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Herman Trend Alert: Recruiting “A” Players


Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a strategic business futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and professional speaker. Archived editions are posted at

From "Herman Trend Alert," by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurists

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GREENSBORO, NC — What are “A” players looking for in an employer that they work for and stay with? They want to work in organizations where the management is talented. “A” players seek future opportunity and the right chemistry with their bosses. They have a high tolerance for risk and ambiguity. They are more focused on pay-for-performance or merit-based pay, than on base salary.

“B” candidates make their employment decisions based on different factors. They seek defined jobs with some growth and a substantial base salary. Their chemistry with the team is also important to them. They have a low tolerance for risk.


Finally, “C” candidates are more focused on the basics, than the other groups. They will ask questions about how well-defined their jobs are and what their base compensation and benefits will be. These folks fear dynamic teams; they are afraid they will not “measure up”. They are risk averse, because they do not trust themselves or their employers.

Want to recruit “A” players? “A” players only want to work for “A” organizations. If you have a “B” or “C” organization and want to recruit an “A” player, you may use signing bonuses and other financial incentives to entice him/her to take your job, but they will not stay long-term.


So what does it take to be an “A” organization? First and foremost, the CEO him/herself is an “A” player. “A” organizations value talent and their high-performance culture demands that they strive to be number-one in whatever they do. They are employee-centered with a strong employee value proposition. They offer solid growth potential. Often some of their executives are under age 35 and are being groomed for higher positions in the organizations; fast-track career paths are available for those willing to make the effort. They are profitable with good cash flow and aggressively recruit top talent. In other words, they are employers of choice.


Expect the skilled labor shortage to intensify these “A”-player and -organization trends.

* Special thanks to Jack Henard, CEO of Meridian Partners, who interviewed thousands of candidates and worked with hundreds of companies to derive this information.

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