Why a Small or Midsized Brand (SMB) Can Win the Talent War

Meghan M. Biro

Think you’re a David in a world of Goliaths? Think again. When it comes to winning top talent, size does not necessarily mean superiority. SMBs (small to midsized companies) have surprising advantages.

Every company faces the same set of challenges: filling open positions before the vacancy punches a hole in productivity, attracting the best qualified talent, and making successful hires who come on board and want to stay. We’re also all facing the same challenges of finding people in the midst of a talent crunch. With the rate of quits now higher than it’s been in years — 3.2 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs this past May, most in search of higher wages. It’s a sure sign of a confident labor market. Unemployment is still at 4.4%. So this is not exactly an employer’s market. But while your smaller company may not have the cachet of MegaSiliconValleyCompany X, being smaller right now has distinct advantages.

Faster Time to Fill

The average job in the U.S. now takes more than a month to fill. Larger enterprises may have more resources at their disposal, as well as in-house or outside recruiting and hiring teams. But with rare exceptions, the bigger the enterprise, the more cumbersome the recruiting, hiring, and approvals processes may be.

Filling a position in a large firm can mean a whole series of steps and approvals and pauses until everyone is in the loop. Upgrading to a more efficient system that puts all phases of the hiring process under one umbrella may be harder. But SMB’s can move faster, with less people required to greenlight each step on the hiring journey, less possible snags when it comes to upgrading the process, and fuller visibility overall.

Better Access to Candidates

The smaller scale of an SMB can enable a far more direct connection to the candidates in the hiring journey, including an authentic, real-time connection to the talent you’re seeking to hire. In a recent study of recruiting by WideOpen and WorkConnect by SAP, 94% of recruiters said they wanted better access to candidates along every step of the hiring journey.
An SMB can work with a powerful talent acquisition and management app that offers different ways to communicate from a quick ping to a longer discussion, efficiently tracking the progress of prospective talent. It can post a job onto multiple job sites and still keep track of every hit. And it’s far easier to shape a positive candidate experience when you can simply respond rather than have to seek multiple approvals.

Easier to Convey Authentic Employer Brand

Brand recognition for a smaller company is inherently challenging. But while a larger company may have myriad ways to convey its own identity, it may not be integrating its brand effectively in its hiring process. With a smaller organization, the employer brand can be included in every touchpoint, a subtle but clear way to convey the company message and values.

And don’t hesitate bringing your own people into the hiring process: they are your eyes and ears on the floor and may know what a position needs better than anyone. As they become invested in the hiring process, they also become invested in the talent, and aligned with the business goals of staffing up. On the applicant side, meeting with prospective teammates or supervisors can lay some compelling groundwork for future engagement. Deloitte’s 2016 research report on millennials reminded us that we tend to apply to jobs that speak to our future ambitions. When a prospect or applicant gets to meet future team members, it can help frame that picture of what the job may lead to.

Recruiting, engaging, and hiring top talent is no longer a matter of giving ground to the giants. It’s not about someone’s proprietary contact list or secret plans for succession. It’s not a need-to-know endeavor anymore, it’s a process that thrives on transparency and efficiency. Your talent expects to find your job posting on a number of job boards, expects you to follow up if they reach out, and expects, more than anything, all of this to be able to happen on mobile and digital.

SMBs have the advantage of not being held back by the weight of a larger organization. You can choose a powerful digital solution to help manage the hiring process from recruiting to applicant tracking and management to onboarding. And you can avoid redundancy, reinvention, or awkward retrofitting. All you have to do is put down those spreadsheets. And believe me, they’re over.

Contributing Author
Meghan M. Biro Founder of TalentCulture

Meghan M. Biro is a globally recognized brand strategist, analyst, digital catalyst, author and speaker. As founder and CEO of TalentCulture, she has worked with hundreds of companies, from early-stage ventures to global brands like Microsoft, IBM and Google, helping them recruit and empower stellar talent. She is a regular contributor at Forbes, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur and several other media outlets and hosts #WorkTrends, a popular weekly Twitter Chat and podcast. Meghan regularly serves on advisory boards for leading HR and technology brands.

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