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What to look for in an employer

If you are considering making a move soon or you are currently in Job Search Mode, there are some important decisions you will need to make prior to accepting an offer. We spend a big percentage of our life at work. The last thing you want to do is work in a company where your career aspirations are ignored or where your values are conflicted. Here are some tips that will guide you during your search.

Culture fits your values and interests

In a job search focus on company qualities that mean the most to you. There are three key traits to look for in an employer. Whether the company culture fits your values and interests, if the company offers career development and a good work-life balance. It is important to thoroughly research a company before applying to get a good idea of their management style and organisational values – you can gain a good perspective of this by talking to current employees. This will allow you to develop a comprehensive list of questions to ask at your interview to see if the employer is the right fit for you.

Work life balance

Some companies expect their employees to work long hours with little time off. Other companies by comparison are more supportive of family time. Do they allow flexible work hours so that you can care for family members? During the interview make sure to ask about your expected schedule and working from home options. Companies should offer maternity/paternity leave to men as well as women. There are job-search and career websites where you can check online surveys regarding employer job satisfaction.

Career development

Does the company offer a chance to grow? If you want to build your career within the company you will want to check if the company offers career path opportunities to current employees, or if they bring people in from outside of the organisation for senior roles.  If you are a more mature job seeker, what attitude do they have toward career aspiration of older workers?

Before your interview speak with others in the organisation or department that you have applied for about their career. What levels they advanced to and how long it took. Ask the employer to describe the typical career path for your particular job. If you are seeking further training and skill development check to see if that is something the company offers.

Other considerations

Management style

What sort of management style do you thrive on? Do you prefer to be self-reliant and take your own initiative or would you prefer someone supportive who can act as a mentor and help you navigate the position? Talk to people within the company even if they are in different departments to get a good perspective of what kind of management style you can expect.


Research the company’s average salary, whether they offer bonuses, profit sharing or other benefits and compare this to your desired salary. Sometimes the company won’t offer what you desire to start with but might have a future position you can work towards that does. There are many websites where you can find this information such as ‘Glassdoor,’ Seek or Indeed.


You should always consider your future plans when applying for a company and where you will be coming from. You want your current employer to be profitable, well established and ethical, free from any legal problems. Does the company have consistent earnings and sales growth? Take into consideration any economic impact or bad quarter. By checking news articles in local paper or trade journals you might find details about their performance if the company is privately held. You also want to ensure it is a growing industry one that is not adversely affected by new technologies and market shifts.

If you take the time to prepare and think carefully about what information you learned during your research and interview, you will be more likely to make a smart decision when deciding to accept a position or not.

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