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Who Hardcover – September 30, 2008

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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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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 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 81 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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12 of 13 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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13 of 15 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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5 of 5 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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mind-Body-Spirit VINE VOICE on October 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you run a business in which there are employees other than yourself, then chances are that you've hired the wrong person a time or two. It can be a huge disappointment when that happens- a time consuming and costly one, and one that takes its toll on the employee as well as on the company. The authors reveals how to avoid the time and the upset by hiring the right person on the first go-round. Although this book focuses on the hiring of middle and upper management individuals, their advice translates for hiring down through the ranks as well.

You will learn how to define your outcome for each hiring campaign, how to interview more effectively, and how to motivate the ideal candidate to join your company. There are other books on Amazon with similar subject matter, but none with the extensive research that supports the findings presented by the authors here.

Like other reviewers, I wish I'd had this book about 8 years ago. If this book only helps you to make one great hire, it will have paid for itself 1000's of times over.
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