Heartbeat. Just as every person has one, so does every company. It is the driving force behind both existence and prosperity. Without a heartbeat, a human would die very quickly. This is also the case within an organization. Unlike a human heart, it is difficult to peg exactly where this pulse comes from. This naturally begs the question, what is a firm’s heartbeat? Where does its life truly stem from? One would receive many different answers to this question based upon whom they are speaking to. Financiers, marketers and executives might give complicated responses to this conundrum. My answer though is simple. A company’s heartbeat lies within its people.
Sales, advertising, operations drive companies to the top. Cutting edge technology pushes organizations to the pinnacle of success. None of these breakthroughs though would be possible if it weren’t for the employees pulling the strings at the bottom. Without proper salespeople and marketing whizzes, you would know nothing about companies like Uber and Twitter. Without crack engineer teams, Facebook and Microsoft would not have the dominant stance they do today. People are what make companies run and this only shines a brighter light on the importance of recruiting the right people, the right way.
There is no handbook on how to go about finding the best people for your company. Internal referrals, college career centers and job matching websites are all recruiting techniques used widely throughout both the public and private sector. There you can look through hundreds of résumés and narrow candidates down based on previous work experience, undergraduate institution and grade point average. From these résumés you are able to get a fair grasp on what someone may be like, but this does not show you the whole picture. Someone with certain work experience may seem like a good choice for your company, when in reality the culture they have become accustomed to is eons different from yours and they would not fit with your organization’s unique ethos.
Fit. I don’t believe there is a single word that better describes how you should decide who to hire for your company. No matter the credentials someone may come to you with, if they won’t enjoy working on a daily basis and you believe that they will not mesh well with the current employees, perhaps you should look elsewhere. It’s as simple as going to the store and buying clothes. Let’s say you wear a size medium. This awesome shirt is on sale, is one you have wanted and is staring at you, begging you to buy it. Unfortunately though it is a size large. You may think “oh, that is almost my size and it is amazing, maybe I should get it.” The reality of it, though, is that when you buy something that doesn’t fit well, it will inevitably rot away in your closet. You will not wear it as it doesn’t look as good on you as it did on that mannequin in the store. It’s the same with choosing members for a team. Don’t choose the large because it looks sexier in the catalogue, choose the medium as it will get more use and be more beneficial in the long run.
As someone who works with the Sales and Business Development team, I constantly am working with people in a closely-knit group: a human “mesh” made functional and unique by the individual threads of personality threaded through it. I have such an appreciation for camaraderie and the importance of enjoying your colleagues’ company—both inside and outside of the office—and this appreciation is only furthered with every productive meeting had at work. Merits should go a long way in determining who should be hired within a successful company as smart people drive prosperity. At the same time though, fit must be considered and must be a large part of the discussion. If you want your company’s heartbeat to continue to function properly, don’t buy the large shirt because you think you are supposed to; buy the medium and reap the benefits for years to come.