau


Chris Mursau is the president of Topgrading, a firm that has been helping companies and individual managers hire top talent since the early 70's. Topgrading's list of clients includes many Fortune 500 companies, but they also work with small to medium-sized businesses and nonprofits.

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Chris Mursau


Chris Mursau is the president of Topgrading, a firm that has been helping companies and individual managers hire top talent since the early 70's. Topgrading's list of clients includes many Fortune 500 companies, but they also work with small to medium-sized businesses and nonprofits.

Episode Transcript

In this episode, Chris talks to the president of Topgrading Chris Mursau, a firm that has been helping companies and individual managers hire top talent since the early 70's.

Intro  0:06  

Welcome to Snyder's Marketing Showdown and original Juhll agency production. In this show, you'll discover which elite business executives hold the strongest hand in business marketing and operations. Listen to Epic no holds barred showdowns debating the latest groundbreaking strategies this side of the internet WARNING This show ain't for rookies. So check your ego at the door with your host president of Juhll agency and founder operator investor in Chris Snyder.

Chris Snyder  0:44  

Hello everyone. Chris Snyder, here host of Snyder Showdown president at and founder of On the show, I talk with top leaders, entrepreneurs and subject matter experts about what's working and what's not with growth programs. This episode is brought to you by Juhll is a full service digital consultancy and we focus on helping executives solve their toughest digital growth problems. We do that while working as an extension of the executive team. We focus on three things we quickly identify the biggest problems impeding growth, we've got 25 years of experience so we can see the patterns. We propose solutions that give you the best opportunity for success. Finally, the work has to get done. So we bring a private marketplace of vetted world class talent to execute the plan. And of course, we manage the whole process. To learn more, go to that's J U H L  or you can email me directly if you have questions. It's So without further ado, today's conversation is with Chris Mursau. Chris is the president of Topgrading, a firm that helps companies and individual managers hire top talent. They've been doing this since the early 70s. Chris has been with the firm since 2001, and has conducted over 2,500 in depth Topgrading assessments, and has helped numerous people achieve their best potential. Topgrading’s list of clients include many on the Fortune 500. And they also work with small to medium sized businesses, including nonprofit organizations. They really do have a product for everyone. Welcome to the show, Chris.

Chris Mursau  2:25  

Thanks, Chris. Great to be here. All right, great.

Chris Snyder  2:27  

Well, that was so you're working for a company that's been around since the early 70s, which is interesting. And you've been at the firm for 19 years yourself. Can you tell me how you got into this business? And tell me a little bit about Topgrading what it's all about?

Chris Mursau  2:45  

Yeah, absolutely. And so how I got into it was really a blending of two degrees I have so I've got an undergrad degree in psychology. And once I got into the The coursework and you know, thought about listening to people and their problems all day and every day, it was a little less attractive than it was when in that first psych 101 course. And so made a slight pivot toward the end, you got a minor in business and then got an MBA as well after that. And so thinking of what I wanted to do, I actually ran across the first edition of Topgrading that was published in 1999. And thought this is perfect, you know, psychology and business and approach Brad and Brad smart, who is the founder of Topgrading and started the company in early 70s. And asked about getting a job and the rest is been history. And so you know, what we what we do, I guess it really starts off with the philosophy of Topgrading. And, you know, the top reading philosophy is to get someone In who is in the top 10% of talent available for the pay in every position in your organization. And so the real important component of the Topgrading philosophy is raising that proverbial bar to top 10% of talent, you know, versus where many managers are today. I mean, you'd be usually are happy with someone who's above average, you know, and when you look at the full talent pool, and so you know, when we put that available for the pay, in our definition of a player, it really says that you're paying for a player performance and behaviors right now. And if you're not getting them, people out there who will deliver the results you expect, excuse me of a high performer and behave in a way that fits your culture. For the same thing, you're paying that nine a player right now, and so that's where we start with, with setting that bar at a player performance and behaviors. And then we have ways to really consistently and effectively match people with jobs in specific companies. And we really do that by fixing five mistakes, actually, there are four hiring mistakes, we have five ways to fix them before hiring mistakes that companies typically make, you know, and one is starting off with a job description. I've gotten the privilege and say that facetiously, to read, you know, thousands of job descriptions, and frankly, none of them are very good. No, you can read those job descriptions. There are so many words, many of them are so vague and so broad, that there is very little understanding of what that job is really what is really expected in that job results and behaviors. The next thing that we do wrong is we put too much weight, but it's in someone's resume, you know, resumes are a candidate sales brochure. Yep. And so you know, great candidates have great sales brochures and in terms of the resumes, but also those candidates who are going to be a good fit also can have a great looking resume. And so we let too many non-players into the candidate pool from the start, you know, and then the way we interact with candidates is just too usually unstructured and, frankly, just too short, short interviews and short interactions are fine for screening. But when you get to your finalists, candidates, we don't spend enough time with them and get enough information about their background in history, their strengths and their weaker points to accurately predict what they're going to be like when you put them into your environment. And then, you know, if reference calls are done, they're done with friends, whether workers at some point, but of the candidate, and we really don't verify what that came. It was said throughout the interview process. So, you know, we're just not making a hiring decision in the way that you all make every other business decision. And that's a thorough and rigorous way thinking about return on investment, thinking about the upside, but also thinking about the downside risk. And really, you know, going beyond exactly what we do and how we do it. One of our goals as a company is to make hiring a strategic advantage. And you know, really think of it as a strategic process, just the way you think about the rest of the business processes and decisions you make throughout the company. Now.

What are you thinking about those four hiring mistakes? We really have five important and key steps in our hiring process, that that are solutions to those to those problems. And so the first one is to really accurately and thoroughly and comprehensive Describe a player performance and behaviors for that specific role in your specific company. So number one, you know you, during manager are clear on exactly who you're looking for. And then if you have others helping you, which most of you do, I think candidates or screening candidates, they also have that exact same picture of a player performs and behaviors in their head. So we're all thinking about the same person as we're interacting with these candidates. The great thing is, if you do what we call a job scorecard, if you do a good job card up front, you also should have your content for your performance appraisal done as well. So when we're thinking about who we're looking for, we're actually thinking about what they need to do in that first year for us to consider them a high performer who fits our culture. So yes, it's a little bit of upfront work, actually a little couple of hours about front work, but lots of benefit downstream by doing that. The next thing we do is we have A way to get reliable information from candidates and we call it the torque technique threat of reference check. Yeah, and it's really not that ominous. All we do is let candidates know early on in the process that they'll have to arrange for some personal reference calls with managers and potentially other people they've worked with in the past, who we tell them we'd like to speak with. So don't just take those three people on the reference list, you know, and believe that, that that's the truth. We tell them who we'd like to speak with, so we can verify what we hear throughout the rest of that hiring process. So we use the torque technique, and then we really reinforce it with each interaction. We're asking about managers, we're reminding them that they'll be subtly reminding them that they'll be having to arrange for those reference calls. So they're open and honest. Now those who don't have even okay relationships with former managers or who have embellished and say nicely embellish, their resumes will drop out of the process. And that's all Yeah, they'll do it on their own right.

Chris Snyder  10:01  

Like they're not gonna. And you know, I'm gonna add something really quick here just for the audience. Juhll agency leverage Topgrading years ago to build our team when we were ramping quickly, because I found myself on red in resume hell, right. So first of all recruiters just push, right, they push the paperwork, they push the and then going back to your original point, they push the paperwork, which you now know, you know, based on what Chris just said, is embellished, potentially, because these guys are smart, they're doing a good job, right? So they're gonna embellish this stuff. And so you're staring at a stack of papers. And you have no way to sift through this stuff. And then you're thinking about so you got 100 resumes, who do you call? I mean, you this whole thing just became for me anyway, but I mean, I'll just say it was a nightmare. It literally turned into a nightmare. You're talking to people Who on paper look, okay? And then when you talk to him on the phone, you ask them a question, and they really have no idea what you're talking about. Right? So you guys have what it feels like, move this into more of a pragmatic in scientific approach, rather than this emotional. How do I feel today about Chris? You know, do I like him? Is he tall? Or is he does he does it seem like people like him when he gets here and then he turns into a tyrant after the 91st day? So you hit on the first two points. What is what is point three and four, I guess Sorry to interrupt you there. What is point three and four?

