Why focusing only on Toppers might not be such a hot idea at all times

As a sort of trend we have seen major companies and corporate houses drawing a bee line for hiring the ‘toppers’ from various B-Schools and other institutions in India.

While not begrudging this, getting into such a practice, influenced only by the marks obtained by these people, could be making you overlook the potent and much better talent of others who might not have fared so well academically.

Studies have shown that there are other more powerful human traits at play at times of exigencies and other crucial phases of a company wherein employees thought to be average workers, or blue collar workers have risen to the challenges and proved their worth in astounding ways.

My attention was drawn recently to one such study conducted by Harvard – that of the Taj Hotel terror attack in India. What left psychologists astounded was that none of the staff deserted the premises while the attack was underway, bravely helping the guests to stay safe – and in the process many employees lost their lives.

They could have thought of themselves first, and made attempts to flee. But they did not.


The research showed that the Taj had hired all employees from smaller townships and cities; and rather than making the usual run-of-the-mill corporate practice to hire the toppers, had hired people based on their overall personality traits. In short, they made the effort and spoke to school teachers and others and hand-picked only those who exuded a strong sense of culture, respect and integrity. Furthermore, these employees were trained to always put their guests first rather than the company.

The results of this study have wide-reaching implications on how organizations should adopt a more holistic approach in hiring and grooming talent – instead of falling back on the age-old practice of focusing on academic numbers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.