Should I Work for a Big or Small Company
When deciding whether to apply for a job, any number of questions may run through your mind. Does this sound familiar:
“Do I qualify? What have I heard about the company? How far is that commute? Does it offer long-term stability? Are there growth options? Is the company part of a volatile industry? Do I know anyone who works there? Will they even call me for an interview? Am I overthinking this? I should just apply.”
Ultimately, though, the biggest question you have to ask yourself is, “What would it be like to work there, and does that fit with my needs and goals?” It can be tough to know, from the outside looking in, whether you would truly like working for a particular company.
How do you know if a company is a good fit for you?
A great place to start your evaluation is whether the company has the culture of a large company or a small company. Here are some key differences.
Closeness of the team
A fairly common assumption is that you will have a closer relationship with your team members if you work at a smaller company. Likely, you will get to know not only the team members you work with most, but everyone at the company.
In a larger company, you are more likely to develop friendships with your immediate team members, and less likely to get to know too many outside of that circle.
Depending on your personality and work style, neither is necessarily better. Sometimes it is nice to have a more diverse group of individuals to chat with, but it can also bring more pressure to participate in group activities outside of work. If you are relatively averse to those types of activities, the larger company may be a better team fit for you.
Rules, rules, rules
The larger the company, the more set-in-stone their processes and policies. If you enjoy a work environment with very clear expectations and standards, this can be great for you! But, if you believe there are always exceptions to the rule, it may be harder for you to accept.
Small companies, on the other hand, typically have a more flexible mindset toward their policies and procedures. They may not always make a change in your favor, but they will likely be willing to listen to your reasoning if you think a change is warranted. However, if you function best in an environment where everyone is held to the same standard, this type of environment may be challenging for you, as each situation will be interpreted differently.
In a large company, your job duties are likely to be precisely defined. You are there to perform certain functions, and you know exactly what they are. If you have a specific skill set, and prefer to work within the confines of that skill set, you are going to love this.
In a small company, people often have a more broad scope of job duties. If you like variety in your day, this may suit you very well. While this is excellent if you are trying to move your career to the next level, or even change directions, keep in mind that you may occasionally have to take on some tasks that are outside of your job description.
Benefits vs. perks
A few small companies may not be able to compete with a large company’s benefits package, but most have proper medical coverage and acceptable PTO policies. What you may notice lacking in small companies, though, are the perks that many large corporations tout. These include things like paid gym memberships, on-site cafeterias and discounts at local retailers.
What the small company lacks in tangible perks, it can sometimes make up for in flexibility. If you need to drop your kids off at school at 8am, and arrive at work at 8:15, the small company will typically have more tolerance for this.
How do you learn about a company’s culture?
There are several resources available to help you identify a company’s culture. Glassdoor is a website where people who have worked or even interviewed with a company can post reviews and information about what it was like. Often, a company will have some information on the careers section of their website about their corporate values. And, if not, that may be an indicator that they lean toward the small company side.
If you work with a staffing agency, your recruiter can be a great resource. At Mosaic Personnel, we have above a 97% repeat business rate, which means we work with many of the same clients day in and day out. Our recruiters have an excellent understanding of our clients’ cultures, and can relay that information to you.
What other differences have you seen among the various places you have worked? Have you noticed any trends in small companies versus large companies? How have those observations influenced your career path? We’d love to hear your insights in the comments section below!
Follow us on Facebook for more insider knowledge about the job search process.
Latest posts by Mosaic Personnel (see all)
- Should I Consider a Contract Job after the Affordable Care Act? - December 3, 2015
- 20 Underutilized Action Words to Include on Your Resume - July 1, 2015
- Should I Work for a Big or Small Company - June 17, 2015
- Overcoming Your Career Mistakes – How to Get Past Your Past - June 1, 2015
- Technology – The #1 Skill to Leverage for Your Career Success - May 20, 2015