Chris Mursau  11:46  

Yeah, point points three and four. And really point three is the main reason that Topgrading works so well. It's actually where Topgrading started. And that is with the Topgrading interview. Review. And really, that interview is chronological in depth and structured. And it's done on finalist candidates are done with finalist candidates. So as I mentioned, one of the problems was that our interactions with candidates are just just really simply to short, and often unstructured and free flowing, and we're following where the candidate is taking us. One thing we need to do to get to know someone is to spend more time with them. Yeah, often in training sessions and workshops, you know, in a joking way, ask for a raise of hands on who would marry someone after, you know, talking to them for an hour. You know, inevitably if I have a group of 30 people, one person will raise their hand. You know, but it's a small percentage, you know, and thinking about that in relation to hiring yet someone we might be spending even more time that we then we spend with our spouse will offer them a job and Say, Hey, we'll pay you $100,000 after interacting with them for an hour or two. And so that's one that we just interact with them in a longer, longer, and we get more information about them. So it's chronological in depth and structured, we actually ask the candidate about everything they've done since high school. So why patient experience every job that they've had. And we asked the same kinds of questions about each of those experiences. So we're able to see patterns of behavior over time. You know, we asked them about the highs, accomplishments, what they like, what their manager will tell us about their their strong points and things they did well, when we do that reference check. So again, reinforcing that we're going to do the reference calls. And we also asked about the lows, you know, mistakes they made or things they do differently, what they disliked what their manager would tell us about developmental areas back then. We asked them why they left jobs and why they took The next. Yeah, so we get to a real deep understanding of what that person does well, what they don't do so well, the environments they do things well in and environments, they don't do as well and the managers that they work best with and the kinds of management styles they respond best to. And also, we get a real deep understanding of their decision making process, why they're making decisions, how they're making decisions, and we end up after that, you know, two hours for a lower level position, and up to four or five hours for an executive position with literally thousands of data points about that candidate and what they do well and what they don't do so well.

Chris Snyder  14:44  

So so I want to, I want to take my, I'm gonna pretend like I don't know anything about top reading, and I'm gonna pretend like I'm a closed minded person or that I have other priorities. Rather Other than finding the right people. Let me just pretend real quick. Sure. Chris, what you're telling me, sounds awesome. But I need a venture backed startup. And I'd have to hire 100 people in the next three months. That is a fact. And basically, what you're telling me is that I have to screen in a way that potentially is, is just not feasible for the size of the firm that I am in for as fast as I want to go. This just sounds like a lot of work, right? If you're a fortune 500, it's more predictable. Maybe it's a little bit more pragmatic. I know you guys serve a range of firms. How does someone out a smaller firm that might have a small HR department? They may they may not have folks with the pattern matching in the skills that people like you and I have when we talk to these people Cuz I know it's a talent to get through these questions quickly and run this process efficiently. What do you tell people that are basically saying like, Look, man, that's great, but we just can't we got to go faster than that. Like, what do you say to people like that? Because I know they say it, they have to

Chris Mursau  16:16  

without question. And so if hiring 100 great people in the next three months is a key to your business succeeding or failing, and your HR team is small, or maybe even non existent and your hiring manager so those those people who are going to be managing the new hires don't have the time because they're running the business. One of the very fast suggestions I have is hire us to assess those candidates. Oh, okay. And so and so, there there's a pretty significant because after that, because the cost of making a hiring mistake is significant, both in terms of dollars wasted, and also time wasted, because that person is not an A player. And so, really the one of the first things in the first you know, hour of even a two day workshop training workshop that we do, we spent some time calculating the amount of, or the the amount of time wasted on an on a player and the amount, the cost the dollar, you know, the the monetary cost to doing that. And we then do a quick calculation. What we found find is companies who are not using Topgrading, and doing the traditional, you know, job score or job description, resume screen, some short one hour interviews and maybe doing some reference calls or not. They tend to get about a 25% hiring success rate, meaning Wow, so in other time, they end up with an A high performer who fits the culture when they make a new hire, and 75% of the time they end up with someone who misses performance expectations, and you know, as you said, Could be a tyrant or could be a jerk just doesn't fit the culture very well. And so we calculate the cost to the organization when that person is not an A player. And so then we can do the time we can say, all right, is it worth spending, maybe, you know, an extra two hours, maybe three hours per hire, this is not per candidate, this is per hire. Because we when we know who we're looking for with that job scorecard, we can screen more efficiently and effectively, actually, we have some tools to help screen, especially high volume candidate pools, and we get to the finalist candidates as quickly as we can. And then we just slow it down a little bit and spend some more time with those finalists candidates. Now, that time is just not available. We can also do a ROI calculation because when we assess and we do give a higher or no higher recommendation. those recommendations are about 90% accurate. So if we say hi, you're now They have the potential to be an A player 90% of the time, that person turns out to be a high performer who fits the culture. And the other direction. If you hire someone, and we recommend against hiring, I can't think of one instance one that has worked out, you know, where the person is actually turned out to be an A player. So, yeah, and we really, Chris, we tend to do that work in that assessment work at the senior levels for our clients. And there's a reason for it. And the reason is, you know, just like I use a golf analogy, I'm not much of a golfer, which is maybe why the analogy resonates with me a little bit better. I'm one of the people who play a couple or three times per year. I have a sweet set of golf clubs that are supposed to make me an amazing player, and they helped a little bit. I don't practice enough to ever be a good golfer. I'm good enough to not embarrass myself too badly. But if I needed wanted to get good, I need to play at least once a week, maybe a couple of times per week. So I live in the north and we don't have as much I got to go to the range, right to go to the range. You know, you have to work on your fundamentals, in addition to actually playing rounds, and you think of an executive as CEO, or reporting the CEO in a company, you just don't have enough at bats, especially with these Topgrading interviews, to ever get really, really good at them, you can get much better than you are today. But yeah, that's again, that's why our clients tend to hire us to do the work below though, we can teach you how to do it. And you know, because the positions are less complex, they're higher volume, so someone is going to have more chances to interview and get good at that level. And, you know, we recommend actually not just a solo Topgrading interview, but a tandem Topgrading interview to so two interviewers for our clients at those lower levels. And yet, because they're lower level positions, they're often less experienced and they're shorter. You know, they're 90 minutes, maybe two hours at the high side. And that's usually manageable for even people who aren't doing this every day.

