Attracting Talent to Middle Market Companies

Big companies recruit candidates by offering a menu of benefits, brand-name recognition, and other perks that can make it challenging for smaller businesses to compete for great talent.  What can a middle market business do to attract talent?

To start, middle market businesses should recognize some of the natural advantages we see in the companies we work with every day:

  •   Middle market companies are generally less bureaucratic and offer more interchange between leadership and employees.
  •   Often employees have greater breadth in their responsibilities than is typical in big companies, where people tend to specialize more.
  •   Many entrepreneurs treat their workforce as an extension of their family and exercise greater concern for employee job stability.
  •   Smaller organizations tend to have more discernible cultures, unlike big companies, and this can be an important and often compelling part of attracting new talent.
  •   Middle market businesses can offer more flexibility, job diversity, and the potential for high growth.
  •   Mid-size organizations are frequently able to adjust a job to fit employees’ individual needs.  For example, a mid-size organization might be more willing than a big company to           allow an employee who wants or needs to work from home one day a week.

Hiring managers at middle market companies without big human resources departments may struggle with getting their message across to the talent they want to attract.  It is important to convey the success of their enterprise and determine what aspects of their company to highlight that may appeal to candidates.

Entrepreneurs need to make a compelling business case for why a candidate should come to work with them. If you are hiring a senior executive, the person may seek the potential for equity in exchange for a perceived risk.  For a middle level manager, conveying that your company has staying power is key. And with entry-level workers, it is critical to show that there are opportunities for growth. Regardless of the type of employee, companies need to demonstrate how the candidates’ skills can contribute to the success of the business.  Individuals are most motivated by ‘making a difference.

Networking can be a big assist with recruiting.  If one of your contacts refers a candidate to you, chances are good they have done some of the selling already.  For the same reason, it makes sense to offer rewards for employee referrals. Candidates who come through this kind of referral usually have a more accurate picture of the company than those who come through other methods. And in most cases, employees recommend only people they think will be a good match.

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