Half of All Job Seekers Consult Glassdoor Reviews

Glassdoor, the careers site that offers employee reviews of companies, has been successful since its founding in 2008. The company has expanded internationally, and last year it made the news for an additional $50 million round of investment. It definitely seems that its unique offering of employee reviews has been a hit with job seekers.

But as the site grows in popularity, what impact do its reviews have on an organization’s ability to hire? Our company Software Advice, which reviews HR and recruiting software, decided to find out. We polled 4,633 job seekers to see how Glassdoor has affected their decision to apply for, and accept jobs.

Here’s what we found.

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Approximately half of all respondents had used Glassdoor at some point in their job search, and most consulted reviews to find top employers before they even thought about applying at a company.

To see the full report, click here.


12 Comments on “Half of All Job Seekers Consult Glassdoor Reviews

  1. Really interesting article — perhaps highlighting the importance of having a good candidate and employee experience! I don’t see how Glassdoor is different from a forum, especially as a lot of the comments are from anonymous users — how can users be sure that the information is accurate and doesn’t come from companies posing as employees or from employees that have left a business on bad terms?

  2. @ Natasha: From my understanding (Please correct me Folks, if obsolete/incorrect.) Glassdoor allows companies to have the final say in a discussion, and if a company is a client of Glassdoor (at some level), then they will not allow that company’s negative information to be used in a pop-up ad of a competitor.

  3. @ Natasha,

    There’s no way to know, generally speaking. As with any such approach you’d need a decent aggregation of reviews before it held any statistical significance, and most companies would cluster toward the middle. Quite frankly it seems most companies aren’t savy enough to know it even exists, much less pay someone to spam it with positive reviews. As for people leaving on bad terms, I see no need to keep them out of the mix. Their views may be the most insightful. Generally speaking you learn more useful information from bad reviews than good reviews.

  4. @ Richard: At a former client, there was a Recruiting Dept. discussion on how to “game” Glassdoor. IFRIR, nothing came of it- nobody did anything.

  5. Keith,

    I think a similar thing happened to me at a former employer, though I wasn’t involved in the meeting. When I pointed out the poor rating, a couple good reviews showed up in fairly quick succession that had the feeling of product rep posts of the type you see on forums or at Amazon. It’s purely speculative of course, I have no idea if that actually happened. However, what did happen is that more negative reviews appeared too. It’s the Streisand effect; trying to game the site increases the company’s visibility on the site via various mechanisms, at which point more people are likely to review the company. People the company may not want reviews from.

  6. Thanks, Richard.
    DISCLAIMER: If you check my ERE.net record, I WAS a very strong proponent of GlassDoor. (I think into some time in 2012). I mistakenly believed that they might be something like a Consumer’s Reports for job hunters- a neutral, unbiased, influence- and advertising-free resource. They AREN’T. To be fair: GD never said they were or wanted to be that- I just HOPED they WOULD be.

    Keith “*Caveat Labor Applicator- Let the Job Applicant Beware” Halperin

    * Since I don’t know Latin, this is probably highly ungrammatical. Too bad….

  7. I seriously doubt that half of all job seekers use Glassdoor. I’m a big fan of theirs but that’s a ridiculous number.

    According to the survey report itself, “This survey was conducted using Google Consumer Surveys. The survey included nine questions, each of which was seen by ~500 unique respondents. It should be noted that there may be a selection bias, as those unfamiliar with Glassdoor may have chosen not to take the survey. However, an “NA / I don’t use Glassdoor” option was included on all survey questions.”

  8. I do think that its search engine optimization is pretty good Steven. So the job seeker may not have literally said to herself, “I’m going to go to Glassdoor to find top employers!” as the survey indicates. But, they may have gone to Google and searched for (for example):

    working at Peet’s
    working at Coffee Bean
    working at Starbucks

    And Glassdoor, as well as Indeed, does extremely well in the search results. Perhaps many end up on Glassdoor, and would answer a survey saying they research top employers on Glassdoor even if they hadn’t thought of starting with the site name Glassdoor.

  9. How good is Glassdoor?

    The growing popularity of job review sites like Glassdoor and CareerBliss is causing problems for many companies. We appreciate that these sites are trying to bring more transparency into what it’s like to work at a company—but unfortunately these sites are often not an accurate reflection of the workplace.

    To test the accuracy of these sites, we compared WorkplaceDynamics’ data on 406 large companies surveyed in the last year, with those same companies’ corresponding reviews on Glassdoor. We found that there was virtually no correlation—the overall Glassdoor star rating was a very poor indicator of what it is really like to work at a company.

    There are two main issues that we identified:

    Glassdoor typically has reviews from only a small percentage of employees at the company. At the 406 companies in the sample, there were 8,123 Glassdoor reviews, an average of 1.6% of the employees. As a comparison, we surveyed 315,212 employees at these companies, an average of 61.5% of the employees.
    Glassdoor reviews are posted by a disproportionate number of “grumpy” employees. We conservatively estimate that a company’s negative employees are 5 to 8 times more likely to post a review on Glassdoor than their positive employees.
    These two factors can make the overall Glassdoor scores inaccurate. Good examples of this are Quicken Loans and The Container Store, which we recently named as #1 and #2 on our National Top Workplaces list.

    Quicken Loans has a score of 3.2 stars on Glassdoor, and 46% of employees do not recommend this company to a friend (based on 140 reviews).

    However, we found in our survey, based on 935 survey responses from employees at Quicken Loans, that only 2% of employees would not recommend the company (with a further 5% neutral). On average, employees rated working at Quicken loans a 90.3 on a scale of 0-99.

    The Container Store has a similar score of 3.1 stars on Glassdoor and 46% of employees do not recommend this company to a friend (based on 218 reviews):

    We found, based on 1,516 survey responses from employees at The Container Store, that only 3% of employees would not recommend the company (with a further 4% neutral). On average, employees rated working at The Container Store a 90.1 on a scale of 0-99.

    So, while the intent of sites like Glassdoor is good, job seekers should think twice before making any decisions based on reviews from these sites when looking for a new employer.

    How we did the analysis

    As a dataset, we took the WorkplaceDynamics survey responses to the questions ‘I would highly recommend working at this company to others’ and ‘Out of 99 (where 99 is best and 0 is worst), I would rate working at this company as…’ for all the large companies that participated in the Top Workplaces program in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Des Moines, Detroit and Minneapolis, and looked up the corresponding reviews (filtered by location) on Glassdoor for the questions ‘Your overall rating of this company’ and ‘Recommend this employer to a friend?’ There were 406 companies that had corresponding Glassdoor data.

    Based on WorkplaceDynamics data (the total employee response rate and percentage of negative and positive responders) , we estimated the total number of grumpy and positive people working in those companies in those regions, and then looked to see the percentage of each category that had left a review on Glassdoor. This gave us the conservative estimate that grumpy employees are 5 to 8 times more likely to leave a review on job review sites than happy employees.

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