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There are some occasions in which having a big name isn’t a plus on your CV, and it’s a topic that’s cropped up several times in conversations with clients. There are times when they aren’t keen to hire a candidate from a big firm because they’re worried that, without the name of a big brand behind them, they’ll fall short of what’s expected.

While it’s true that some people thrive in big organisations and struggle in smaller ones, there are many benefits to hiring someone from, say, the likes of Oracle or Salesforce – they aren’t all hiding their lack of skills behind the brand name. Those who make the leap from a global conglomerate to a local start-up may have just the kind of ambition and forward-thinking attitude that is required to take their new employer to the next level.

New insights

Start-ups can benefit hugely from a seasoned professional who has gained experience in a big company because they can offer insights on your market position and how to scale. Plus, they may have taken advantage of the large learning budgets that global organisations boast, meaning their skillset may be more diverse and developed.

That said, they may need a hand with understanding the hands-on nature of working at a smaller company. Concepts such as failing fast and agile may be alien to them, but if they have previous made use of L&D opportunities then they’ve already proven to be open to learning new things.

Ambitious candidates

People who join smaller businesses often do so because they want to make a significant difference, or accelerate their career path. These individuals are invaluable to a growing start-up, as they bring in a new sense of ambition and drive – they’ve been there, done it, and want to help you get there too. They’re often highly results-driven, and it’s much easier to see their effects on a small company than it is at a big organisation.

Large networks

Candidates from big organisations also come with a large network of former colleagues and clients that they can contact for new business opportunities. Even if it’s only a tenuous connection, like sharing a lunch line or office cubicle, their connection could make all the difference if you happen to be pitching that person in the future. It’s always useful to have a person that knows someone for everything.

Steps to mitigate concerns

However, to ensure that the person you’re hiring has thought their decision through, there are some checks that you can do during and after the interview. Personal reputation is always a good jumping off point, so check their LinkedIn and any posts or articles they’ve created. If they’ve built up a good social network and spent time on their personal reputation, it shows that they’re not using that big name as a fallback.

Then, once you’ve got them in front of you, ask them about their reasons for making the switch. This may seem like a bit of a tick box exercise that means little until they prove it, but start-ups are young and supple, so you must make sure they’re in it for the same reasons as you are. Working with a start-up comes with its stipulations – employees are often required to go above and beyond, work under pressure and thrive within a close-knit team – so ask for examples of the candidate doing this in the past to make sure they’ll hit the ground running.

Loosen the reins

It’s never worth limiting your talent pool to a certain type of candidate. Even if you have concerns about hiring from big organisations, many of those can be resolved with small tweaks and changes to your recruitment process, asking a question in a different way or by prodding around for a little bit more information. In such a candidate-led market, you never know where the ideal employee may pop up or what their experience is, so leave the blinkers on the side and ensure your net is cast wide enough to incorporate the industry’s big names.

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