Think Candidates Don’t Judge You on Your Glassdoor Rating? Think Again

Think Candidates Don’t Judge You on Your Glassdoor Rating? Think Again

Elizabeth Silas-Havas

The Internet has fundamentally changed the way we discover and learn about new products. Few people walk onto a car lot these days without first conducting deep Internet research on models, prices, and user reviews. In fact, 98% of online shoppers read product reviews before deciding what to buy. Online research is a way to create a level playing field with a salesperson.

Searching for a job now provides the same possibility. Research from The Talent Board showed that in 2015, 76% of candidates researched jobs in a variety of ways before applying. One of the main stops in that research process is Glassdoor and other employer review sites. As shown in a 2016 Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, a majority of candidates read six reviews before forming an opinion about a company, and 70% of people now look to reviews prior to making any career decisions.

So if you think your employer rating doesn’t matter, think again.

The Rise of Employer Review Sites

There are other employer review sites besides Glassdoor. For instance:

  • Indeed, best known for job postings, provides a list of employer reviews that are similar to Glassdoor, in that they provide feedback from individual employees who rate the companies they have worked for.
  • Great Place to Work provides less info from individuals and more aggregated ratings from anonymous surveys of employees, also in a list format.
  • Vault provides in-house research on over 5,000 companies, with basic rankings offered for free but much more content offered to job searchers who subscribe.

Glassdoor, however, is currently the fastest-growing employer review site in guiding job seekers. Their employer ratings and reviews consistently appear atop Google search returns on companies. As a result, employers who look for great candidates have started caring more about what those reviews say.

Each Glassdoor review includes a written report from a former or current employee that outlines “pros” and “cons” of working there as well as “advice to management.” The employee provides a rating of 1 to 5 stars, which gets averaged into a company’s overall star rating. You can see that rating change over time, too, when you click “Rating Trends.” A company also receives star ratings for each of five categories:

  • Culture & Values
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Career Opportunities

That “Reviews” section of each company on Glassdoor is just a part of the research a candidate can do. The “Interviews” section provides inside information from people who have interviewed with the company (about difficulty obtaining and fielding an interview as well as overall interview experience and, in some cases, the formats and questions used). These reports can provide candidates who do their research some advance notice of where your interviewing emphases lie and how you will structure your interactions with candidates.

Glassdoor has more recently introduced its “Know Your Worth” salary estimate and comparison tool, which helps job seekers and promotion seekers go into negotiations with data about comparable base pay. There is also a “Benefits” section in which employees comment on specific perks they enjoy, from free food to extensive family leave.

Getting the Most out of Glassdoor (and Other Employer Review Sites)

Fifty-four percent of recruiters know their Glassdoor rating off the top of their heads—it’s become an important recruiting channel.

You can turn the transparency Glassdoor affords into an advantage. First and foremost: Respond to reviews. Impress candidates through your responsiveness to both praise and criticism; 62% of Glassdoor users say that their perception of a company improves when they see that it responds to employees’ reviews. Glassdoor recommends that employers:

  • Choose a team to decide upon the voice and tone that will be used in responses, keeping it authentic and real while also staying within the brand identity.
  • Respond at regular intervals and in a timely way, so that reviews are not posted for too long before the company checks in.
  • Express gratitude for positive feedback.
  • Address specific criticisms or concerns honestly and without using stock responses.
  • Offer to take the conversation into another channel of communication.

Of course, be sure all the basic information about your company is correct in the company overview. Glassdoor offers ways to place the most relevant and compelling content up front and center for prospective employees to see. Instead of using stock photos and generic text, have a team put together visuals and information that you want candidates to consider first in their research. Update your benefits information regularly, as well.

Improve your candidates’ experience with easy interfaces for applying, quick response times, clear expectations, and pleasant and fair interviews. This effort will go a long way with those who make it through your process. Your application and interview system is rated online now, so reported glitches can discourage some of the best candidates from even applying.

You can’t control what interviewees and employees say about your company, but hopefully those who have had a recent interview experience, those leaving the company, and current employees feel compelled to provide reviews and feedback (in today’s feedback-rich society).

In addition, put aside the emotional content and seriously consider some of the advice former employees offer. A review’s claim that career advancement and professional development was unavailable might spark a conversation with current management and staff that develops into a new mentoring program. If that’s the case, you’ll kill at least two birds with one stone: You’ll be able to honestly respond to the posted review with improvements you’ve made since the writer’s experience, and you’ll be improving employee morale and job satisfaction.

And here we get to what is perhaps the most long term, and most important, key to looking good online as an employer: actually working on employee happiness. These employer review sites offer a space for employees to talk about what they do and do not like on the job. Why not ask your employees directly and let them talk to you about that? The first step is to ask and genuinely listen. (Few companies even take this risk.) Next, figure out the spoken and unspoken reasons, and consider practical ways those can be addressed.

This is a long-term project, but starting it now will make a difference. Merely bringing it up and offering employees a way to be a part of the process of change and adaptation will improve their perception of their work lives in two areas many see as primary for employee happiness: giving people more control over how and when they do things and creating an atmosphere of growth. There may be no better way to boost employer reviews online than to simply improve your employees’ satisfaction with their jobs.

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