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Brett Mooney is the president and chief executive officer of American Express Canada.

As someone who has made a few measured moves throughout my career, I have learned a thing or two about the importance of finding an employer that is a good fit for you.

Factors like salary, title and location are undoubtedly significant when you’re considering a role at a new organization, but there are other more nuanced (and often overlooked) criteria to evaluate before you sign on the dotted line.

What I’m suggesting is a mindset shift for those on the hunt for a new role. Get comfortable with thinking about the interview process as a two-way street. While they’re evaluating your suitability for the role, you should evaluate their suitability across factors that will ultimately shape your career and future.

And it seems right now might be an opportune time to take a closer look. Our annual Amex Trendex report that looks at how Canadians are feeling across a range of categories reported that 36 per cent of adults are looking for a new job at a different company this year, with one in five admitting to feeling not supported by their current employer.

It’s easy to look at the immediate benefits of switching companies, but don’t forget about your long-term career goals and whether the organization in question can help you achieve them. Here are five criteria that support a holistic approach to evaluating a new opportunity.

Do they have a strong leadership team?

Whenever you’re looking at a new role or organization, the first thing you should focus on is the quality and calibre of its leadership team.

Strong leaders are invaluable because they set the tone for the entire organization, including its mission, vision, strategy and ways of working. Leaders who inspire the confidence and trust of their teams create workplaces where employees feel motivated, energized and empowered to do their best work.

Employees will also feel more secure and reassured in their roles when they can count on their leadership team to make sound business decisions and have their back, which is incredibly beneficial for a company’s employee retention and stability. I’ve led with this criterion as incredible leaders offer accelerated development and build cultures of inclusion and empowerment which not only enable you to grow faster, but in the right direction.

Does their company culture align with your values?

Culture matters. When you’re researching a new employer, look deeply at their culture and values. You can usually figure out what these are by visiting the company’s website and social media channels, but I’d also suggest you find someone who currently works there to gain their perspective.

For example, if the potential employer encourages teamwork and collaboration in an open-concept office and you’re an introvert who works better on solo projects, it may not be the best match.

In my case, I’m someone who has made continuous learning a priority and I work best in flat organizations – not hierarchical structures – where it is about the quality of the idea, not where it came from. I also enjoy working at organizations that constantly ‘bring the outside in’ – leveraging external market insights and customer listening posts to drive strategy and investment decisions.

Is the business headed in a strategic direction that you’re on board with?

You should ask yourself whether the company you’re interested in is set up for the trajectory you’re looking for in terms of success and growth orientation.

To figure out an employer’s strategic direction, consider their overall mission and long-term goals. What are they trying to achieve? And what are they doing to reach their goals? Are they making progress? If their current strategy isn’t working, what are they doing about it?

If you’re unable to determine where an organization is headed, it may not be one that you want to hitch your wagon to.

Will your well-being be supported?

Emerging from the pandemic has brought many lessons into focus, its lingering impact on mental health at the forefront. How an organization has developed these learnings into lasting commitments can tell you a lot about how much they will value your well-being today, and in the face of future challenges.

Unfortunately, many Canadians don’t feel their employers have learned from the extraordinary set of circumstances we faced. We recently conducted a small survey that found 53 per cent of employed Canadians are seeking on-site counselling services at work, where only 16 per cent stated their workplace offers this support – revealing a disappointing gap.

I offer this advice from a privileged position. In 2023, American Express Canada made further investments in colleague well-being, introducing free in-office counselling with a registered psychotherapist. This in addition to recently enhanced access to digital mental-health resources, have placed our colleague base in a well-supported position.

The last handful of years have taught us we live in a more uncertain world than ever. Do the policies of a future employer give you confidence that they will support you in both good and harder times?

Will there be growth opportunities?

When considering a role at a new employer, find out whether they offer opportunities for growth and development. Not just jobs and promotions. Think through what growth opportunities would be most helpful for you based on the experiences you need to continue your career journey. Focus on acquiring durable skills – meaning knowledge and expertise which will stand the test of time and make you more marketable over the course of your career.

These opportunities can include things like mentorships, skills training, job shadowing or exchanges, talent management programs, opportunities to attend conferences and subscriptions to learning platforms.

Taking advantage of these offerings can help you feel more excited and empowered in your role as you grow within the organization and advance your career.

While you can’t always predict what your career journey will be, there are extra steps you can take to ensure you’re moving in the right direction. Evaluating a potential new employer using a holistic set of criteria should be one of them.

This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about the world of work. Find all Leadership Lab stories at and guidelines for how to contribute to the column here.

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