Every company wants to hire people who have the talent, skills and drive to make the company successful. Recognizing top performers is key for any business, be it a start-up or an enterprise. You need to be the best version of yourself to excel in any industry.
Many job openings start with a line about “A-players” and how important they are for crafting a company culture. Hiring managers scream at you: “Only hire A-players!” It’s an obvious statement, but still remarkable how many businesses fail to define the baseline qualities of what that A-player means for them specifically.
If you want to win the war for great talent, it starts with great people. Great people are the main ingredients of a great company. Since they’re the main driver of success, companies should take more time preparing to find, hire, and encourage that talent. So what are the ingredients that make those people successful as individuals? Before we recruit new talent, we at Sphere define the five key qualities of an A-player that are relevant for that exact role.
Professionalism. This one is easy – an A-player is in the top 10% of his or her profession and a person who you would not just hire, but also enthusiastically rehire given the opportunity. Being “professional” in our view is not just about having the right tools and experience. It reflects a person who strives for daily improvement and goes above-and-beyond to excel. A-players will also make themselves readily available as mentors and coaches so their professional attitude can permeate the organization.
Efficiency. We believe in the Pareto principle – more commonly known as the 80/20 rule. By the numbers, it means that 80 percent of your outcomes come from 20 percent of your inputs. Our A-players have the ability to maximize not just their own time, but that of the entire team. They always maintain focus on the most important projects. Our company understands managing every task that gets thrown in the way of our employees is impossible. Sphere uses Pareto to determine the most vital ones. Then, we either delegate the rest or simply let them go. The A-players innately understand this approach and are masters at efficiency using their time.
Attitude. When we fill a new position we want people that will approach any task with a positive mindset – no matter the complexity of the task. Positivity breeds success. Negativity brings failure. In the interviews, we must determine if the person is already an A-player, or has the potential to become one in our challenging yet dynamic environment. An open and positive attitude allows a staff person to find something good in a difficult situation – they’ve essentially cracked the secret to developing and learning as an individual. Most A-players are perceived as being lucky by others simply because they are invariably optimistic and ‘glass half full’ kind of people. But these people have worked hard on their attitude because they understand the correlations between positivity and results.
Emotional intelligence. This is the hardest trait to identify in an A-player. EQ is intangible – you simply can’t predict it based on how smart someone is based on interviews alone. TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills and found that EQ is the strongest predictor of performance, underlining an astounding 58 percent of success in all types of jobs. While interviewing prospects at Sphere, we found that there’s no easy way or right way to understand someone’s EQ in one sit-down. It takes time, effort, and human connection. Once we establish that and identify our A-player, that connection translates into the workplace and carries on through the entire career journey.
Accountability. While screening for our sales roles, we always ask a simple, yet revealing question: ‘If you were to decide whether to miss your quota or keep a client happy – what would you do?’. While we believe in a culture of winning, Sphere is more about being accountable to yourself and those around you. One shouldn’t pursue winning at all costs. If you lack integrity, there is a cost to winning – toxicity. We believe our A-players have enough maturity and accountability to learn the game, master the game, and play by the rules. Compromising one’s integrity reflects poorly on the company.
Everyone has the right to develop into an A-player, although they may not fulfill their promise if they remain at their current organization. Sphere is the right place and right time for all our current employees – and we strive to maintain that at all levels. Our staff possess great attitudes and produce consistently great results. It’s a place where employees drive themselves to match the accomplishments of high performers and become the very best versions of themselves.