“A” Managers Hire “A” Players; But It’s OK If You’re Not Perfect

You’ve probably heard that saying: “A players hire A players, and B players hire C players”.

But does this mean you can’t hire someone who has ever made a mistake? Absolutely not. Or that you have to have a perfect hiring record or else you are a failure? Emphatically not.

Great people hire great people. Mediocre people hire candidates who are even more mediocre than they are, so they can feel superior to them.

Ineffective people typically hire very, very ineffective people, because they are threatened by anyone who is anywhere near as good as they are.

When you’re looking for talent you have to be sure to keep this in mind. It requires self-confidence and self-awareness. Don’t be afraid to hire people who are better than you. Hiring “A” players is the only way to build a top-flight organization.

Don’t be afraid to hire someone who’s made mistakes either. There’s another saying: “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough.”

In fact, people who have made mistakes yet keep working in the same industry can be some of your best hires. “A” players who have been knocked down hard, and have gotten back up, will bolster your talent pool, help you compete more effectively, and will contribute in a big way to your be success.

Here are some key attributes to look for when searching for “A” players:


Do the candidates show enthusiasm for your industry and the type of work you want to have done? This demonstrates that they’re in the right career.  If they’re happy and self-motivated, their enthusiasm will be contagious and will motivate other team members.

Practice over theory

Do the candidates demonstrate how to be practical and get things done? Past performance is the single best predictor of future achievement. It means they’ll be able to get more work done in less time, and that they’ll be thinking of tactics that can help them achieve their objectives.

Emotional intelligence

Do the candidates demonstrate empathy and caring for others? The top candidates know how to motivate themselves and others, and are easy to work with.

So remember to look for “A” players, but don’t be afraid to hire people who’ve made a few mistakes along the way.


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Tagged With: Insider, Executive Search

Greg Reynolds

Greg is an experienced human resources executive who assists clients in recruiting key talent, building organizational bench strength and optimizing workforce performance by enhancing leadership skills. He is skilled in creating outplacement services that meet the needs of both organizations and individuals affected by reductions in force. His clients have ranged from small businesses to Fortune 100 organizations in the public and private sectors. He has deep experience in service, industrial, non profit, and technology environments.

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