Sounds good, right?
Glassdoor is like Yelp for employers. And like Yelp, Glassdoor has its fair share of users that like to turn a review into a soapbox, ranting about their bad experiences. Everyone knows to take online reviews with a grain of salt… but let’s be honest: these sites often end up acting like the wall in a high school bathroom rather than providing honest insights about a given company.
Why Evaluating a Company Based on Glassdoor Reviews is Ineffective
Everyone wants to do their due diligence before signing on with a new company. And on the surface, Glassdoor seems like a good way to understand a company’s culture, salary potential, people, and job security. But when you encounter reviews with titles like “Deceptive, unethical, poorly managed, no sense of direction” or “Working here is psychological torture,” it’s hard to prevent them from influencing your perception.
Rarely are reviews written by current, content employees. This is because current, content employees don’t feel the need to be on a site that’s designed for people seeking employment. As a result, the majority of the reviews on Glassdoor are written by former employees or people who have interviewed at the company.
Emotionally-charged negative reviews are unreliable because of the kind of person that leaves said reviews (you know the type)… and elated, overly-positive reviews are probably fake. How many people do you know that have written positive reviews on Glassdoor?
Fake News, or Rather, Fake Reviews:
No Accountability = No Credibility
The real problem with Glassdoor is simple: It’s anonymous. HR departments can pay Glassdoor to subsidize anonymous ratings and salary surveys, and anyone can write reviews. You’ll never know what you’re reading, because what you’re reading depends on who is writing it.
Glassdoor markets this as a pro to their service. But without accountability, no user can/should take any review seriously.
Many people use the site to find overarching patterns of commonalities across reviews, and that could provide a base-level of insight. But because any given review is unverified, any salary data is unverified, and any review can be falsely positive OR falsely negative, it’s probably a waste of time altogether.
Glassdoor makes money from job postings, using reviews as a sort of bait and switch tactic. They get you on the site and then show you other job opportunities; the reviews are merely a means to an end.
An Alternative Route to Glassdoor
Due diligence on a potential employer is different than an online purchase, and you should treat it as such. Save online reviews for your next purchase on Amazon. Instead, when evaluating a potential employer, turn your search to LinkedIn:
- Talk to a former company employee to understand the cons of the company/the driving forces that caused the employee to make a change.
- Talk to a current employee to understand the culture and the kind of people that work there.
- Talk to the company’s customers/vendors to get an industry-wide view and to gain a better understanding of the company’s brand to outsiders.