Why We Recruit A-Players

I want to talk about A-Players.    

What is an A player? How do you identify yourself as an A player? How do you know if you are one and why would we talk about A players? 

An A player is that person that we’re always looking for in recruitment. It’s that person who stands head and shoulders above the rest. 

Why do they stand head and shoulders above the rest?

It’s because they have a balanced EQ as well as IQ. They are the game changers. 

 They are the ones who have the X factor. These are individuals that are exceptionally balanced in terms of their abilities technically,  as well as their soft skill abilities like empathy, communication, and being a really great team member.

It’s a number of incredibly important skills that we weigh just as heavily as we do the technical skills. 

They are what we like to call the A-players.  

A really good way to understand the differentiating factors at play is to imagine a high-performance sports team. 

In high performance sports teams, you’ve got people who are always scoring the goals, always making the killer passes.  They are exceptional team members. They can read the playing field, they can anticipate what’s coming next.

These are the people that are always asking themselves “what’s next?”.

 They’re just different from everybody else. 

In terms of the technical skills, these are  the people that not only are brilliant, genius, and wizards of their craft, they are the technologists in any field who are able to learn anything. 

You can give them a new technology and within a couple of months to a year,   they’re going to be fluent, because they are exceptionally intelligent and they can take on whatever you give them and they can make it work.

 They can make it do the thing. 

They can take the tools that you give them and they can create, they can craft.   

In terms of the emotional intelligence, these individuals are the ones that can read the office, read the team, be that communicator  who’s able to get themselves across to their team and express themselves so that people understand where they’re coming from.

They generate respect simply by being themselves.

How do you know whether or not you are an A player?  

I’ve been interviewing A-players since 2008. I’ve been around the block with this. And there’s certain flags that I look out for – the good flags.

Often they’ll be the people, as I mentioned before, who are always looking for what’s next.

But at the heart of it, they’re the ones that have incredible self-motivation.  I want to use the word ambitious, but I want to use it carefully because ambitious can sound like that sort of, New York dog-eat-dog type thing.  

And that’s not what I’m talking about here. 

What I’m talking about is the people who are deeply inspired to give the best of themselves in everything that they do.

Especially in their problem solving skills and their ability to take on a challenge.   These are the people that actually genuinely enjoy a challenge. They see a challenge and they want to solve the problem.   

They’re fully aware that they have a brilliant mind. They know that they’re a wizard at what they do, and they’re capable of  enjoying the process of unpacking the task at hand and getting to the end result. 

Getting to their best end result.

You probably know that you’re different and that might have even started in school. 

You probably didn’t fit into the structure of that.   

It was only when you were able to find your tribe and your stride came when you discovered the subjects that you were truly interested in and naturally good at. 

That’s how you can identify yourself as an A player. You’re the one who’s always asking what comes next. You cannot help but innovate. And you’re extremely good at communicating whether or not you’ve had to learn that as you’ve gone along. 

Why call yourself an A-player? 

Why should I be identifying A players? I think that A players are deserving of recognition. They deserve to be seen, heard and understood.

And oftentimes, especially as I mentioned in younger life, they weren’t.

They were just different.  

They were the ones that were happy to be tinkering, and doing their thing quietly in the corner. These are not necessarily extroverts, by the way.  

These are people who might be very, very introverted and have had to learn how to come out of their shells. And certainly do when they’re in their own communities and their tribes, which is what we create for them.

 So how do you know if you are an A player?

The chances are that if you’re reading this to the end, you probably are. Because you have an interest in what I have to say about brilliance and genius and standing out above the rest. 

I think that’s how A-players are born. I don’t think that you can necessarily become one.

Some people prefer to go with the flow. They’re very happy to just do their thing and get on with it and go home and be happy. But, A-players are so self-driven that they need to do the next thing.  They need to find the next thing and have a need to express themselves and contribute to the world.

They are fascinated by the idea of disruption  about the status quo being challenged and changed, because they know that they have the mind and the capacity to do just that themselves. 

Like a moth to a flame, they’re drawn to disruption or to doing things differently, because that is inside them.

 So if that resonates with you…

If you feel like you never really quite fit in, and you’re always trying to think of the next thing. If you’re the person who goes home and as soon as the day is done and contributed all that you can in that direction, while that’s working on about six different things at home, whether it’s building a drone or playing with your raspberry pie or building your own app or chatting to your tribe about the next game you could create or whatever it is.

 You’re that person that doesn’t really switch off because your job and your contribution in the world is your calling.

So if that speaks to you, you’re an A-player.

Want more content from Nix Stephens? Connect with her on LinkedIn! *Also, be sure to check out her piece on using ChatGPT in her recruitment strategy!

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