When looking for a new position, most jobseekers start with a specific job title search.

But with more Australian companies approaching (and poaching) skilled talent, what should you do if you’re presented with an opportunity before knowing what you want?

It’s worth looking at the full picture when searching for a new job or deciding to accept a recruitment offer. This means evaluating the company – not just the job description – and how the company’s priorities could impact your own career aspirations.

Read on for our expert tips on how to choose a company to work for that’s right for you.

Start by making a company search checklist

There’s no need to aim for the most lucrative job or prestigious title when choosing the right company for your success.

Instead, search for a company where you’ll thrive, work with great people, and have fun in your role. When you’re more satisfied in your position, you’ll be more productive and realise your full potential.

What industry do you want to work in?

Firstly, consider the industries you’ve already worked in.

Did you enjoy your time with companies in those sectors? Would you prefer to stay in an industry you already know, or are there others you’re interested in?

Another option is speaking with friends or colleagues about their experiences in different industries.

Ask them which industries you should research further and which to avoid altogether.

What do you want from your next job?

Next, weigh up your “must-haves” for choosing a position.

Think about your long-term career goals and what type of company or industry will give you the best chances at achieving them.

But also consider the day-to-day factors that make the difference between a great job and one you simply endure.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of projects, people, and environments drive me?
  • What new skills or career development opportunities do I want?
  • Where would I like to be at the end of my career?
  • What quality of working life do I want along the way?
  • Do I need flexibility with my work hours and location?
  • Is a high salary more important to me than great employer benefits?

Related: Need some help with your career planning? Read our tips on setting and achieving your career goals.

How to identify what kind of company you want to work for

Employers can be loosely categorised into three groups:

  • Multinational corporations (MNCs)
  • Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), which account for the majority of all Australian businesses
  • Start-ups that fill niches

Each type has certain features, so there’s no one-size-fits-all.

Because no matter how attractive a job offer might seem, if you’re more comfortable working with 100 people, it’s unlikely you’ll be satisfied in a company of only 10.

Consider what business structure will offer you a work environment that suits your career priorities, personality, and personal preference.

Pros and cons of each company size


MNCs are generally well-known companies with large operations bases that tend to pay well, have better benefits, and offer the best job security.

You’ll have the opportunity to specialise in your field and perhaps have the chance to travel around the globe for work. You may enjoy the more structured working environment of an MNC and having a manager on hand to support you.

However, MNCs can be quite disconnected. You won’t know most of your fellow employees, and since you’ll mostly work with other people in your field, it’s harder to get varied exposure to all the moving parts of the business.


SMBs are, by definition, companies with no more than 200 employees or an annual turnover of $250 million or less. If you like autonomy, variety, and multitasking in your work, you’ll appreciate the flexibility offered by most SMBs.

These smaller companies can often be more agile and innovative in their decision-making. SMBs usually have more of a team spirit. Plus, you may achieve faster career progression as competency and achievements are more easily recognised.

Yet, there’s generally less formal staff training, and graduate schemes may not be offered. Instead, you may be required to learn independently or on the job.

Related: Discover the key differences between working for multinationals and SME companies.


Start-ups are new businesses that haven’t yet hit the five-year mark. They may be young but are generally designed with a scalable business model in order to expand rapidly.

You may enjoy the hustle and constant innovation found in start-ups. Most have a casual environment and flexible working arrangements. Plus, they may offer more opportunities to acquire new skills or shine.

Nonetheless, the constant drive to produce new offerings might wear some employers down. And given that not all start-ups succeed in the long-term, your job security isn’t guaranteed.

How to choose a company to work for based on your career goals

Career development

Most jobseekers are keen to join a company that can provide valuable opportunities for professional growth. If this sounds like you, look closely at the type of promotions, skills developments, training programs, and career pathways a company offers.

Knowing that your talent will be nurtured at a particular company will boost your motivation and benefit the whole organisation.

Signs to look out for:

  • Does the company promote their ongoing learning opportunities?
  • Are they known for attracting top talent?

In the interview:

  • Ask about their skills training options and leadership opportunities
  • Find out what processes the company have for promotions

Work-life balance

With full-time employees spending nearly 2,000 hours at their job each year, it makes sense to prioritise the work-life balance companies offer.

Search for one that values work-life balance to help you meet your full potential and develop your career progression.

Signs to look out for:

  • Can you find positive employer feedback on review sites and social media?
  • Do they draw attention to their great work-life balance on their careers page?

In the interview:

  • Ask if the company offers flexible working hours and locations
  • Find out about the employer benefits they offer to improve work-life balance

Team culture

If you’ve ever been in a toxic work environment, you’ll know how exhausting it can get. Even if you love your role, trying to achieve your career goals in an uncomfortable workplace is likely to be difficult.

So, look for a company with a positive culture and consider what team environment will be the best fit for you.

Signs to look out for:

  • Do they have a solid reputation with plenty of positive employee reviews?
  • Does the company highlight their low staff turnover rate?

In the interview:

  • Observe the interactions between employees and overall vibe of the workplace
  • Ask about what’s important to you – whether it’s collaboration, independence, flexibility, or new challenges

Role responsibilities

Perhaps the job description of an open role is a little vague. Or you’re searching for a different position as part of your career progression.

Only by researching the specific role responsibilities will you get an idea if a company is a good match for your career goals.

Signs to look out for:

  • Does the job description call for a candidate with a varied skill set or certain expertise?
  • Will the role offer both meaningful challenges and career progression?

In the interview:

  • Ask if employees and teams tend to work autonomously or collaboratively
  • Find out if the role has clearly defined tasks, performance markers, and career pathway

What’s next?

Now you know how to choose a company to work for, your job search can be based on more than just salary or position title alone. Because when you’re more thoughtful about your next career move, everyone benefits.

Why not check out the Australian position currently available on our job board: