The internet can be a great resource for finding the job of your dreams. To learn more about what it would be like to work for your dream company, you can look at review sites like Glassdoor. This provides insight from past and present employees to compare salaries and employee reviews.
Are Glassdoor reviews reliable? While Glassdoor reviews can give some insight into the lives of employees, they’re not always reliable. Glassdoor doesn’t require users to verify employment before posting a review. Also, people don’t usually write reviews unless they have an excellent or horrible experience, so it can be hard to find an average review.
You can use Glassdoor to get better inside knowledge of a company before you are hired. However, you may have a very different experience than the reviews you read once you are employed. Good or bad, you should do more research into the company to determine if they are a good fit.
Can Glassdoor Reviews Be Trusted?
Finding a job is tough, and you want to know that you are choosing the best company for you. Reading reviews on Glassdoor can be a great way to learn more about a company you apply to work for. However, Glassdoor reviews don’t always tell the full story.
- Of course, some reviews on Glassdoor will come from current and former employees who give their thoughts on the job.
- Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell if reviews are from genuine employees. Anyone can create an account and post reviews.
- Also, people don’t tend to write reviews when the experience is okay. So, some of the reviews just won’t be useful.
- You also have to think about the size of the company. If the reviews you find are from a different department, they won’t indicate what you might experience on the job.
Clearly Glassdoor has some flaws. While these flaws are important to know about, that doesn’t mean that Glassdoor shouldn’t be used as a great resource. However, you do have to be more skeptical about some of the reviews you read.
If you have ever read reviews on Yelp, Amazon, or other sites, you may notice a lack of 3-star reviews. You might see a lot of 5-star reviews or many with only 1 star. If you’re still curious, think about what would make you write a review for anything.
When you have an average experience at a restaurant or with a product, you probably won’t take the time to write a review. If you have a mediocre job experience, you also may not put in the energy to write a review on the company.
On the other hand, maybe you had the best service at a local restaurant. Or maybe your boss at your last job was rude and didn’t know how to do their job. In either case, more people will want to share their experiences.
Whether you want to highlight a particular business or keep others from a bad experience, you write a review. But if you don’t have anything super good or bad to say, writing a review seems unnecessary. While good and bad reviews can be helpful, they won’t give you the full picture of an average day on the job.
Anyone Can Post
Amazon has verified customer reviews, which can help you determine how reliable reviews are. However, Glassdoor doesn’t have a way to check that reviewers worked for a specific company. You can create an account and write a review for any company, even if you’ve never heard of them.
Ideally, people would only review the companies they work for. But Glassdoor’s system can lead to some problems.
- You don’t need to show proof of employment to post a review, so you can review any company on Glassdoor.
- Because of this, companies can pay people to write positive reviews.
- On the other hand, companies can pay people to write negative reviews of their competitors.
- You can also create multiple accounts with different emails to write multiple reviews about a single company.
The lack of any vetting system makes it easy for anyone to review any business. All you need is a Glassdoor account, and you can post whatever you please. As you read through Glassdoor reviews, be skeptical of what you read. If you find something concerning, you can ask the company directly during an interview.
Another thing to consider when reading Glassdoor reviews is the dates when the reviews were posted. If all the reviews were from years ago, you have no way to know if the company is still like that. It doesn’t matter if the reviews are positive or negative, companies can and do change over time.
While more recent reviews can have problems, they’re more reliable than ones from many months or years ago. If you find an amazing review from five years ago, the job might not be as great now. On the other hand, a company could have improved the position, so an old bad review isn’t reliable.
Too Large to Tell
If you’re applying to work for a massive company, you should also look at the job title associated with reviews. The larger the business, the more varied employee experiences can be. While you might find an amazing review from an accountant, that won’t matter if you work in marketing.
- Along with looking for recent reviews, look for reviews with your job title.
- If you can’t find reviews on your prospective job, read through ones from the same department.
- Different positions in the same department may have similar experiences. Those reviews will be more reliable than those of other areas of the company.
Sometimes, you may not be able to find reviews from people who work in the department you apply to. Of course, you can learn something from reading a variety of reviews. However, you can’t treat reviews for another department as a good indication of what you’ll experience.
Opinions Over Facts
Everyone wants to find a dream job that is fulfilling and pays the bills. With the help of the internet, it’s easier than ever to research a company. Glassdoor reviews can be helpful when conducting that research, but they are subjective reviews.
Ideally, employees should include facts in their reviews, but a big part of it may be their opinion. It doesn’t matter if the company is small or large. Both good and bad reviews will include opinions from the employee writing it. Don’t let those opinions keep you from taking a job that you might like or that you would dread.
Find Out for Yourself
If you decide to read Glassdoor reviews, you could learn a lot about a potential employer. After all, a series of good reviews can be a great sign, and bad reviews can mean the opposite. However, you need to find out for yourself if you want to work for that company.
- During the application and interview process, come up with questions.
