Getting the Inside Scoop: Employer Reviews

I recently accepted a new position at a new company. The process was a whirlwind and forced me to make a big decision in a relatively short period of time. The interesting part is that the pressure to make a decision wasn’t coming from my new employer…but from my former one.

We had just come off of our mid-year reviews. My own went quite well. However there was a lingering question that not only I had, but several of my co-workers had…and that was, “What’s the long range plan here?”. Now I must admit…my position was stable, flexible, had great work-life balance and the pay wasn’t horrible. However I had to admit that I was not the kind of person that just wanted to keep collecting a paycheck. I wanted a plan for professional growth. And I couldn’t make out that path from my former position.

I wasn’t actively looking for a new position, but submitted casual applications here and there. I was pleasantly surprised when called by a recruiter one Friday afternoon. I went through a one-week long interview process. Being in the same industry we all knew and worked with the same people. So no pressure there. That wouldn’t come until after.

I confessed to a co-worker that I was interviewing and anticipated an offer. She then supplied some feedback that made me step back and look at the situation. Salary aside, what would I be losing and what would I be gaining? Did I fully inquire about growth opportunities with my current position? Seniority does count…how much was undetermined. What about the office culture? Would it be better or worse?

Sometimes you do need the opinions of others to refute or validate your perceptions. I then turned to – and wen through the reviews for both my former and current employer. What sealed the deal for me surprisingly were the reviews written on my former employer (there weren’t as many for my current one). What I read were many other people in my position that voices the same concerns and issues that I had recognized. So it was then that I realized that my concerns didn’t exist in a vacuum…nor were they regulated to only my account/team. It was then that I made the decision to move on.

One thing that the modern workforce is starting to realize is that job transitions are a thing that you most likely will not be able to avoid. Gone are the days where you find your dream employer shortly after college and stick by their side until your retirement years. With this new type of mobile workforce, combined with living in the information age, professionals are expecting that there will be a two-way flow of information between the employer and the employee regarding. To a certain extent, you are no longer completely at the mercy of HR professionals and recruiters in regards to comparing salary ranges, comparing benefit packages, and getting a sense of company culture.

Not that sites like Glassdoor should make or break your career decisions. You should also utilize other means to gain some insight on potential employers as well. On the other side of the equation, recruiters and HR professionals should be prepared for the fact that potential employees may do their fair share of “background review” on you as well. This is especially important in regards to salary negotiation. If you low-ball candidates…either in comparison to other company peers or the competition, they will most likely find this out. And it’s better that they know this before, as opposed to after the offer letter has been accepted.

On a final note, I do hope that employers can come to value online employer reviews as much as job seekers currently do. It’s unfortunate that many companies do not claim their profiles on, leaving the only voice and representation being that of employees…a disproportionate amount who are disgruntled. Even if an employer chooses to not respond to reviews left by their employees, they can still review what is written and use that as a foundation for change and growth to help them improve in recruiting and retaining future talent.