I immediately go to the 1 and 2 stars, and read all the negative reviews. I then look for trends in those negatives.
If I see no real trend, and instead people being dumb, I ignore them. If I see distinct trends of faulty thing, or fails to perform, then I know to avoid.
I assume (well, rightfully so) that any 4's and 5's are gamified and or just outright fraudulent. Companies who run these review sections are directly complicit, and usually rely on these ratings to "make the sale" or otherwise hold mind share.
There's not much we can do here. Just hope we hit jackpot on the employer lottery.
The flip side: There are always bad apples at any company. The negative reviews may be legit, but not relevant to the manager/program you'd be working under.
As someone who's worked at a 100k+ employees company, there were literally dozens of programs in the same building living largely separate/parallel existences. Unless the reviews called out a program/manager by name they'd be completely useless in gauging job satisfaction.
Too true, and the larger orgs definitely have that as a concern.
And some specific managers who would be better not leading people (aka fired) are a weird case where the in-person interview can kind of discern that. Basically, one has to learn what to ask and how to ask to suss out which team leads are good and which ones aren't. Then again, it's a definite problem where you are in an org can make or break you.
However, we have to separate "shitty manager" from "shitty organization forcing managers to enact shitty policies". And this is where I think Glassdoor 1 and 2 star reviews can show policy trends (versus bad manager trends).
And of course, you may get a company that avoids most of the reviews in scummy ways. I know that the company I worked for that got bought out had a clause they wanted us to sign that stated "no negative comments about us anywhere". What's funny is this is actually illegal under the NLRB. But to me this was a massive red flag to get the hell out (and I did).
Personally in my experience, regardless of the size of the organization (small family business to thousands of employee orgs) if management is toxic, it's because it's tacitly approved from higher ups.
Culture is preserved at the top. It starts at the bottom. The problem is too many leaders read an Adam Grant or Simon Sinek book and all of a sudden think they are the latest incarnation of the tech leadership buddha and impose their will on the team.
That's not a good question because it assumes the other person if familiar with the jargon term "psychological safety," which seems pretty new. That's not reasonable because that recent HBR article you posted indicates that many people don't know what that term means.
Also "psychological safety" could be easily misinterpreted in today's political environment as something related a demand for an (ideologically) "safe space."
After skimming that article, it would probably be better to ask something along the lines of "is it OK to make mistakes in this organization and learn from them?"
I would actually want to use "psychological safety" to see if my manager is the kind of person who, when they see a word they don't know, instead of asking they make a shit assumption and then react negatively to their own projection of the situation.
I would agree with you if it was a more esoteric sounding word that doesn't have some kind of intuitive interpretation. Physiological safety doesn't sound like something that has a concrete definition at all, and if asked, I'd probably either ask what the person means by it, or come up with my own definition that's otherwise equally valid. Though in the context of an interview, probably best to ask what they mean.
I hope this comment comes across as helpful rather than rude: if you asked me a couple of those questions (especially back-to-back) during an interview, I would not hire you. It isn't that any of those are bad questions per se, but the volume and forwardness of them would be a red-flag that this is a person who likes to show up, make trouble, and not be held accountable for it. Maybe that's not your goal, but remember that in an interview you only have a few minutes to communicate where you're coming from.
Exactly. This isn't meant to be a Blade Runner Voight-Kampff rapid-fire interrogation.
An interview is supposed to be a bidirectional conversation to see if you fit with the manager/company and the company fits with you. Obviously, how you ask (and don't ask), and ask around these questions can really give an idea what to expect.
There's also major red flags for places that you probably never want to work at. For example, dismissive managers are a major problem. What are they going through on a day-to-day? They probably can't tell you, but you can ask around them.
Why are they interviewing? Is it a new position, or a replacement? Why did the replacement leave? I had one interview that the person leaving was also on the interview committee. Really nice gentleman. He was retiring, and wanted to move back with family across the US. And he was on the committee to help find a person and train them to be there. The job wasn't exactly what I was looking for and declined, but I greatly respected how they did that interview.
Again, I interview primarily for engineering roles. Maybe other non-engineering roles do things differently. But I like to try to get a snapshot what the company's like, their expectations, my expectations, and how my life is working there. Last thing I want to do is accept a position and find out they grossly misrepresented the position to get me in the door, and make it hard to interview/switch to get out.
I’d ask similar questions as the parent poster, and I explicitly wouldn’t want to work somewhere where asking these questions was a red flag.
So, it can actually still be a useful candidate side filter. If you don’t hire me because I asked these questions, that’s good for me because I don’t want to work for you (not in an accusatory manner, just we probably don’t have compatible workplace expectations).
I'm trying not to take this as rude... But yeah. My failing, I guess?
I gave a list of types of questions I use to try to discern the manager and the company's perspective. Obviously these aren't to be utilized rapid-fire in a dismissive attitude. However, that's exactly how companies approach interviews. Why isn't it good for me to do the same that's being done to me?
> if you asked me a couple of those questions (especially back-to-back) during an interview, I would not hire you.
(The personal response) And there's no way I'd want to work with or for you with that kind of "you ask too many questions" attitude.
> It isn't that any of those are bad questions per se, but the volume and forwardness of them would be a red-flag that this is a person who likes to show up, make trouble, and not be held accountable for it.
I've also been in workplaces that fired after one fuck-up that was due to miscommunication, bad documentation, or other 3rd party factors. I'm not normally accustomed to making mistakes in my professional area, but they do happen. "How are failures and changes handles in your org?" is a massive key indicator of how this org maintains and grows, and I along with it.
And as an engineer, I get *paid* to ask questions, including those pointed ones that get to the root of a matter. And I apply those skills and abilities to interview processes as I would to any other process. To see a hiring manager dismiss this type of interactive discussion as "someone who makes trouble", is the very type of manager I recommend to be fired on my reviews.