Chris Snyder  20:53  

Yeah, so so people are really the the centralized point. rate of success, in my opinion anywhere, anywhere. And if you read any of the books or talk to any of the people that are entrepreneurs or run their own businesses, they all talk about people, right? It's just if you get the wrong person, it can be a nightmare. Just an absolute nightmare. They can poison the well, they can actually lose you like on a quantitative basis, not just on a qualitative basis. One of the things that you had mentioned, do you have metrics because I thought I read something that you guys produced that gave actual metrics around a bad hire at the executive level. And I think you put it in terms of salaries. So if you pay someone, obviously executives make more than 100 grand a year, but for easy math, maybe you say, pay this person 100 grand a year. He's or she's not good enough to be here. They're not in a player. How much did that really cost the firm? I think you guys have some multiplication. on that, could you could you talk a little bit about that?

Chris Mursau  22:03  

Absolutely. Chris. And actually, when you bring up the the $100,000 salary, I did a study and got samples of 54 Miss hires that were the average salary was $100,000 per year. And actually the cost was 15 times their base salary, oh my god,

Chris Snyder  22:24  

What kind of, they said, Were these salespeople, or were like,

Chris Mursau  22:28  

the salespeople, actually, you know, at that level, it can even have a little higher multiple. And so it gets worse and worse, it can absolutely get worse. You think so when at the time I did that, which was maybe 10 years ago or so. That $100,000 was like maybe a materials manager in a manufacturing plant or even a plant manager in a manufacturing plant. And you know, you think about the decisions they're making, you know, they might have a plant that's $50 million a month. revenue, they can easily make a decision that cost that that plant $1.5 million. You know, when you think about it in that terms you have could that person conceivably make a decision that cost the company significant? Money? Yeah, they could lose a big the biggest client and that would be even more than $1.5 million. When you think about the the lifetime value of that of that customer in that client. So yeah, yes, it sounds like a huge number. But when we break it down, we have a cost of misfires form that we use that breaks out the different costs. Getting to that 15 X, you can get there relatively easily. Yeah, at the executive level. In the original Topgrading book, it was focused on senior executives, mainly in multi billion dollar companies. And that was 24 times base salary. Now, I'll say the complete other end of the spectrum, grocery store client, we did the same calculation Even for their cashiers, you know, people making $8-9-10 bucks an hour, the cost of the hiring mistake was one time, their base salary, so one x yet even at your very entry level, so it's expensive. It takes time. We found that in terms of time waste, and it's a couple hundred hours for a manager or above when you make that you make a wrong hiring decision.

Chris Snyder  24:29  

Yeah. So I want to figure out for our audience, I want to figure out how we get better at this. And I want to figure out because I know I've used your tools before and it does take a little bit of practice. But once you get there, you're good to go. And there are some charts in some some graphs, I do remember one vividly, you could probably help me out here that allowed us to say, hey, go to this website, I think the Topgrading website, enter this information in exactly the way we asked for And one of those, there was three dimensions to it. They had different colors. But I believe one of the dimensions was, you know, you know, how long have you worked there? And I think that there's some some predictability on how what people's tenure is for job hopping, which is extremely important. And I know a lot of people nowadays and a lot of younger candidates especially believe that it's okay. I don't I would love to hear your opinion on this. But I don't believe it's okay to leave jobs every 18 months. Like I don't believe that's okay. There was another question I believe you asked. And I'm going from memory here. So I've helped me out. What What would you What would you rank? How would your manager rank your performance on a scale of, you know, one to five or whatever. And I believe if you saw a bunch of you know, if you guys usually say that, if it's a four, they probably would have given him a five but if it was a three, they probably would have given him a two. Right? So can you can you talk about how to sift through this stuff real quick. To get all of us into a spot where we can actually spend the two hours that we're supposed to be spending or spend the three hours that we're supposed to be spending. Can you talk about the quantitative side of this?

