By Ajit Nawalkha, co-founder of Mindvalley.

When it comes to your team, it's make or break. There is no in between. The right people will propel your business further and faster than you ever imagined, while the wrong ones will hold you back, cause unnecessary delays and expenses, or even lead to the end of the road for your business.

So, here's the million-dollar question: How do you hire the right people? How do you know that the candidate sitting in front of you or on the other end of that Skype call is the perfect person for the job?

The secret is making sure that you have your criteria in place before you even begin the hiring process. When you do this, you significantly diminish the possibility of attracting and hiring the wrong candidates.

Know Your Core

Before you can get people to work with you and move your business forward, you need to define the identity and "character" traits of your business. This is part of the process of identifying the core values of your business. A company's core values need to reflect the "how" and "why" -- how business is done, and why you do what you do. They should cover the company culture, how people interact with each other, and how the business presents itself to to customers and clients.

Values serve as pillars of reference for team members to turn to when they need to make decisions and choices around everyday tasks and challenges. These values will also go a long way toward hiring the right people. When we were ready to hire a marketing specialist, we talked to some of the best in the business.

Although we met with some highly-talented individuals, it was easy to make a final decision because many of the candidates we spoke to valued working alone and having lots of time to work on projects. Our final hire was someone who was open to feedback, happy to work with other team members and enjoyed working through projects quickly. It was a perfect fit.

Understand What's Needed

The first thing you need to do, even before you send the word out that you're hiring, is to take a moment and really think about the job that you need to get done and the position you're trying to fill. It may seem obvious, but many entrepreneurs and business owners are unclear about what they need from each team member.

You need to understand the results and outcomes that you're expecting, and of course, the time frames that work for you. But don't just think about it. Actually write it down -- on paper, if possible. This will help you gain the clarity you need. You should also be clear about the basic skills that are needed to perform the job well, but don't get too caught up on this.

Skills can be learned, but character traits and attitudes are here to stay. When you're unsure about who you should go with for the job, hire someone with the right attitude over an expert. A candidate who is eager to learn and improve will be a much better hire than an established "expert" who isn't open to expanding or changing.

Don't Hesitate

Speed is everything when it comes to the hiring process. Assuming that you've met or connected with more than a couple of people for the job, the next step is narrowing your choices down to two. Then, make a decision -- fast. You don't want to let amazing talent slip through your fingers just because you took too long to make a decision.

Great employees, consultants, or freelancers are hard to come by, and everyone knows this. This is especially true if you're hiring someone for a niche or specialist skill like copywriting, coding or designing. Hiring the right people is not an easy job, but when you follow these guidelines, you'll greatly diminish your chances of having the wrong people on your team.

It's worth your time and effort, because don't forget, you're only as good as your weakest team member.

Ajit Nawalkha is the co-founder of Mindvalley and an angel investor. Ajit is also the face of Zentrepreneur and Evercoach.

Published on: Oct 21, 2016