17 Mar 2019

Employer Reviews...

I was chatting to a new candidate recently and I'd sent him a shortlist of digital agencies to look at.  The agencies all had live vacancies and so I'd advised him to take a look at the websites and social feeds so that he could get a general idea of the clients and the culture of each agency.  When we reconvened to review which roles he was interested in, he surprised me with his own shortlist which had a couple of glaring omissions.  When I asked why, he cited that he had done his own 'due diligence' and looked up the agencies on the website Glassdoor.  I'm afraid that was a bit of a new one for me so I hotfooted it to my laptop and started checking out the website.    Now, what I'd say, is that there are some agencies with lots of reviews and there are some agencies with absolutely no reviews so I don't think it can be considered a definitive tool for job hunting, however, I was a bit shocked. If this is a growing trend, then employers do need to watch out.  I'm sure that as with all reviews online, there are some which are accurate and some which are not and I definitely got the impression that some reviews were probably posted by disgruntled ex employees.  But when it comes to job hunting, individuals are put off by any negativity when it comes to long hours, irregular salary reviews, lack of progression or poor management.  Plus, if there are many reviews which seem to give this impression, then it's often game over and the individual in question will decide to find alternative employers.

My guidance to candidates is usually to go and find out for themselves if they are interested in a potential employer.  In the past, I've found that the greatest barrier is when a candidate knows someone who knows someone else who has worked for a business.  If they weren't wholly positive - it can put people off that business for life. And obviously, they pass this onto all their friends and colleagues too.  This sort of Chinese Whispering can be very damaging for businesses and is often unfounded - again, remember those disgruntled ex-employees...I also genuinely believe that there is somewhere for everyone, and whilst one business might not suit one individual at all, it may be perfect for another.  

Back to Glassdoor.  I was chatting to a couple of senior in-house corporate people recently who said that their businesses and HR teams were actively campaigning for employees to leave (positive) reviews on the website.  Incentives may have been involved....and there are definitely more reviews for Corporate businesses on there than independent marketing agencies. 

I'd like to encourage job hunters to keep an open mind.  To be objective and to not rely on these online reviews.  Clearly, this is something I'll be keeping an eye on and I am sure that employers are too.   I do believe that Feedback generally is important....but I do wonder at the motivation for some of the individuals who go to town with their online negativity.   Make up your own mind whether you trust these anonymous folk and trust your own judgement!