You get a call from a recruiter, and you are excited about a new job opportunity. You do a quick Google search only to read negative employee reviews. You are now no longer excited about the new job prospect and consider not even handing in your resume. But how much should you read into these employee review sites? Are the reviews written by a bitter employee, or does HR fake reviews to get top talent?
Employee review sites are a good thing and utilizing them is an important step in finding the right job for you. However, one must take the buyer beware mentality and learn these tips on how to navigate them.
Tips on Reading Employee Reviews
#1 Do not Read too Much into 5 Star Reviews
It is HR’s job to find and recruit top talent, and it’s their job to sell the company. So if you see reviews with a lot of 5 stars ask yourself have the reviews have been written by HR?
If the site has one review that is 5 stars and has many negative reviews you can probably assume it fabricated. Also, some sites make reviewers list cons of working there so if the con is positive like, “nothing I can think of” or “work is very challenging but nine to fivers need not apply” then the review is probably written by HR.
# 2 Take 1 Star Reviews With a Grain of Salt
There are a lot of people out there who always complain about their job and are never happy. This is why I would not put too much emphasis on reviews with one star. Also, the person who posted a review may have been a poor performer and is now taking it out in the company.
#3 The More Reviews the Better
There are many sites that provide employee reviews. If the company only has one or two reviews on a particular site be sure to try other sites and not just rely on one.
If all else fails and you can’t find any other reviews try LinkedIn. LinkedIn does not have a review site but if you search for phrases such as, “people who used to work at company XYZ” or “people who work at company XYZ” and see how long they have been with that particular company. If the average employee stayed at the company for less than a year than it probably is an indicator that it is not the best place to work.
# 4 Don’t be too Picky
When I see companies with hundreds of reviews they seem to average out at 3 stars or above. I personally believe a company with 3 stars or above is a good place to work. Every company is going to have a disgruntled employee and will complain no matter where they are. Therefore, anything with a 3-star review should be considered decent assuming it has, at least, fifteen reviews.
# 5 Read the Reviews for the Department You Will Be Working In
It is possible the IT department is a great place to work but working in the accounting department is a nightmare. If you are reviewing a large company try to find the department you would potentially work for.
To summarize job review sites are a good thing but make sure you are reading between the lines and separate the good reviews from the bad.