One of the real draws of working at a smaller company is the opportunity to have direct access to management-level decisions.  As larger companies trim their payrolls, skilled employees will enter the candidate pool.  These candidates may find a smaller company provides new opportunities for their personal skill set.

The Wall Street Journal discusses this topic in Moving to a Small Company Can Lead to Big Rewards:

That close proximity to upper management often leads to quicker action. Mr. Macdonald, the former Bristol-Myers worker, says he has the power to get things done more expeditiously at his new employer, Acorda Therapeutics Inc. in Hawthorne, N.Y. “There’s less bureaucracy,” he says. “Decisions are made without having to go through a number of layers of approval.”

Being able to influence a company’s bottom line is what led Scott Ruthfield to join Inc. in April as vice president of engineering and technology. “Everybody plays a core role, so if you do a good job, you are directly contributing to way the business is going to succeed,” says the former Inc. manager.

And here is the pull quote that gets to the alluring aspect of a small company (emphasis mine):

Small-company converts also mention the room to gain experience in new practice areas—or to return to the heart of a business—as another plus. “You get divorced from the nuts and bolts of operating a business when you work for large companies,” says Mike Barnes, a newly hired logistics executive at Halton Co., a provider of construction equipment in Portland, Ore. Mr. Barnes says the depth of involvement he has at his new firm has another upside: A level of job satisfaction he says he hasn’t felt in a long time.

We have had much success placing large-company candidates into small company positions.  A common theme amongst the candidates is a bureaucracy burnout from the larger company culture.  The opportunity to have an impact on the direction of a company provides an incentive that is less attainable at the larger company.

Granted, there are drawbacks to be addressed, mainly compensation (especially benefits) and resources.  These items have to be addressed in the early stages, but we have found the upside of our smaller customers to be of great interest to large-company candidates.

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