Whether a growing start-up or a massive bank, all companies face the same bottleneck to growth: attracting and retaining the right talent in today's candidate market.

Having recruited at both extremes, one common theme I see is that companies tend to focus on addressing their challenges rather than playing up their strengths. Some large companies go to great lengths to try and demonstrate they are agile and entrepreneurial. Conversely, small companies tend to try and make everything look bigger with overstated titles and misleading language. Eventually it all sounds the same to candidates.

Companies would do better to play to their strengths. Today's candidates are sophisticated. They know that over their career they will have a variety of jobs and work for a diverse group of employers of all sizes. As the article cited below points out, they are most interested in culture and growth, and these can be found in companies of all sizes.

Smaller companies have a great story to tell because they provide a broader experience and, perhaps most importantly, they provide better access to leadership, which is invaluable in an increasingly entrepreneurial society. Larger companies have an equally strong, though different, story to tell. They are incredible training grounds and offer access to great technology and projects with amazing scope.

Great talent will probably want to try both at some point. Companies should focus on what they truly have to offer instead of trying to be everything at once.