New book on how to get A-players on board

Organisations often take ‘the wrong steps’ when seeking highly talented professionals. In the new Dutch book Succesvol Binnenhalen van Toptalent (Succesfully Getting Top Talent On Board), authored by Dr Bart Dietz of the Department of Organisation & Personnel Management of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Rainier Beelen, the authors explain how managers should treat top talent during a job interview. Which is very different from dealing with ‘normal’ talent.


Attracting top talent is one of the most important skills a hiring manager should have, according to Dr Dietz and Beelen. Managers often know that in a job interview with a highly talented candidate, their focus should be on recruitment instead of on selection. However, very few managers know that exceptionally talented people should be approached very differently than regularly talented candidates.

Top talent mindset

The authors conducted in-depth interviews with managers and top talents and surveyed about 400 management professionals about their experiences with job interviews. They also organised interactive workshops on the topic to get more feedback from managers, including a workshop Attracting A-players for RSM Executive Education. Bart Dietz: “We spoke to a lot of managers. I found it striking that something so crucial for management success gets so little attention both in companies as well as in the education of managers. Managers should recruit much more intensely when they are faced with top-level talent. Just praising the job and the organisation is not enough with top talents. If you are sure you want to recruit the candidate, you have to use a different strategy. We see that managers who get this right in practice, have what we call a ‘top talent mindset’.”

A different approach

According to Dietz and Beelen, A-players need a different approach, in part because they want to keep growing, while normal talent has more of a fixed mindset. Dietz: “With a top talent, you should engage in an equal, open conversation, where you are straightforward about the job. Be more prosocial and reciprocal. Ask yourself what you can do for the candidate instead of the other way around. Discuss with him or her growth possibilities: top talent doesn’t want this job, but the one that comes next.” Dietz says that managers should also not try to ‘sell’ the job.


About the book, Bart Dietz says: “I’m very excited about this book. It allowed me to bridge the worlds of business and academia. Writing it inspired me to set up a stream of academic research on recruitment and selection, in which I collaborate with an international team of co-authors. Data in a recent study for instance showed that top talents get ‘turned off’ by interviewers trying too hard. Instead, managers should create ‘interviewer warmth’, be like a coach. Give the candidate your vision on their career- and leadership development, and on the path and challenges of the organisation. Top talents seek a match with that vision. If it’s there, they are open to the job. The hard copy and eBook version of Succesvol Binnenhalen van Toptalent by Bart Dietz and Rainier Beelen is available online via, and other book sellers.

Read the book’s first chapter, Top Talent Is Anders.

About the authors

Dr Bart Dietz is assistant professor in human resources in RSM’s Department of Organisation & Personnel Management. He has published in journals such as the Journal of Applied Psychology and Journal of Marketing. In addition to his work as an academic, he is also partner at executive search firm Career Openers, together with Rainier Beelen. As a team,they have more than 20 years of experience in the selecting, recruiting and coaching of top talent.


More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Ivo Martijn, media officer for RSM, on +31 10 408 2028 or by email at


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