SME vs Corporate giants

SME vs Corporate giants

For the first time it appears the balance is tipping in favour of the SME vs the large corporate when attracting talent. Here we will explore the change in candidate motivation, the differing proposition and the hiring process.

Big vs Small
For years, in spite of SME’s making up the lion share of companies across the UK, the big corporates have largely had their pick when it comes to attracting top talent. Offering a recognisable brand on your CV, hierarchical structures that provide a clear route for progression, impressive offices and corporate benefits ranging from private gyms through to excellent pensions, it is understandable why. However in recent years, particularly with the rise of tech we have started to see the pendulum begin to swing – is it now moving in favour to the SME?
The last two years have shaken up the market and sped up changes across employment that would normally take decades. With higher value being placed on hybrid working arrangements, the emphasis on perks such as large office space and private gyms has decreased enormously, only to be replaced with “free” benefits such as a flexible working, a great culture and working for a company that gives back to their staff and their community. With less layers to infiltrate through, these factors are often more easily defined in an SME. Where high performance culture is driven through a feeling of making a difference or having influence; it can sometimes get lost when you feel like a small cog in a big machine.

Top talent is now, more than ever, starting to re-align their passions and purpose with work – and where better to do that in a small but scaling business where one can have direct impact

The Recruitment Process
When comparing the big company hiring processes to smaller businesses, the corporate hiring strategy can often come across as inflexible and cumbersome. Arguably designed for an era when the hiring boot was on the employers foot.
Answering pre-written interview questions to a blank video recording, lengthy covering letters and online boxes to populate to accompany their CV are common practices adopted by larger corporates to make their hiring process more efficient. However throughout this type of interview process candidates have yet to meet any one in person. This can be seen as impersonal, and creates the opportunity for the SME to step in.

When interviewing with a smaller business it is not uncommon to meet with Directors, Founders or other members of the board throughout the interview process. Not only does this create a more buying power for the SME but it enables the candidate to visualise the culture in which they will be working – vital for securing top talent.

There is growing attraction to work for a small business, and this can be explained in part by a change in motivation, a different proposition, and a slicker hiring process. Smaller companies can be identified as more agile, more in tune, closer to their employees, and they can work much harder to understand the candidate ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors.

The impact of this trend is becoming more profound as it’s collided with an evolving labour market where they have more choice than ever. The implications for hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals is so fundamental and it is through recognising the above mentioned themes that tweaks can be made to improve talent attraction and retention.

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