Finding information about a company is an important part of a job search and interview prep process. Reviews of employers by former employees can be a great tool to find those insights. But, is Glassdoor the best place to find those insights? And, what should you do with that information? Here is everything you need to know about Glassdoor reviews and how to use that insight in your job search.
What is Glassdoor?
Glassdoor is a website where employees can anonymously review their companies and bosses. With over 60 million monthly users, Glassdoor has become one of the most popular resources for people looking for jobs. Employers are also taking notice - in 2019, 96 percent of employers said they used or planned to use Glassdoor to recruit candidates. It's a useful resource for job seekers, because it gives you candid insight into what it's really like to work at a particular company.
However, it's important to take those reviews with a grain of salt. Just like any anonymous website, there will always be reviews that are false. So how can you tell if the Glassdoor reviews are accurate?
How to Spot an Inaccurate Glassdoor Review
You can't always. And, the reviews on Glassdoor aren't always honest or reflective of what it is actually like for people working at the company. Here are a few signs that a review might not be telling the whole story:
The Review is Anonymous
One of the biggest problems with Glassdoor is that anyone can leave a review anonymously. This means that there's no way to tell which department or location the person worked at (if they worked there at all). And, you can't know when the person worked there when the review is anonymous. All of this means that the review might not be reflective of what it is actually like to work at the company.
The Review is Extremely Negative or Positive
While it's not impossible for an entire company to have a really bad (or really good) day, it's highly unlikely. If you're reading a review and it seems too good (or too bad) to be true, chances are it is. Look for reviews that strike a balance and provide both positive and negative insights into what it's like to work at a company. These are usually the most accurate and helpful reviews.
The Reviewer Has an Agenda
Some people use Glassdoor as a platform to vent about their personal grievances or advance their own agendas. If you're reading a review and it seems like the reviewer has something to gain (or lose) by writing it, take it with a grain of salt. The same goes for reviews that seem overly negative or positive - they might be written by someone with something to prove.
Typos or Errors
If a review is full of typos or grammatical errors, chances are it's not accurate. In addition, if a review sounds like it was written by someone with a vendetta against the company, it's probably not reliable.
Consider the Source
Of course, it's also important to take into account the source of the reviews. If a company has mostly positive reviews on Glassdoor but mostly negative reviews on other sites, that could be a sign that the Glassdoor reviews are not accurate.
Think About Who Leaves Reviews
The people most likely to leave a review on Glassdoor are those that have left the company or that want to leave the company. They are also not the people at the top of the organization. Practically, this means that you're more likely to see negative reviews than positive ones. So, take the number of positive and negative reviews into account when you're reading them.
Nothing Stops Multiple Reviews By the Same Person
Currently, there are few tools that stop someone from entering multiple reviews about a company. This means that someone unhappy for whatever reason can opt to leave a number of negative reviews. So, keep this in mind when you see multiple negative reviews that are similar around the same dates.
No Employee Verification
In an effort to encourage reviews, Glassdoor does not have employment verification steps in place. That means that there is no way to know for sure if the person leaving the review ever actually worked at the company. So, take that into account when you're reading the reviews.
Incentives for Positive Reviews
Glassdoor officially prohibits employers from incentivizing their staff in leaving positive reviews. But, there are no ways currently for Glassdoor to stop this practice. So, if you see a company with a lot of positive reviews around the same time period, it could be because they were incentivizing their employees to leave them.
These are just some of the things to keep in mind when you're reading Glassdoor reviews. Remember, take them with a grain of salt and always consider the source.
What Candidates Should Do
Look for Reviews with Specific Examples
If the reviewer provides specific examples of their experience working at the company, chances are the review is accurate. This is because it's difficult to make up specific examples that would be believable to other people.
Look for a Pattern
Don't rely on any single review. Instead, look for patterns across all the reviews for a company. For example, if multiple reviews mention the same negative aspect of working for a company, chances are there's some truth to it. Similarly, if there are consistent positive things mentioned about a company that matters to you, then make sure to keep that in mind as well.
Do More Research
In addition to reading the reviews, take some time to research the company. Look at their website, read their mission statement, and look for news articles about them. This will give you a more well-rounded view of the company and what it's like to work there.
Ask Someone You Know
One of the best ways to get an accurate picture of a company is to ask someone you know that works there. If you have a friend or family member that works at the company, ask them about their experience. They'll be able to give you an insider's perspective that you can't get from anywhere else.
If you don't have any close connections at the company, make sure to reach out to the people in your LinkedIn network to find someone that does work there. These acquaintances are often surprisingly helpful and will likely be most objective in the insights that they share with you.
Ask About Your Concerns in the Interview
You will be asked at some point in an interview if you have any questions. Use that opportunity to ask about your concerns that were found on the Glassdoor reviews. This will show that you're thoughtful and informed. Plus, it will give you a chance to get clarification directly from someone that is working at the company now about the topic.
Get Professional Insights
You can also work with a professional career coach or recruiters to get real insights about a company. Companies like The Contingent Plan work with lots of people and they have insights about companies that no one else will have. Working with professionals will not only give you additional insights about a company but it can also improve your ability to land the best job for you.
These are some things that you can do to get a more accurate picture of what it's like to work for a company, even if the Glassdoor reviews aren't always accurate. By taking the time to do your research, you can be sure that you're making the best decision for your career.
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