- While you shouldn’t bring up Glassdoor reviews, you can use them to ask the right questions.
- Perhaps you come across a company that has multiple reviews about poor management. In your interview, you can ask about what the management is like.
Before you take any reviews as fact, give the company a chance to share their side. No matter the issue, you will get the best answer from the hiring manager or recruiter.
Glassdoor is an excellent resource for finding jobs and learning about salaries. You can also use it to learn more about working at a company. However, you should remain skeptical of reviews and take your concerns to the business during an interview or on-boarding meeting.
Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Glassdoor’s Salary Estimates
The go-to resource for anyone curious about a new gig’s salary is Glassdoor, given the site teems with crowdsourced salaries for various positions at literally thousands of companies. If you take Glassdoor’s salaries at face value, then you’ll have a pretty decent indication of what this prospective job might pay. Right?
Maybe not. Because Glassdoor’s salary numbers are assembled through a combination of self-reported worker salaries and AI-generated algorithms that comb through millions of data points, there’s a big caveat hovering above most, if not all, of the payrolls presented on the website. (On rarer occasions, companies offer salary ranges themselves, though this information is typically closely guarded).
But without a big, trusted brand name to consult, how can you go about researching what you can expect to be paid for a newly found and enticing job? There are other tools out there, and just because they don’t have the sleek interface of a well-funded tech site doesn’t mean they’re not worth your time.
How do Glassdoor’s salaries work?
As stated previously, Glassdoor works on the honor system. This means former and/or current employees offer up their salaries of their own accord. That isn’t to say these employees have lied, or that the self-reported figures are inaccurate. But salaries that were accurate upon the time of reporting could have changed drastically by time you start your research.
Glassdoor’s reliance on machine learning to generate the big salary ranges for various jobs you’ll see beneath listings also makes it tricky to get a true understanding of the results. The company is pretty up front about this, writing on its FAQ section:
Glassdoor also wants to remind you that salary estimates are estimates. They do not represent guarantees of actual salaries and they are not necessarily endorsed by the employers. The purpose of salary estimates is to use predictive data science to provide job seekers a likely salary range so they can make more informed job decisions, and help employers recruit informed and quality candidates. For this reason, Glassdoor does not guarantee the accuracy of estimates.
Salaries change all the time
Moreover, because sharing salary information is still kind of taboo in the U.S., and companies aren’t enthusiastic about offering it publicly, it’s rare that companies will list theirs on Glassdoor. When they do, you’ll notice, because when “employers provide salary information, Glassdoor displays ‘Employer Est.’ on job listings,” the company says.
Salaries change constantly because of inflation, and the one reported salary you’re viewing might be lower (or higher) than the one you’re primed to receive, as location is a huge factor when it comes to calculating your pay grade. Someone in Davenport, Iowa isn’t going to be paid as much as a colleague doing the same job in Chicago, for instance, due to the higher cost of living in the larger city.
Moreover, salaries can vary broadly within the same job title. Occasionally, people stay in a single job for a number of years without receiving a promotion, but still get pay bumps, whether it be through merit or annual company raises. Job titles also frequently aren’t indicative of anything concrete, meaning two people with the same title at different companies could have wildly different roles and pay grades.
As Rush Recruiting and HR explains:
Peers may have the same role on paper, but that doesn’t mean that they actually have the same job. Companies may adopt common terms such as “marketing manager” or “senior marketing strategist”, but their hierarchies can apply different seniority to these titles.
One word of advice: Salary listings are often a bit more accurate at bigger companies. More employees usually indicates a higher degree of crowdsourced data, not to mention uniformity across the board.
Alternatives to using Glassdoor
It never hurts to ask people who used to work, or who still work at a company you’re looking to apply to. Talking about money is important when it comes to finding a job and creating a workplace conducive to positive morale, and a lot of workers—whether they’re acquaintances or friends—will probably be happy to share with you what the pay is like.
Alternatively, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics is a good resource. Take it for what it is—a giant repository of government data—and go from there. The BLS uses data collected by employers, which are all beholden to the law to report their numbers accurately. While it’s kind of a generalized look at what certain employees make by industry, it’s definitely useful.
You’ll have to search within your own industry, but you can get pretty specific. For example, check out the Bureau’s average salaries for employees of museums and historical sites.
There are other websites, such as Salary.com and Payscale, which largely do the same thing as Glassdoor. Payscale lets you navigate according to job title, industry, and any degree you might have, in addition to other criteria. Though no one online database will give you a perfect indication of a potential salary, using a number of these tools in tandem with any word-of-mouth intel you can gather should give you a ballpark idea of what to expect.
Employment references go both ways now. Not only do potential employers check references for job candidates. Going the other direction, Glassdoor can provide helpful insight for candidates who want to know what other people say about working for a particular company. And with that, many people are asking, “Are Glassdoor reviews accurate?”
