MCP Insights

'A' Player Traits and How to Spot Them Using a Prescreen Interview

Posted by Art Miley on Sep 19, 2017 3:00:00 PM

A previous post presented, on a high-level, the approach we take to finding the A players for our public safety communications careers, known as “Topgrading,” a methodology developed by Dr. Brad Smart, who is considered by many to be the world’s foremost expert on hiring practices. This article will explore some of the nuances of Topgrading, and contains tips for public safety leaders looking to find A players to add to their organization.

Unlike the yeti, the A player is no mythical creature. Indeed, the A player—who is defined as a person among the top 10 percent of professionals in his or her chosen field—has numerous discernible traits such as:

  • Best-in-class achievements—A players are results driven, exhibit consistently excellent performance, and often are award winners
  • Superior problem-solving abilities—A players are quick studies and able to perform complex analysis
  • Outstanding leadership skills—A players not only are self-starters, but also self-leaders; typically, you give them a direction, and then get out of their way; they are highly adaptive, they execute needed change, and they inspire others to higher levels of performance
  • High passion and energy—A players are driven to succeed and work at a fast pace; they will do whatever it takes—within the bounds of ethics—to get the job done.

Having a roster of A players is vitally important to every organization, but none more so than public safety agencies, which every day encounter situations where lives are on the line and every second counts. So, how does one identify the A players in the public safety sector? It all starts with the Topgrading prescreen interview.

Read More

Topics: Life at MCP, Operations, Staffing

Telecommunicators Deserve the Spotlight All Year Long

Posted by Glenn Bischoff on Apr 13, 2017 1:28:58 PM

Every year in June when I was a kid, my father and I shared the same joke. We did this on Father’s Day. I would say to him, “Must be nice … so, when is Kid’s Day?” And he would reply, “Every day is Kid’s Day.” Behind the humor was truth—he and my mother celebrated me and my brothers, and went above and beyond every day to give us a good start in life.

A tribute to our nation's telecomunicators

What got me thinking about that is National Telecommunicators Week, which is celebrated annually during the second week of April. It could be well argued that the nation’s 9-1-1 call-takers, dispatchers and supervisors—the unsung heroes of emergency response—deserve to be honored every week of the year.

The gravity of the job is tremendous, and so are the stresses. Those who call 9-1-1 are experiencing the worst day of their lives, and for some of them it will be the last day.

Lives are on the line and seconds count

Recently I did a Google search using the phrase, “most disturbing 9-1-1 calls.” The stories are as heartbreaking as they are eye-opening. The emotional toll on the telecommunicators who field such calls is staggering. But they don’t have the luxury of succumbing to those emotions. Remember that when a 9-1-1 call is placed, lives are on the line and seconds count. Ergo, telecommunicators must keep their wits about them at all times, lest they be unable to do what is needed. This involves dispatching the appropriate emergency response, of course, but also keeping the person on the other end of the line calm and, often, providing life-saving instructions to the caller, and vital information to first responders en route to enhance their situational awareness.

Read More

Topics: Industry News, Staffing

How to Find ‘A’ Players: An Intro to ‘Topgrading’ for Public Safety Leaders

Posted by Art Miley on Mar 31, 2017 1:30:28 PM

It is essential that MCP’s subject-matter experts (SMEs) provide exemplary service, expertise and advice to our public safety clients, because when lives are on the line and seconds count, their mission truly matters. A key element in assuring that we serve our clients at the highest levels is to hire “A” players, i.e., the top 10 percent of talent in the public safety sector. While such a determination might seem subjective, it really isn’t. In fact, we use an objective approach known as “topgrading” to accomplish this goal. It is an approach that every public safety answering point (PSAP) manager can leverage to attract the most knowledgeable and passionate talent available.

Topgrading Basics

Topgrading is a methodology that was developed by Dr. Brad Smart, who widely is considered the world’s top hiring expert. We describe topgrading as a structural approach to interviewing candidates, and we use it to fill every position. Here's a quick overview of how the topgrading process works for us.

Tip 1: Don't underestimate the importance of a pre-screen.

We start with a pre-screen interview to initially identify candidates who possess “A player” characteristics and eliminate those who do not.  Candidates generally will meet with us by phone or in a live environment.  The pre-screen interview generally will run up to 90 minutes.  During the interview we ask each candidate to state their career goals, identify their best professional attributes, and acknowledge their weaknesses.  We discuss the individual’s work history, the core values at MCP—persistence, integrity, trust, accountability and prudence—and team-oriented characteristics the individual can bring to our company.

Read More

Topics: Life at MCP, Operations, Staffing

Evolving the public safety industry

MCP Insights by Mission Critical Partners is the online destination for public safety leaders to expand their knowledge, stay abreast of trends, and discover innovative ideas to help implement change that will advance the industry... Because the mission matters.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts