How to Hire Only A-players

Who is a bigger problem in your business than what you are working on.

A famous saying by Geoff Smart, the person who told us that hiring the right people is much more important than what strategies you come up with and how you execute them.

Now, how to hire only A-players for your business is a key question that I get from scaleups all the time. Here are some of the levers we look at to make hiring only A-players for your business a reality.

Who is a bigger problem in your business that WHAT


Always Be Sourcing

Promise of Reference Check

Standardized Interviews

Preparing to Hire an A-player

Always Be Sourcing

What that means is: we are not only looking for people when we actually have a position open, which makes us desperate and makes us go with people that may not be quite perfect for the job. But we’re always looking for people, even if we have no position open, we are always recruiting. We are always interviewing people and we basically get better and better at keeping a timeline open and a funnel of people that may, one day, want to join our company.

Promise of a Reference Check

A key component we learned from Geoff Smart is the “Promise of a Reference Check”. So it’s not: “Could you tell me how you worked with that person?”, but: “When I make a call to that person, how will they tell me you worked with them?” This keeps people much more honest than unfortunately you can normally expect them to be in a job interview.

Standardized Interviews

I cannot believe how many companies let everyone just do an interview in their own style, which does not really give you the reliability of getting all the information out of the candidate. A standardized interview process, typically also with paired interviewers, will do a lot to get everyone the same experience, get all the information out of candidates and you will be able to make the right choice of the right A-player to join your business.

Now to pull this all together, we’ve summarized Geoff’s work in an A-player tool. It’s a double worksheet that you can download for free.

This worksheet “Preparing to Hire an A-Player: Scorecard and Sourcing” is available for download below.

Preparing to Hire an A-Player

Get a copy of Roland Siebelink’s “Preparing to Hire an A-player: Scorecard and Sourcing” Two-page worksheet

Preparing to Hire an A-player

Reviews from Workshop Participants:

Communications Tech Company

“Our coach makes it easy for us to bring up and discuss sensitive issues and improve our functions as a team.”

Head of Hospitality, Communications Tech Company
Head of Hospitality, Communications Tech Company, Toronto, ON


About Midstage Institute

We focus our practice on midstage startup companies that need to remain agile, and where what used to work for the smaller startup just isn’t as effective anymore.


We ensure founders and leadership teams win, with our over 40 years experience in venture-backed tech startups. We are Silicon Valley veterans with the scars and wins to prove it. We don’t use an inflexible off-the shelf methodology, we adapt best practices to you, your market, your company, and your leadership team.


We always:

  • Focus on right sized best practices to get to the next level
  • Focus on the 20% of effort that will yield you 80% of the benefits
  • Teach Perfection is the enemy, better is your partner and ally
  • Align with your business needs so you can thrive