Now, what is that CVs, company reviews and job ads have in common?
Yes, in every instance we look for detailed information.
Recruiters don’t like fluffy ‘go-getters who can work independently and in a team environment’ bits in CVs.
Candidates roll their eyes when they read about yet another ‘exciting opportunity’.
Same applies to Glassdoor reviews – we want juicy details!
Of course, for a job seeker, looking for their first job to land, reading reviews comes secondary sometimes. They have been to the office, they spoke to lovely people, they got an offer, and it all looks rosy.
I won’t suggest declining an offer just because someone wrote ‘awful people, CEO sucks’ in their review.
However, studying reviews would possibly help you prepare yourself for particular challenges, and maybe be less disappointed after the honeymoon period with the company is over.
So, a few aspects I’d suggest paying attention:
1. Nature of pros and cons.
‘No dress code, awesome parties, yummy snacks’ – fantastic if you are in this sort of things. Does it have to do much with the nature of the job? Not really.
You might find yourself in the most unpleasant work environment, where vicious people stuff themselves with cheap cookies while wearing their PJs. Do you really want this? You have been warned.
- ‘My team have a combined IQ of a grapefruit, and I am forced to work with outdated tech stack’ – writes an employee who’s been with the company for 5 years.
Seriously, dude, what’s keeping you there?
Be honest and add ‘but they pay shitloads of money, so here I am’ or ‘but I haven’t missed a single school assembly, cos I can work flexible hours’ then.
- ‘I am in heaven’ – from someone who’s been there 2 months, also does not provide a real picture. Generally, new employees go through the ‘wholesome acceptance’ phase during their few first months in the job.
The true colours reveal themselves in later stages.
3. Seniority of employees
Find reviews of people of similar seniority as yourself, as a senior specialist might not be able to share the excitement of a recent graduate.
‘Lack of clarity, changes are poorly communicated, no real performance management’ – might ring a bell for a senior professional.
4. “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes” or “Who judges the judges”
When you read ‘disapproves of CEO’ from a junior developer in a 5,000+ employees’ company, it might be a good idea to question, what exactly has the naughty CEO done to Steve?
I do doubt that Steve has suffered from fruitless conversations with CEO and eventually became disappointed in the overall board strategy.
So, there is a fat chance that Steve is not happy about the recent office move or cancelled Christmas party.
However, if Steve complaints about a CEO of a 50 people company, it makes sense to take a mental note.
5. Company reaction
In an ideal world, where companies claim <CRINGE TIME!!!> – people are our greatest asset – businesses treat negative Glassdoor reviews with as much attention and care as they treat unhappy customers.
In the real world, unfortunately, other things are happening.
- Ignoring, which means we don’t care, we are fantastic, you should be lucky to work for us. – Funnily enough, companies with great product brand tend to care more about their employer brand, than companies that have neither brand.
- Forced false positives. Miraculously appearing 5 ecstatic reviews after 1 negative. Often within 1-2 days. I won’t even comment on it. It reeks of North Korea.
- ‘Thanks for a review, your feedback is very important to us’ – the epitome of a corporate middle finger.
- ‘Thanks for the review, it’s tough, we are worried, please, talk to Bob’ – now we are talking! Fingers crossed Bob won’t ask the reviewer to bring a ‘support person’ to this meeting though.
A few examples of great reviews (in my opinion):
- I am working with the best tools in the industry, and I am continually growing professionally
- I found my true mentors here
- I have been promoted twice in 3 years
- My job is meaningful and impactful
Overall, companies are the people we deal with, and you might find yourself in a crappy team in a great company and vice versa.
My final point – take everything, super negative and super positive – with a pinch of salt.
There is too much information noise nowadays, so it’s essential to get your information filtration system working through it to cut to the chase. 😊