Making An Informed Choice

Thu, 06 Feb 2014
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A lot happens in January. Even more happens in February.

Typically, the first two months of the year are a hotbed for resignations and promotions alike, as people on both sides of the boardroom, spurred on by the new digit at the end of the date, get that little extra boost to take another look at things. There are many reason for these changes, be it career progression, a change in scenery, a new industry or any number of smaller, more personal qualms. At the same time, early year reviews can see companies reassessing their values and growth potential, something that can lead to new opportunities for those highly valued employees. There are, of course, some less positive reasons people can find themselves looking for a new job, but let’s not dwell on that, as the point is still the same. Now is a time of flux.

For those looking to take advantage of the current fluidity in the job market there are a lot of important questions that need to be asked and one of the most common reasons people have for changing jobs on a regular basis is rushing into something before knowing all that they should. For example, would you rather work in the East or West of London? Would you be better suited to a large team of specialised accountants or a small unit of generalists? Is flexible time more important than remuneration? The list goes on.

If you only have the time to ask one question however, perhaps it should be a slightly wider one, namely should you take your next role within a larger or smaller company? Personally, I believe this to be one of the most important questions candidates should ask, and as an employer, it should be paramount you know what your interviewee thinks about this option. The difference between large, multinational companies and small, independent start-ups can be as massive as the actual variance in size, and before even considering signing a contract you should know which of these you’re looking to be a part of.

Larger businesses commonly offer a greater financial security, a wider range of internal opportunities and the chances to change and develop your role as things progress. They have the means and resources to provide specialist training, backed by years of experience, and come with a larger workforce and variety of people to collaborate with. SMEs on the other hand have their own benefits and depending on what someone is looking for out of a role, these differences can be essential. Typically they allow staff to take on a wider range of responsibilities in less objectively outlined roles, can be more inclusive and collaborative, less red tape or central control and then of course there is the opportunity to actually see your work make a difference – to see the results of your actions.

These are of course rather generalised points, and by no means is one better than the other, but the point is important. You can become friends with anyone given enough time, offices can change and improve, wages can rise and work can become what you make it. One thing that won’t happen however is a fifteen-strong company suddenly hiring hundreds of staff overnight, or vice versa.

There are selling points for both types of company and unfortunately it can commonly be a case of the grass looking greener elsewhere but remember one simple fact: grass is greenest where you water it. So know your land and buy the right hose; then you won’t even worry about someone else’s garden.