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Large Vs. Small Companies

Small companies can be an important, yet often overlooked, consideration in your internship or job search.

Is a Small Company Right For You?

Life in a small organization can be very different from life in a large organization. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each and make an informed decision about which environment is most appropriate for you.

Advantages of a small company

  • You may be given more responsibility and may not be as limited by a “job description.”
  • You may be allowed to use your own initiative, rather than be closely supervised.
  • Your ideas and suggestions may be given more attention.
  • Career advancement may be rapid in a growing company.
  • You are likely to be involved in the whole organization, not limited to one area.
  • The environment may be more informal and friendly and there may be fewer rules and policies.
  • You may have the chance to be involved in the growth of something great.

Disadvantages of a small company

  • Many small businesses fail; you may have less job security.
  • There may be lower starting salaries and fewer benefits.
  • You may put in longer hours.
  • A dominant leader can control the entire organization.
  • You must be able to work with everyone within the organization.
  • Both your successes and failures may be more visible.
  • You may have fewer resources and support.

Are You Right For a Small Company?

Because of the different nature of a small business, different qualities in employees may be needed. You will do well if you are:

  • Self motivated
  • A generalist with many different skills
  • A good communicator
  • Enthusiastic
  • A quick learner
  • Able to get things done on your own

Differences in Hiring Practices

Getting an internship or job in a small company may require more work on your part. When approaching a small company, you may find the following differences in hiring practices:

Large CompanySmall Company
Centralized personnel departmentNo personnel department
Recruiters may conduct interviewsFounder/owner may conduct interviews
Recruiters may seek out potential employeesNo full-time recruiters
May keep resumes on file for a yearMay not keep resumes
Standardized hiring procedureNo standard hiring procedure
Predetermined job categoriesJobs emerge as needs do
Have long-term personnel forecastsHire as needs arise
Company literature easily availableNo printed literature
Website with extensive information and functionalityLimited web presence
Online applicationNo online application
Hire months in advanceHires to start immediately
Extensive training programOn-the-job training