Glassdoor.com is a website that people can use to evaluate companies to work for.
Believe it or not, it is one of the most well known company review sites. In fact, it’s one of the only ones that people mention when I ask about this. And I have asked dozens. But is it legit? Should you trust what it says about a company? And how can you use it to its maximum potential?
Whether you are a potential job applicant, an executive, or founder, this guide will be very useful to you.
Note: This is NOT a “Glassdoor for Dummies” guide that goes over every little, unnecessary thing.
Understand and Beware Of Vote Manipulation
Let’s start here. Glassdoor’s portrayal of a company can be off. It could be much better or worse than it seems on there. Of course, Glassdoor will never tell you this because they want to be the forefront authority. There are cases where:
- Only the bad employees bother to log on to Glassdoor to negatively review a company.
- A majority or all of the reviews are from current employee members that were asked (and sometimes pressured) to review their company by their boss.
One rule of thumb is to see how many reviews were left and the size of the company. The smaller it is, the easier it is to be off base.
Potential job applicants should not always be quick to pass on a company, especially if it is small and has less than 20 reviews.
Sometimes, the people who are most likely to leave reviews are only the ones who are tech-savvy and had a negative experience with the company. Some companies may be great to work for.
A smaller company could also have a much more positive image displayed on Glassdoor because they paid for it or purposefully manipulated how they looked.
Although it is rarer, this could be the case even for large companies.
A warning sign is if most or all of the reviews come from current employees or interns. They could be pressured from leaving any negative reviews.
Talk To Many Past Employees
If you really want a good lay of the land, reach out and talk to past employees of the company in person or on the phone.
In person is the best as you get a more direct relationship. The worst is through email or LinkedIn message, although they are still fairly good.
A past employee is more open to telling you the truth about how a company was like because they do not work there anymore and have experienced it.
It’s important to get multiple perspectives (at least 5 or 10) because a single person’s perspective could be skewed based off a unique experience. Also, you want to avoid people who were fired because they may have a excessively negative bias.
Talking and learning from real employees can give you a deeper understanding of the company rather than a few paragraphs on Glassdoor.
Focus On True Long-term Value
As a top executive of a company, you should focus more on actually creating an awesome company to work for rather than short-term things like a good impression on Glassdoor.
Rather than focus on getting good reviews through voting manipulation, you should look to create a great company to work for and the good reviews will naturally follow over time.
Having said that, there could be employees that could give you good reviews that are just unaware of the website. The website can sometimes be negatively biased because only the negative or tech-savvy individuals bother to search it out.
The question is if you want to spend 15+ minutes of 100 employees work time on doing a review. That’s a lot of man hours you have to pay for.
I would suggest sticking to the ethos of transparency, honesty, no pressure, no bias, and real long term value. Therefore, maybe you can send an optional email to employees requesting them to leave an anonymous review on Glass door on their own time if they choose to do so, emphasizing no pressure or bias to leave a positive or negative review of any kind.
Be open to constructive criticism as an executive or manager. Read the reviews on Glassdoor to see what you can improve upon and work on improving it.
There are common themes among the complaints on Glassdoor that are easy to pick out. You are going above and beyond many businesses who do not even bother to look at what they are doing poorly and improve on it.
Here’s an example of an article written by an employee of Sumome. When you really have a great culture, some things just cannot be lied about. The article gives picture proof of the open bar they have on Friday’s, the freedom to work from where they choose, and examples of their free lifestyle.
Read Many Reviews To Get A Good Sense of The True Dynamic
As I mentioned, you have an edge over other businesses if you spend time looking at reviews as constructive criticism to see how managers and the system can be improved. Most people don’t do that.
As a potential applicant or employee, this can be very important too.
It’s important to look at many or most of the reviews (at least 15) to get a more extensive understanding of the landscape and pick out common themes.
Many people stop reading after 1 to 3 reviews of a specific Glassdoor website. This can a bad thing because a single review could be very biased and not representative of the whole picture of what it’s like to work at a company.
With 15+ reviews, you can pick out common themes in the Pro’s and Con’s of a company. When you see this constantly being mentioned like “gossipy culture and politics”, there’s more of a chance that it is true.
This article was not written or influenced by any other party other than my own personal opinions and discoveries.
As you can see, Glassdoor can be a useful tool in understanding what it’s like to work for a company. For smaller companies and start-up’s, it is sometimes the only good tool out there to learn from current and past employees.
Having said that, voting can be manipulated by overly negative employees that were fired or by the company themselves by pressuring current employees to leave a review.
Be cautious of what is said on there. Although it is very helpful, it is not the 100% accurate picture of a company.
Red flags include less than 15 reviews on Glassdoor, mostly current employees and interns leaving reviews, or mostly negative reviews from people who were let go.
Other than Glassdoor.com, you can use LinkedIn and your personal network to reach out to former employees of a company. By getting a sample size of at least 5 to 10 past employees, you can get a better understanding of the company culture.
As a business owner or executive at a company, you can use Glassdoor as constructive criticism for things you can work on improving. Most people don’t even bother doing this so you rise ahead of the crowd over time.
Look to common themes that keep popping up among many reviews. These things can be used to improve on as they are more likely true.
Rather than focusing on short-term gains like vote manipulation on Glassdoor, look to actually improve the company culture so that great reviews naturally follow in the long term.
Occasionally, you can send out optional requests to leave reviews on Glassdoor to your employees. Make sure you emphasize that there’s no pressure or bias so they leave honest reviews. This is useful because you’re getting a more honest understanding of what’s happening to learn from and you’re letting employees who don’t know about the website to leave reviews, thus balancing out the reviews from the tech-savvy or overly negative.
Have you found anything useful from using Glassdoor with incredible results? I’d love to hear about it.