A friend whose daughter is graduating soon from a very good college lamented that the young lady has not gained much practical knowledge about starting a career. He asked what advice I would give her, and—after much thought—I came up with the following: “Find something you can do without being dependent on a big company.”
I don’t think this was exactly the kind of advice he had in mind, but I’m sticking with it! Because one of the loudest, clearest messages in business news these days is that “big” is not necessarily a good thing.
In a recent Harvard Business article (“Why Small Companies Will Win in this Economy”), management consultant Peter Bregman contends: “The gap of confidence between small companies and big ones is growing. We used to rely on the security of big companies. That’s why we worked for them. And hired them. And put our money in them. “
No more, says Bregman, and he provides some interesting anecdotes about the shift of valuable contracts away from impersonal giants to the kinds of smaller companies where a buyer can get the CEO on the phone.
Job-seekers may be starting to feel the same way–and the “small is beautiful” trend has as much appeal for mid-career candidates as for new graduates. Wall Street Journal Careers columnist Sarah Needleman discusses some advantages in the article “Moving to a Small Company Can Lead to Big Rewards.”
So what does this mean for the Careers site? Three first thoughts:
1. Smaller companies can start to use their size as a recruiting advantage. For example–promoting the values of an environment where workers have direct lines of communication to management.
- Get some tips on how to play up pluses of working for a small company.
2. Bigger companies can work harder to provide personalization. Recruiter profiles and blogs, dedicated Career contacts, and messages from management are examples of features that create candidate trust.
3. The value of having an alumni section is increasing. For one thing, it’s smart to keep alumni connected to the company—they represent a potentially very useful talent pool. But beyond that, with so much bad news about employment these days, candidates may be reassured by knowing former employees liked the company enough to stay connected.
- Read some tips on alumni networking from corporate social network provider Conenza.
One last first thought: Breaking big sites into smaller components (focusing on specific divisions, job types, career paths, or some other unifying theme) could be an effective strategy. But it’s a more radical approach, so I’ll do some research to see if the idea has merit.
Thanks to Dave Friel for the bonsai image.
Latest posts by Cynthia Giles (see all)
- A Nice Place to Work . . . - January 27, 2011
- Economies of Scale: Small Business Resources for Big Business Ideas - November 8, 2010
- The Global Gender Gap Report - November 3, 2010
- Alphabetical Order: More about the Candidate Experience - October 14, 2010
- The (In)Famous Candidate Experience - October 5, 2010