Want to increase the likelihood that you're making the right hire decision? Here are three ways to help you.

First, repeat your success. Clearly identify what you need for the role. To help you figure out which candidate to hire, look at your most successful employees. What is it about them that results in good work and makes everyone around them perform better? Create a list, and when talking to candidates, compare them against it.

Second, let candidates freestyle. Interviews often follow too closely to a script. So, ask big-picture questions, such as why they got into your industry or what makes them passionate about the work. Encourage them to talk about their life story--where they came from and what obstacles they overcame to get where they are today.

Through this exchange you will be able to detect whether the candidate is self-motivated, creative, a positive thinker and comfortable with risk.

Third, evaluate potential. Job postings often list only the skill requirements needed to get the job done today. So consider whether the candidate can transform the job to meet your future needs.

At my firm, we understand that specialized skills are essential, but so are flexibility, attitude and character. Knowing how to identify candidates who can help you get where you want to go is key.