But candidates need to be careful. Wall Street Journal ran an article in January reporting on how employers skew their Glassdoor ratings by incentivizing or pressuring employees to post positive reviews.
This practice isn’t limited to just a few nefarious players either, according to article authors Rolfe Winkler and Andrea Fuller. Their article features online mortgage broker Guaranteed Rate, but also found the practice at Amazon, Airbnb, SpaceX, SAP, Slack, LinkedIn, Anthem, Clorox, and Brown-Forman, the corporation that makes Jack Daniels whiskey. Even consultancy Bain & Company does it, and they are Glassdoor’s top-ranked best place to work. Fuller and Winkler document that getting on that list of best places to work appears to be the motivation for many companies to inflate their Glassdoor reviews.
Glassdoors review guidelines
Glassdoor has guidelines for employer reviews in an attempt to keep them authentic. Any one employee is allowed to post a maximum of one review per year, per employer. Companies are held to a similar standard. Glassdoor says its filters and algorithms will detect when companies are trying to get around the regulations. If Glassdoor’s Content Moderation Team spots violations by individuals or companies, they will take down all reviews from that source. They also encourage users to monitor reviews they interact with and flag suspected abusers.
Are Glassdoor reviews accurate? Look for these clues…
Should reviews on Glassdoor and elsewhere be trusted? Yes, if we’re wise. In an article for Inc., HR writer Suzanne Lucas has shared some tips.
- Watch for clusters of reviews, all posted during the same week, same month, or even the same day, especially if they are all positive. This could signal a campaign by an employer to have existing employees post to boost their profile.
- Watch for polarized reviews. We can expect one or two individuals to have extreme experiences, whether positive or negative. But if most posts about a company are that way, it’s a red flag.
- Watch for posts that sound fake. A sure sign of a company-generated slant is for a bunch of reviews to sound like the writers were given the same talking points. Also, generalities tend to be less trustworthy than specifics.
- When you read something in a review that raises questions, ask the interviewer about it. Tell them what you saw and ask them to give their perspective.
- When you have a job offer, ask to meet some of your future coworkers. They’ll be able to give you a better feel for what it’s like to work there than an online reviewer.
Our advice is to not limit yourself to browsing Glassdoor when you’re looking to make a career change. Treat it as a source of preliminary information. Then get in touch with an experienced executive recruiter – a recruiter like Bradsby Group – and enlist their help finding a legitimately great organization where your skills can flourish in an authentically positive culture.
Call our team today to get started.
How Reliable Are Glassdoor Salaries?
Information entered into Glassdoor.com is crowdsourced and unverified. While some of the salary information posted on the website may be accurate, some of it is not. Career seekers looking for specific salary information should browse several websites such as Payscale.com and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website to get as accurate a salary picture as possible.
- Glassdoor salary information is self-reported and not verified, therefore some salaries are likely not correct.
- The better sources are the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Payscale.com.
- Salary details on Glassdoor are more likely to be accurate for larger companies with many reviews versus smaller companies.
Crowdsourced Career Site
Glassdoor, a tech company founded by Robert Hohman, Rich Barton, and Tim Besse and headquartered in Mill Valley, Calif., burst on the scene in as a one-stop-shop for people looking to make career decisions. At the time, the website was seen as innovative because it included information about companies that career seekers were looking for but could not find on other websites.
In particular, Glassdoor sought feedback from insiders—company employees—about benefits, interview practices, and leadership. Users even uploaded snapshots of their workplace interiors.
Salary is often the most guarded piece of information held by companies, but Glassdoor lifted the veil of secrecy by making it possible for users to report the amounts of money they earned. The most important reason users post information considered private, such as their salaries, is because Glassdoor allows them to do so anonymously.
Glassdoor also offers services to employers seeking to use the brand approach to attract talent. The company provides tools for employers to post open positions and a platform on which to market their brands. This aspect of Glassdoor’s business has drawn criticism about the accuracy of surveys, salary information and the rose-colored picture some of the site’s users paint about their employers. Glassdoor’s toughest critics assert that some employers may have influence over the information that users post about them.
While some Glassdoor users share accurate information about their salaries, some users do not. Experts note that the website attracts employees who may be dissatisfied with their jobs, who use the website as a place to rant or vent grievances. There’s also no way to confirm which data is current and whether a company has increased or decreased a salary for a position since the time the user made the entry.
Consulting Additional Sources
Career seekers should not dismiss Glassdoor salary information because some of it is accurate; it is just not easy to know how much of it is accurate. Salary averages for positions at large corporations on the website are more likely to be accurate than averages posted for positions at small companies.
Generally, the larger the data sample, the more accurate the information. Some classified ads and job postings on company websites include salary, and this information can be compared to information on Glassdoor to confirm whether Glassdoor’s salary information is accurate.
Payscale.com may be a better option for salary data. The company is a compensation software company that helps businesses get up-to-date and accurate info on average salaries and compensation. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers salary data based on job, industry, and location, among other areas.
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