Chris Mursau  26:13  

Yeah, absolutely. And you're, you're, you're referring to. Actually, we have two different versions. Now we have what we call a pre screen snapshot, and a Topgrading snapshot. And so I'll talk about the Topgrading snapshot first, because the pre screen snapshot is just a small slice of that. And so we ask candidates at the appropriate time, for information about all the jobs they've had. And so that information includes some pretty standard stuff like starting and final dates that include the starting month and the final month. So we can see any gaps that that exists because we do graph that where we can still ask it we actually also asks for salary history. So we can see starting in final competition For each of the jobs they had, and we can see that trend, we also do ask, you know, knowing that we're going to be doing reference calls, if they make it, you know, to right before a job offer. We asked them for predictions on how their managers will read them. Yeah, you mentioned the five point scale, five is excellent. One is poor. And we've done tens of thousands of interviews. And we've had tens of thousands of Topgrading snapshots completed before these interviews. You know, if someone wasn't a player in a job, they will predict their manager rates, their performance, a four or five very good or excellent. When we do the reference call with that manager, they rate the performance very good or excellent. It's very strong correlation, even though it's self reported, knowing that we're going to actually talk with with those managers. And the other thing that we know is that the manager of an A player will never rate that person's performance one to one Three, poor, fair or good?

Chris Snyder  28:03  


Chris Mursau  28:04  

A player's a manager of a player would love to say, Oh, yeah, Chris's performance was good. Never Never. So we color code though. So one and two are yellow, you know, red is three, I'm sorry, one and two are red, three is yellow, and four and five are green. So you can see at a glance how that man what those performance rating trends will be. And then we actually also have them pick from a drop down lists on why they left the job, the actual reason they left the job. And we can see those trends we color code them, you know, so terminated for performance is of course red. And you know, my choice because I took another job or I got promoted, is obviously green. And there's a bunch of other choices in there. So, at a glance, we can see the full history of that person with some very, very key trends. And so going to the you mentioned, the issue of tenure and we hear Often, you know that it whether it's in marketing or customer service or the age of the candidate, yeah, well, we can't expect them to have a very long job. 10 years Oh, that's just what they do. Well, like the question I always ask is, is it okay for you to hire this person? And then them to only stick around for six to 12 months? And if the answer is no, then don't hire people who have an average tenure of less than 12 months. If you need that person to your expectations, that person stays for over a year. Talk to candidates who have job average job tenure of over a year, because you know, past behavior is the best predictor of near future behavior. And, you know, if you hire someone who has changed jobs every nine months, they're probably only going to be with you for nine months as well.

Chris Snyder  29:50  

Yeah, though, it's so it's so obvious. So one thing that I By the way, I used to work with For MRI management recruiters International, this was a long time ago, by the way, not in the 70s because I wasn't born yet. I was I was born in 75. So not in the 70s. But I work for MRI and we were recruiters and I think this was in the late 90s. And one of the things that that I think I was mentored to do or taught to do was to do these these really thorough. Our job at MRI was only present candidates that could be hired and we talked about a players all the time. One of the things that I was surprised about when I started getting into this hiring stuff and reading your Brad's books and looking at Topgrading. I'm shocked every single recruiter that I know or recruiting firm that I know that I know. So it's a small sample size. why in the hell Are these guys using your software? And using your methodology? Maybe some are? I mean, I don't know. But can you comment on that? And so, some are,

Chris Mursau  31:10  

you know, especially some are using our, our software, because it is a nice graph to present to, to clients. But you're thinking about doing a very thorough Topgrading interview, you know, a couple of hours, three hours, maybe four for an executive role. Yeah, the there are a couple of things one is you don't get to interview as many candidates you know, if you do a longer, longer interview and so that's going to slow the flow down. The other thing that you know and I completely empathize with people who are in search are recruiters is even if that recruiter or that that that search firm does a thorough assessment and says here's your here's your man or here's your guy or here's your here's your woman. When they present that candidate, and that candidate begins interacting with their client, they have no control over their clients, you know, interviewing great lawyer to assess. And so they're thinking about the model. It there's not a lot in it for many of those recruiting firms to do a really, really thorough assessment like we do in Topgrading. Because, yeah, it's almost a proverbial crapshoot when they get get with the client because there is so much emotion involved and very little structure to most companies hiring processes.

