As president and founder of HireMinds, David Hayes wears two hats. He provides strategic guidance to his team of marketing, technology and science recruiters, as well as fulfilling all of the responsibilities of running a small business.

david hayes2 How To Compete With Big Companies & Attract Better Candidates

David Hayes
(Photo courtesy of David Hayes)



If I do not offer much by way of employee benefits, does it matter?

Yes, employee benefits matter. Today, job seekers are regularly asking about health and dental insurance as well as retirement savings plans. If you do not offer them, you may not even have a shot at the best candidates. The good news is that employee benefits packages can be less expensive than you think. While health insurance plans can be very expensive, there are ways to design the plan that won’t break the bank, including having higher deductibles with an HRA or HSA. Also, having a 401k is important to job seekers, even if you do not contribute to it. You’ll get some positive credit just for having one, and your only costs will be the administrative costs associated with maintaining the plan.

There are other exciting benefits you can offer that will not cost much, if anything, but will make people happy. These include pet insurance, access to purchase additional life insurance via the company broker and access to discounted tickets, such as sporting events or movies, through a service like Working Advantage, where there is a 35 employee minimum.


Since we cannot compete on salary with the big companies, what can we do on a limited budget to compete with companies who have such offering as catered lunches or on-site gyms?

If you are not going to compete on salary, you have to create an environment that people will want to work in for other reasons.

  • Give them a better job. Big companies tend to silo people into narrow roles. Give people a chance to take on broader roles and highlight that fact during the interview process.
  • Offer better work-life balance. Do you allow your employees to work from home on occasion? Would you be willing to let them stagger their hours to avoid the heaviest traffic or to accommodate their child’s daycare or soccer practice schedule? Have you considered giving some extra time off to someone who works super long hours on a special project? Offer up ‘Summer Fridays’ where employees get to leave early on Fridays during the summer if their work is complete.
  • Foster a team spirit. It is not as hard as you might think. Have a different employee bring in donuts, bagels or other treats each Friday morning, and take the time to eat together. Have potluck lunches once a quarter. Have a fitness contest, giving each employee a fitness tracker and creating teams to see which team has the most ‘steps’ in a week. If it is appropriate for your environment, consider having a beer fridge and enjoying Beer o’clock on Thursday’s at 4 p.m. Host an ice cream social or have treats of any kind brought in. Nothing brings a team together more joyously than free food.

This article was written by Robin D. Everson of for CBS Small Business Pulse.


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