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The abundance of average

Article provided by Cindy Norcott

“Is it really possible to hire A-players or are most of the candidates out there just average?”

I was recently asked this question at a business forum meeting with top business leaders. My response was as follows.

A-players are few and far between. In 100 people in a workplace, you are probably lucky to find 10. This means that 9 out of 10 candidates are average, or below.

What makes an A-player, you might ask.

Having interviewed more than 10 000 candidates in my working career to date, I meet many an average candidate who rates themselves as an A-player. I don’t think they are deliberately lying at all. I just think they don’t have a benchmark to measure themselves against. If they did, they would realise that they do not measure up as an A-player. I also believe that many candidates would love to be better but might just not have the winning recipe.

In my opinion, as an intense, over-achiever, these are the qualities that make up an A-player:

  • They volunteer
  • They are 100% engaged. They show up and every day, they ask, How can I add value?
  • They support management and don’t have hidden agendas. They are loyal and have integrity.
  • They go the extra mile – they do things every day for which they are not paid
  • They respect and never abuse company resources, such as telephones, stationery, Facebook etc
  • They are team players and support their colleagues and offer help to those who might be having a bad day
  • They are not robotic about their jobs. They apply their hearts and minds and continually ask if there is a better way. They use their initiative and think out the box.
  • They have an absence of entitlement. Every day they earn their keep and they don’t rest on their laurels or the good month they had three months ago.
  • They are competitive and see every challenge as an opportunity to shine. They compare themselves with themselves and continuously strive to beat their previous best.
  • They have a positive attitude towards their work, believing in the purpose of what they do. They show positive body language, massive energy and they smile
  • They work hard and achieve and above all, they are consistent.

Employers – these are things to look out for when hiring new staff or when looking to promote staff.

Candidates – rate yourself on this checklist. If you don’t fare well, you are not yet an A-player BUT that doesn’t mean you cannot become one.

Choosing to be average is a choice and choosing to be an A player is a choice. Make the right choice!

In my opinion, it is easy to stand out in an average crowd as the best of the best.

Cindy Norcott is proudly associated with the NSBC