Chris Snyder  32:37  

So you guys would if we start thinking about this as a waterfall, you guys are really on that second piece of that waterfall after a search firm would find people that look like maybe they might be a good fit. Your firm would take over the process from there or in conjunction with the hiring managers, you would take over the process from there and start This process?

Chris Mursau  33:01  

Yeah, absolutely, actually, it's a little bit more of a sandwich than a waterfall, or butterflies, because we want to come in at the very beginning and help define exactly what a player looks Oh, Okay, got it. And you know, and that's I'm so in defense of recruiters. Now let's use that as a broad term in defense of recruiters, the direction they get from their clients, or the hiring manager about who to look for, it's not good. You know, it's just not good in most instances. And so they have to present a broad range of candidates and hope that one group or one subset is what that person is looking for. Yeah, you know, we force that thinking and that we forced that thinking upfront. So actually, the recruiters, you know, sourcing and doing some initial screening will have a better idea of, they'll have a better filter, you know, to use when they're doing that.

Chris Snyder  33:58  

So as I So as I think about this, and we've written our own job descriptions, and we've done all that as well, it is really hard to do. And back to your golf analogy. You don't write job descriptions every day. You're you're trying to run a business. It's really is there a way because I know you guys carry a lot of expertise there. From a people human resource standpoint, but you also have some tools. I'll just make a bold statement. Like, I don't understand why every single company on the planet is not deploying a flavor of what have you. I know that's not possible. Right? Right. Have you and a tool like they need to have trained professionals writing great job descriptions that parallel where the organization goes. So how do we get like, Is there a vision or a way that we can get this tool along with the human resource in the hands of the right people at any size firm, not just the fortune 500 all the way down to the nonprofit's and I know you service those folks as well. How do we, how do we do that? How do we get that done? Because it's it starts right there.

Chris Mursau  35:14  

Right. And so what we have found in without selling what we do, but I'm going to do that a little bit because it goes into it really speaks to the expertise, you know, and the practice that we get. I have done you know, and I'll say we have done and created thousands of jobs scorecards for our clients. We know what a good one looks like. And we know how to get that done relatively quickly. And so what we will tend to do is we'll help our clients get the first number, you know, and it could be one or two for a smaller firm and it could be 10 to 15 for a bigger company into a job scorecard libraries so they can then build got it that stuff the the job scorecards from that Yeah. And what we found is in doing that first one or two jobs, scorecards, there's actually some strategic like business thinking, and business decisions that go into, you know, should that person really be responsible for that function or that role? Yeah, like sales and customer service. And maybe there's a customer success in there somewhere, or an account management to kind of roll. we're shifting responsibilities and accountabilities, as we're creating those jobs scorecards very often, you know, and once that facilitated thinking and those decisions are made, we can then build the rest of the job scorecards, actually clients can build the rest of the job scorecards without us. So it's one of the things we spend a lot of our time doing. It's also believe it or not, one of the more challenging components to getting hiring right, is just knowing who you're looking for. And, you know, we found very few people do it intuitively.

Chris Snyder  36:56  

Yeah, no. So, so I'm thinking out loud, a little bit. on, you know, putting my product hat on, and I'm thinking like, Okay, how do we take, like an ideal customer profile inside of an industry with a standard SIC code with these roles, and then we say, hey, hit this database over at Topgrading and produce, you know, five different variations of the job scorecard, right? Because you guys have this built in. You have data, and then you have the built in expertise to really think about the data and present it. Is there a quickstart program that you guys have that would allow every single company to just kind of come in and rip through that and then really leverage both the scorecard and someone from your team's expertise to rip through that. as a as a, as a as an entryway into your product in the psychology on how to do this right? Are there products available like that?

Chris Mursau  38:08  

There's certainly our Chris The one thing that we have been wrestling with with our job scorecards, because it's not the first time we've heard, you know, create a bunch of jobs, scorecards that you can sell or that you can give access to. Yeah, there's a problem. We don't want to get too into the same space job descriptions are in. Yeah, you can get sample job descriptions anywhere you can pay for them, you can search for them. And what we found is the cutting and pasting is rampant. I'll say even when we give, we have a bunch of samples and we share them with our clients. When we get when we do that. I'll often review the job scorecard. So do me a sample, give me the template and we'll take the first shot inevitably. Their job scorecard is almost identical to the sample I sent them. Even if it doesn't apply, I'll say hey, why is that bullet point on there? Yeah. Do you have employer branding as a responsibility for your, you know, one of the people on your recruiting team who is going to be recruiting for your entry level positions? Let's say, well, it was on it was on the sample you sent, so we left it on there. Oh, my God. And so we have not cracked that nut yet. Yeah. Oh, to you know, get a manager to sit down and think fresh about this, because they've got so many other things going on. Mm hmm. And so, it again, it's one of the reasons it's relatively inexpensive and we do a cut, we do a couple and they're like, Ah, okay, I understand. And now we have our Acme Corporation, job scorecard template. We can now build the rest. Yeah, yeah. That's good. I mean, I love the idea. And we are thinking about how to how to make that job scorecard creation easier. And we haven't figured out a way to not just, you know, have the cutting and pasting happening like it does with job descriptions.

