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Job Search: Potential Employer Comparison and Selection Criteria


Suppose you received two job offers. How do you make the right choice? What are the comparison criteria you should use, and, most importantly, which criteria should be given a priority? It goes without saying that priorities depend on how you visualize your long-term career development, which you have most likely already thoroughly planned.

And now, based on the plan, you will easily find your way in the maze of career development by gradually making right choices. The value of long-term planning is in setting exact priorities: "within the next 2-3 years it is more important for me to get experience in managing cross-functional projects than to get promoted; it is more important for me to improve my skills in financial analysis than to get a boost in compensation". Today I would like to discuss the criteria to be used when choosing a new employer, and to dwell upon finding information about the company that got back to you with a job offer.

The criteria for evaluating a potential employer fall into 6 major categories:

  • General criteria
  • Top executives
  • Direct supervisor
  • Team
  • Processes and structure
  • Compensation

The position level (specialist, mid-level manager, or top-manager) usually implies interest towards specific categories. As a top-manager, you will be interested in transparency of decision making process at the board of directors, you will inquire about the weight of your function in the company and the general strategy of development.

Whereas for those who are just starting their career, it will be more important to see the team spirit and to find mutual support within the team; you may want to understand the process of setting goals and evaluating results in the target department; you may be interested in personnel rotation and the opportunity for personal and professional growth. Let us analyze the “General Criteria” category which deals with the company as a whole.

  • Guaranteed employment stability
  • Clear objectives on organizational level
  • Transparency of decision making on organizational level
  • The company’s prestige, HR brand awareness
  • Dynamics of company’s development and growth potential
  • Traditions (openness, degree of trust, employees involvement)
  • Social and ecological responsibility
  • Compliance with subordination
  • Business process efficiency
  • Assigning areas of responsibility within the company (transparency of logics applied when assigning areas of responsibility – who is responsible for what, and why)
  • Availability of best practices, leading methods and approaches

Such criteria give you an opportunity to evaluate the company in general and to decide if this or that company suits you in this particular case. The next category to be discussed is “Top executives”:

  • Honesty of top executives, employees’ trust in the company’s top executives
  • Ethic principles of top executives
  • Level of mutual support in top-management team, team spirit
  • Professionalism of top-management
  • Recognizing merits and appreciation of achievements made by top management
  • Orientation towards improving top-management team
  • Personal liability
  • Involvement
  • Encouragement of best practices under top-management initiative

Considering criteria from this category is of vital importance not only for top-management, but for the whole company, because such criteria as employees’ trust in top-executives, professionalism, involvement, encouraging best practices, and some other criteria have a direct impact on the company’s business progress in general. The next assessment category is “Direct supervisor”:

  • Approach to leadership
  • Personality type
  • Loyalty to the company and involvement
  • Self-motivation
  • Team development
  • Weight of his/her function or department within the company
  • Delegating responsibilities
  • Respect and ability to acknowledge achievements
  • Clear expectations, clear objectives
  • Fair evaluation of performance results
  • Openness to cross-functional interaction

The direct supervisor’s personality is the key factor for determining your perspectives for growth and development within the company. Nevertheless, the team you are going to join is by no means less important:

  • Professionalism of team members
  • Competitiveness and rivalry within the team
  • Mutual support within the team
  • Honesty and trust
  • Team’s dynamics
  • Friendly environment within the team
  • Involvement
  • Delegating responsibilities within the team
  • Availability of tools and conditions necessary to achieve the goals
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Respect and recognition of achievements
  • Determination and openness towards new approaches, methods and interaction types
  • Career growth potential

Processes and structure determine efficiency of the team and the amount of effort put into achieving the goal:

  • Availability of precise, formulated and approved business processes
  • Efficiency of currently used methods
  • Most effective ways to distribute tasks between team members
  • Clear and concise functions / areas of responsibility for each employee in dept

The following factors should be considered in the first place when analyzing compensation guidelines:

  • Transparency of compensation guidelines and structure (policies and rules are clear and cannot be misinterpreted, the structure transparency eliminates all questions)
  • Fixed and variable pay is clearly defined
  • Rules determining variable pay are clear and are not to be changed with a short notice
  • Variable pay is linked to your performance (your performance affects variables measured). Variable pay amount is justified and is contingent on personal performance measured within the target period

When considering compensation package, it is important to understand that it consists of material and non-material compensation in form of workshops, social benefits, employment assurance, achievement recognition, introducing innovations you recommended, being assigned a key role, growth potential. After arranging criteria for assessment in orderly categories you may think of obtaining more information about the prospective employer. The methods for information search will be discussed in a separate article called Information Search about Prospective Employer. euro casino

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