> Maybe that's not your goal, but remember that in an interview you only have a few minutes to communicate where you're coming from.
And the implied contextural clues you typed here indicates that it's the interviewer's to ask the questions, and the candidate to shut up unless spoken to, except for a softball one-off question at the end.
Interviews are a 2 way street. You're interviewing me, and I'm ALSO interviewing you. My questions I ask that probe to a company culture and happiness of the interviewers is of utmost importance. I've turned down higher-paying higher-stress jobs precisely because people on the team balked at work-life balance questions.
Another company had a manager roll their eyes when I asked if they would work the position they were hiring for. Just what exactly did I dodge by discontinuing the interview?
One company blatantly stated that "full time ie expected to be 50 hours minimum" when I asked how maintenances were handled with scheduling. And they're a BIG vehicle company. 6 sigma, ISO 20000, yadda yadda. Absoluutely no life balance, and the interviewing manager made that known.
I've dodged a LOT of crap companies with these sorts of questions. Yours sounds like one as well, with your response.
I might hesitate in answering #3 because it's such a weird question. I don't know your tolerance for common things in young companies like frequently changing priorities. I don't know your financial situation (are you desperate for a job, or are you holding out for a perfect fit?).
Answering "no" could easily land me in hot water, regardless of my reasons, and especially if I don't explain them very clearly and objectively. Answering "yes" doesn't tell you anything; after all, I already work here and might have drunk the company kool-aide.
It just seems like you're looking for a reason to not work here, instead of looking for reasons to be excited about working here. Walking in the door with a negative attitude is a good way to poison a team's working environment. You are, in effect, the very toxic thing you are trying to reveal.
Maybe it's just cultural differences, but I cannot imagine a reason to ask that question of anyone other than someone who I trust and know well.
And if it is scripted, so what? That might mean every candidate gets a somewhat consistent experience, instead of whatever off-the-cuff crap my not-as-smart-as-she-thinks-she-is interviewer pulls out of her butt. Because we've all known that person on the interview team that has their bullshit manhole cover question because "I think to see how they think".
It tells you the company values process over efficacy. Interviewing, like practically any complex task is dynamic in nature. Following down a line of conversation with a candidate provides genuine insight into the individual and cannot be done mechanically.
Yeah. 8 is just a silly question. First off you can often just tell if it's scripted. Secondly if it is scripted it's generally just because HR is more mature and is trying to be more fair in the hiring processes; this is a good practice for diversity.
Organizations that aren't scripted just haven't gotten there yet.
It's not good practice for diversity. While it might help some with racial, ethnic or gender diversity, it discriminates heavily against neurodiverse people who often do not fit into little boxes a scripted interview is designed to check off.
have recently been in an interview were the scriptedness feeling crept in after the first few up-beat intro questions were done. didn't felt professional at all to see them working a questionaire with me.
This is very true. I've worked in an organization where most people on most of the other teams would negatively rate the company, but I was fortunate to have a great boss. So I look back on my time there as positive, although I recognize that most other people had a very different experience of that company.
My company has had legitimate 1-2 star reviews removed. I know this because one in particular struck a chord with me, and a month later it was gone. At the same time I saw that many other lower scored reviews were gone.
Glassdoor is simply compromised by money and can't be trusted whatsoever.
If only a third-party archived/screenshotted Glassdoor reviews to preserve them. Then we could see the pattern of deletions by date/location/dept/position/timing of layoffs/stock price/etc. Also, someone could construct a RottenTomatoes-type aggregate of RealGlassdoor vs PurgedGlassdoor (vs Blind) metascore over time. To see when things were being manipulated.
This is my approach as well. Probably my favorite moment was reading a review for my own company. It was very recent and mentioned that "management had stupid delusions of being acquired by company X." That review was posted literally days before the acquisition was publicly announced.
If I want to leave a bad review, I always do exactly the opposite. Both for Glassdoor or Amazon reviews. Always give five stars, start with innocent paragraph and leave the full details and scathing review in the second paragraph. It helps reaching the target audience...
In a lot of platforms less than good reviews are removed. Some people post 4 or 5 star reviews that sound vaguely positive, but in the text itself one can clearly read a bad opinion. I do not know how effective this is versus a bad review, but the ones that survive are often gems.
The reality most (all) companies exist for the benefit of well the company. And all the power plays, motivations, passive aggressiveness, politics, misaligned manager motivations, bureaucracy are to be expected (sadly). Yes you could go much smaller to reduce process but you are taking that risk or loosing out on reward (and as I get older I am realizing how much I've been under appreciating peace of mind). I used to scoff at a friend when he suggested this - but his strategy of choosing a company based on who he knew and who he could work with has been looking amazing lately!
More like Yelp. There is no evidence Amazon commissions or condones fake reviews (apart from being wilfully negligent in policing them), whereas review extortion is a core part of both Yelp and Glassdoor's business model ("nice business you've got there, shame if bad reviews happened to it, but if you buy an advertising package, we will push them down so low they don't matter")
I like 3 and 4 stars reviews, too, since there's the sense people are making a calculated balancing attempt to perhaps be fair. If you want to tarnish the average give it a 1, a 2 if you want to be read, whereas a 5 will tarnish only you as an HR person.
I think the lesson here is to ignore the overall average and to read subjective stuff and look for patterns.
What's fascinating about reading Amazon 1-star reviews for anything that's even slightly technically complicated is seeing people who clearly have no idea what they're doing, and have broken the thing themselves when trying to install it or use it. Or similar.
Surely a simple solution here is for Glassdoor to show removed reviews with a simple placeholder text and a reason for removal.
Glassdoor could also account for these in its overall rankings, and show a graph plotting number of removals against time. That way companies legitimately removing invalid reviews can continue to do so, but those gaming the system would have that activity show up. If they plotted submitted reviews as well you could see when these periods of mass removals and "forced" positive reviews happened.
