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9Gauge not only strives to build a team of A-Players, but strives to build an environment where team members truly feel we are the best place to continue their career. To help achieve that goal, 9Gauge leverages the Topgrading Interview Process. While intense and rigorous for both our team members who conduct the interview process, and those who elect to pursue a role on our team, we make this commitment to ensure we’re delivering on our goals.

At the end of the process candidates often have a good understanding of the company, including our commitment to our ethics and values, who their co-workers would be, what they’re like and the work expected for the position.

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Topgrading was used by Jack Welch at GE and a driver for the success so many companies today recognize by implementing this process.

Topgrading is the practice of creating the highest quality workforce by ensuring that talent acquisition and talent management processes focus on identifying, hiring, promoting, and retaining high performers (A-Players) in the organization at every level. It’s also the best practice approach for promoting, coaching, and retaining top talent.

Topgrading is a highly structured interviewing philosophy, designed to ensure that companies identify the highest performers (“A Players”). The process starts with extensive pre-interview questionnaires. While overwhelming for some candidates, Topgrading helps ensure those wanting to join our team are committed to not “just another job.”

9Gauge implemented this program years ago to resolve the issue of most job interviews performed are ineffective and/or redundant, and often turn off that candidate who might otherwise have been a great addition to the team.

It’s no secret that the cost of making the wrong hire is extremely high – often quoted as up to 15 times the salary of the individual. While that’s an unfortunate outcome for the company, it also impacts the employee, who now has to not only start their job search over but also has to explain why they didn’t work out at the company.

This process provides 9Gauge plenty of data to help us make an informed and reliable hiring decision, and many of our team members have stated that after having completed the Topgrading process, they have a significantly better vision of who they are as it relates to their career interests, where they fit and can grow and enjoy their work.


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  • The interviewer was extremely forthcoming when I had questions about the position and the company. Her manner of being truly expressed her enthusiasm for the culture and environment in a very honest way. Moving on to the second round, I had coffee with a partner of the firm who completely turned the tables on interviewing. I could not believe that I was leading the interview! However, it was not just me figuring out if I am a fit for the company, but if the company culture is a fit for me. My advice: 'Be ready for anything. Have questions. Be yourself.'

    The questions they asked encompassed my future goals, work style, personality, experiences, "what if's," and many more general free-response questions. Like I said before, 9Gauge really wants to make sure you are a fit with their "family" and meeting as many people possible is their optimal method. In the end, I spoke to 8 people in the company throughout this process. This company truly lives and breathes its values in every member of the team."

  • I met with a partner who had years of experience. His passion for the company was inspiring and reaffirmed my decision to want to work here. Afterwards, they scheduled me for a full day interview where I met pairs of people who interviewed me about my work history, personality, and past/current work competency.

    The process was long and spanned over the course of weeks. My biggest takeaways were: (a) Be ready to set up a reference call because that's required. You cannot answer fluff responses since they ask you very specific questions. (b) They are looking to make sure you are a fit with them. Company culture and team values are the fits that matter most to the company."

  • The process is very thorough as they want to ensure they hire the right person to join the team. Everyone was extremely nice and easy to talk to, I felt relaxed at each stage of the process. Be honest, be yourself, and speak the truth. This is the smartest group of people i have worked with and they are looking for similar, intelligent, dedicated people to help drive the business and continue to strive for excellence."

  • The interview is quite complex and long. Don't go into this thinking that you will get hired after a few days.

    Everyone was so friendly and passionate about working for 9Gauge. In the end, I received an offer letter where I accepted. No need to negotiate. They know the value of someone of my experience and offered to pay me a fair rate."

  • Friends and family could not believe the process I went through, but coming from a recruiting background I was quite pleased to see how much time and effort 9Gauge spends on finding the right people. In every step of the process I felt very comfortable with everyone I met.

    From the moment I walked in, they eased my nerves and explained that they weren't there to grill me or see how I handle a full day under pressure, they just wanted to make sure they had ample time to get to know me and for me to understand the company values so that we both know we are making the right decision. At the end of the day, I was exhausted but in a good way. Throughout the day I met with different people and I was able to spend time with each person on the leadership team."

  • From the beginning of the interview process, it was apparent that 9Gauge Partners puts a lot of effort into finding the right people for their team. The interview process is very detailed and a little bit longer than I have experienced previously with other companies, but also very open and friendly.

    Throughout the process as I learned more about the company and the work 9Gauge does, I continued to grow more and more excited about the potential to become a team member."

  • The time put into the interview process made it clear that this company is really looking for A+ players that fit with their team and values."