Hiring Right: A Players Vs. B Players

When hiring, knowing who is suitable for certain roles is important for company growth. Find out how to differentiate between A players and B players.

published Sep 13, 2023

Companies make bad hiring choices daily, and this is not specific to certain industries. In fact, 74% of small business owners said they’ve hired the wrong person for a role—a move with dire consequences they regret. In order for your business to grow, you need different people working with the same goal on your team.

Employing professionals to help run your business is more than just picking anyone you see with a résumé. Instead, it involves critical interviews and analyzing various candidates before choosing the person best suited to the role. This process is important because selecting the wrong candidate to fill a position costs businesses up to $240,000 in expenses, including hiring, retention, and pay.

To avoid such mishaps, it is important to know the different kinds of players—those assigned to carry out different roles in an organization—in the job search market. Generally, a hire can be viewed as an A player, B player, and C player, and each functions differently. You must be careful to note their abilities beyond what is written on paper.

If you’re unsure how to identify a company player's category, this article explores the difference between A and B players while shedding light on C players to help you make more informed decisions. Let’s get started!

Introduction to Hiring the Right People

Sixty percent of bad hires influence how other employees work, so the success of any business relies on more than a billion-dollar idea—it’s also about the people willing to take that idea to greater heights. A good job candidate should be someone who can perform their role accurately and on time while fostering innovation and company growth.

Therefore, hiring a good company player requires making recruitment decisions founded on objective factors. During this process, there are many elements you should consider. First, think about your company's culture; knowing your brand values and enterprise needs helps you recruit the best people to align with them.

Second, map out a comprehensive job description. A good job description involves writing a detailed list of requirements that potential employees must embody. It must contain the degree of skill, excellence, and experience required. This is important because when you lack a clear picture of what the employee ought to have, you will find it difficult to hire the right person.

Another best practice for hiring the best company player for a role is preparing a well-structured interview. During the interview, check the potential employee’s flexibility and performance by asking them strategic questions that showcase their credibility. You can ask questions like:

  • Tell me about a time when you acted beyond the expectations of your role.

  • Tell me about a time when you took a risky decision, and it didn't pay off.

  • Tell me about a time when you solved a problem at your job that wasn't part of your job description.

Remember that actions speak louder than words, so look beyond the résumé during interviews. Candidates can sound like a good fit on paper but may not be able to defend what they say they’ve done at previous companies. Additionally, you can seek references from their previous clients; this will help you get solid information about the candidate.

What Are "A" Players?

A players are self-motivated, forward-thinking, and natural leaders. They usually excel at whatever job or skill they have. Workers in this category are eager and open-minded learners, always yearning for new knowledge. Generally, A players work hard and contribute in any way they can, including financially, to see the company's growth.

Having an A player on your team is a great way to increase productivity and save managers time spent on supervising poorly performing employees. They’re also the first in line for promotions and new opportunities.

A players fit well into the culture of the company they work for, but they can make themselves at home in other settings as well—this may present a risk in terms of retention. Because A players are so ambitious, they may seek other opportunities outside your organization. Still, when working for a company, A players have the interest of the organization and their coworkers at heart, helping them realize their full potential.

What Does “B” Player Mean?

One thing you should note about any B player is that they aren't of less value than the A players. Unlike A players, B players do not let work hinder them from exploring other aspects of their lives. In other words, they highly value a strong work-life balance and cherish their time outside of work. However, this does not mean they are unproductive. B players are well-qualified professionals with access to great people and should be treated with respect, as their connection can make or destroy your business. If you want someone to get the job done well and on time, rely on a B player.

Aside from A and B players, there are also C players, who are the lowest achievers. A C player falls under the “non-serious worker” category—those who don't contribute tangible things to the company. They may even hinder progress. No hiring manager purposefully hires a C player, but C players may emerge over time for various reasons.

Which Players Are Best for Particular Roles in Your Organization?

Obviously, you won’t want to keep C players around for long. So, you’re left with A and B players. Knowing the best people for different roles between the A players and B players will go a long way in helping your business. Many enterprises have crashed because some positions were assigned to individuals unfit for those roles. It’s important to get a pulse on a person's abilities and strengths before assigning them to a long-term position.

For instance, if you want to recruit someone as a "facilitator" and you’re contemplating between an A player or B player, you must take note of the person's communication skills. A players are perfect for the role of facilitators since they excel in leadership positions and are more dedicated than B players. Still, before deciding, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do they have strong communication and interpersonal skills?

  • Does the candidate have the ability to anchor and guide group discussions?

  • Is the candidate a good listener?

  • Does the person have the empathy necessary to bring others up to speed?

  • Are they patient enough to carry others along?

  • Are they neutral or impartial in mediating discussions?

Also, to recruit someone as an "initiator" in your company, you must verify the person's intelligence and credibility. Initiators bring suggestions and contribute ideas for solving problems in the company, so naturally, A players are more likely to succeed in this role. Nevertheless, these are some sample questions when considering someone for the role of an initiator:

  • Is the person a proactive and creative thinker?

  • How willing are they to take the lead on new projects?

  • Do they have the ability to resolve problems if any occur?

  • Is the person vision-minded enough to set goals?

Another crucial role in an organization is the role of "secretary." The secretary takes notes for team and group meetings. This role best fits B players, as A players are usually assigned to more decision-driven tasks. When assigning someone the role of a secretary, you must examine the following:

  • The person's listening skills

  • Do they have good, strong organizational skills?

  • Does the person have the ability to capture and summarize key points?

How to Find and Delineate A and B Players

Differentiating between an A player vs. B player can be challenging initially (especially during interviews) because 78% of job applicants lie on their résumé to fit job requirements. In cases like this, you can only differentiate them through their dedication and process. You need to pay close attention to them to detect the type of player they are.

When determining if an employee is an A player or B player, you can start by paying attention to their response to a new task and their zeal and devotion to seeing the new project work out. For instance, A players are high achievers who deliver assigned tasks early. They are also zealous, trustworthy, and reliable.

On the other hand, B players are good at following established procedures; they are great time managers, but they are less zealous than A players. Additionally, they keep a low profile and avoid drawing attention to themselves, making them less likely to cause disruptions in the workplace.

Get Your Next Company Player

A and B players are assets to your company, and every leader needs both kinds of players on their team. While B players can be assigned less demanding tasks, A players can be delegated more complex and time-bound duties. Balance is key, however. If you hire too many A players, they may outgrow your company and seek other opportunities. On the other hand, hiring too many B players can stifle innovation.

Finding A and B players can be challenging, but with Foreword Companies, you’ll receive partnership, coaching, and all the help you need to bring the right people on board. Schedule a call with us today to find out how we take businesses to the next level.

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