Glassdoor could also provide a short summary of "X reviews removed in the last Y days - this is lower/higher/inline with the average".
All of this is easily within the power of Glassdoor to do and keeps the platform fair for both parties.
I've been designing a worker-owned (both the startup and the user data owned by those 'worker' users) Glassdoor alternative. Wonder about how to grow interest in it. Pay sharing is another useful feature of Glassdoor that could be done better in a worker-centric way.
Another aspect of it is to refer/resell self-hosting for users to completely own their own data (such as Bunny CDN which has very wallet-friendly prepaid schemes and a referral program) so they don't have to worry about what the service owner does. It would then be a kind of decentralized network of mini Glassdoors about the workers current or past employers, where one worker would spin it up and their peers can use. Each would decide what to leave public-facing and private-facing for the workers, and could even monetize for the workers via selling their data as Glassdoor does for things like market comp survey data so that workers could privately share comp data amongst each other and publicly sell access to extra anonymized summaries of that data.
This would be tied together into a user friendly iOS/macOS app to manage the deployment of the site. How does that sound?
The web client would be for most users, the native iOS/macOS client would be for the smaller group that manages the deployments (would be one person at a company or in a friend group). I'm working on cross-plat Swift strategies to bring this to Windows later.
It's a good point, I'll find a good way to start earlier with cross-plat deployment management. Between the two of us we have strong fullstack skills in web and iOS/Apple ecosystem. Apple App Store distribution and IAP are a strong part of our typical app strategies (I'm able to drive huge user growth via App Store) but this approach for this idea needs more thought because the deploy-manager person for this app wouldn't be the one we'd charge IAP to. I'm not actually sure how to make money off this idea yet.
It's also potentially linux-runnable (the management tools) with a native apple frontend, then later can explore bringing to win/web
I've been moving more of my iOS app core biz logic to JS and exploring cross plat Swift for running more across web and windows, while still leaning hard into the nice parts of Apple ecosystem, so that whatever solution I find for this is easier
We're also doing an app using https://github.com/live-codes/livecodes to move a lot more languages/envs capability into the client which might enable some good web and ios cross plat capabilities.
Anyway besides the platform question, interested in any other feedback from anyone
Yelp did (does?) this same thing. So many of these type of companies are run by unethical “business leaders” in that their business model is to hold data hostage and filter it in the right way for higher paying clients.
Are you saying Glassdoor should rewrite user posts that the company claims are libelous?
Honestly I’m not sure how many negative posts could reasonably be considered libel, but for those that genuinely could be, Glassdoor is probably better served by just removing them than wading into liability both from posting and from modifying them.
Nope. That should be between the company and whoever did the post, frankly.
I don’t see how Glassdoor would have any liability unless they were somehow presenting it as their own opinion.
They might want to take it down as part of overall community moderation if it violates their TOS of course, say if it includes cursing, or has racist remarks or whatever.
I’m pointing out libel has a definition, and posting what is clearly an opinion isn’t it. It has to be making statements which are presenting false facts as true.
That they’ll almost certainly find ways to take down ‘undesired’ messages that paying customers don’t like seems like something they do, which is shitty and undermines their nominal reason for existing, is… sad but seems to be what is going on. Nothing to do with libel.
* Company tells Glassdoor the review is false and to take it down
* Glassdoor says the review is from an anonymous user and not them, so they should sue the user
* Company asks for the name of the user so they can sue them for libel.
* Glassdoor refuses to turn over the user because it ruins the anonymity
* Company sues Glassdoor for libel because they refuse to produce proof they didn't create the libel. Glassdoor now has to face the lawsuit or turn over the user and destroy the anonymous premise of their website thats fundamental to their business model
My understanding is that the courts have a different take on it.
Stating ‘x killed y’, even if I wholeheartedly believe it is libel if it turns out someone else killed y, and x had reputational damage due to my statement. I’m asserting something is true, full stop.
Stating ‘in my opinion, x killed y’, if I wholeheartedly believe it, is not libel, even in the same situation, because even if x did not kill y, it is still true it was my opinion that it was true, and I was being clear about that. I wasn’t asserting facts, I was asserting my opinion. Opinions are protected, as long as they can’t be confused with false assertions of facts.
Now, if it turns out there is evidence that I didn’t actually have that opinion and it was all a game to destroy x’s reputation, I might still get hit.
It’s the same reason ‘allegedly’ gets used by the press so much when someone gets arrested.
Regardless of what the courts find later, it was indeed alleged. And that matters if someone tries to come after them later. Which happens.
The news sells itself as making factual reports (except for ‘entertainment’ or ‘editorial’ sections), and can’t get away with saying it’s all just an opinion.
If you have pointers to case law that disagrees, I’d much appreciate it!
It's not quite the same thing - it's under oath, rather than public speech - but in the Alex Jones, Sandy Hook libel case, the Judge Gamble admonished Jones:
“You believe everything you say is true, but your beliefs do not make something true,” Gamble said. “That is that is what we’re doing here. Just because you claim to think something is true does not make it true. It does not protect you. It is not allowed. You’re under oath. That means things must actually be true when you say them.”
I'm not a lawyer and don't know American libel law so I can't speak to that. I will say there's a big difference between using "allegedly" and "believe". Belief in what you say being your opinion is implicit (unless, of course, you're lying). You have no access to facts outside your opinion. It's the nature of your statement which indicates whether it's a statement of fact or opinion, not whether you say "in your opinion" or not. "Allegedly" has a very different purpose; it imputes the statement of fact to someone else. Someone else has stated (in their opinion) a fact; they alleged it. Rather than qualifying a statement as a belief, it qualifies it as the truth of it being someone else's responsibility.
I think you're misunderstanding what is going on there.
Alex Jones didn't say 'In my opinion sandy hook blah blah blah'. He said 'Sandy hook blah blah blah'. He presented those things he was saying as facts, not as something that was 'just his opinion'. Under oath it's a similar rule, but does allow more leeway regarding the persons knowledge. [https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySectio...]
