Knowing if you can grow and develop your career with a new employer is an important consideration when deciding whether or not to join a new employer.

So much so that jobseekers put career progression in the top 10 most important factors for choosing an employer, according to the latest Randstad Employer Brand research.

here is a common scenario.

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

The ability to move up in a role is crucial when evaluating job offers.

But how do you know if you have a shot at moving up within an organisation? Look at the cold, hard evidence. 

examine current employees’ histories

Smiling woman looking away from computer screens displaying financial information.
Smiling woman looking away from computer screens displaying financial information.

One of the first things you can do - even before your job interview - is to check out the company’s existing employees on LinkedIn and examine their work histories, particularly those in the department you’re looking to join.

have they worked at the business for a long time, or are they typically more recent joiners?

Look at the leaders currently employed by the business and their bios.

  • Have they moved up within the company from more junior positions?
  • Or have they all been shipped in from other companies?

Use the firm’s ‘meet the team’ page and LinkedIn to establish who works for the company and look at their experience.

  • Do their profiles show that they have had more than one role within the company? If the answer is no, this could be the first sign that more senior employees aren’t promoted from within.

You should also utilise your connections to see who you know at the company.

Go through your social networking connections and ask them about their insights from working at the company.

Ask about the company culture and whether career progression is a realistic possibility.


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ask the hiring manager about their experience.

woman and man holding coffee having a friendly chat
woman and man holding coffee having a friendly chat

Another way of learning if the role you’re applying for has a future career pathway 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 looked like leading up to their current position.

This will clue you into whether they worked their way up from a junior role or if they were brought in from outside to fill their current position. It is always a good idea to prepare these questions in advance.

Not only will it make you appear engaged and interested in the role and the organisation during the interview, but asking the right questions can also give you the insights to determine if the company is right for you.

look at the company’s financial and market position.

Group of office workers in a conference room while a man is on the phone outside
Group of office workers in a conference room while a man is on the phone outside

External factors can also help you establish whether there will be room for progression within an organisation.

  • Use annual company reports (if available online) to examine whether the business is in a solid financial position, as this will usually mean there is potential for the business to grow.

A market leader will likely expand and add new roles, while less successful companies may not have the resources to do so.

A growing business is more likely to present opportunities to progress, so it’s a good sign if the company is in this position.

  • A company’s annual report should also state if they have active policies to promote people from within the organisation - always a good sign if they do! 

Again, you can also use the interview process to ask the interviewer what the plans for growth are or how they believe their business might evolve in a couple of years.

When the company is in a solid financial position and if they have clear plans for the future, there will likely be opportunities for career growth.

Suppose the answer you receive during the interview or your online research is inconclusive. In that case, there is nothing wrong with stating clearly that career progression is essential to you during the interview.


Being open about your aspirations with the hiring manager allows them to either put your mind at ease by stating clearly that career progression could potentially be in your future. Alternatively, they can also use the opportunity to be clear that career progression is not an option. 

That puts the ball in your court, and you can make an informed decision about whether you want to progress with the job application or whether you want to invest your time and skills with another organisation more amenable to your career goals.

To learn more about the job application and interview process, visit our job seeker toolkit page on our website.