If you are at a senior management level, if you’re a leader of an organization, you start your answer by saying, “I really try to avoid hiring B players.”
“Because A’s are always going to perform at a higher level and have a greater upside. A’s in a lot of organizations really thrive well and they drive the success of the firm. AND, there are particular groups for which B’s are appropriate. And if I were hiring someone who was an A for a group of B’s, I know they’re going to go crazy there. Worse than that, they’re going to descend to the level of their peers because environments tend to win. That is if you can work with a group of B performers, you’re going to drop down to their level.
“It’s kind of like in sports. Great teams play bad teams and what happens is on those occasions where the great team plays the bad team, the great team drops down a couple of notches. They take things for granted. They take it easy on themselves and often those games are closer than they should be because the team coasts.
“Well, A players coast when they work with B’s. B players feel comfortable with B’s. So, would I hire one? It’s not my preference except if I’m hiring for a group of B’s . . . And hopefully, you don’t think of me as a B and want to put me in a B group because I think of me as an A. “
So that’s the way I would approach this, complete with that little bit of theater at the end as a way of drawing attention to the fact that “You’re not thinking of me as a B, are you? Because I see myself as an A.”
That flushes out, “No! No! No! No! No! We don’t see you that way. Curious. Just curious.”
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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