As recruitment consultants our role has always been to match the best candidate to the best position. As part of that, we really enjoy coaching candidates on how to sell their skills – and themselves – to clients. Recently, however, a candidate-driven market has levelled the playing field. Discussions increasingly turn to what makes one employer stand out more than the next and, in my experience, although salary is a large factor, the question most candidates are ultimately interested in is: Should I prioritise role or brand?
At Cedar, we make a point of meeting every candidate face to face and our single-point-of-contact system allows us to gain a deep understanding of your personality, skills and motivations. In addition, our unique career-management tool, The Matrix, ensures we understand what’s important to you and will help you understand this, too. Indeed, many of you make a point of telling us how rewarding – and surprising – you find the experience.
An important part of what we do involves exploring whether you’re more interested in what you do or who you do it for. In other words: Are you more interested in role or brand? Although we usually find it’s the job description that really matters (the best ones allow you to visualise your day-to-day working life, the level of job satisfaction you can expect and how the role might affect your career in terms of specific experience and progression), before you decide to prioritise role over brand, we’d always encourage you to consider a few crucial factors.
The temptations of brand . . .
Bearing in mind the average employer takes just six seconds to scan your CV, a well-known brand not only makes you stand out, but the association with a successful household name also creates an instant good impression.
To attract the best talent, top brands often make a considerable investment in their reputation as great places to work. As a result, they frequently are, with lots of perks that smaller businesses simply can’t match.
The training programmes and opportunities for advancement offered by larger companies are often near the top of people’s wish lists when they’re considering their next career move.
. . . or a more exciting role?
Roles at a smaller company often offer more responsibility and variety. You may find you have a larger part to play in the business process or have the opportunity to work directly with leadership teams.
The cultural fit may be better. Just because a brand is big, doesn’t mean you agree with everything they stand for. Choosing a smaller organisation may be an ethical decision, or you may prefer an environment that offers you more flexibility or autonomy.
Looking for higher pay? Big brands often don’t pay as competitively as you might think – simply because they don’t have to! Smaller organisations may be less well funded, and the environment and perks not as plush, but they often offer more complex roles with greater levels of responsibility and higher remuneration packages as a result.
Making the best decision for you
In the end, it’s down to personal choice. Earlier in your career, when you’re perhaps still lacking some skills and experience, the impact of a well-known name on your CV could provide a huge boost. Alternatively, in the long-term, a role within a smaller company that offers more scope for responsibility and the acquisition of skills may actually have a larger impact on your career.
So, if you’ve decided you’re ready to take the next step in your career, we’d love to hear from you. We can share our expertise on the current market and salaries, plus what employers are looking for. And, by exploring together where your experience and aspirations best fit, we can guide you towards making the choice that’s right for you.
If you’d like to discuss the next step in your career, or learn more about our unique career-management tool, The Matrix, call 0203 002 8050 for a confidential, no-obligation chat.