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Who: The A Method for Hiring
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Who: The A Method for Hiring

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  3,957 ratings  ·  296 reviews
In this instant New York Times Bestseller, Geoff Smart and Randy Street provide a simple, practical, and effective solution to what The Economist calls "the single biggest problem in business today" unsuccessful hiring. The average hiring mistake costs a company $1.5 million or more a year and countless wasted hours. This statistic becomes even more startling when you cons ...more
Hardcover, 188 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Ballantine Books (first published August 19th 2008)
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Ann
Jan 31, 2009 rated it liked it
"Who: The A Method for Hiring" by Geoff Smart

One-third of this book is an advertisement for itself: how great it is, how the methods are truly awesome, tested, etc.

The book is for hiring CEOs and financial industry managers, not your day-to-day workers.

The advice can be boiled down to a few principles:

1. Prescreen the heck out of your applicants so you only use your valuable time interviewing only those who will fit the position.

2. Ask a lot of questions that get the applicant off of their scrip
...more
Ola Olusoga
May 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Great read on implementing a highly effective hiring process that not only aids with recruiting A players, but also assists in improving review, promotion and success planning.

If you're an employer, employee, person who makes a living working with others, or just interested in the people aspect of business, read this book.

_____________________________
Notes
____________________________

Who is your number one problem. Not what.

Who mistakes happen when managers:
- Are unclear about what is needed in a
...more
Märt
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was recommended as THE book for hiring by Matt Mullenwegg (the “WordPress founder”) on his Tim Ferriss podcast.

It starts from the basic premise that the Who is by far the most important decision in a company. The Who help define the What, so to have a happier more productive life and company, you should invest a ton of time in hiring the right people. And not hiring the wrong ones, or getting rid of them ASAP. So even if you’ve done loads of work in interviewing, and you find one thing slig
...more
Eugene
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-to-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Robins
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Read it because Gawande recommended it in his excellent Checklist Manifesto; it's not terrible, but could be distilled into much less text and it's laced with advertisements for their consulting service. Has some worthwhile methods, however - the scorecard, topgrading, determining fit. ...more
Greg
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmm

Sound advice but the content is more befitting a blog post than a book...padded like a high school English paper trying to hit a word count
Cody
Jul 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
My boss asked me to read this. It's basically a couple of blog posts stitched together with some redundant anecdotes and a bunch of unnecessary fluff. Knowing there are people in the world out there who subscribe to this kind of thinking, who are hell-bent on commoditizing and reducing people into "A-player" hires, is unbelievably depressing. There is, in fact, a section about how to adopt this hiring methodology at your place of work and one of the steps amounts to this: fire any managers who a ...more
Andy
Nov 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this because Atul Gawande recommends it in "The Checklist Manifesto" as a validated way to hire. I got some useful tips here (summarized elsewhere in GR reviews), but I can't say it's a great book.

Some aspects seem suspect. For example, for proof of how well the author's system works, he uses the example of a big bank hiring Jamie Dimon to be CEO, specifically because the process revealed how honest Dimon was. Since then Dimon has been implicated in the 2008 Crash shenanigans and in lying
...more
Morgan Blackledge
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Solid advice on hiring.

Worth the read.

😐
Dmytro
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recruiting
This was a really good book full of very useful information for hiring and selecting people.

Whoever is reading this book: all the important tidbits in the book are highlighted in grey boxes.

This book starts out by saying that recruiting is not easy so relying on simple strategies or not having a strategy does not work.
An example of no strategy is to invite someone for a chat with no preset questions or agenda.
Given that a strategy/process for recruiting is important the authors specify the d
...more
Bogdan Florin
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was on my reading list for a long period, however, it was high on the list of books I wanted to check in detail. I didn't check it earlier most probably because It was waiting for the right time to read it, and it just happened at the beginning of the year - probably because I'm working with some HR-related projects, and it was the right moment to learn more about selecting talent and recruiting it. I've found the book on a visit to our library, and it took me a while to finish it. In ...more
Max
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Who's a typical "business process" book -- it's to-the-point, provides good coverage of accepted best practices, and is lacking in analysis or coverage of its methods. I would have liked more information on how the authors arrived at their conclusions, as there was plenty of asserting that sufficient study and analysis had been gathered with very little coverage of the data itself. Most the points, though, are common sense, and having it all in one place is helpful for future reference. The auth ...more
Natalia Amelina
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
a good recap of executive search tools.
This book shifts you hiring approach from subjective "I like him / he seems like a good guy" to objective "he fits a role by x%, he has these competencies which I need"
...more
Brian D.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book easily could have been a blog post. There are a few good tidbits, but they are wrapped in a giant turd of a business book that rattles on about 'the "A" method for hiring,' and other zingers. If biz-bro is your thing, then you'll probably love it. Otherwise, avoid. ...more
Peter Keller
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing, best book I've ever read on recruiting and hiring "A-players".

Here is my hiring flow for my business, Fringe Sport that I wrote and refined based on Who:

How to Hire for Fringe Sport
Establish WHY we are hiring
Set the budget
For the employee (comp package)
For the referral
What will we pay to the person that refers a hire that lasts 6 months?
Create a scorecard for the role
Mission
3-8 outcomes
Including their Top 5 and Top 1 of 5
Create a 3 & 12 month success check-in
When we review them at 3 mon
...more
Brian
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a short but practical read to help in effective hiring. It focuses on how to go about hiring "A" quality workers in a methodical, systematic manner. Having been on both sides of the hiring process many times, I can attest to the haphazard way in which hiring often happens.

