Structures, roles and responsibilities, not to mention culture are very different in large and small companies. Roles are more tightly defined in large companies whereas people may have to do a bit of everything in smaller organisations.
Employers can be wary of people from different environments eg do those from small organisations have the stature, scale, the ability to play on a big stage OR do those from a big company have the broader perspective (not just their own specialism) are they used to lots of support / staff rather than being doers?
What are the key approaches jobseekers should have to make themselves more attractive?
They should understand how their experience suits the organisation they are wanting to work for, if there is a difference in size or culture, they need to highlight how their differences would add value to the organisation or what similarities they have experienced in the past.
No employer expects a candidate to tick all of their boxes but if the candidate highlights what shortcomings they may have and what steps they could take to overcome these, it makes life easier for the employer. Its about taking responsibility for your own development and not expecting someone else to.
Further candidates must consider what reservations potential employers are likely to have. This really applies to everyone both at application and interview, so candidates should consider the requirements of the role and then take a long hard look at themselves from an employer’s perspective. Think about what the likely reservations are and take steps to answer or address them before they are asked. It can make the difference between getting and not getting an interview or even the actual job. A reservation could start as nothing more than a niggle with the employer and develop into a real deal breaker in their mind; often without them ever discussing it with the candidate. If the candidate acknowledges a potential weakness and addresses it they are much more likely to be given the benefit of the doubt; but this must be done from the outset at application stage.
What are the likely concerns they will have to overcome?
For a candidate coming from a large organisation to a smaller company:
How much support will this person need? In a smaller organisation the scope of their role may be much wider; do they have the skills required?
Are they prepared to “roll their sleeves up”
For sales people: can they sell on added value as opposed to volume or will their skills get them an appointment rather than working for “Mr Big”.
For a technical/internal person: will they have the ability to work without fancy systems and will they have the creativity to create guidelines rather than just follow them.
For a candidate coming from a smaller organisation to a large company
How well will this person understand and respect systems and procedures? This is not to say that big company procedures are sacrosanct – many people are brought in from different backgrounds to implement change. However realistically in order to change systems you need to understand them.
Will the new person be able to work within the team / structures of a large organisation? They may be used to doing everything themselves and this can cause havoc in larger organizations if they ride roughshod over existing protocols; often working against themselves by not informing everyone who needs to know about a project or order.
How can they prepare / make the adjustments which will allow them to be comfortable in a new environment?
This is a massively important issue; not only in terms of the candidate being able to satisfy the employer but from a personal perspective also.
In terms of satisfying the employer the first thing is overcoming reservations; of course they then have to live up to their promises. If they do find the going difficult they have to be quick to acknowledge and address their difficulties and weaknesses – get additional info or training rather than slipping into a downward performance spiral.
They could be stepping well out of their comfort zone so it could be very unnerving and stressful. This in turn could impact on their ability to perform and so and it is unwise to think you can just “wing it”.
To make the adjustment they need to start by identifying what they think are going to be the major changes. Think where in the past they have done something similar, if they haven’t, how could they get that experience, if they cant, what traits of their personality equip them for the transition.
Gaining the experience or at least an insight into the new role and organisation is important but perhaps the most important step is getting it clear in their mind what it is going to be like in a new organisation; and be committed to the changes necessary.