how do you know career advancement is really a possibility?

Knowing if you can grow and develop with a new employer is important

You’re sitting in a job interview and you’re excited because the position sounds fantastic - more responsibility than your previous role, values that align with yours and an experienced and intelligent manager. But there’s one thing you’re not quite sure about - whether career advancement is really possible with this employer.

The ability to move up in a role is a vital aspect to consider when you’re evaluating job offers. This is why you need to use the available evidence to work out whether you have a shot at moving up within an organization.

Examine current workers’ histories

One of the first things you can do - even before your job interview - is check out the company’s existing employees and examine their work histories, particularly those in the department you’re looking to join. Have they been at the business in question for a long time or are they typically more recent joiners?

Look at whether the senior workers currently employed by the business have moved up in their jobs from more junior positions or if they’ve all been shipped in from other companies. Use the firm’s ‘meet the team’ page as well as LinkedIn to establish who works for the company and take a look at their experience. Do they have a number of different companies listed before they landed at the one you’re considering? This could be a sign that its workers don’t progress.

You should also utilize your own connections to see who you know at the company, according to career coach Alison Doyle. Go through your social networking connections to learn who you know, and then ask them about their insights and whether progression is a realistic possibility.

Ask the hiring manager about their experience

Another way of determining the company’s career path is to ask the hiring manager about theirs during the interview. Find out how long they’ve been at the company and what their career path looks like leading up their current position. 

This will clue you into whether they worked their way up from a junior position to end up where they are now or if they were brought in to fill their current position. As well as making you appear engaged and interested in the position and the organization, asking the right questions can give you the information you need to determine whether it’s the right role for you.

You can also ask the hiring manager directly about whether there is room for progression in the position on offer. However, there is no guarantee that the response will be completely genuine, so carefully evaluate their response.

Look at the company’s financial and market position

External factors can also help you establish whether there will be room for progression within an organization. Examine whether the business is in a strong financial position as this can inform you of whether there is potential for the business to grow. A market leader will likely be expanding and adding new roles, while a less successful competitor may not have the resources to do so.

A growing business is more likely to present opportunities to progress within it, so it’s a good sign if the company is in this state. Use your interview to ask where the business is heading and what it might be doing differently in a couple of years, questions Jo Miller, founder of Be Leaderly, advises asking to establish opportunities for growth in your career.

When the company is in a strong financial position, there will likely be opportunities for growth. But if there are questions over its future, this is both a sign that you likely won’t see a great deal of career advancement and that you should reconsider any employment at this company.

If you’re unsure, in an interview, honesty is always the most advisable method of approaching the situation. Inform the hiring manager that progression is one of your priorities and if their response is not what you had in mind, then the opportunity is likely not right for you.