The Glassdoor business review platform has definitely changed the game for job seekers in Singapore. Previously, everything you could find about a company you wanted to join through their website, word of mouth reputation, and the job interview itself.
With Glassdoor, past and present employees can leave ratings and provide constructive feedback to employers. As its name suggests, Glassdoor creates a more transparent job search process so that potential employees can get information beyond the selected social media channels to see if a company would be right for them.
However, a tool that depends on employee qualifications is not without its shortcomings. In this article, I will address the usual criticisms of Glassdoor and advise you on how you can use it to make an informed decision if you are considering a job opportunity.
Criticism # 1: Only angry employees are motivated to leave comments
I will start with the most common abstention that only angry employees will tend to leave reviews, which will result in very negatively biased assessments. While humans have a negative tendency to act out of anger and annoyance, I can quickly test this criticism.
If this is the case, you will not be able to find any company with a rating of four stars or higher. To get a four-star rating a company needs to get a substantial amount of four and five stars, which easily belies criticism.
In fact, there are a lot of highly valued entrepreneurs on Glassdoor who aren’t limited to FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google).
Here is my previous company as an example:
It is a local company, not a sexy FAANG, with fixed working hours. We have a buffet lunch on special holidays like Christmas or National Day, but not day to day.
As an avid conversant of water points, I would say that the company performed better in rating than the “intelligence” it had picked up from other departments.
From my own experience, I would also highly value the company, so I think the rating is accurate and, if it is misleading, it is wrong on the positive side of things.
Maybe people like to exhaust their frustrations outside of work contexts, but when they write a Glassdoor review they become more uniform. It should also be noted that Glassdoor requires reviewers to list the pros and cons to ensure a more balanced review.
Criticism # 2: Nothing stops bosses and the HR department from writing false positive reviews
The above criticisms are true and I often see strangely positive comments that are detached from reality. Here’s the question: the fake reviews are pretty obvious. You will be amazed at how difficult it is to tell a written lie.
To illustrate this, I will use a review of a former company I worked with.
The overall rating of the previous company is 2.7, with 13 reviews. The above five-star review stands out as a sore thumb, mostly because the deception described has nothing to do with the company or management.
I compare this to my own experience and other reviews and it becomes pretty obvious. The contrast between point 2, which the management cares about and listens to you, differs too clearly from other reviews quoted below:
“The boss is dictatorial and behaves childishly … A rich person who thinks he’s just his slave because he pays his salary.”
“No emo who sends messages and speaks in a demoralizing way. Micro Atomic Management “.
“The configuration is good, but the culture is horrible. Rude, overly proud, stingy and disrespectful management towards employees “.
In short, fake reviews can be easily viewed and discounted.
Criticism # 3: Reviews are very subjective
I agree with the above sentiment, so I advise using Glassdoor as a qualitative assessment of a company rather than a quantitative one. A complex experience like employment cannot be easily summed up in five-star “x” stars.
Let me use another former company as an example. This is a good case study because I know many who are happy to work on it and have stayed in it for a long time, even though I had a terrible experience. The company gets an average of 2.8 stars out of 10 reviews.
The above two reviews are noteworthy because they represent polarizing views. The second was cut for brevity because it is an 800-word essay that refutes negative reviews of the company’s Glassdoor page.
Through this discourse, a potential employee is able to gain valuable information about what affected some in the company, while other aspects of the work culture garnered praise from other employees.
It’s not hard to imagine that a company’s culture can feed on certain individuals and feel toxic to others.
Glassdoor is subjective because an individual’s employment differs based on multiple factors, such as who your superior is, the role designed for you, your key indicators (KPIs), and so on.
How to leverage Glassdoor’s strengths to sow potential entrepreneurs in Singapore
All in all, Glassdoor creates tremendous value if you compare two similar offerings. It allows you to look at a company beyond what it proclaims on its website and social media channels.
Do the reviews with a pinch of salt, but if several accounts tell a similar story, you can take them to the bank.
Most people are honest unless they have a personal interest. Any review with well-expressed and reasonable pros and cons should give a realistic view of what it’s like to work for the company.
However, companies often try to play the system and create accounts to increase their Glassdoor score, but when I look at the large number of companies I’ve worked for during my twelve-year career, I would say the truth usually prevails.
Any company with a rating above 3.8 is probably nice and has a good structure to maintain equanimity. Any company with a rating below 3 should throw some red flags, but don’t remove them unless you have better deals on hand.
If you keep an objective mind and add diverse opinions, you can decide if culture is something that would thrive. Running a business is not a popularity contest, but the days are long gone when employers had all the power in the employer-employee dynamic.
Glassdoor is certainly a step forward in advancing workplace culture, but it shouldn’t be the only tool for deciding if you’ll fit in well with the company. Use it in conjunction with personal accounts of friends and your own interview process.
No business is perfect because it is an ecosystem of imperfect human beings. It’s important to have a positive mindset, to believe the best in people, but at the same time, don’t be naive, as making the wrong professional choice can be a costly decision in the long run.
We hope this article is helpful in guiding you to mitigate Glassdoor’s flaws and take advantage of its strengths. That said, we wish you all the best in your professional pursuit.
Featured Image Credit: Glassdoor