What is a “Top-Grading” Interview?

This term is being used more frequently in the HR world and refers to identifying the top 10% of performers in the interview practice. The methodology “relies on unusually detailed, chronological interviews; conclusions are gleaned from patterns which have emerged across layers of competencies as interviewers probe every success, failure, relationship, and major decision in a person’s career.” From the topgrading.com website, the interviews are:

Chronological: Job by job through the candidate’s entire career history.

In-depth: Detailed information about every success, failure, key decision and relationship.
Structured: The interviewer follows a structured interview, a “road map,” that ensures they get all the relevant data.

Some sample questions include:

  • What are a couple of the best and worst decisions you have made in the past year?
  • Describe a situation or two in which the pressures to compromise your integrity were the strongest you have ever felt.
  • What are examples of circumstances in which you were expected to do a certain thing and, on your own, went beyond the call of duty?

Conducting a top-grading interview is quite intense for both the interviewee and the interviewer!  Preparation for these kind of interviews however is the same for how you would prepare for a behaviorial interview-you have got to know your work history, accomplishments, talents, and skills backwards and forwards, and have at least 20 different interview answer “stories” that you have practiced repeatedly before the interview. Don’t be scared by the term “top-grading,” like in any situation the interviewer is looking for the most qualified person for the job, their “A” player. It could be you!


March 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm Leave a comment

So you’ve been rejected after the interview-now what?

You might have thought it was a perfect fit, but apparently the company didn’t. Don’t respond to the recruiter’s email blasting them for making the mistake of not picking you! Instead, think of it as an opportunity to learn and to build a bridge for future opportunities.

The first thing you need to do is not beat yourself up. Frequently the reason that people don’t get jobs is not because they were not qualified, but because there was someone else who was just a little bit more qualified than them. Tough to take and hard to improve upon, but it is just the reality of having a glut of candidates out looking for jobs at the moment.

Respond to the recruiter via email asking if there is any constructive feedback they can give you about your interviews. Let them know that you really appreciate any insight they can share as you hope to learn from this experience and improve your skills for the next interview.

Let the recruiter know you are still very interested in opportunities at the company and that you hope they will consider you for future openings. This will show that there are no hard feelings, and your enthusiasm for joining the group has not wained despite not getting selected for this one role. Frequently recruiters will go back to their stack of interviewed candidates for other openings, so you may get called again about another job!

March 18, 2010 at 7:30 pm Leave a comment

Be a Memorable Job Seeker

I liked this article “Savvy Networker. Are you Marketable?”


The main point of the article is that you need to make some kind of impression on people you meet at a networking event, the interviewer, etc. Hiring managers look at hundreds of resumes, conduct dozens of interviews, and while you the  job seeker are worrying that you aren’t saying the right thing, you may not be saying much of any consequence at all that would cause them to remember you.

Before you go into an interview, take some time to think about what impression you want to leave on the employer. What are 5 key characteristics you want them to recognize in you?  Be consistent and confident in your answers, and don’t be forgettable!

March 17, 2010 at 7:57 pm Leave a comment

Quick Article about 50 Interview Mistakes


You may have heard the horror stories–job hunters who take phone calls or text during an interview, or bring out a sandwich and start chomping, or brush their hair, or worse. You wouldn’t do any of those things, would you? Of course not.

But there are tons of other job interview no-no’s you may not have thought of. Or that you’ve forgotten. The job hunting trail is long and arduous, and a little refresher course can’t hurt. So for your edification and enjoyment, here are 50 (yes, 50!) of the worst and most common job interview mistakes:

March 15, 2010 at 7:03 pm Leave a comment

Want to be a great networker?? Be a great employee!

A client recently got a job without interviewing based only on the recommendations of people who had worked with him previously. How did he accomplish this feat? He has always been a top performer, as well as someone who stays in touch with people he has worked with in the past.  Too often job seekers start working on building their network when it’s too late-when they need to find another job!   Being a good networker starts much sooner-it starts in  your job right now.  By striving to exceed expectations in your current role, you are building a reputation as a good employee that others want to work with.    By helping out that co-worker when they need help, you are developing a relationship that may help you out later.   Being an employee like this is the kind of person others want to work with again, and they will remember you when a job opens up at their company in the future!  This is how the hidden job market gets tapped into-when you find out about the openings before they are truly open!

So while you are toiling away at your current job struggling to find the motivation to get the job done,  think of your current job and the connections you make as the springboard to the next opportunity. Go help that co-worker or see if your boss needs help with a project. It might just pay off for you down the road!

March 10, 2010 at 9:14 pm Leave a comment

Great Short Article on Developing Your Personal Brand

Some relevant tips on how to self-differentiate yourself!


March 9, 2010 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment


I am the founder of the National Society of Career Management (NSCM), a leading training and certification company in the career management profession. I’ve trained and certified hundreds of people as Professionals in Career Management (PCMs). Prior to NSCM, I founded The Ginac Group in 2000 to provide global career management services to individuals, organizations and government. Over this span, I’ve worked with thousands of amazing people from varying backgrounds including: celebrities, entrepreneurs, CEOs, lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers, sales professionals and more on a host of career goals.

Specifically, I’ve helped people with the following needs: •Change professions and industries •Climb the corporate ladder •Start more than 100 successful business in retail, magazine publishing, technology, signage, and more •Help baby boomers de-accelerate their careers •Assist mothers in re-entering the workforce •Work with individuals and team experiencing career conflict •Develop personal branding campaigns.

I can work with you in the following areas: •Career transition •Career exploration •Career advancement •Career interventions •Career branding (resumes, cover letters, social media) •Career road mapping

Experience & Qualifications Business Achievements •Master Professional in Career Management, NSCM •Blazing Star Finalist 2008, Women’s Chamber of Commerce – Texas •Austin Under 40 2008 Entrepreneur Finalist – Young Women’s Alliance •Woman of the Year in Business 2007, YWCA •Central Texas Most Powerful Business Woman 2007, Austin Business Journal •President of the Young Women’s Alliance 2004-2005 •Regular contributor to Fox News Good Day on a host of career topics, as well as 90+ publications Personal Achievements •Chairwoman Cattle Baron’s Ball Austin – raised $500K for cancer •Chair member Toast of the Town Austin – raised $450K for dental care serving at-risk children •Author of upcoming book, Fake Perfection – a riveting story about career transition.

March 3, 2010 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment

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