Taking My Hacks

Looking for a Few Good Men

Joe Orlando

As we roll into 2008, PSA's 17th year in business, we continue to search for great additions to our team. More specifically, we are looking to add to our great card grading staff. You would think it would be an easy chore to hire card graders at PSA but it has been, and always will be, one of the more challenging aspects to running this business. I am sure our competitors would agree. It may sounds like a cliché but it really is hard to find good people.

The most important, and obvious, part of hiring a new grader is to make sure they possess the skills needed to perform their duties. It's not that we are necessarily looking for someone who claims to know everything about everything right now; it's about finding a person that has the innate qualities that can make a grader an excellent one. Of course, there are different types of graders. There are ones that handle vintage only or modern only and others that possess a diverse set of skills. There are even specialists within vintage since the job requires that graders knows so much about the material, both pre-and-post war.

Many people, especially longtime hobbyists, think that just because they have been in the hobby for a long time that this means they can grade cards accurately. This could not be further from the truth. The vast majority of the people who take our grading test do not pass it. Over the years, this has included many prominent collectors and dealers. It is not as easy as it looks. You can have all the experience in the world but if you don't have that special eye for grading, you can't do the job well.

Think of it this way... someone can take professional hitting lessons for 20 years. That does not mean they will ever amount to a great hitter. The training will help, don't get me wrong, but that person may not have the eye/hand coordination, strength, reflexes, athletic ability and so forth to even give them a chance to succeed as a hitter at a professional level. You have to start with the raw talent and it's no different with card graders. You have to combine the raw talent with knowledge and experience.

In addition, many people do not realize how hard it is to sit in a grading room day after day, grading hundreds of cards. Sure, this is not hard labor by any stretch but it takes a great deal of patience and focus in order to do the job right. Many hobbyists think it sounds easier than it actually is. Looking at cards all day is fun to some degree but it is a job like anything else. It requires a level of concentration and attention to detail that few people can master.

Now that I have scared everyone into thinking that grading is an absolute nightmare, I will also tell you that the people we have on staff really enjoy what they do. They take a great deal of pride in the role they play in the marketplace. At PSA, we realize that this is a hobby. We do not cure cancer here or rescue kittens from trees but we do play a key role in the evolution of this business. Our group takes their job very seriously; we just do not take ourselves too seriously.

PSA is currently looking for qualified graders to add to our team. If you may have interest and either live in the southern California area or may be willing to relocate, please contact me directly at [email protected] I can provide details about work hours, compensation and the like. I look forward to discussing this opportunity with those who are interested.

So, you want to be a PSA grader?

 

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief


Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.