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Profit Power: 3 mistakes when recruiting ‘A players’

March 21, 2018 -  By

First, let’s define what I mean by an “A player.” An A player is someone you would grade as an A on job performance and on their fit into your company culture.

Keep in mind that all A players are not the same. An A player—for your company, for a specific job you are hiring for—might be a B player in a different company or in a different job.

So before you go on a hiring binge, make sure you clarify in writing the key performance indicators and metrics for a specific job, and make sure your core values are in writing and clearly understood by everyone doing the interviewing.

Then, keep the following tips in mind.

1. The biggest mistake when recruiting A players is not selling them hard enough, especially after they have said ‘yes’. Because at this point, when they let their current bosses know they’re leaving, their bosses will likely make a full court press to keep them. That’s when the real selling and on-boarding starts.

2. The next mistake is not realizing that you’re hiring the person and their family. Therefore, you need to know the answer to the following questions: Is the family (spouse or partner) on board with this job switch? Are the family’s core concerns and goals being met? Not knowing the answer to this question will lessen your chances of landing a true A player. Conversely, if the family is against the switch or is unsupportive in general, then you may be hiring in a problem to your company.

3. The third mistake is not checking references. Oh yes, this is a common problem: I made this mistake once myself, and paid for it two years down the road, when I finally got around to talking to a reference, who enlightened me that my problems were the same ones he experienced. There are increasingly more hurdles to gaining a clear reference, but if someone is an A player, you will hear about it when you do the reference checks. Also, speaking to peers and subordinates of the prospective hire can be just as enlightening, especially if the person says he can’t let his current boss know he’s looking.

Overall, the biggest recurring problem I see is hiring the wrong person who is not a good fit but rather a desperate stop-gap measure.

Take your time, be patient, thorough and keep your eye on the long-term goals of profitable growth and protecting and improving your company culture.

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This article is tagged with , , and posted in Blog, Expert Insights
Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit

1 Comment on "Profit Power: 3 mistakes when recruiting ‘A players’"

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  1. Thank you so much Jeffrey, for this article. Really helped me a lot in identifying the right person to hire for our company Edmonds Sprinkler System. These are great points to remember when hiring your next A player.