Promoting your small business to job applicants

If your company is small, learn how to tip the scales to your advantage when recruiting.

April 5, 2012
from Robert Half Management Resources

On-site childcare, exercise facilities, a monthly guest speaker series and access to box seats at sporting events are among the perks large companies use to convince top talent to join their teams. Such incentives can be quite effective, too. However, just because your company is smaller doesn’t always mean you’re at a disadvantage when recruiting.

To tip the scales in your favor, emphasize the benefits of working for a small firm. Here are some common assets worth promoting to candidates:

Professional growth: Job responsibilities often are less rigid at smaller companies. Employees may be expected to jump in and help wherever needed, which can translate into exposure to a variety of new and interesting projects. Also, a smaller accounting and finance team offers greater opportunity to learn about and assume more challenging tasks earlier in a career. This can be appealing to individuals eager to put their knowledge to the test and advance professionally.

A clear role in the company’s success: Employees of a small company often can more easily see the effects of their work. Their ideas usually must go through fewer approvals, allowing good suggestions to be implemented more quickly. As their proposals come to fruition, employees can witness how their ideas change the way the organization handles its daily business.

Access to management: Talking to a small business owner or president can be as simple as walking down the hallway and casually sitting down for a discussion. The management structure usually isn’t as layered as at larger firms, so employees can interact with and learn from leadership on a more regular basis.

Credit for work: Office politics may be less of a concern simply because there aren’t as many employees. If someone makes a notable contribution, they’re more likely to get credit because it’s easier for everyone to be aware of who made the contribution. That makes it more difficult for someone to take responsibility for an achievement that wasn’t really their own.

Family atmosphere: At small firms, employees have more opportunities to get to know everyone in the organization really well, not just people in their own departments. Accounting professionals may even sit next to sales, marketing, or other staff. Gaining assistance from a colleague in another group can be as simple as turning to the person in the cubicle next to you. When there’s a company party, there are no unfamiliar faces or names. All of these factors can help create a feeling of being part of a family.

Less red tape: If there’s a new financial application on the market that an employee thinks would be useful for the company, it can be given serious consideration by decision-makers right away. There may be fewer hoops to jump through than at a large company because the recommendation might not have to go through as extensive a review process.

Making the sales pitch

Don’t wait until you begin interviewing candidates to tout the benefits of working for your smaller business. Make sure your job ads convey the appealing qualities of joining your team so the best and brightest are motivated to apply.

Also, let your people help sell your company to candidates. They are in the strongest position to talk about the everyday benefits of work life at a small firm. Be sure to schedule time for top applicants to meet with your employees during the interview process.

Remember, too, that you shouldn’t have to work too hard to convince a promising candidate to join your team. If you’ve made a persuasive case and a competitive offer, and the candidate is reluctant to say “yes,” it may be best to move on. Not everyone is suited to working for a small firm, so you want to hire people who truly have the interest and motivation to be successful in your group.

This article is provided courtesy of Robert Half Management Resources, the premier provider of senior-level accounting, finance and business systems professionals to supplement companies’ project and interim staffing needs. The company has more than 150 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.roberthalfmr.com. Follow Robert Half Management Resources at twitter.com/roberthalfmr for workplace news.