Are you a “Crumb-Cleaner?”

Written by: Catherine Stier

The President of one of the companies we work with used this example to explain why “large company” folks didn’t typically work out at his 70-person company. “When I’m walking by the kitchen” he said “and there are crumbs on the counter, I will grab a paper-towel and clean it up. No one in this company is too good for any task.”

A few years ago, the general consensus seemed to be that “large companies are more stable, small companies are too risky”. Now that we see large companies are buying each other, merging, spinning off, and changing just as much as the smaller companies are – that objection to working for smaller companies hasn’t come up as much.

In the pharmaceutical industry – we’re classifying companies as “small” if they have between 1 – 500 employees.

More recently – we’ve received objections from our clients “This person has worked in large companies all of their career” or “We don’t think they’d fit into a small company like ours”. If you’re interviewing with a small company, here are some points to consider.

Points to consider while interviewing with a small company:

  • When asked what you’ve done or how you were involved in a project, use “I” instead of “we”. A lot of times using “we” can make it seem like you’re used to an abundance of resources or that you haven’t been as hands-on yourself. “We” also doesn’t give a clear picture of what exactly your contributions were
  • Make sure to acknowledge if you haven’t worked for a small company before and that you understand the differences EX: fast-pace, wearing many hats, cost-conscious , etc.
  • Show interest in getting to know people personally. Most of our smaller clients are very informal during interviews. They want to know that the person they are hiring is someone that others will enjoy working so closely with every day.
  • Remind them of the benefits of coming from a large company. You’ve learned so much, you have a strong network. You can bring your knowledge, and maybe even your network, with you!
  • Be genuine! Remember, small companies don’t like red tape and bureaucracy. So, if you’re interested, don’t wait to tell them in a thank-you email. Tell them in person that you want the job!

Good luck with your interview! If you need some extra pointers, or want to help me add to this list, reach out to me any time! Catherine at