How to Spot a Good Employer

Before you accept that job offer, think back on the interview process: Did you notice any of these green flags?

portrait of Meg Embry
by Meg Embry

Published March 21, 2022

Edited by Giselle M. Cancio
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How to Spot a Good Employer


The pandemic dramatically changed the way we want to work. So what does a great employer look like now, in 2022?

The Economist predicts 2022 will be "the year of the worker." Soaring demand for labor continues to tilt the balance of bargaining power in favor of workers who are on the hunt for better pay, better benefits, and more flexibility.

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Ready to start your journey?

But even when the odds are in your favor as a career changer, it can still be scary to jump into a new job. Luckily, there are ways to spot a great employer before you've even received an offer.

We spoke to nearly 100 hiring managers, recruiters, and career-changers to hear what makes for a great job at this moment in history. Here are eight signs to look for during the hiring process.

1. Competitive Pay

According to the American Workforce Index for 2021, compensation continues to be the top reason people are looking to change careers.

Historically, changing jobs has always been a good path to a higher salary. And job switchers are doing especially well in the current market: CNBC recently reported that people who change careers enjoy a 4.3% average increase in wages, while folks who stay put only see wage gains of around 3.2%.

In a job seeker's market, employers should be offering competitive salaries. If a company boasts ping pong tables and free food but cuts corners on compensation, that's a sign you should probably keep looking.

2. Robust Social Safety Net

The pandemic raised the bar when it comes to benefits: workers are tired of being vulnerable to catastrophe and expect their employers to look out for them. A third of hourly workers say they would quit their job for one with better benefits, especially:

3. Emphasis on Mental Health

Speaking of benefits, many companies are taking the mental health of their workers more seriously than ever. Nearly 40% of employers took steps to expand access to mental health services by:

But according to a Modern Health survey, many executives admitted that they took these steps for the sake of optics rather than the well-being of their employees. And while nearly 90% of executives recognize the importance of mental health for company culture and productivity, some 60% intend to return to their pre-pandemic mental health policies in the future.

Companies that continue to provide robust mental health support will really stand out from the crowd in 2022.

4. Hybrid or Flexible Work Options

Companies that listen to their employees will provide flexible work options and the tools required to make working remotely possible.

While some 35% of companies want employees to return to the office full time, 70% of workers say they aren't willing to do that.

According to the 2021 American Workforce Index, "Workplace flexibility and the ability to manage one's schedule around their work is set to be one of the permanent shifts from the pandemic, with workers listing the ability to work remotely the second highest priority and 'I can do my work while still having other time for things I care about' as the fourth-highest priority."

While some 35% of companies want employees to return to the office full time, 70% of workers say they aren't willing to do that.

5. Strong Lived Values

Nearly 50% of career switchers say they are leaving their jobs in search of a more meaningful life. Working for a company that prioritizes doing good in the world can be a step in the right direction.

How did this company show up in the world during the pandemic? How did it respond to needs in the community? How did it adapt their policies, work structures, and benefits to protect and support employees?

Many organizations have inspiring mission statements, but actions speak louder than words: look for evidence that a company is living out those values in meaningful ways.

6. Prioritizes Continuous Learning

Along those lines, respondents said to look for companies that invest heavily in the training and development of their employees.

As we continue to shift into a skills-based economy, workers can't afford to let their skill sets go stale. Look for employers who provide tuition reimbursement, have cross-departmental training programs, and facilitate internal mentoring and coaching.

7. Secure, Happy Employees

This one can be tough to judge since folks tend to be on their best behavior during the hiring process. But our respondents said there are three easy ways to evaluate the level of trust and satisfaction within a company:

  1. Consider employee turnover rates. Low employee turnover usually indicates a pretty healthy work culture. Happy people stick around. High turnover can indicate internal problems or employers who don't value their workforce –– like that guy who fired 900 employees over a surprise Zoom call during a global pandemic. Major red flag.
  2. Read employee reviews. It says a lot when past employees have positive things to say about a company they no longer work for.
  3. Reach out on social media and ask people individually about their experiences at that organization.

8. Clear Communication

Employer communication has always been important, but that's even more true now when so much about working in 2022 is still up in the air.

A streamlined interview process that never leaves you hanging or wondering what to do next is a great sign.

Also be sure to ask how the company handled internal communications throughout the pandemic regarding COVID safety protocols and return-to-work policies, as well as what they will do differently in the future based on what they've learned. A great employer will have ready answers to those questions.

If you keep these ten items top-of-mind in your career search, you should have no trouble spotting a great job in 2022.


Feature Image: Thomas Barwick / DigitalVision / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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