How to Compete with Big Companies for Top Talent - Glassdoor

6 Actionable Steps

How to Compete with Big Companies for Top Talent

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To build a successful business, you need to bring in skilled, experienced professionals who have the energy, drive, and ideas to take your company forward. How can you compete with the recruitment campaigns, salaries, and benefits that big companies offer candidates? Don’t underestimate the smaller-company value — that money can’t buy and larger companies simply can’t match — you can bring to potential employees.

Here are six practical steps to help you attract and retain top talent:

1. Let candidates know they can make a real difference.

At smaller companies, workers wear different ‘hats’ and get a greater variety of experiences than most larger companies provide. They have a say in guiding company strategy and develop deeper skill sets that pay greater dividends down the line.


Let your best employees take an active part in your company’s decision-making and strategic direction. Ensure these opportunities are clearly reflected in your job ads.

2. Encourage autonomy and allow faster career development.

Having fewer employees means you can give everyone better insight into how they fit within the company’s overall growth strategy. Top talent craves challenging work and can make a real difference to your company’s performance.

Research shows that if employees don’t feel challenged in their given role, they will leave for the next job.1


  • Reward talented individuals with a degree of autonomy to add value to the business as they see fit. They may choose to do things differently from you, but as long as they deliver results, give them space to maneuver and grow.
  • Talk to employees about their ambitions and give them assignments that propel their careers. Provide people with consistent feedback and help them understand what they need to do to advance to the next level. Let them explore new opportunities, whether a promotion or a lateral move to a position with different challenges.

3. Offer flexible working conditions.

Another potential benefit your company can offer is flexibility — both in terms of time and location. As long as the work gets done, it doesn’t matter where an employee works — in the office, at a café, or at home while the baby is sleeping. Many employees will forego working at big name companies for this kind of flexibility. One study found that good work-life balance, the opportunity to work remotely, and flexible benefits are among the top reasons employees both choose and stay with a company. 2

ACTION STEP #3: Allow talented people to customize their working day and operate remotely where appropriate. This way, you’ll be able to hire great people who may otherwise have been inaccessible. State these flexible perks on your career page, in your job descriptions, and on your Glassdoor profile.

Top five considerations job seekers take into account before accepting a job offer:3

How to Compete with Big Companies for Top Talent

4. Speed up your hiring.

The best candidates get snapped up quickly. Your hiring processes need to be fast to catch your top choices before they look elsewhere. Larger companies can be slow, taking months to hire. You can be more agile: make the top candidates feel wanted by quickly getting to know them on a personal level, and making them feel like they’re already part of the team.


  • Ensure your job ads are clear and appealing, and hosted on the job sites that deliver the candidates you’re looking for.
  • Once you’ve chosen your top applicants, accommodate their busy schedules by interviewing early in the morning, during lunch breaks, afternoons, or even weekends. Conduct telephone interviews or video calls.
  • When candidates arrive at your office for face-to-face interviews, save time by including other hiring decision-makers in the process. Circulate feedback ASAP and never leave your candidates in the dark.

5. Build a strong employer brand.

Just as your products or services have a brand, so too does your company as an employer. Building an attractive employer brand is essential: if you have a poor reputation, the best candidates will stay away. Create stories to help prospective candidates understand what it’s like to work at your organization. Talk about what you’ve accomplished, and get them excited about what the future has in store.

75% of hiring decision-makers agree it’s easier to attract top talent when they know about your organization.4


Establish your company’s values and include these in your vision and mission statements. Share these on your website and make sure you actively market your employer brand on social media channels and sites like Glassdoor. Glassdoor also lets you add photos and videos, share recent company news, customize your “Why Work for Us” section, access your company analytics, and much more.

Glassdoor candidates are different:

6 Actions Steps to Compete for Top Talent

6. Make your current employees your ambassadors.

Did you know that the most trusted form of advertising, besides personal recommendation, is an online review? In fact, 4 in 5 job seekers research company reviews and ratings before deciding where to apply for a job.8 Glassdoor is a leading place for candidates to research companies and find authentic employee feedback. Job seekers already know who big organizations are and what they do. If you’re a smaller business, it’s likely that your ideal candidates won’t have heard of you.


Ask your current employees to share on Glassdoor their reviews of what it’s really like to work for your company. This shows your employees that you trust them to help you become a better company. A review on a job site may be the first thing candidates see before deciding whether to apply to your organization. Always respond to reviews, whether good and bad, to share your perspective as an employer.


  • Promote your employer brand alongside the user-generated information that candidates trust most.
  • Optimize your recruiting strategies with powerful analytics.

About Glassdoor

Set apart by the tens of millions of reviews and insights provided by employees and candidates, Glassdoor combines all the jobs with this valuable data to make it easy for people to find a job that is uniquely right for them. As a result, Glassdoor helps employers attract truly informed candidates at scale through effective solutions employer branding products. Launched in 2008, Glassdoor now has reviews and insights for approximately 830,000 companies in more than 190 countries.10 To stay up to date on employer-related news, industry trends and hiring tips, visit the Glassdoor for Employers Blog.


  1. Source: Glassdoor Economic Research, Why Do Workers Quit? The Factors That Predict Employee Turnover, February 2017
  2. Source: Glassdoor Site Survey, August 2017
  3. Source: Glassdoor Site Survey, August 2017
  4. Source: Aptitude Research Partners, August 2017
  5. U.S. Site Survey, August 2018
  6. Glassdoor Internal Data, Q3’18
  7. Google Analytics, October ‘18 average
  8. Glassdoor, Harris Poll, April 2017
  9. Source: Source: comScore Media Metrix, September 2018
  10. Source: Glassdoor Internal Data, September 2018