And what the Judge is telling him, if you do that, it doesn't matter if you think they're true or not, what matters is if they are actually true. Or at least under oath, it's plausible they he believes they are actually true and it's not all delusions or whatever.
Especially if you're saying them in a large venue, with real impact on real people.
Actual truth is an absolute defense for libel in the US. If what you're saying is true, you are not committing libel. Period. even if you think it's actually false when you're saying it
Thinking something is true if it is actually false is not enough in 99% of cases, assuming it is being presented as a fact and not an opinion (which requires no verification and is generally protected from libel in the US).
There is a bit of an escape clause, which is libel generally also requires that the false statements were made with some degree of recklessness, negligence, or maliciousness.
As in, they were not only false, but the person saying them also didn't do the basic amount of checking appropriate in the circumstance to avoid harm before saying them.
Like if someone goes on TV and says 'OJ died today, he was murdered by John Smith' and they never bothered to verify it and just overheard a hallway conversation or whatever. John Smith, and probably OJ would have pretty solid libel cases.
If someone did check and got it confirmed, say with OJ's agent, or the appropriate law enforcement authority, they'd generally get a pass, as they weren't reckless or malicious. It was an honest mistake based on information that should have been sufficient to determine if the fact was true or not. The law enforcement authority or agent might be in trouble though.
I think a first question could be if it is in Glassdoor's interest to be fair/objective for both parties. I would assume that users are more likely to visit and engage when drama, conflict and emotions are to be found in the reviews. It also gives companies an incentive to respond on the platform because of the reputational damage.
To your first question: not unless employees (as a group) are willing to pay Glassdoor more than the employers. The economics are biased toward the employers unfortunately. See Yelp as another example.
I was using Glassdoor until 5 years ago before I realized the shenanigans behind the scenes. It is a terrible place to put your trust.
I have a speech impairment. About six years ago a company's HR communicated to me that they couldn't hire me due to my impairment. I indicated this to the company's social media, which wasn't active. But I also wanted people to know before they interviewed with the company. So, I wrote a review on Glassdoor. Couple of months later all my other "contributions" were up on the site except this one. So much for companies cannot manipulate reviews.
If you need feedback it is better to reach out to people on Linkedin and talk instead.
My girlfriend worked for a small-ish company (less than 100 employees) that got ONE negative review on Glassdoor. The company executives were so angry about it that they contacted Glassdoor, trying to get them to remove it. Denied. Then they hired an attorney to try and force Glassdoor to remove the negative review. Denied again. Finally, a few weeks later, someone from Glassdoor reached out about some sort of premier program for employers. Nothing was ever stated directly, but it was implied that reviews would be "managed" with the premier program. They signed up. Negative review disappeared later that day.
I don't know the details about the "premier program", like what it was specifically called, but the negative review did magically disappear. Also, everything said in the negative review was totally true.
I'm sorry they didn't hire you because of your disability. IANAL, but I suspect that your disability is a protected status in the United States. I'm not saying that you should've pursued legal action, but that what they did is both immoral and illegal.
I’m old[ish], and wasn’t hired, explicitly because of that. In fact, a couple of the interviewers made no effort to hide it. I suspect that this may come as a surprise to a lot of folks here, but age discrimination is every bit as illegal as race, sex, or disability discrimination.
If an industry makes a lot of money (f’rinstance, the finance industry), all kinds of toxic, illegal behavior is ignored, and it’s really difficult to effect change.
In industries that don’t make much money (teaching, social work, etc.), bad behavior is not tolerated in the slightest.
> age discrimination is every bit as illegal as race, sex, or disability discrimination
Oddly, this is not quite true at the US federal level. Unlike most protected categories, the one for age only applies to a specific subset of people (people over 40 years old), nor is it generally illegal to prefer an older candidate over a younger one .
I think if you look at race, sex, and disability discrimination, there's an implicit direction as well. The law is not particularly worried about companies refusing to hire people without disabilities.
> If an industry makes a lot of money (f’rinstance, the finance industry), all kinds of toxic, illegal behavior is ignored, and it’s really difficult to effect change.
> In industries that don’t make much money (teaching, social work, etc.), bad behavior is not tolerated in the slightest
This falls apart outside of your examples. The health care industry makes a lot of money. They don't tolerate this. Teaching in primary education? It doesn't make much money, but higher education? They do well, and they also don't tolerate this. The legal industry? Probably doesn't tolerate this. Etc..
I have theories, somewhat supported anecdotally, by things I've heard and been told.
I think the number one issue, that people keep forgetting, is that younger folks are fearfully insecure. I certainly was.
Even when we project great confidence, we still know, in our hearts, that we're whistling past the graveyard. It's really bravado, meant to help us feel better about ourselves.
As we get older, that particular insecurity starts to dissipate. It might get replaced by cynicism and fatalism, or fear about personal security, but the idea that we aren't "good enough," tends to lose steam. We become fairly aware of what we can (and, even more importantly -can't) do, and can often see the mistakes before they have a chance to metastasize.
Insecure folks don't want to be around people that remind them of their frailty; even if it costs them. That insecurity is painful. We may be very intelligent, well-educated, and creative, but we haven't had the forge of experience, and the infused carbon, to create the steel. We're still running on raw pig iron.
The other issue, is the "cargo cult" belief that younger folks can do the impossible, because they haven't had bitter, cynical "olds" tell them that it's impossible. That sounds silly, but I've actually heard exactly that, from a number of intelligent, well-educated people. It's a compelling myth, and many folks buy into it; hook, line, and sinker.
Basically, Wile. E. Coyote doesn't fall, until he looks down. If you don't have people around, that yell "Look down!", then you can fly.
