If you’ve heard of Glassdoor, odds are that you know you can find company ratings on our site. But while this is an important part of your job hunt research, the truth is that Glassdoor offers so much more than that (including job listings — more on that later!). So if you’re only looking at a company’s rating in order to assess what it’s like to work there, you’re missing out. But with so much information available, what exactly should you focus on?
I chatted with Jamie Hichens, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition at Glassdoor (and resident job search guru) to get the low-down on what job seekers should keep in mind when viewing a company’s Glassdoor page — here were a few of her top recommendations.
1 Company Reviews
Let’s start with Glassdoor’s bread and butter: company reviews. Using Glassdoor’s 33 million reviews and insights for approximately 700,000 companies, “you can see what current and former employees have to say about working there, including what’s working well, what needs improvement and advice to senior management. Depending on what you want in a company, reading reviews is a great way to better understand what goes on inside a company and the type of culture that is best for you,” Hichens says.
One important thing to keep in mind: “Most people on Glassdoor read 6-7 reviews before forming an opinion about a company, so we recommend reading several reviews as you conduct your research. There is no perfect place to work, so don’t focus on just the glowing reviews, or those that are overly negative — you want to see what a variety of people have to say, look for constant themes within reviews, and determine if the company is right for you or not. Interestingly, on Glassdoor, 7 in 10 people report that they are OK or satisfied in their jobs,” Hichens shares.
That’s right — don’t get thrown off if you see a negative review here and there. “Even the Best Places to Work have some negative reviews,” Hichens points out. “The important part when researching a company is to take into account themes you uncover from a variety of employees, and looking for reviews and details related to what’s important to you and your life in and out of work. What’s a bad review to one person may not be a bad review to someone else, so it depends on what’s most important to you.”
When looking at a company’s reviews, you might be wondering how they stack up against the average employer. “Of the 700,000 employers reviewed on Glassdoor, the average company rating is a 3.3, so employers with a higher rating are an above-average employer, while those with a lower rating are below-average employers,” Hichens says. But like I mentioned before: it’s important to keep in mind that this is just a part of the whole picture. “This is a useful data point to take into account, but it’s not everything. Make sure to still read as many reviews and insights as possible to really understand where the company is today, what it’s like in the department you might be working in and to fully understand where the company has been and where it’s going,” Hichens advises.
For a long time, you had to wait until the very end stages of the interview process before you found out how much you’d get paid — a process that often ended in frustration or even feeling like you wasted your time pursuing a job that was way below your expectations. With Glassdoor, though, that pain point has become a thing of the past.
“On Glassdoor, you can see salary reports for specific jobs in specific cities at specific companies,” Hichens says, which “[helps] you get a better sense of what fair pay for a particular role should be.”
Not sure how to gauge whether or not those salaries are good deals? “You should also use our tool called Know Your Worth™ to get your current market value where you can ensure you are being paid fairly,” Hichens suggests. Just enter your company name, location, job title, years of experience, and a few other data points to get a free, personalized estimate of what you should be making — it’s incredibly useful not only for assessing salary offers, but also as a data point to bring up in salary negotiations.
Some job listings on Glassdoor will even say right within the description what the estimated pay is — Glassdoor’s recently launched salary estimates can help you instantly know what you could be paid before you even apply, so you know what to expect right from the get-go.
In my opinion, Glassdoor’s interview reviews are one of the most underrated features on the site. They tell you not only whether or not previous candidates have generally had a positive, neutral, or negative interview experience, but also how long it takes, how difficult it is, whether or not the reviewer received an offer, and, most critically, which questions the company asked.
Think about it: when you know which questions a company’s recruiters and hiring managers have asked, you can prepare for and rehearse those exact questions, making it that much more likely that you’ll ace the interview (and ultimately land a job offer). If you really want to go above and beyond, check out our list of the 50 Most Common Interview Questions that employers ask.
Benefits aren’t always the first thing you think of when you’re assessing a company, but for many people, perks like 401(k) plans, health insurance, and child care programs are make-or-break factors in deciding whether or not they take a job. So whether you care most about free lunches, the ability to work from home, or something else entirely, be sure to check out the “insights shared by employees on more than 50 benefits a company may offer to see how your potential total compensation package might compare from one employer to another,” Hichens suggests.
5 Ratings and Trends
Beyond the three major metrics you see at the top of a company’s “reviews” section — company rating, recommend to a friend score, and CEO approval rating — you can click “Ratings & Trends” to reveal a handful of other ratings as well, for factors like Culture & Values, Work/Life Balance, Senior Management, Comp & Benefits, and Career Opportunities. Clicking on this button will also reveal trends over time and the distribution of ratings.
“We know that the majority of people value company culture, career opportunities and trust in senior leadership when it comes to long-term employee satisfaction, so if this applies to you too, look for reviews where these themes are strongest. They might help point you to a company that values you more than others and can help foster your professional development in the near term and long-term,” Hichens says.
If, after reviewing all of the items above, you decide that the company you’re reviewing is a good fit for you, it’s time to apply to one of their open positions!
“Glassdoor is now the second-largest job site and fastest growing in the U.S., so if you see a company you might want to work for, you can also see all of their open jobs on Glassdoor,” Hichens says. “If you like a company, apply to one of their jobs directly on Glassdoor while doing your research all in one stop.”
Now that you’re a bonafide Glassdoor expert, it’s time to put that knowledge to work — so go forth, research, and find the job that fits your life!