The Topgrading process is a time-tested and thorough hiring process that allows companies to hire 85% – 90% A-Players, whereas typical companies hire around 25% A-Players.

As a Topgrading-certified company, The Kirkland Company uses the Topgrading methodology to make all its hiring decisions.

Chris Mursau joined Topgrading, Inc. in 2000 and has been its president since 2018. He is a published author on the topic, and we interviewed him to learn more about what makes Topgrading unique and effective.


Question #1: What are the most common mistakes you see companies make when making hiring decisions?

Chris Mursau: The main mistakes I see companies make are: (1) Not defining the performance and behaviors expected of a great person in the role (2) Screening candidates only from resumes and short, shallow, and unstructured interviews (3) Not talking to former bosses to verify what they learned through the hiring process.


Question #2: How would you define an “A-Player”?

Chris Mursau: There are several ways to define who an A-Player is, but the simplest definition is: A Players are high performers that managers would enthusiastically rehire.


Question #3: Topgrading’s claim to fame is that it allows a company to hire “90% A-Players”. What are the main drivers behind that statement?

Chris Mursau: We have hundreds of clients that have achieved an 85%+ hiring success rate, and we have 53 case studies documenting that success. You can read about these on our website:


Question #4: What are the high-level “Essentials” of the Topgrading process?

Chris Mursau: The must-have’s of the Topgrading process are:

  • A good job scorecard
  • Using the “Truth Motivator” and letting candidates know they will be asked to arrange calls with former managers
  • The ‘Topgrading’ Interview – a chronological, in-depth, structured interview with finalist candidates that is longer than a typical interview
  • Following through with the Truth Motivator and talking with managers/references the person reported to in recent past


Question #5: What are the core differences between Topgrading and any other interview process?

Chris Mursau: The Topgrading process results in a deeper understanding of a person’s patterns of behavior, versus interviewers trying to rate a candidate based on how they behaved in one isolated situation.


Question #6: If someone wanted to learn more about Topgrading or sound hiring practices, where could they look?

Chris Mursau: Our website,, is a great resource. They can also pick up a copy of my newest book, Foolproof Hiring, from Amazon.