Should You Trust Glassdoor Reviews?

Should You Trust Glassdoor Reviews?

“I wish I could leave my former employer a review, so that everyone knows what a terrible employer they are.”

Have you ever had a thought along these lines? Well did you know that nowadays, leaving a review on your former employer is something that a lot of people do?

Thanks to a website called Glassdoor, the former employees of any company can now leave a review of their time working there, letting any prospective employee know the good and the bad that might come to them during their time there.

But can you really trust Glassdoor reviews? Let’s find out.

What is Glassdoor?

Glassdoor was first established in 2007, as a company ratings website. It compiles company reviews and real salaries anonymously to help prospective employees get a feel of the company that they are considering joining.

The founders of the website got the idea when one of them told a story of leaving an employee review form for a company he worked for on the printer, and what would happen if the results were revealed to the public.

How do Glassdoor reviews work and can you trust them?

So now that we understand what Glassdoor is, now let’s get to the meat of the question. Are Glassdoor reviews trustworthy, and should you take it into consideration when choosing your next employer?

The short answer is, no. You should not assume the information provided is accurate. Why? Here are a few reasons why you should not take Glassdoor reviews as 100% accurate. 

  • No verification process for reviews

For a company review website, one thing that should be considered important is the verification process for the reviews posted on the website.

First, we went to Glassdoor themselves to see what they say about their verification process.

In the terms and conditions, the company says that, “considering the reality of our digital age, however, we’re unable to fully confirm our users’ identities, the truthfulness of their contributions, or their employment status.” This means that Glasdoor themselves admit that they can’t verify the truthfulness of their reviews. 

And this is the general consensus online as well. According to several articles, Glassdoor actually has no real way of legitimately verifying reviews. The only thing they can do is run the review through their content moderation team, and if it seems real, they will allow it to be posted on their site.

  • Reviews can be super outdated

The way Glassdoor works, they encourage their users to post reviews on their former employees.

In fact, Glassdoor requires its users to post a review every 12 months, in order to navigate the website and view any company reviews.

This creates a situation where users will post a review on a former employee, no matter how much time has passed since the user last worked with the former employee.

Combined with the fact that Glassdoor doesn’t remove older reviews, this can create an unsavory situation, where a company is judged for how it was in the past.

Now this is not ideal, because let’s say a user posted a negative review for a company that they worked with five years ago, you might think that the company still has those issues, even though a lot can change in five years.

  • People tend to post more negative reviews

According to studies, people tend to write negative reviews more than positive reviews.

In fact, the White House Office of Consumer Affairs said this about negative reviews;

“A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4-6 people about their experience,”

Judging from this, it’s safe to say that when you’re going through the Glassdoor reviews for a particular company, you’ll see a lot more negative reviews than positive reviews.

Which means that even a bulk of negative reviews might not mean that a company is a horrible place to work at.

  • An ‘alleged’ history of manipulated reviews

Research from a blogger named Gergely Orosz stated that after layoffs or a slew of negative reviews, companies tend to set their HR department to correct said reviews, and improve their company’s ratings.

This is done by flagging negative reviews on Glassdoor, and asking current employees to write glowing, positive reviews to improve their ratings.

In fact, our research on Glassdoor also led us to a number of websites that offer “negative reviews removal service”.

Websites like Removify and this one right here offers services to delete negative reviews on Glassdoor for any company that pays them, so that the company will look more appealing to prospective employees.  

  • The ratio of reviews to employees are very skewed

And finally, another reason why it can be very hard for anyone to trust Glassdoor reviews is that there is a massive imbalance in the ratio of reviews to employees.

Although there might be 10 negative reviews for a company, the company might have more than 200 employees. Which means that there is a possibility that the negative reviews are just from the loud minority.

For example, let’s have a look at Petronas’ Glassdoor page. From the reviews page, you can see that there are around 3600 reviews for the company, and 25% of it rates Petronas under three stars.

But if you look closely at Petronas’ page, you will see that they have more than 10,000 employees, which means that the reviews might not paint the true picture of working at the company.

What is Glassdoor good for?

Judging from everything that’s been listed above, you might be forgiven for thinking that the information on Glassdoor is more fiction than fact.

However, that is a bit unfair on Glassdoor. So in this section of the article, let’s look at what Glasdoor is good for, and how you should be using it.

1) It can be a good mirror of what is going on in a company

Although we’ve already covered how Glassdoor reviews can be manipulated to make a company look good or otherwise, Glassdoor can still act as a window that allows you an inside look of a company.

Look for a common issue in the reviews, and don’t forget to bring that up during the interview session, so you can hear how the company addresses it. If the company straight up dismisses it or ignores the question, then you can take that as a massive red flag.

2) Helps provide key insights and information of a company

Other than just reviews from past employees, Glassdoor also provides prospective employees with key insights and information about the company from other aspects, such as the company culture, average salary for each role, and what to expect from the job.

Crowdsourced career information can provide a snapshot of what is happening on the ground as its views provided by the employees.

So with this resource, job seekers can be equipped with more information than ever before, even before stepping one foot into the company’s buildings.

How to use Glassdoor

And finally, we get to the part of how you can utilise the Glassdoor platform effectively.

To be honest, it’s pretty simple and straightforward. All you have to do is collate all the necessary information and any issues that stand out and use it to have a meaningful session with the company when you go for the interview.

In the age where information reigns supreme, Glassdoor does a good job of ensuring that no candidates go into their employment interviews without the necessary information.

Now all you have to do is just use the information that is given to make an informed decision on whether a company is good for you or not.

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