Top CEOs: Myths about Hiring “A” Players

Every great, profitable company has the same thing in common. The concept is so simple yet so elusive. Top CEOs understand  “A” players attract other “A” players, and that “B” players attract “C” players.

We asked Laura Sabo, facilitator with Renaissance Executive Forums in Jacksonville, Florida, to share with us some real-world tips. Here are four myths about hiring top talent.

I can’t afford the “A” players

top performersIt’s true. The “A” players are already working for someone else and are successful. This likely means they are making more money than you can afford, but don’t let that stop you from approaching them. You likely have other intangibles that candidates may find attractive. These can be such things as a great culture, a solid leadership team and an environment where they can grow professionally. It’s not always about the money! CEOs in peer groups, like Renaissance Executive Forums, recommend reaching out to people that you wish to recruit through LinkedIn. Send them a note describing ways in which you are impressed by their skills and experience and that you would like to see if they might be interested in your opportunity. Curiosity is usually too much for the candidate to ignore and a dialog usually begins. Get aggressive and get creative. After all, “A” players probably are not looking at your Craigslist ad.

My company is too small to interest “A” players

Not true, says Sabo. Your company could be an attractive alternative to someone working for a larger organization. Big companies often have cumbersome levels of management and take a long time to implement good ideas. Smaller companies are more nimble. “A” players feel empowered when they know their good ideas will be heard and can change the direction of your organization. “A” players are energized by that empowerment.

I’m not hiring right now

If you’re not hiring right now, why not? What company couldn’t benefit from stronger people? While it can be difficult to do in smaller firms, most top CEOs never stop improving their talent. You should always be keeping an eye on the future and anticipate your changing needs. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to hire an “A” player just because you don’t “need” someone right now.

I can’t find any “A” players in my industry

That’s likely not true, but even if you are in an obscure industry, top CEOs agree it is ok to look outside your industry for top talent. While there can be a learning curve, a great performer will catch on quickly and may bring some different perspective to your business. You can always teach the details of the job duties, but you can’t teach the intangibles that make them a top performer.

It’s important to note that the courting of a top candidate is very much like dating. Brian Tracy, the well-known business coach and best-selling author, talks about hiring slow and firing fast. In every business, adding someone to your team is a big decision, and it’s also a big decision for the candidate, especially if they are not proactively looking for a career change. Go slow, have multiple interviews with different people from your company, and have this stretch for several days and perhaps weeks. Get the candidate outside of the office environment and see how they interact with others and fit within your company culture. You could even invite them to meet with some of your clients or accompany you on some sales calls. Do everything you can to ease the anxiety for yourself and the candidate.

Remember, they are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them.  


laura sabo headshotLaura Sabo is a professional facilitator with Renaissance Executive Forums. She brings together Business Owners, Presidents and CEOs from non-competing companies into an advisory board process through which thousands of leaders gain fresh ideas and new insights.  Membership in Renaissance Executive Forums Jacksonville is by invitation only. Each member is selected based on company demographics, personal and professional merit and potential for contribution to other Forum members. This group of leaders is assembled with one purpose in mind, to help each other ascend to the next level and to reach their destination.

For more business coaching tips and ways to enhance your overall business growth through the power of peer learning, contact Laura Sabo via email at or visit

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