Chris Snyder  40:16  

Yeah. Well and in your business, not dissimilar from any other services business. And I think that the world needs to change their view on the commoditization of expertise. You can't, you can't run this thing down to the bottom. You need. You can't AI everything you can't cut and paste everything. Not everything can be extrapolated from a blog or a 47 page e-book and now all of a sudden, you know, because you're a do it yourselfer, and you don't need to pay an expert that's seen that red made 25,000 times right, like the naivete around folks that will just cut and paste that, and then think that it's okay. It's not okay. And

Chris Mursau  41:11  

right. It's, it's so it depends what the goals are. Yep, your goal is to get a little bit better at this stuff, grab the ebook, you know, get a larger book, maybe, you know, use our software that it helps you that will enable the process and that's what it's for. It's, it's not magic. It really helps enable now, there's one little magic piece of functionality. In our software, it works extremely well for screening out people who are applying through job boards, you know, because we know that 80% of those candidates are not even in the ballpark, give or take a few percentage points, but such a small percentage are we have a tool that will screen out that 80% really quickly. Wow, pretty accurately as well. So let's look at some of our software. And that's that's a piece of it.

Chris Snyder  41:59  

Yeah. Let's unpack that a little bit. I think what I heard you say, is anyone who's on a job board? Not always, but within a couple of standard deviations 80% of them. Are you saying that 80% of them are generally not a good fit?

Chris Mursau  42:15  

Is that? So what we find? I'll say it a different way. I think I think the answer is yes to that. But so okay, we repost on job boards. Yeah, an open position means to work for Topgrading. And we've heard it from our clients as well, that what we have found is we do phone screen interviews with about 15% of the people who apply through a job board and the other 85% are not even in the ballpark. Interesting. Oh, they're their job hoppers. They're way too inexperienced or way too experienced for what we're looking for. And it's because those job boards allow candidates to send resumes automatically based on keywords in the job ad. Got it. Okay. And so we have, it's simple, its straightforward. A way to number one, get a little information about the candidate, you know, so we can put some reality to at least their most recent couple of jobs. But we just asked them to do four or five minutes of work, after they send their resume to see if they're really serious about about the job, and they don't have to be extremely serious. They just have to be serious enough to spend four or five minutes to, you know, become a candidate for that role. So there's one little piece of magic that we have the rest of what we do, though, Chris takes practice. Yep. And so you know, we can help you screen active candidates better with that piece of software. Absolutely. Yeah, if you do just a little bit if you use the torque technique, I mean, this is completely free, use the torque technique, and actually have candidates arrange those reference calls at the end. You will hire better without question. Yeah, you want to get to, you know, our cutoff for case study is an 85 actually 75% hiring success rate. And many of our case studies have gotten 85% success or above. It takes practice. Yeah, is just like a go to the golf analogy. Yeah, if you want to be in the top 10% of golfers in the world, you need a handicap of about six. I might be getting those details wrong, but you they're directionally correct. You will not get to a six handicap by golfing four times a year and watching some golf videos.

Chris Snyder  44:41  


Chris Mursau  44:42  

You know, he just won't nor will you get to, you know, almost a perfect hiring success record. Without a lot of practice. Frankly, you know, coaching, professional golfers all have coaches. You know, those who want to be scratch golfers have had coaches or get coached periodically. And so that's what we found our case study companies, you know, we're involved in, we're engaged and we help them. At some point, you know, they need us much less than they did at the beginning. But to get there, and that's what I'd say depends on your goals. If you want to get a little bit better at this, we have some things that'll help you get a little bit better. If your goal is to have a team of nearly all high performers who fit your culture, yeah, it tends to take a little bit of help from the professionals at least to start with.