And, finally, we all remember when we were "free," and didn't have things "weighing us down," like families and other obligations. We assume that we will always be able to remain completely self-absorbed, mobile, and somewhat hedonistic. "Digital Nomads" don't deal so well with families. I was raised by a pair of high-functioning Peter Pans, and can report that it's hard on the kids.
As long as the older folks had the power and the money, the younger folks were forced to work with them (and grow through their insecurities). However, if younger folks have the power and the money, they can prevent older folks from participating.
My experience is this: "Companies encouraging staff to leave more positive reviews is a common way to increase the score."
I see many reviews that are complete positive BS and are aimed at increasing the company's score, either to offset previous bad reviews, or because the company is hiring and wants to look good.
I would not say that this is "smart"... You might get people to accept offers but if the work environment is bad they'll leave so the end result is just to increase turnover and to trash the company's reputation (which will make hiring more difficult).
IMHO companies should forget about Glassdoor reviews and focus on the actual work environment. But of course the reality is that the Glassdoor score is a nice, simple metric that HR can boast about improving... so that's what happens, instead.
> I would not say that this is "smart"... You might get people to accept offers but if the work environment is bad they'll leave so the end result is just to increase turnover and to trash the company's reputation (which will make hiring more difficult).
They can kick the can down the road and make money.
IBM coasted on its reputation for decades and even now it's a big company and still respected in many arenas.
Reputational damage is hyper overrated.
The average individual doesn't have the time or inclination to do research.
> The average individual doesn't have the time or inclination to do research.
This is probably true for small-to-medium sized purchases, but for hiring? I suspect people are much more inclined to do their research when they're about to trust their livelihood to a company, especially in fields where they have other options.
As a job seeker I would not just look at the general score - that's a very poor preparation for interviews. I would recommend reading the reviews and I'd start with the bad. Most of this will be obviously disgruntled nonsense but at some point you start getting real information as unhappy people have less reluctance to share.
The thing is that it's all the same package: Good scores and glowing reviews that have little to do with reality. I agree that it is useful to seek the bad reviews to check how their content compares with the good ones, but I think it's very difficult to get an accurate picture overall.
In my experience if you can find a topic most bad reviews talk about and all positive reviews avoid (or directly contradict), it is probably true. Whether you find this an issue is something you can then decide for yourself.
Even with the best intentions, no-one can make a good picture of anything in life, because there are so many different facets, even two team members can experience the same work as an opportunity for careers or a stressful experience with a boss expecting too much.
The bad reviews show the failure modes of the company.
I read the reviews of my company (big, so many reviews) and I find them generally spot-on. Again, with obvious filters: if one gives 1/5 on everything it tells me to not take it very seriously. Same for 5/5 reviews.
Detecting fakes is the wrong question. You don't even try to tell if any particular individual reviews are real or fake.
You just read a bunch, and see if they are random, or if there is a pattern where many have something in common.
If 70% of the negative reviews say anything at all about aimless priorities and never being allowed to finish a job properly before being moved to the next thing, that company definitely has that specific kind of problem.
I wish more companies also focus on their product instead of their marketing. In reality the money is a simple (and desirable) metric and become the only one as soon as market is reach. Like if the new moto would be « create a great product until it sells ».
Although if the reviewed party has any significant ability to influence what the review system shows - which appears to be the case here - then the whole thing is compromised so you can't really trust anything about it at all. The most helpful negative reviews might no longer be there and only ones that look like someone being unreasonable remain for example.
The article says pretty much all of the reviews which got removed were the unreasonable ones (rude language, unfounded accusations, and TOS violations). Albeit according to the HR reps, but with context it sounds believable.
The article also describes numerous unethical-at-best practices that some companies have used to skew reviews positively. Some of those practices were ways to beat the system so that potentially legitimate reviews might get removed on one of the reasonable-looking grounds.
Yelp does that too. The only bad reviews I got to stick had clear, unambiguous written evidence and were written like a police report with clear, neutral language and specifics backed by documentation.
The number of folks who can meet that bar are very, very low.
One I did get to stick was the car dealership that tried to scam me into ~$1k in unneeded fluid changes, where I posted the exact times, amounts, and a photo of the written quote (with quote #) they gave me after I demanded it in writing - in the middle of their public showroom where they couldn’t try to avoid it.
It’s a jungle out there, and yes the review sites are a problem too.
the police are also not very helpful either in many cases. I had someone at Bestbuy steal a VERY expensive TV from me (I ordered it for pickup, but when I got there a few hours later it had ‘already been picked up’ - and definitely not by me), and got clear self serving bullshit from the store manager, including ‘we’ll call the police, you don’t need to do it’ - which they didn’t - and went home.
When I called the police later, they required me to drive there (the store was an hour away), and wait for awhile before they’d even dispatch anyone to even take a report, let alone do anything. So figure several hours, just to get a report in.
I had other things going on in my life that meant I couldn’t do what I needed to do in a reasonable amount of time - and unfortunately just got screwed.
I couldn’t charge back on the card without a police report during a specific time window (30 days). Filing it after that might have resulted in some action, but I wouldn’t likely get my money back.
I suspect it was the store manager, and I wasn’t the first one. But I had no real evidence, just a pattern of shifty behavior and lies.
They’d conveniently avoided having cameras in the areas to document what actually happened, and my pickup code had been used to pick it up, so definitely an inside job. I had video evidence I was at home when the supposed pickup happened, but that was it.
Sorry to hear that. Yeah, they probably thought about how some people would never follow through with the police report and their scheme will keep on going for some time. But they’ll get caught eventually
Yup, at least if they got greedy. My guess is they’d just do it infrequently and if anyone started asking questions stop.
Hard to not get greedy though at some point.
In hindsight/next time, I’d just call the police right then and there the moment I heard them say someone else picked it up. Listening to them after that or letting them give me the run around just wore me out and let me be convinced that I wasn’t somehow having a felony committed against me right there.
Also, not letting the personal issue escalate to where it was that bad would have let me do that much, much easier. But that is much easier said than done.
