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How to choose between startups and corporate companies?

When looking to change jobs, several criteria come into play, such as salary, career development, or missions.

But… Do we take into account the size of the company? 🤔

To include the scope aspect in the decision-making, one must first have a clear vision of the benefits and challenges of working in a startup or in a large company.  

Image by © Sean Pollock via Unsplash

 min read
How to choose between startups and corporate companies?

Although both environments are conducive to significant professional learning and skills development, there are certain distinctions between the two different-sized businesses. Let's give them a look!

Different sizes for different objectives

🌱 Startups

As its name indicates, it's a company that launches and starts its business in a market that does not ensure certain profitability, by innovating the activity and reinventing the way of doing things. It is commonly focused on growth.  


🏢 Corporate companies

This type of business companies try to make a maximum profit to ensure its development and make its shareholders profitable. It operates on a well-defined and studied market.  


Different environments for different ways of doing things

The recruitment process 

It's the very first difference between the two environments that takes place well before the integration of the employee in the company.

In order to find the right candidate for the role, both organizations focus on the qualifications necessary for the successful completion of the tasks.  


🏢 Large companies are looking for people who are quickly self-sufficient and will easily evolve.

🌱 Startups value the personality, special differentiation, and added value of the candidate in terms of innovation and character in order to foster a strong corporate culture.

They usually spend the time necessary to find the right person for a job because for a fast-growing entity with limited resources, a candidate in the wrong position can be costly to the company. 

In this sense, it is more likely to have in the recruitment process with a startup, a situation or informal stage for the candidate to release the pressure and show their real personality.

ℹ️ In our team, we provide a step during the recruitment process for the candidate to meet the whole team, so that both parties can see if the opportunity is a good match for all.

This ensure to always have the best working environment because its strength comes from its corporate culture.

As a company, we always try to bring together people who share the same vision of work-life, to have a motivated and united team!


The onboarding 

The onboarding is a very important step in the recruitment process, that can condition the rest of the candidate's experience within the team.


🏢 This step is generally more organised and done over a longer period of time in large companies. The processes have been implemented over time and are reviewed continuously, but also the human resources and materials are available to allow a more coordinated induction.

🌱 For startups, this step might be more complicated to plan in the long-term, which can lead to a stressful situation to manage when several people join the team at the same time. Though, new employees get into the swing of things more quickly and learn by doing, which makes them quickly independent

ℹ️ We always involve our different departments in the onboarding of new employees, which creates a form of connection from the very beginning and the full involvement in the team, promoting a healthy continuity towards the company culture.


The hierarchical structuring  

🏢 A traditional hierarchical structure keeps a form of stability and coordination between the collaborators within an organisation. The larger the entity, the more one needs to have a hierarchy that is a little more defined, while still leaving some flexibility and room for action.

🌱 On the other hand, a totally flat structure is something that could be as categorical as a totally rigid pyramidal structure. The case of startups today is to have this type of structure that keeps a hint of hierarchy for the good functioning of the missions, but that gives a wide field to innovation and flexibility

ℹ️ We thrive on teamwork, and that is why we promote a flat structure that keeps the basis of a healthy hierarchy, where the lead can change according to the different projects within the organisation.

From one day to the next, a person can be in charge of a project that he or she has mastered and lead a group of people who were previously higher in the hierarchy. 

This gives everyone the power to excel and create content, to feel valued, and to know that they are trusted


The learning and the scope 

For both organisations, learning can be an ocean full of information to absorb. This does not depend on the size of the company, but rather on the corporate culture and leadership style

When the entity is focused on career development and increasing the potential of individuals, learning is always relevant

When we talk about scope, we can see a nuance of differentiation.


🏢 In large companies, the missions and scope of responsibility are quite well defined.

🌱 In the case of startups, the scope usually does not stop at what is predefined before. There is a bigger chance for an employee to cover more than their sphere of action in a startup than in a large company.  

ℹ️ At Ekkiden, your work doesn’t stop at the missions posted on the job description. You can take part in actions that do not concern your position, which can be an asset for your career development. 🚀 


The follow-up and feedback  

Follow-up is, again, a critical step in the employee experience and satisfaction. It is necessary to provide continuous and constructive feedback to employees in order to ensure performance.  


🏢 These actions are more likely to be done more frequently in larger companies due to the role of managers. The pyramid structure is clearer, allowing managers to monitor results and provide feedback when appropriate.

🌱 With a rather flat structure in startups, employees are led to be more autonomous and assume their responsibilities with less frequent evaluation. 

However, the follow-up and feedback can be done in a more offhand way through a rather average frequency by foreseeing team calls or a presentation of the achieved objectives at the end of the month in order to give feedback, to appreciate the achievements of each one, and to remedy the adjustments when it is necessary.

ℹ️ At Ekkiden for example, there are weekly calls with the managers to talk about the progress of the projects, but also about what everyone would like to change or have. It is extremely good to know that someone is listening if you ever need to express anything.


Salary range and working hours 

🏢 In general, salaries are higher in large companies, but again, this is not an exhaustive rule. There are startups that offer big bonuses and great packages. 

🌱 Before you imagine a career in a startup with the points mentioned before, you should know that being part of this type of company also means a lot of work.  

You must take into account the "startup spirit", which means to be in continuous brainstorming, to start several projects at the same time while giving the maximum of effort in each of them.  

Time is also valuable! This means that sometimes in order to get the job done, the working hours will not be very conventional.   


Now that you know more about the main differences about startups and corporate companies, you will be able to make your choice!  

  • You are more into innovation, taking risks, creativity, and above all, do you like the challenge of working from scratch alongside colleagues who share the same vision as you? Then a startup is a good choice for you. 

  • You are rather someone who prefers to work in a more structured environment with predefined rules and processes, which provides stability to ensure that you give your all in your job? Corporate companies are waiting for you!

In both cases, hard work will lead to a great career. 

If you are interested in Ekkiden’s vision...

Do not miss the opportunity to join our team in our offices all over Europe! You can find all our job offers here .