How do you know you are hiring the very best? To really KNOW, you need to calibrate candidates against a large pool of similar candidates. Some people are very good at selling themselves in interviews, but when it comes to actual work performance they fail. In executive recruiting terms we call these people “empty suits” – all fluff, no substance.

Each company is unique in some way: business challenges, communication channels, technology, culture, leadership style, and goals. You can create a position description containing minimum requirements to filter candidates. Even then, most top performers, the people you really want, will be engaged in a role, performing well and have significant incentives to remain in their current position. Additionally, top performers will also resist the risk of changing to a new company, and new manager. So, knowing all of this, how will you know you have a great candidate who will perform well for you and your company?

Skills and abilities are a common way to evaluate people. Many people are very good at executing. The question is: who will perform in your company? Who will be motivated and confident with your challenges and works well with you and your team?

If you have worked with stellar performers before, then you can calibrate against that experience. What if you haven’t? What if you are leading your first start-up or leading a new division in your company? Will the same person who was successful for you before be able to perform well in your environment? How will you know? Is there a test you can perform to ensure success?

What is difficult to assess is whether or not the candidate possesses the right leadership capacity, values, work ethic, communication and the ability to execute in your company under your circumstances. Each company is unique, and while situations are similar, business climate is in a constant state of flux.

How do you define this? Can you articulate your vision for the company and how teams work together? Can you articulate your team’s communication style? Defining your unique challenges often outlines gaps in team capability, and is a good starting point to identify your needs and what to hire for. What is your mission? How are your mission and values demonstrated in the behaviors of the team?

Developing a clear picture up front of the “who” you want, will go a long way to finding someone who can execute well for you. After all, when hiring a C-Suite candidate you need someone who can lead and execute to take your company to the next level and beyond.