It was great pre-2010-ish, and before it was compromised by its business model and subsequent acquisition; but those were always inevitable.
Consider the proportion of GD's revenue from employer premium subscriptions vs from jobseekers (job listings, profile views). When there's lots of hiring, the jobseeker-related revenue will prevent the worst excesses. But in a downturn, there's less disincentive to not live off charging employers premium for reputation-washing.
[It's not easy running a for-profit technical jobs board, let alone doing it ethically and delivering growth; StackOverflow Jobs was sadly killed off in 2022. One of SO Jobs's innovations (other than almost zero on-site advertising) was it allowed you directly interact with the hiring mgrs, so you'd skip days/weeks of non-technical preliminary interviews.]
Thing is... This is gameable too. A competitor can easily come along and post 10 negative reviews all saying similar things like "This company says you get holiday, but the reality is if you ever take even a days holiday then you will forever be blacklisted from promotion. Promotion is strictly for people who work 8am till 8pm, 6 days a week, 365 days a year. And to trap you in, they'll offer a stock vesting schedule that means you have to throw away a lot of money to change companies.".
Sure, but that is legally actionable and can be falsified or not (as would the company actually doing that). relatively easy to verify during an interview too (does everyone look like a burnt out zombie?).
As if Glassdoor was amenable to going to all the trouble of talking to various employees at a company to judge whether 10 reviews all saying the same thing are correct or not. And then, potentially facing a law suit for their decision.
If your perceptions of the world are based on the idea that everything that happens once must be happening all the time everywhere well, good luck not getting eaten by Cocaine Bear.
Besides, Uber’s attack on Lyft there was direct. The idea that someone would poison Glassdoor reviews if a competitor in the hopes of making it harder to hire good people who looked at Glassdoor, in the hopes that not having those particular people would weaken the competitor in the long run… it’s risible.
How you went from “seems plausible” to “this man must believe Cocaine Bear is happening repeatedly” is an impressive leap.
Aside, I think your post highlights why commenting on the internet is so painful. All I‘ve done is highlight a factual anecdote w/ attribution, without speaking negatively of anyone, and you saw it necessary to denigrate my intelligence.
I think your point about Glassdoor reviews vs. rideshare cancellations works fine without the accompanying commentary.
HR has long since figured out how to game Glassdoor.
A good metrics is # of reviews versus # of employees.
You'll see some companies with such high numbers, that somehow 10% of current employees have left glowing reviews. Digging deeper they are mostly "less than 1 year" and terse "good company" type reviews.
Digging deeper they are mostly "less than 1 year" and terse "good company" type reviews.
Some of the practices described in the article are simply fraud or gagging. Where that kind of behaviour is not explicitly illegal already it probably should be. Preventing employees from giving honest and factually correct feedback about their employers is almost never in the public interest. That's not even an anti-business position because preventing fair criticism of bad employers is also against the interests of other employers who don't do those bad things.
Glassdoor reviews are filled with subjective phrases that are so meaningless. Comments like "great work/life balance" doesn't offer much information . A more useful approach would be to have users enter more objective figures. For example:
"Typical office hours: 9-6, Weekends worked per year: 4, Pager evenings per month: 2, meeting hours per week: 10. Remote days per week: 3, etc.
> Independent of this article, solution scientist Shikhar Sachdev dived deep and investigated The underground economy of Glassdoor reviews, finding fake, 5-start Glassdoor reviews have a going rate of $10-25 per review on marketplaces, and providers offering review removal services - for a price. Review removal is something Glassdoor explicitly says should not be possible. It's fascinating research to read: check it out here.
Interesting how HR departments and managers resort to gestapo tactics instead of fixing the root of their problems, which is typically poor management.
Side effect - prospective employees will no longer trust glassdoor reviews. That will likely hurt their business model.
Before trying to disrupt any product, it would be good to identify the failures of competitors, determine whether they’re actually “failures” (i.e. will people pay for an improvement) and make your solutions to those issues part of your core identity.
To say Glassdoor is a good candidate for disruption is not the same thing as saying they have some problems. Every product has some problems.
here is an actual failure: when i'm looking at say Meta salaries, i still see no indicator or filter of how recent this data is. Are the numbers that they are showing an average of all reports starting from 2007? which may have like doubled since then, 15 years ago? This renders the salary data completely useless, you can't do apples-to-apples with a more recent company like OpenAI that doesn't have 15 years worth of old useless numbers averaged into it. It could be solved by adding some kind of a pretty basic recency filter, but in 15 years of their existence they haven't bothered.
The idea would be not to store those data on server only process it and keep anonymous data or even only aggregated.
Some processing maybe could be done also on the client or payslip user name masked after verifying it matches passport holder locally before sending to server. Other option using blockchain with open source repo.
I know a lot of HN users are in theory very distrustful about anything new but in practise still:
- using VPNs (even paid one don't guarantee your data is safe)
- open source password managers (w/o reading source code)
- Dropbox etc
- compiling random open source code first without reading
- having no issue telling hour rate or daily rate recruiter on linkedin when asked and attaching resume.
So what's so very sensitive in payslip if you already providing this kind of information to any recruiter?
> So what's so very sensitive in payslip if you already providing this kind of information to any recruiter?
Domestic violence victims who are trying to avoid being found? People seeing political asylum? Anyone who wants to maintain privacy? There's a number of reasons you would not want this information in pastebin.
>People who write review would have to upload recent pay slip or after when committing review provide their email at employee to receive some passcode active within 2 months
No sane person is uploading a pay slip so they can leave a review on some internet site. In fact, I'd daresay the only reviews you'd see at that point are from individuals (or companies) with sufficient incentive to generate convincing-looking fake pay stubs.
>Jobs advertisement ads and website getting commission if someone got hired from advertised jobs like most agency get. Hired person would get small bonus for confirming got accepted.
