How to Compete with the Big Firms for Talent


In order to compete for top talent, big firms will always be able to offer things that smaller firms cannot, such as a vast array of promotional opportunities varying lists of benefits and the kudos that goes with a big brand name and perhaps even a job that matches the job description without deviation. So what is it that smaller companies can do to compete in the marketplace against the large corporations? The key is to identify and play to the advantages and strengths of being small. A smaller firm’s staff register may well be dwarfed by a big-name behemoth’s, but what do talented individuals look for when choosing to go with a smaller firm?

Big businesses are typically more bureaucratic. In more entrepreneurial businesses, often the opposite is true. The talented candidates you’re looking for increasingly value the feeling of belonging to a work family with more familial support through the various risks and rewards and greater importance placed on a personalised experience of staff development, team-working and feedback.

There is a higher likelihood in smaller companies that employees will end up working outside of their initial remit. This notion of fluidity seems to be gaining popularity, too, as more people and employers learn to appreciate the benefits of job roles that can adapt and allow for staff development (and therefore business development). A smaller workforce has scope for diversity, which the institutionalised structures of large firms would not allow, and from this comes incredible growth potential, not to mention an atmosphere for entrepreneurial spirit often not found in larger organisations.

As well as the development of a wider skills pool, a firmer foundation is laid for tailoring jobs more to the employees’ needs. For example, an employee may request to work from home for a day a week; another may want an early start in order to attend to the school run. These kinds of requests are far more easily accommodated in a smaller outfit, giving a more bespoke approach to working patterns.

Whilst it is clear that the aspects mentioned above will play an important role in the marketplace to attract top talent, it is also fair to say that everybody could learn something from one another. Find ideas that work for you and promote the success of your enterprise, making sure that you have great networking channels through which to broadcast. After all, it doesn’t matter what you say to attract employees if nobody can hear you saying it.