This book offers simple, clear, pragmatic, proven solutions to effective hiring. It is broken up into chapters reflecting the sequential process:
1. Identifying the problem
2. Scorecard: Defining characteristics of hire
3.
...more
JM
Mar 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
The authors ask the right questions, but fail to provide the right answers.
There are so many things that are wrong with this book that I don’t even know where to start.
Putting a chosen number on a subjective topic doesn’t make if magically an objective assessment.
There are simpler and safer ways to assess candidates, but also to identify the keys skills needed for a job.
It doesn’t seem like the authors have done proper research on scientific results on these matters, especially in the field
...more
Tam
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The method outlined in the book is sound, for the most part, and definitely would improve many hiring processes significantly. However, the entire book reads like an ad for their company - there’s even a section promoting the workshops they offer at the end of the book. It leaves a bit of a bad taste. Also, it’s interesting they don’t mention how this scorecard helps with diversity hiring - it levels the playing field to some extent, but they clearly aren’t interested in that as much (only 4/80 ...more
Glenn Burnside
Short focused and actionable

One of the better hiring books I've read. Gets to the heart of the problem with hiring - you need to know what you want, what it looks like, and how you're going to measure it. Then use the same hiring practice for every candidate. My only concern with this book is its over-focus on executive hiring. I couldn't always tell how this would relate to an individual contributor or functional/but-not-people leadership role.
...more
Jules
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good, short read on a systematic way of hiring for your company. The essence of the book can be boiled down to a few pages, but the book is padded out with examples of clients who have used the Smart methods successfully. The method is more suited towards finding senior, more specialised employees (IMO) but there are some broad methodologies which can be applied in all cases.

I found the "Select" chapter particularly helpful and will be using it for future hires.
...more
Sebastian Perez Saaibi
Why are most examples of successful leaders in this book male, whereas struggling ones female?
I feel this book suffers from several cognitive biases. If all you are looking for is A players that are white, straight, male... guess what... that’s all you will find. Even “better”, you will be able to write about talking about how essential it is to hire for this folks and not get sued in the process.

Despite a couple good example, this reads like a modernesque Hiring guide for the mad men era
Kevin Fanning
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this for work. I have to admit that even though I hate business books & how-to's and corporate non-fiction this was interesting and helpful. I've been a recruiter for ~14 years and there was a lot I thought was interesting and helpful and I'm excited to try it out at my job. UGH SHUT UP UGH ...more
Dorai Thodla
The book is well written and has lots of useful tips on how to hire senior management. I did not find it as useful since I hire mostly developers. If you are hiring CXOs or VPs, this is certainly a must read.
Eliot
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scaling-up
Respectable book on the basics of hiring great people. Nothing groundbreaking or things you won't find in other books, but covers all the basics. ...more
Amanda
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Practical tips on how to hire, how to spot talent, and how to test for qualities for a good culture fit.
Zumrud_Huseynova
Jan 22, 2021 rated it liked it
1. Buying right
2. Having right A management team
3. Selling right

Build a scorecard
The scorecard is the blueprint for success in the “A Hiring Method.” It outlines the purpose of the job, what is expected from the employee and what characteristics are needed. Create a scorecard for each open position, and fill each one with the following components:

Job mission: Specifically define the essence of the job. For example, “grow revenue through building direct relationships with customers.” The job miss
...more
Maryana
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books on hiring I've read so far. How could it be I missed it previously?
It is a practical guide on how to hire A players to your company/team. Would be very helpful for managers, business owners, CEOs, who are involved in hiring for key positions at a company. But, actually, for everyone involved in hiring as well:)
...more
Lisa Funderburg
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it
I tend not to read non-fiction business books. They make their overgeneralization point in the first chapter. Then too often they rehash their main thesis throughout the entire book, wasting my time. This book had actionable steps and new revelations during the course of the book.

Three stars for not being a huge ally to marginalized populations. Yes, jobs are about 'who you know' but too often that will keep the status quo going.
...more
Deborah Quazzo
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great approach to hiring process driven by scorecards. A bit dated and ceo focused but still very useful
Miriam
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
The book outlines a straightforward framework and clear examples of how to interview and hire executives. It’s also helpful for people who want to be hired for executive roles and need to understand the criteria companies may use to evaluate them.

There are a couple of problems with this book:
1) many of the illustrative examples and tips are not applicable for hiring non executive employees. They also seem to represent my values of very old school execs(Flying people in private jets and buying t
...more
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Dr. Geoff Smart is Chairman & Founder of ghSMART, a leadership consulting firm that serves Fortune 500 CEOs and boards, billionaire entrepreneurs, and heads of state. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Who, Leadocracy, and Power Score: Your Formula for Leadership Success.

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18 likes · 6 comments
“Do not hire anybody who has been pushed out of 20 percent or more of their jobs.” 2 likes
“We define an A Player this way: a candidate who has at least a 90 percent chance of achieving a set of outcomes that only the top 10 percent of possible candidates could achieve.” 1 likes
More quotes…