>Just create account in some law friendly country. Don't store any user data such as passport, payslip, user employee emails etc - after verifying just delete those
The more you try to detach from the countries that will (possibly) make you retain that information (or block you from collecting it) the harder it is to do business with companies from those countries (or to enforce contracts against them for things like commissions).
HN has many entrepreneurial types so I don’t think this suggestion would go over particularly well, but entrusting a government body with some of these functions would seem to take care of the identity verification and review manipulation part of it. The government already knows about your income sources and employment status, so it would not expose any more information. As for transparency, maybe publish review hashes similar to CT logs?
I think any government doing this is very unlikely. Governments aim to make things easier for capital, not labour. Where I am it's actually technically illegal for you to even discuss your salary with your fellow workers.
So governments do, some don’t, some occasionally try to do both.
where I am not only are salary ranges mandatory on job ads but company also have to publicly disclose a lot of stats wages/salaries. Median, average, quartiles etc. for all full time and part time employees.
A manager on my old company's blind (they never revalidate your email apparently) just posted the other day how the CEO asked the managers 'who in their team would you not hire today'. They took that list and fired all of them.
I imagine HR would absolutely love to take that down.
The business model is garbage. The only possible source of revenue is the very companies that are being reviewed. Either you offer some benefit to those companies, in which case you are untrustworthy, or you don’t, in which case you are broke.
Glassdoor (and similar) is a waste of time, reviews are all heavily biased at best or outright paid for lies. Amazon reviews are barely useful - that reviews of workplaces, the average tenure of which is 4.1 years can be any better is just a pipedream.
This should surprise precisely no one. It's called the Yelp business model and it's been around for 10-15 years. You allow paying customers to remove bad reviews. Shocker. In Yelp's case, you also give paying customers better search visibility.
It's never as straightforward as "if you pay, you can remove bad reviews". It's always couched in some form of plausible deniability, like reviews that violate a ToS or community guidelines in some nebulous way.
Yes, ignore all ratings and read the review content. You can spot pain points, such as missing remote-flexibility, or bad incentives, or impossible deadlines, or bad equipment, or lousy onboarding, micromanagement, meetings late in the day, racism (like in Tesla factories)..
Reading reviews helps you understand what you should pay attention to. You might take some things for granted that the company completely violates.
You can then use your knowledge to ask specific questions during the job interview. Like: "What's your remote work policy and please put 5 days at home in my contract." Or you could spot the open office with old computers.
As Tolstoy put it: "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" And it's up to you to spot a specific unhappiness at any given company.
Yes. I treat Glassdoor reviews the same as I do hotel reviews or restaurant reviews - look at the reviews where people are positive but have criticisms, and look to see if those criticisms have a trend in the reviews (or if some reviews even tell people that thing is a positive - "difficult work life balance" "high pressure rewarding environment)
If they're all positive (or negative) then that's a sign there's something wrong.
Yes, I mostly look at critical reviews and really pay attention to things mentioned by a few employees in different words. I usually do this while interviewing, so I am only interested in the negative takes as the company will readily tell me every positive aspect they can boast of.
Just apply a bit of common sense to the comments and they will be a great source of insight. Some things they say can even be verified elsewhere (like if people from management keep getting into harassment lawsuits, if the company mistreats its clients, and similar).
There are alot of threads about X where there are kinda probable insiders writing lame positive stuff about the X thing. Like "that is really cool" or interested leading questions about it, when there is no way people here would naturally write it in such an optimistic manner.
Amazon reviews are still useful because many times, people will point out some negative aspects and nonobvious defects of the product that I didn't think of. This helps me avoid buying a lot of junk. (My previous mattress shopping example: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24197305)
Yes, reviews can be gamed but there's still some signal in the noise.
On the other hand, many product categories on Amazon have useless reviews because they group unrelated SKUs together into 1 page. E.g. different harddrive models of different capacities made across different years and manufactured in different countries of origin. E.g. everybody writing 1-star reviews of the bad Seagate 3TB drives is irrelevant to assessing the other 10TB and 16TB drives. E.g. 24000+ combined reviews for unrelated harddrives released across 15+ years : https://www.amazon.com/Seagate-IronWolf-12TB-Internal-Drive/...
It's not meant to be patronizing, it's just a fact that people who spend a bunch of time reading about tech are going to hear about things before people who don't.
It also makes sense that reviews would have signal. It's not like people are dumb, they were just born in an earlier world where reviews would actually have some reputation attached to them. Movies, restaurants, concerts, that kind of stuff would be reviewed by someone capable of writing and filtered through a newspaper editor.
Now things have changed and it takes some time for everyone to figure it out.
In this particular case... HNers tend to be familiar with tech industry business models and investment models, more than the average person who doesn't work in tech.
So I think it's plausible we'll tend to have a somewhat better awareness of the dynamics around reviews that are posted online.
(But I don't think we're more savvy about the world in general. If anything, we tend to have STEM-like narrower exposure to the world than many, coupled with the overconfidence that comes from income level.)
As a HN regular, I find Amazon reviews super useful. You just have to understand which ones to put more faith in or not. And how to poke around for the product you want, and not one being paid to be promoted in the search. But it's not insurmountable.
> Grandma: “They aren’t allowed to lie on the news so that has to be true.”
That's the problem with Boomers and earlier generations. They grew up (in the US) with first the Mayflower and then the Fairness Doctrine that forced at least some basic ethics standards, and with a media portfolio that didn't consist of a few very rich people and companies controlling wide swaths of media (Fox, Sinclair, Murdoch come to my mind), leading to actual competition between media, high quality journalism and actually well paid journalists.
They didn't realize that the landscape has changed - there are no media standards anymore, there is no antitrust enforcement anymore, hell Carlson got away with his antics because a court ruled that a "reasonable viewer" would be skeptic towards his claims  despite it being more than obvious that Carlson's audience eat up everything he spouts as pure truth.
