The Truth About those Company Review Sites Like Glassdoor

If you are in job search mode you are probaly visting sites like Glassdoor or Indeed forums to read reviews of potential employers. But you should be aware that not all you read is true. We asked our network what they tell job seekers when it comes to knowing the truth about your next potential employer. Here's what they said.

Susan Strayer LaMotte, Founder at Exaqueo says job seekers should consider Glassdoor as one of many resources. "The best thing you can do is use it to give you a sense of sentiment and then through networking and the interview process, validate how spot on the sentiment is."

Chadd Balbi, Featured Blogger at The Undercover Recruiter: "Take it with a grain of salt. A lot of these comments can be made my disgruntled employees who are biased. If you see the same messages communicated in multiple posts they may have some validity to them. But ultimately you shouldn't be basing a career decision off of a website that does not require verification of truth for the comments being made."

Kyle Jones, Corporate Recruiter at C Spire: "A candidate should never rely on a single source when researching a company. Instead, use multiple. Also, pay attention to the date of the review. If the negative review was in 2009 and all others are positive....look for patterns."

Misty Sutton: "I encourage candidates to read all of the reviews. You're going to see people who are happy and people who have gripes about the company. There's a level of reality in all of what you'll read, whether positive or negative, and once you read through all the positives and negatives you probably have a good, balanced feel about the company."

Dustin Carper, Digital Strategist at TMP"I think you need to look at the content of the review. If there's a review that is overwhelmingly positive or negative, then obviously that's a disgruntled employee or *cough* an HR person. Reviews that mention both positive and negative are the ones you should pay attention to."

Steve Marsden: "Does anyone know what "real truth" is? What is "real truth" with regard to yelp? or any "opinion" section of any site (i.e. amazon). you look at what others have to say, mix it in with your own acquired common sense and skepticism formed over a lifetime of experiencing the consequences of believing and acting on what strangers have to say about something that youre interested in, and then you make your move. What else can one do?"
Jeff Snyder: "The best way to get a gut-check on a company as a prospective employer is through direct connections who have worked there. First step in reconnaissance is to check LinkedIn to see who you are connected to who has worked there. When that well turns up dry, I do occasionally recommend people look at Glassdoor for insight on employers but only with the caveat ... many/most of the people who take the time to post comments are expressing grievances. People don't as often take the time to post just because they like their employer. Glassdoor can provide some helpful details and questions to address, but when reading strong negatives I encourage validating that info and being sure to get commentary from someone who does not have an axe to grind."
Geoff Brooks, Recruiter: "Candidates often ask me how much they should believe when they find information on sites like Glassdoor.  I encourage my candidates to pool all of their research.  There is no doubt in my mind that with just about any on-line resource, you’ll find truth.  However, on-line resources also carry false information just as LinkedIn and Facebook have false profiles (I’ve found many).  I strongly encourage my candidates to use LinkedIn for research. I usually don’t have to tell them to do this as I work primarily with security, risk, compliance and privacy professionals.  By nature these people have high IQs and they’re generally quite paranoid by nature.  They do a good job of doing due diligence on companies but they sometimes need assistance to do better research on specific people such as hiring managers.  I think most people still quit “bad managers” rather than quitting “bad companies”.

So there you have it. Perhaps the best way to get the unvarnished truth is from former employees who you approach directly rather than reading reviews of what may or may not be the truth. Find them on social media (especially LinkedIn) and ask them why they left. In the end it's really up to you to do your homework.