The Bias Against Big-Firm Candidates And Why Your Business Is Missing Out

4 min

When faced with senior level hiring, small companies nearly always stick to candidates from small companies. ‘Too corporate’, ‘not hands on enough’, or ‘stuck in their ways’, candidates from larger organisations are untouched, ‘unfit’ for the culture shift and rejected in one swift call. But with so many experienced and accessible candidates in this category, why are firms so quick to rule them out? And, more importantly, is that really the right judgement call?

Why Big-Firm Candidates Are Worth Investing In

Whilst most assumptions about these candidates have some grounding in reality, they are grossly exaggerated. It’s a given that larger companies have more hierarchy and divisions, more structure and protocol, and more approval processes. It’s also true that larger companies have more funding and resource, have clearly defined job roles and a slower daily pace. But why does a candidate’s experience in this environment limit their ability to perform in any other? Surely, on the flip side, it’s advantageous.

1. Minimal Training

Candidates with corporate backgrounds provide a host of benefits to smaller businesses. For one, they generally require less training as this will already have been covered. With a broad business knowledge and industry experience, these candidates will be able to start work straight away with minimal hand-holding.

2. A Want for Responsibility and a Respect for the Role’s Magnitude

In a large company, it’s unusual for one senior staff member to have complete control or autonomy in carrying out a major task. This transition to a smaller company is therefore welcomed by these candidates. Increased responsibility is, in fact, often the deciding factor in their career move, as it is rare in larger corporate firms.

Coming from a board environment means, as well, that these candidates are often much better at taking advice or asking for guidance where it is needed. Bad decisions can have damaging repercussions for small businesses, and it is candidates from small firms – used to sole leadership – who are less likely to seek input from others in making them.

Candidates from large corporations still possess decision making experience which they can apply, alongside a new energy. They have valuable business knowledge they can share. They understand that they now have the potential to make a huge impact, daily.

3. Knowledge of Standardised Processes

Candidates coming from large firms will be used to setting company procedures and processes: they can help to streamline the business by implementing new guidelines.  A lack of consistency - whether this be on the factory floor or in corporate governance - can be fatal to small companies, meaning these firms will benefit massively from the guidance of someone used to a more rigid business format.

4. Industry Connections

A large firm means a large network, with employees easily making contacts both internally and externally within the industry. Candidates bring these connections with them, which - ranging from sector professionals to specialist technicians, vendors and customers – can be invaluable, especially to start-up organisations.

A Unique Talent Pool

With the recession, Brexit and technological development driving more and more redundancies within larger companies, other businesses are faced with a unique employment opportunity. The candidate pool emerging – in numerous sectors – is built from major talent from larger corporations. By investing in these candidates, you are introducing a brand new dynamic, a new viewpoint, and original ideas into your organisation. This type of talent can revolutionise small firms: if chosen well, big-time execs can help influence major growth by applying their specialist knowledge.

The assumptions made about these candidates - that they are lacking the right experience or that their attitudes are too dissimilar – are trivial concerns: any candidate who won’t be a suitable culture fit will be filtered out in the interview process. All rejections before this stage ignore their huge potential.


What’s most distinguishing in these candidates is the drive and enthusiasm they can bring to the table. Compared to big corporations, small companies offer professionals a huge level of autonomy and freedom, a factor heavily considered by many of them seeking a career change. I have a tremendous number of these candidates looking work and specifically in a smaller firm they know they can make a difference in. They want to grow with the business. The opportunity to make an impact, it seems, outweighs the want for a big-name-on-a-CV by a land slide.


CSG specialise in the recruitment of senior level candidates and work with a range of clients globally – from small start-ups all the way up to blue-chip multinationals. If you or your organisation would like to find out more about the recruitment services we can offer, please get in touch at, or call us on 0333 323 2000.