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Who Hardcover – September 30, 2008


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Who + Topgrading, 3rd Edition: The Proven Hiring and Promoting Method That Turbocharges Company Performance + Topgrading (How To Hire, Coach and Keep A Players)
Price for all three: $52.20

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345504194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345504197
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Think of Who as the literal and figurative son of TopGrading (2005), by Brad Smart. Coaches and consultants Smart and Street have broadened the how-to-hire process from interviews to a 360-degree perspective on recruiting A players. It’s a compelling read for many reasons: the research is solid and expansive, based on actual work, CEO/top-management interviews, and statistics analyses from a top graduate business school. It’s simple: instead of 6 reasons here and 10 steps there, the authors boil down their recommendations into a 4-step process, from scorecard and source to select and sell. Who wouldn’t like to read stories from well-known CEOs like George Buckley of 3M, opening up the mysterious method of executive hiring? And finally, it’s a book laced with humor; anecdotes about interviewees who’ve told their stories all too well are not only laughable but memorable, too—for all the right reasons. Like the candidate who bugged his boss’ office because he never received any performance appraisals. Intended for executive readers—and human resources’ follow-through. --Barbara Jacobs

Review

Advance praise for Who

“Seventy percent of the game is finding the right people, putting them in the right position, listening to them, and alleviating what gets in their way. Who is a practical guide to making sure you get the right people to start with! Excellent advice and guide.”
–Robert Gillette, president and CEO, Honeywell Aerospace

“Geoff Smart and Randy Street have done an amazing job distilling the best advice from some of the world’s most successful business leaders.”
–Wayne Huizenga, founder, Blockbuster Video

“A great read–it really is all about finding, keeping, and motivating the team.” –John Malone, chairman, Liberty Media Corporation

“The key point in this book is that those of us who run companies should include who decisions near the top of the list of strategic priorities.”
–John Varley, group chief executive, Barclays

“Who is the only book you need to read if you are serious about making smart hiring and promotion decisions. It is the most actionable book on middle- and upper-management hiring that I’ve read after twenty years in HR.”
–Ed Evans, executive vice president and chief personnel officer, Allied Waste Industries

“I wish I had this book thirty years ago, at the beginning of my career!”
–Jay Jordan, chairman and CEO, the Jordan Company

“This book will save you and your company time and money. In business, what else is there?”
–Roger Marino, co-founder, EMC Corporation

“You’ll find yourself nodding yes, saying ‘That’s right,’ and thinking, Oh, I’ve been there, all the way through this grand slam of a book. Whether you’re starting a company or running a part of a big one, the level of success you achieve is almost always a result of choosing the right people for the right jobs at the right time. It’s all about the who!”
–Aaron Kennedy, founder and chairman, Noodles & Company

