Choosing a New Employer

Changing employer mid-career can be a challenging affair and in my experience mistakes are often made because not enough consideration is given to the company itself. Choosing a new employer within the field of financial services and similar industries can be especially tricky considering the eclectic range of reputations, professionalism and cultures. You must do your research thoroughly and learn as much about the company as possible before beginning the process, rather than at offer stage.

Why is choosing a new employer so important?

Making the wrong choice in employers could affect your entire career trajectory. For instance, choosing the wrong employer and leaving due to workplace culture mismatch, personality conflicts, or because you find out too late that their reputation is questionable, can impact your resume, professional reputation and ultimately your career. What are some things to consider before choosing a new employer so that you enhance your career prospects?

Research Thoroughly

Learn as much as you can about the company, their website is a good place to start, but don’t stop there.

You can learn a lot about an employer by reading about them on reputable company review websites. However, you need to consider that all companies go through cultural change and some employees can be averse to changes so beware of those comments that are bitter or not objective. The best way to get up to date feedback is by using your network, you may know someone who currently works there or friends of friends who do, you are more likely to get up to date and objective comments this way.

Look at the company’s LinkedIn profile or group (where applicable). Since not all companies allow employees (past or current) to share anything about the company on review websites due to non-disclosure or privacy rules, their LinkedIn profiles can be a helpful research asset.

Use financial statements, media releases and the ASIC website to look for anything like compliance breaches or financial issues that might be attached to the company but again this shouldn’t necessarily prevent you from considering them. You can always approach this subject in interview and the answers you get will go a long way to making your mind up for you!

Company Culture

Most employers strive to create a company culture that works to employees’ advantage – in fact, companies are becoming more and more competitive in this realm. Company culture essentially relates to the atmosphere of the workplace. Is the culture friendly, engaging, and supportive? How does that fit into your own ideals for your career?

Most want to work for a company with supportive management that doesn’t micro-manage them. For example, if you’re an independent self-starter, pay attention to language used in job descriptions, on the website, or in LinkedIn profiles that promotes that kind of culture/attitude.

Do you like companies that promote from within? Most companies happily share that information on their website and in their job descriptions and you can evidence on LinkedIn profiles.

Knowing about the company’s culture helps you learn whether they are a fit for your career goals and personality and saves you time when choosing an employer.

Avoid Accepting the First Job Offer

Avoid being desperate in your job search. Don’t take the first job offer that comes along unless you have attended interviews for other roles. If you need to keep an offer on hold whilst you finish the process with other opportunities be upfront and honest about this. Any reputable company will be accepting of this as long as you explain the timeframes involved and show that you are keen on their opportunity. If they aren’t accepting of this you need to question whether their culture is right for you, this is too big a decision to be pushed into. Of course, if you are 100% certain this is the right job for you go ahead and accept!

At offer stage it’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of the company and the offer itself before jumping on board. If you are working with a reputable recruiter they will be able to help you with this process, however if you think they are serving their own interests or trying to push you into accepting speak with someone you trust, preferably who works in the same industry.

Essential Elements to Consider

Any Human Resources professional will tell you there are essential elements job seekers are looking for when choosing a company to work with. Examples of these elements include:

  • Public Image – How a company looks in the eyes of the public is a direct reflection on you as an employee, so look at their public image. In particular, look at their corporate social responsibility, vision, integrity of their top executives, mission, anything else about them in the news, and their values. People seeking a career care about the public image of the company they work with.
  • Career Growth – Talented professionals are looking for a company that invests in them. Companies that offer professional development and training options help boost your career growth. These companies also promote internally and apply a productive and supportive company culture. These same companies also attract top talent.
  • Compensation – Getting paid what you’re worth should be among the essential elements of an employer. Whether that means better benefits, bonuses, allowances and incentives, or simply higher base pay, job seekers want to know how much they’re going to be paid for their work.
  • Flexibility – Many top professionals are seeking at least some flexibility in their schedules for various reasons. Some want the ability to work from home some days and some want flexible hours. A flexible schedule allows employees to balance and adjust their work-home balance according to their needs, within reasonable parameters. Top employers know this practice garners less stress and higher productivity.

It is just as important to use reliable and reputable resources for your job hunt as it is to investigate potential new employers. If you are using a recruitment agency to help you find a job, make sure they’re acting in your best interests and are truly industry specialists in your field. Be aware that internal recruitment teams and HR professionals have a vested interest in securing your services so will probably not be a good source of advice.

Doing your due diligence when choosing an employer will make the difference between succeeding in your career or leaving behind several jobs that can damage your job stability record. Choosing the wrong employer could also put blemishes on your reputation if the company is attached to anything that is questionable, unethical, or even illegal. Doing your homework pays off, again and again.