For established businesses will full-fledged human resources departments, the process of recruiting and onboarding new staff is quite manageable. For small and growing businesses, however, this isn’t always the case. Most of the time, a small business (at least initially) features a top-heavy organizational structure where all major decisions are made by the founder or principal of the business, including all personnel decisions.

In a small organization, that kind of structure lends clarity of purpose and a single-mindedness that can help the business to grow. Once the company enters a growth phase though, that very same structure can begin to cause problems, especially when recruiting new executive-level staff becomes necessary. Sometimes, it’s a simple lack of experience that makes the process so difficult. Other times, it’s a case of mismanaged or unrealistic expectations that causes all of the trouble.

Despite the challenges, hiring new executives is a process that can make or break a growing business, so it’s critical to make the right decisions throughout the process. For entrepreneurs that have built a business up to the point that it’s time to bring in additional leadership, here are the top four guidelines to follow to find the right candidate for your new executive team.

Define expectations

It’s often difficult for a founder or principal to accept the fact that the person they’ll be turning over some decision making power to is going to be different from them. As a result, many go searching for someone who they believe will be a virtual clone of themselves within a newly-created executive position. The problem is that succeeding in such an effort is virtually impossible, and will inevitably lead to disappointment down the line.

To find the right executive, it’s important to begin the process with a defined set of expectations for a successful candidate. They shouldn’t be focused on how the candidate will do their job, but rather precisely what the job is and what goals they will be expected to achieve. Remember, executive-level candidates will have their own leadership style and way of doing things, and if they’re a good fit, it doesn’t matter how much they differ from the founder. This is especially critical when a founder is looking to bring on a new CEO to succeed them. In that case, it’s far more important to find someone with the right skills, not a carbon copy of the founder.

Consider culture over résumé

When looking for the right executive candidate, sometimes the one with most impressive résumé isn’t the right person for the job. It’s possible to find someone with the right qualifications and experience that will still fail. In those cases, the problem almost always boils down to an improper cultural fit. This is a very common occurrence when small companies scale up and search for experienced managers to add to their executive teams.

If a candidate is used to working in a large organization, or in an environment that prioritizes results over all else, they may bring with them a culture that will be poisonous to existing employees. Speaking with candidates about the existing business culture and environment is a great way to avoid problems in this area. Seek out candidates with complementary backgrounds, and that understand the way the business works so they won’t enter their new position like a bull in a china shop.

After you have assembled your team and aligned the core values of the company along with its mission statement it is time to build your office. Having the right place to work is almost as valuable as who is going to be showing up every day. The energy of the office and synergy of the team can take a company to new levels as seen by the consistent success of companies landing atop the “best places to work lists.” Filling your office with employee perks, food, lounges, and even art and custom signage with core beliefs and motivational quotes adds to the allure of a great office space.

Prioritize skill variety when possible

One thing that all growing businesses have in common is change. Change is an ever-present part of a thriving enterprise, and that presents challenges when hiring new executives. For example, during rapid growth cycles, it’s not uncommon for executive promotions to wreak havoc on personnel and create leadership vacuums in various parts of the organization.

To make sure that change doesn’t breed this kind of chaos, seek executives that have secondary skills that overlap with others within the organization. Doing so allows for some lateral movement in the organization when it is necessary. If existing executives can assume temporary (and competent) leadership in departments other than their own, the organization as a whole will be more fault-tolerant and flexible as growth demands quick expansion.

Don’t fear failure

For a growing company, hiring the wrong executive leadership can derail the entire business. Despite this obvious truism, many companies become so risk-averse when recruiting new executive talent that they pass on great additions to their teams. Conversely, they’re also prone to allowing a bad hire to linger for far longer than is prudent, believing that they can force a square peg into a round hole.

Avoiding this situation means accepting that not every hire is going to work out, and being willing to take decisive action to make changes as soon as the need arises. Most of the time, if the hires were made after following the rest of the guidelines listed here, there won’t be a need to make changes anyway. Acknowledging this simple truth will remove the paralysis of action associated with the fear of selecting the wrong candidate, and will lead to far better outcomes in the long run.