Can SMBs Go up Against Google for Employees?

Ann All

As I've written before, it's no secret that it can be tough for SMBs to compete for tech talent, since it's often tough for them to match the salaries and other benefits offered by bigger companies.


Perhaps no one knows this more than Boston-area companies that used to have their pick of MIT graduates but these days find themselves competing against the likes of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. In addition to attractive compensation packages, these companies offer "tremendous cachet," says Alan Trefler, the CEO of Boston-based Pegasystems Inc., in a story.


A recent graduate of MIT's Sloan School of Management who took a job at Microsoft says:

I can tell my grandmother that I'm working for Microsoft, and I don't have to explain what it is.

What local companies can offer, says Trefler, is greater access to senior executives and more opportunities to earn notice for individual achievements. At Pegasystems, which has hired 40 people in 2008, Trefler and other execs are directly involved in recruiting talented workers, sometimes even demonstrating new and proprietary software for those folks.


This strategy does attract employees. Jim Kavo, an area native who interviewed with Yahoo before accepting a post with Pegasystems earlier this year, says he's already attended several meetings in which he's presented ideas directly to Trefler and calls having such input "a great situation."


As I wrote earlier, recruitment experts advise SMBs to highlight a company culture that offers strong career paths and access to senior executives. SMBs should also stress other factors that differentiate them from their bigger competitors, such as an atmosphere that encourages close connections with co-workers, say the experts.

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