Attracting Big Talent to Your Small Organization

loebigTop talent is often attracted to big companies that can woo them with a well-known brand, large budgets and generous benefits. But highly qualified candidates shouldn't overlook the opportunities that can come from working for smaller organizations. By emphasizing the specific opportunities that make small organizations unique, recruiters and hiring managers can help candidates understand a wide variety of benefits they may not have previously considered. Some of the most important benefits of working for a smaller organization include:

  1. Expanded responsibilities and opportunities for personal growth To interest the right person in a senior role at a small company, it is critical for a hiring manager to explain the breadth of responsibilities the candidate will be able to take on. In a smaller organization, the candidate not only fulfills a vital role (e.g., CFO) but likely will be exposed to or help counsel other operational areas that need attention. In the process, he or she is likely to pick up new skills, better understand other business functions and perhaps develop additional areas of expertise.
  1. The ability to make a tremendous impact Often, it is all too easy to get lost in the shuffle of a larger organization, and layers of bureaucracy may make it difficult for employees to see how their work impacts the greater business goals. That is less likely to happen in smaller organizations, where a talented individual can make an immediate and lasting impact and drive results that can be seen in the organization's daily operations. This increased visibility also means the hard work of a talented individual is more likely to get noticed, contributing to greater job satisfaction in the long run.
  1. Increased interaction with upper management Another benefit of small organizations is they have smaller management teams. As a result, candidates have a greater opportunity to interact with those at the top of the C-suite. By working alongside these individuals, the candidate will be able to learn new job skills and management techniques firsthand. In addition, these influential leaders also will be able to directly observe the hard work being done by the candidate--thereby building relationships that will be beneficial throughout his or her career.

We recently had the opportunity to place a senior financial leader at a small family-run business in the Midwest. We narrowed our search to a candidate we were confident would be a strong hire, but she thought her next step would be with a larger organization. After we explained the benefits of working for a smaller company and demonstrated how they aligned with her values and career goals, she was convinced it was the right opportunity for her. She accepted the position and had an impact on the organization her very first week. Regardless of organization size, the job search ultimately comes down to finding an ideal fit between a candidate and the organization that will be able to best utilize his or her talents. While it's easy to understand why top-tier candidates may initially be drawn to larger organizations, hiring managers must be able to convince them of the benefits of working for a smaller organization in order to drive big results.