Topgrading® A to Z “Spend Three Hours on One Interview or Waste $1.2 Million”

July 2, 2013

Most companies conduct a couple of one-hour general behavioral interviews (competency interviews) per candidate. In some cases, companies prepare the questions in advance in order to avoid excessive overlaps, as well as omissions of important questions, and in some cases, they set the number of interviewers in their rules. According to a survey by Topgrading, Inc. (U.S.A.), the possibility of hiring high performers based on a series of general interviews is only about 25%.


Suppose the cost of mis-hire is $400,000 per person and 200 hours are wasted on each mis-hire. A calculation based on the assumption that, in accordance with the 25% probability, a competent sales manager is hired after mis-hiring three sales managers results in a total waste of as much as $1.2 million and 600 hours.


Of course, the results vary depending on the case. However, the 25% probability of hiring a high-performing individual can be increased to a maximum of 90% by using the Topgrading interview method. The features of a Topgrading interview are as follows:

・ The Topgrading method involves a three-hour interview in order to increase the success rate in hiring.

One Topgrading interview requires three to four hours. Further, the description of a Topgrading interview is 30 pages long. However, the interview is not that complex and consists of asking candidates 16 basic questions on each job in chronological order. The candidates are asked to talk about every success, accomplishment, failure and supervisor, principal relations, and how they were rated by their supervisors.

While candidates tend to prepare in advance harmless responses to questions on reasons for leaving previous positions or on human relations, it is possible to get glimpses of the candidates’ pattern of thinkings and the true reason for their actions by repeatedly asking similar questions.


・ Always conduct interviews in tandem (have two interviewers).

Regardless of how extensive the interviewer’s experience is, he or she may make mistakes in the course of a long interview. Having two interviewers will allow each to complement each other to obtain stable interview results.


If you feel that the hiring results are personality dependent and that you are not having much success at hiring high performers on a regular basis, why not try re-examining your hiring process?

We invite you to download the free e-book Topgrading101 (available in both English and Japanese).

For more information about how you can use Topgrading to hire, train and retain A-Players, contact Craig Saphin, Certified Topgrading Trainer, on +81-3-3289-3101,

*Topgrading is a registered trademark of Topgrading Inc.