Chris Snyder  45:27  

Yeah, I want to make something really clear. And I think you nailed it with the golf analogy. And I think, if you will, and I say this a lot if you want to be a professional, and I think people need to go back and look up what professional actually means. There's a different level for a professional than there is for someone just kind of coming in and doing whatever it is that they think needs to be done. Right. And so if you want to be a professional basketball player, you want to be a professional golfer. If you want to be on a team that's going to win a champion. And the reason why we call them a player's because there's a there's a different group of folks doing something that's a lot different than the average, you know, Joe and Mary. Right. So I think it's important to find that so when you get asked to answer a few extra questions, and take five minutes of your time, it's because that organization wants to be the best and they will only allow the best in to the best of their ability, right? If a 25% if, if if hires that work out in the regular in regular land are 25% and your success rate is 75%. We're looking at a 300% increase in success. And not only do we get the success, we also get the a player we get the revenue we get we get everything around that. So for those of you listening, if you don't want to be great, then this is certainly not for you. Right, which, which actually brings me to another point, venture capital private equity. I can see you guys, I can see those guys really leaning in on a product like this because if they don't get it right, they literally lose their whole entire investment. I mean, look at we work. I don't think they use Topgrading out we work, especially to hire Adam Newman. I mean, however that may sound. I mean, you contrast, you know, Adam Newman with the CEO of Airbnb, who seems awesome, right? Like,

Chris Snyder  47:34  

You look at that company, what, what a disaster. Wework has been and I'm not classifying every single. There's a lot of people that work there that are great, I'm sure. But that thing was a disaster. And now I'm thinking about Angel backed or VC backed companies. And all they talk about is how we have to get the team right. We have to Get the team, right? We have to get the team, right? Well, I can tell you right now, when you sign that term sheet for $2 million in seed at a $10 million valuation, you should also have to put a checkbox there that says, we will call Christmas hot at Topgrading. And we will absolutely use his process because if we don't, you're taking my money away.

Chris Mursau  48:21  

Right? I'm not sure how to swing that, Chris. But if you have any ideas, that that would be a wonderful thing to have in the term sheet. And I mean, I agree, I agree with everything you said completely. Yeah. And we talked about Topgrading from the top to the bottom and I talked about cashiers and grocery stores and of course, executives. One thing we know though is, you know, in addition to the desire and the drive to be great, whatever that is, and some you know, we think about being the market leader in you know, your area, your industry, whatever that is, if you want to be a leader, you need to have mainly a players on your team. You know, you You need you need that. And really to get all a players on the team, it starts with the leadership team. Yep, you need the CEO and all of his or her direct reports need to be a player's for a couple of reasons, you know, when you get that right, yeah, they, the A players tend to hire better, you know 90% success rate just by themselves but they tend to hire better. And that's that's how they one of the reasons they got there, but also a players don't want to work for 90 days. Yep. So if we don't focus some time on the leadership team and getting them strong, first, you know, hiring a players to work for non a players is relatively futile as well because they tend to not stick around for very long. So that's really where we focus and, you know, thinking about portfolio companies. Now see that kind of broad the portfolio companies, it's get the leadership team, right first, you know, and then you know, can we use some of our tools lower in the organization We certainly can, we probably will not get to a 90% hiring success rate though. Yeah, in the hold period for many VCs are many portfolio companies, but we can get them to hire much better in in that interim. So that's where we start, whether it's a portfolio company or with any of our clients who say the for one of the first question is How strong is the leadership team, you know, and then we get into some details about that, and determine whether or not they're ready to, you know, implement and use some of the tools and processes lower than the company yet.

Chris Snyder  50:34  

Yeah, I love it. I love it. I think you guys have a great product. I was, you know, thankful that you're able to share this with everybody. I think we're gonna wrap up. Is there anything else you want to cover? Is there anything that I that I may have missed here?

Chris Mursau  50:52  

Chris, I could talk for days on all of these things, but I think we really did hit hit the essential point Yeah, know exactly who you're looking for, you know, us a us our truth serum, that torque technique, the threat of reference check to be able to rely on what you're hearing, then spend some structured time listening to that candidate story. And that's essentially what you're doing, you're getting the candidate to tell you their story. As humans, we learn really, really well from stories. And we are also able to discern patterns and anomalies in those patterns. So listen to the story, get in depth, and then verify what they've heard. So you do those five things. It's going to take a whole bunch of practice to get to the expert level. But if you do those five things, and you put some thought in each of those five things, you will hire better and give yourself a much better chance of making a good hiring decision versus a mistake. Awesome, awesome. So where what's the URL or how can we find you guys? Eyes, it really simple. It's Topgrading.  T O P G R A DI N G .com. And you can get connected with with us and also see a little bit more about all the services and products we have.

Chris Snyder  52:15  

That's great. That's great. Thanks a lot for your time today and we'll see you around Chris. 

Chris Mursau  52:21 

My pleasure. Thanks for having me. 

Take care.

Outro  52:24  

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