Stop Obsessing Over Glassdoor Reviews, Try This Instead…by Diane Klementowich on February 5, 2019 in MindSpring News
Are you part of the 82% of people who turn to online reviews before making a purchase? For many, turning to reviews has become somewhat of a reflex. If someone craves pasta they pick up their phone and spend a good hour scrolling through Yelp. If they’re in the market for a new smartwatch, they’ll read five pages of reviews before making a purchase. When searching for the perfect job, they turn to Glassdoor – but can these reviews really be trusted?
One misguided Yelp review and you miss out on some delicious carbonara. Putting too much stock in a Glassdoor review, however, could cause you to overlook your ideal position. What’s a job-seeker to do? We break it down below.
Read Glassdoor Reviews with a Grain (or a Handful) of Salt
I’ll start out by saying that Glassdoor reviews, or any employer reviews for that matter, are a useful job search tool. They should be one of many stones that you turn when researching prospective employers, not an end all be all. Here’s why you should be wary…
- Virtually anyone can leave a Glassdoor review for any company. Yes, you read that right. You could hop right on any company’s Glassdoor page and say whatever you wanted about their company culture, pay, benefits, or management without ever having worked for them*. There’s no realistic way for Glassdoor to conduct verifications on their users, so aside from needing a valid email address, people are free to let their imaginations run rampant.
*With great power, comes great responsibility.
- People are more likely to leave a review after a bad experience. Just like consumers, employees have certain expectations that companies need to meet. When they do, they feel satisfied but don’t often feel the need to tell the world about it. However, when their expectations are not met or they feel wronged by a company, they leverage the power of the internet and share their story with the masses. Think about it this way. If an under-performing employee is let go to free up budget for high-achievers, they’ll likely feel some resentment even if the company isn’t to blame.
- One employee can post dozens of reviews. Just as people will create multiple email accounts to up their chances of winning a contest or to snag a new member discount, nothing is stopping them from making multiple Glassdoor profiles. And without a solid verification system in place, it’s unlikely that anyone will find out “Bill” posted twelve different Glassdoor reviews using twelve different email addresses dramatically skewing his company’s average rating. C’mon, Bill.
- Users are encouraged to review positions they’ve held within the past five years. Companies are continuously evolving. From new leadership to new human resource initiatives, it’s unlikely that someone’s experience from five years ago is representative of a company’s current culture. Companies experience “glow-ups” too, and these reviews tell them what directions to go.
A More Reliable Way to See If a Company is Right for You
Instead of relying on anonymous Glassdoor reviews to write-off potential employers, you should wait until you have a chance to speak to someone directly from the company during an interview. Give them a chance to answer your questions and address any concerns. As a start, follow the steps below.
- See a job that matches your skills and interests? Apply. If a position sounds right up your alley from the job description and you feel genuinely excited about the opportunity, don’t hesitate to apply. There’s only so much you can learn about a position without actually speaking to a recruiter – don’t miss the chance to hear them out.
- Dig deep into their website and social media channels. After you’ve applied for a job and are waiting for a recruiter to review your application, you should take a deep dive into their online presence to see what you can uncover. Do they have a clearly defined mission and purpose? What are their company values? Do you align with them? Do their social channels give you a glimpse into their culture? Jot down aspects that stand out to you in both positive and negative ways.
- Read reviews and categorize prominent themes. As mentioned, while Glassdoor reviews shouldn’t be a deciding factor, they are a useful tool in your job search. When reading reviews, do you notice any themes? Perhaps a handful of reviews warn about lackluster benefits and demanding expectations while others boast an engaging culture and quality leadership. Write these down along with your notes from step two and develop a list of questions you have about the company.
- Ask your peers. Skim through your LinkedIn connections – do you know anyone who has held a position similar to the one you’re interested in? Ask them what their day-to-day was like, what they loved about the position, and what they wish they could’ve changed. To take it a step further, you could leverage your network to find someone who actually works for the company you’ve applied to. What better source than current employees who know the ins and outs of an organization and aren’t hiding behind an anonymous review?
- Address potential concerns during your interview. After you hear back from a recruiter (whoop whoop!), your list of questions comes into play. It’s important to remember that interviews are a two-way street and a chance for you to make sure a company is right for you. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions, including asking why the role is open or why the last person left the company. The recruiter will likely be impressed that you did and welcome the chance to discuss any concerns with you.
If your concerns are still lingering after speaking with someone from the company, that’s ok! Not every company will be a match, and with the process above you can confidently say you did your due diligence to find out. But, hey – we have a feeling your ideal position is right around the corner.
If you’re planning your next career move, our recruiters here at MindSpring are ready to help. As we work to connect you with your ideal position, transparency is a guarantee. Check out our open positions.
Diane adds to the balance of work and play at MindSpring. A founding Principal, she manages our temporary staffing group and helps drive strategic initiatives for the firm. She fosters strong relationships with new and long-standing clients, and guides the team as we facilitate placements. Like all MindSpringers, she is quick to celebrate the achievements of others and generates team spirit.
On her off time, her inner child is kept busy playing and running around with her young daughter. Her adult self enjoys cooking and binging the latest Netflix phenomenon. Plus, people naturally treat her like she’s the person secretly writing Dear Abby, coming to her when they need advice both in and out of the office. In a second life, she’d love to host a talk show!