How to pick a great employer

Thinking about your next career move - useful blogs

There can be little more disappointing than realising you’ve just taken the ‘job from hell’. This may be a realisation that takes time to dawn upon you – even years – so better to avoid the problem early if possible.

As with so many things, research and preparation are vital, but so is an ability to see and act upon the warning signs. Before it’s too late….


You can be attracted to a new employer for a number of reasons: the salary; the brand; the perks; the travel – all of which you may have heard about from the organisation’s own promotional blurb or simply from your own assumptions – which, if you’re not careful, can often be ‘rose-tinted’. So, you should beware.

Carrying out research might seem obvious to most, but there’s a chance that it’ll be focused purely on the role itself – rather than the environment. In other words, the job may look fantastic but it’s anything but. It’s rather like booking into a stunning-looking hotel with a wonderful view at the front, only to find that your room is at the back and there’s a resident cockerel next door that starts up at 06.00! (A quick visit to TripAdvisor might have alerted you to that one..)

What you want to avoid, of course, is finding out too late that you’ve made a huge mistake. Yes, there will usually be a mutual probationary period which will allow you to duck out gracefully within 2-3 months of starting – but a) why give yourself the hassle and b) you now face the problem of what to put in your CV; or do you just try to ‘bury’ it?

OK, so you’ve been called for a first interview and there will be certain tell-tale signs to look out for. If you’ve had a chance to do so, try to gauge the mood and culture in the office. A happy place? Or not? Is/are the interviewer(s): Punctual? Aware of you (e.g. have they read your CV?) Friendly? Willing to take time to explain things to you? If any of these are a negative that can be a bad sign. You might also ask to meet some of the people you’d be working with. For any number of reasons, they may say that this is impractical but, if so, you may wonder if it’s true. If you do manage to meet potential colleagues – excellent; and if they give a thumbs up, even better. But then you may have to read between the lines…

Clearly, you’ll want to know about your prospects within the organisation and if your questions about this are met with vague answers. This may signify a woolly policy about employee advancement and engagement or, worse, disguise a hidden agenda of uncertainty regarding the prospects of the organisation itself! Beware.

Of course, a good employer will be able to offer a good record of accomplishment of success and achievement, a workforce who will be happy to share their success with you and, at interview, a feeling of engagement and positivity. Companies and organisations tend to succeed because of the people who work there, and they are as good a measure as any.

Check out the businesses website to see if they have won awards and/ or been accredited by their professional trade association – if not why not ? Websites like Glassdoor and Linked IN can give you an opinion as well on a company’s culture……do they live their values or just laminate them! 


Not all employers are bad. In fact, very few are. But we can see that it makes sense to be prepared and it’s better to read the situation for what it is and perhaps realise you’re about to make a big mistake. Use all the resources at your disposal and be prepared to distinguish the bad from the good. Another – and better – opportunity will almost certainly come along anyway.


Key Points

  • Research the company or organisation
  • What may look brilliant at first sight very often isn’t
  • Check the interviewer(s) for signs of arrogance! and incompetence!
  • Find out about your (and their) prospects
  • Speak to existing employees and potential colleagues

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