You’ll get better at this.
As a first-time manager, you really won’t have the experience to know really who is an A, B or C player for any position you haven’t held yourself. It’s hard to judge if you haven’t done it before and/or if you are a first-time hiring manager. How do you really know who is a decent director of product management when you’ve never even worked with one, for example?
But there is an easy hack / fix: get an advisor / mentor who has done it before — and well — to interview your final list candidates. She or he will know. Ignore her advice if you want, but it likely will be accurate. If she or he has hired and managed A’s and B’s in this position … she will almost immediately know in 1 interview if a candidate is as good or better, time adjusted, for her A’s.
This is how I hired my first CTO and VP of Engineering. I hadn’t made those hires before. But I had the best VP of Engineering I know interview the candidates, too. He was exactly right in every single case.
Same with my first inside sales reps. Etc. etc.
I did the same with my first VP of Sales hire. I ignored the advice. I shouldn’t have. Then, by the time it came to hire my second … I knew. Only then, really.
And second, one thing is clear: you’ll know 90 days in. Even if you aren’t sure if someone was an A, B, or C — you’ll know in the first 90 days. Probably even the first 45.
(x) step up and own more than they are told to own
(y) get more of these things done that others don’t.
Everyone else is a B or C.