The internet accelerated the decline by 1) destroying media business models, leading to seasoned editors and fact checkers being replaced by cheaper twenty-something Twitter addicts, and 2) driving consumers into filter bubbles and feeding their confirmation bias.
It did not. Even a Republican-led investigation didn't find any wrongdoing . Not every bullshit conspiracy claim of the far right warrants an investigation - their entire modus operandi is running a continuous "firehose of falsehood" stream , and media reporting on each and every of their claims like a bunch of flies swarming around a pile of poo is actually dangerous to society.
When the far right manages to create absurd amount of media attention for nothing substantial every time they open their mouths, then there's no airtime left to report on stuff that actually matters.
> Fairness doctrine was specifically to try and silence conservative voices.
Or maybe "conservative voices" have used lies and hatred as a political tool for decades? We've seen just how incredibly the media landscape has devolved since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. Far-right talking points everywhere.
Name one, just one case of "progressive voices" doing the same that comes even close to what the right wing does with people like Tucker Carlson every single day.
This is like a lifecycle thing. Review site startups, in their early days, view the reviewers as their customers. People want to know whether X is good or bad, so come tell us! So they construct systems aimed at making sure the reviews are attractive and useful, and everyone loves them.
But over time, ad revenue dries up, the new reviewer stream dries up (because most things are already reviewed), and they start looking for new revenue sources. And one such source is the producers of the reviewed products, who would love to be able to have some control over the content. And thus the downward spiral begins.
"Send a reminder to new joiners during the first few months, asking them to leave a review on Glassdoor. This is a smart approach, as new joiners are often in their honeymoon period, and are likely to leave a positive review."
LOL, more to the point, they are often still in a probation period, so maybe it's a case of 'make a positive review ... if you know what's good for you'
They should just remove the scoring. All complainers will do a score of 1, all cheerers will do 5.
It is also the case that a company can be a perfect place for some, and a completely wrong place for another. And of course, this is true for each team within the company.
Actual opinions do have a merit, and it is possible to weigh them according to one's perspective or expectations. Eg. a reviewer writes that WFH is not allowed or limited to 1 day per week, I can decide if that bothers me or not. If it doesn't bother me, why would I accept a bad score from someone who wants to WFH?
The perception of neutrality is very important for platforms like Glassdoor, otherwise no one would trust it. Showing any sort of visualization that would reveal that they remove reviews would be bad for this.
I kept tabs on a company where I used to work and when I got an email from Glassdoor about a review of that company with the title "stalled", I naturally wanted to click through, but by that point the review was gone.
I then started to screenshot any new reviews, ad saw that some of the negative ones also got removed after time.
You could say that Glassdoor is more like a rose-tinted window.
Given that it is Glassdoor's interest to provide employers with pretty much the power to veto negative reviews, then the data points in terms of satisfaction will greatly be skewed favorably to the companies.
While we can acknowledge that a lot of negative reviews will also stem from employees who were terminated / laid off / dismissed as the company may be undergoing financial / economic challenges, there can also be a lot of valid ones.
But then again, each individual (who will do a review) knows the adage to _never burn the bridges_, hence, either they use Glassdoor as a venting platform, or have the courage to stand up and speak their minds.
Unless there's a net benefit upside to the individual providing a negative (albeit constructive) criticism, it'll really be hard to weed out what's really helpful from what is written out of anger and desperation.
Not surprised. I remember a startup I was at telling employees several years ago to leave five star reviews. When I left I provided a good review as well to avoid any potential for bridge burning since at certain sizes its obvious who is leaving certain reviews.
Personally I have no interest in tying my name to a review. In fact I've still not reviewed a few places from my past because I don't fancy getting a call/email from that employer yelling at me for telling the truth. I've mostly worked at smaller companies so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put 2 and 2 together and I'd have to lie about my position/salary to keep it from being immediately recognizable, probably even need to write "creatively" to avoid them telling it was me.
Even if I hated working somewhere I'd never publicly blast them under my real name. Near zero upside and unlimited downside. At best I prevent others from going through what I did (IF they check reviews, IF they believe me, etc), at worst someone knows someone who knows someone who torpedos my career/prospects at another company. It doesn't matter if that retaliation is illegal, I'd never know or be able to prove it. Lastly, I have to put food on the table, if my current job goes under or opportunities dry up I'd go back to company that I disliked to make ends meet. Why would I burn that bridge?
People rarely leave companies because they are happy where they are so I have trouble seeing anyone wanting to sign their real name to a review about a company they left. Like I said, near zero upside and unlimited downsides.
i've learned from reading glassdoor reviews, that you have to read the review rather than go by the star ratings. the star ratings often don't reflect what written in the review. for example, you'll see lots of amazon reviews that are 3, 4 or even 5 stars but a lot of the time the truth comes out in the text review itself.
Companies bribe Glassdoor and those "best places to work" lists with fees, ability to remove negative reviews, etc. Hacker news/Blind/Reddit seem to be better for discussing how its like to work at a company . .. for now
I stopped following Gergely Orosz a long time ago. His tech stuff has/had been pretty great, but he's always simping for corporate tech to the point of obsequiousness and it's a huge turn off for me to read any of his stuff. This tone-deaf, pro-management, anti-worker post just further seals the deal.
> I’ve talked with CTOs and HR professionals at 5 tech companies, who all tell me they’re doing something similar to having set a target score to improve to, or did so in the past. I’m not naming these companies as I believe this is a widespread trend that’s not limited to just a few players
Anonymity completely destroys the fabric of glassdoor reviews being trustworthy. There definitely is an opportunity to have a more open and transparent feedback culture built around this system of employee - employer relations.
In an era where we are going to see more of tech jobs disappearing (AI and automation kicking in), the effect of maintaining a glassdoor presence is no longer even meaningful for new age companies. For prospective employees, having a meaningful way to have feedback from current employees is a solution that does need to be in place.