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Customer Reviews

This is a great book - easy to read, understand and apply.
Yue Chin Seng
The scorecard is your blueprint for the job - not a description, but the criteria you will be using to judge the person who is ultimately hired.
Clint Greenleaf
This book tells you why it is important...Miss this and you will be one of those who makes an expensive hiring mistake.
Suave_Finesse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Clint Greenleaf on September 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading a pre-release copy of the book Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street. Wow, it's good. Really good.
Geoff and his father Brad Smart are well known as the team that popularized Topgrading, a thorough interview process that takes the success rate for new hires from the average of about 50% to just over 90%. I don't know of a business owner alive who wouldn't love to increase the effectiveness of the interview and hire more effectively.
Smart and Street are experts in their field - they are paid huge sums of money to do this for some of the biggest and best companies in the world. Their research estimates that the average hiring mistake costs employers 15 times the salary of the incorrect hire. The number sounds absurdly high, but when you include salary, lost productivity and opportunity costs, it's plausible. Frightening.
Who is a fast and simple read, but is heavy on content. It begins with a discussion of what they call voodoo hiring, or the process most business owners use during the interview process, and it was painful for me. I'm guilty of voodoo hiring and I'm guessing most of you are, too. Much of my process is guessing and gut feel, and is done over too short of a period of time. It's not hard to see the need for a change.
Next comes a simple explanation of why hiring "A" players is so important. They define an "A" player as the right superstar for the job, a talented person who fits in well with your company culture. B and C hires cost you money; A's make you rich.
The meat of the book is about the four keys to what they call the A Method : Scorecard, Source, Select and Sell. I can't do justice to the brilliance of the system in this short review, but here are the basics.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By The Good Manager on October 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I like this book because it sets out a clear point of view--that most of us have been neglecting a key component to business success: hiring in a rigorous manner. It then proceeds to offer a method for correcting this problem. I haven't yet tried the method itself, but I intend to. My preliminary reaction is that it makes intuitive sense, but that it's going to take a fair amount of time to implement successfully. The authors anticipate this response and argue that more time now saves an inordinate amount of time later. I'll add more once I've tried the method, but first response is positive.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on April 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wasn't looking forward to this book - I find books like this excruciating to read and generally hit "skim" by about page 30. I found this one to be really good - it drew me and and ended up being a very practical guide to how to hire great people. I'd recommend it to anyone in an entrepreneurial company who is responsible for interviewing and hiring people. I rarely send out book recommendations to the Foundry Group CEO list - I sent this one the day I got home.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert T. Hess on January 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A companion book to Topgrading by Brad Smart, this little handbook takes the Topgrading concepts to the next level by providing a guide to using Topgrading to improve hiring for your organization. In the world of Topgrading, there are three types of employees: A, B, and C. "A" employees are in the top ten percent of skill and ability for their position. "B" employees are in the next 25 percent, and C employees make up the rest. High performing organizations are filled with A and B players and do their best to help C employees improve to the A or B level or be released from the organization. Topgrading includes sample interview guides and describes hiring methods to make sure you hire A and B players from the get go.

The book, Who, simplifies the Topgrading concepts by creating a system for hiring: Source, Scorecard, Select, and Sell. These four systems work together to ensure you hire the best employees possible. A further breakdown looks like this:

1) Source: Constantly reach out to A players in the market and create a list of people you would like to work for you. This way, when an opening occurs, you will have a strong Source to fill the spots.

2) Scorecard: Determine the key elements you are looking for in your position and design a scorecard for each key role you will be hiring. Use that scorecard to screen out who you will bring in for in-depth interviews. Careful screening prevents a host of problems in hiring.

3) Select: Determine who is best for the position through an in-depth Topgrade interview. The best predictor of future success is past success--don't cut corners in reference checking.

4) Sell: "A" players have options. Work hard to sell your organization to them.

The screening interview process was a highlight of this book. Who is a must have resource for every HR director and leader who wants to attract and secure top talent for their organization.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Booth on February 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Read this book when it first came out and then implemented the practices throughout our company. I consider it to be one of the best investments I have ever made in the business as our revenues have more than tripled in size from that time and the growth per year is only accelerating. I have more time, and the business is more fun because of hiring, developing and retaining "A" players. "Who" is a must read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Viriya Taecharungroj on February 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"In business, you are who you hire."

"Who: The A Method for Hiring" by Geoff Smart and Randy Street (of ghSMART) is a book on recruting or hiring. During the global economic crisis, hiring is not less significant, it is more significant than ever. As the authors addressed that the who mistakes are pricey, most organisations are still implementing the voodoo hiring methods (the book says there are ten; pretty scary and they are true). The authors wrote the method, A method, that ghSMART (the authors' company) implemented with hundreds of clients and, as they claimed, the method has worked for them.

Contents (The A Method)

-Scorecard: A Blueprint for Success
It's a bit ironic that the authors always say "Who, not what" but the first step of the A method is the what. Anyway, the scorecard needs to have clear "Mission" rather than vague job descriptions we normally see. Specific and tangible "Outcomes" are also necessary together with critical "Competencies". The scorecard will be the blueprint of the recruiting process. We need a person that can get the job done, not an all-round athlete with a perfect resume but hangs around doing nothing.

- Source: Generating a Flow of A Players
This chapter tells us how to have more and better candidates. The best method that the book suggests is "Referrals" from friends, partners, employess, etc. The distant second and third are from recruiters and researchers.

- Select: The Four Interviews for Spotting A Players
Interview processes are "almost a random predictor" of job performance. That's the case with "traditional" interviews, author stated. They wrote a series of four interviews; screening interview, Topgrading interview, focused interview, and reference interview.
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