Behind the Smiles and Small Talk: Is This Company a Good Employer?

While salary, benefits packages and location often top job seekers’ priorities, your relationship with your employer can sometimes be overlooked....

Harry Dibbs
Harry Dibbs
8 min read Reading Time
16 March 2022 Date Created

While salary, benefits packages and location often top job seekers’ priorities, your relationship with your employer can sometimes be overlooked. In reality, how you get on with your boss, your colleagues and your new company’s culture can have one of the biggest impacts on your career progression – not to mention your mental health and well-being. 

That’s why it’s just as important to find out if a company is a good fit for you as it is to convince an employer you’re a good fit for them. Here are some factors you should consider when evaluating a potential workplace.

Check the Stats

One of the issues with assessing a company’s working environment is that many people assume it’s a qualitative evaluation, rather than a quantitative one. But it’s not just the vibe or atmosphere of an office that can give you clues to its culture. There are distinct metrics you can ask a potential employer for, that will tell you a lot about how they run their business.

  • Staff retention. A company’s staff turnover rate should give you a big hint as to how it treats its employees. Yes, there are always exceptions, but an employer with a high turnover rate probably isn’t doing enough to keep its workers happy. 
  • Client retention. Similarly, if a company has a high turnover of clients, you might want to steer clear. Low client retention could indicate an issue with any products or services the company is selling, or it could highlight potential communications or performance problems. 

Assess Company Values 

You’re going to be happiest when you’re working for a company whose values align with your own. It sounds obvious, but lots of candidates don’t learn about an employer’s ethics and standards until it’s too late.

Here are some things to look out for:

  • Do they have an employee charter or culture manual available online? 

A company’s culture manual is a great place to learn about its values. A good charter should outline what you should expect as an employee and what is expected of you in return. 

  • How upfront is the job listing? 

Vague job descriptions waste everyone’s time. If a company isn’t being upfront with you about the salary, responsibilities and expectations of the role, it might be time to consider what they’re hiding.

  • Do they have a Careers page with benefits? 

Transparency is vital in the hiring process, and decent employers will make the advantages of working for them easy to find. Look for a Careers page on their website and see if company benefits are clearly listed.

  • Can you check social media? 

A company’s social media account can be a window into its day-to-day life. It’s a great way to check out if the workplace looks nice, whether the team seems sociable, if the company organises any team activities and if they openly celebrate and appreciate team members. 

  • Does the company align with your political and social views?

We’re not saying you have to vote the same way as everyone in your office, but a company’s values can include its commitments to issues that might be important to you. Do they have an environmental charter? Do they contribute to, or work with, any charities? Assess what’s important to you, then look for an employer who agrees.

Listen to the Word on the Street

There’s no better indicator of a company than how it’s talked about by people who used to work there. 

The most obvious place to start looking is Glassdoor. If you haven’t used it before, Glassdoor is a company review site – a bit like Tripadvisor for the employment sector. It allows both current and former employees to leave reviews of a workplace. They can list pros and cons of working for the company and give it a star rating overall. You can also search reviews by job description, so you get a clear picture of what your role would look like. 

Glassdoor isn’t the only source of information, though. Look for any comments or reviews of employers on their social media sites (both from employees and customers). Check how they respond to any negativity on their social channels. Have a look at LinkedIn to see if there’s anyone in your network with connections to the company. You can also send a polite InMail to previous employees to ask for their opinion.

Know What You Want

As we mentioned earlier, a big part of assessing a company’s suitability is knowing your own values and requirements. Some qualities are universally good in a company, but others are subjective. Here are just a few important factors to consider:

  • Big or small company? 

Do you prefer being a small cog in a big, busy team, or do you want to work in a smaller company with a close-knit group and a variety of responsibilities?

  • Individual tasks or teamwork? 

Do you enjoy collaborating with others or do you prefer to be left alone to get on with your job?

  • Office life or remote working?

Does your potential employer offer flexible working opportunities like WFH? Is remote working a dealbreaker for you?

  • Bustling workplace or quiet office? 

Do you enjoy being surrounded by noise and activity while you work, or do you need peace to concentrate?

  • Home at 5.00 or social life? 

Do you prefer to keep work and life separate, or do you enjoy socialising with your colleagues? 

  • Peaceful location or busy surroundings? 

How do you like to spend your break time? Would you be happier in a quiet location where you can get some peace, or do you want a central location with shops and activities on your lunch break?

Once you know what’s most important to you, you can be upfront with your recruiter about your needs, and have a wealth of questions to ask any potential employer. Of course, sometimes the answers won’t be what you want to hear. But it’s better to find out sooner rather than later. 

Take the Detective Work Out of Job Hunting

The easiest way to ensure you’re talking to the right companies is to work with the right recruiter. They will care just as much about your needs as they do about a company’s. At Bristow Holland, we do everything we can to work with clients and candidates on a personal level and bring together companies and talent that we know will be a great match for each other. 

Contact us today to see if we can find your perfect match.