5 Tips for recruiting high performers

I recently had the pleasure of touring the Harris Real Estate head office in Kent Town. I’ve visited hundreds of offices in my career and have seen the good and not so good in workspaces and culture. BUT, talk about office inspo! Harris R/E have done an incredible job – not just from an aesthetics perspective (which by the way is absolutely stunning), but also the culture, structure and general atmosphere. It’s certainly a business that exudes high performance.

My recent visit to Harris R/E office got me thinking about high performers, and more specifically, how you recruit them.

Here are my top tips for recruiting top performers – it’s a little extra work, but it’ll pay off ten-fold!

Identify the key characteristics of your top performers

Take a look at your existing team and establish who your top performers are. What is it that sets them apart? What soft skills do they have?

While it’s not a one-size fits all, there are some common traits that top performers have including:

  • Confidence
  • Self-aware
  • Self-starter
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Humility
  • Competitive
  • Ability to inspire others

Once you’ve established which characteristics are important to you, assess these throughout the interview process.

Focus on attitude

It can be tempting to hire the most experienced and qualified candidate because they appear to know what they’re doing so should be able to hit the ground running. However, just because someone ticks all the boxes, it doesn’t mean they’re a good cultural fit for your team or will be driven to excel in the role.

Throughout the recruitment process take note of which candidate’s display a genuine interest in the position, get back to you quickly, are easy to deal with, are enthusiastic and have a positive attitude.

Clearly define the role and responsibilities

It’s really hard for people to perform well when they don’t know what it is they’re working towards and how their role fits into the business as a whole.

By clearly defining the responsibilities and expectations in a position description and discussing it throughout the interview process, you reduce the risk of a candidate discovering it was not as they expected and isn’t a good fit later down the track.

Openly discuss and provide career development opportunities

High performers are ambitious and they want to feel that they’re working towards something bigger. To keep them engaged and motivated it’s really important to have open and honest discussions around what the longer-term opportunities are in the business and how you will facilitate their growth.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to have these conversations, they need to start early on and be on-going.

If you’re a smaller organisation with limited opportunities to promote staff, consider what projects they can lead, what additional responsibilities they can take on and other ways in which they can learn new skills.

Remunerate fairly and provide working arrangements that suit the individual

Have you ever worked tirelessly and exceeded expectations but were paid poorly? How did it make you feel? How engaged were you with the organisation?

Everyone wants to feel that their contribution is valued and that they’re being fairly rewarded and recognised.

It’s also crucial to find out what’s important to them as an individual. Some people are driven by remuneration, but for others it’s more about recognition or having some flexibility with their hours.

Flexible working arrangements is a top priority for job seekers in 2020, so if you want to attract and retain high performers you need to be open to it in some form.


Recruiting top performers does take a little extra work, but it pays off ten-fold!

They produce higher quality and quantity of work and promote a high-performance culture within the business, which in-turn can see you outperform your competitors.