Beginners Guide: How to make the most of Glassdoor

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It’s your time! You’re ready to take your professional world by storm! Maybe you just finished college, maybe you are midlevel looking to advance your career. Or, you’ve hit a dead end with your current job and you’ve said enough is enough! Possibly you were blindsided when you were swept up in a round of layoffs, and are back on the market.  Whatever your situation, you’re ready to turn a new leaf, and get that awesome new job.

You are off to a great start!  You work tirelessly to perfect your resume you’ve had all your friends look at it to make sure you haven’t missed anything. You’ve networked like a champ, you got the interview, and you pressed the suit and look like a million bucks! You aced the interview and you got the job….but it’s not what you thought it would be…..at all!! All that work, and back to drawing board. I know I’ve been there, more than I would like to admit.

I feel her pain!
I feel her pain!

However, the Internet is a wonderful thing! Job review sites offer you an inside look at the experiences of former and current employees of so many companies! They can help you avoid job situations, which are less than ideal.

I know I’ve used job review sites such as Glassdoor extensively in the past. I’ve lived in six different states within 10 years, so I’ve had several jobs, and have been on the job hunt many times. I’ve had good ones and bad, and of course you want to do what you can to avoid the bad. The Internet can be wonderful for that!

I started using sites like Glassdoor after I landed my first job out of college. I worked at a major car company, and it was not what I expected. I looked up the company on Glassdoor and realized that I was not the only one working for this company who felt a little…disenchanted with the company. I remember saying to myself, “I wish I had seen this earlier”. It could have saved me a lot of grief to know what others, who had already been there, had to say about the company. Especially when all the reviews were spot on to the experience I was going through. Sadly, this happened to me twice, but I learned!

I know some think very negatively about job review sites, but with these tips you can sift through the negative and positive, to see if the company and job is a good fit for you. Below are some of the common objections:

People only post the negative experiences:


That is not entirely accurate. I say entirely, because it depends on the company you are researching. A larger company will typically have a good mix of both positive and negative reviews. Smaller companies might not. I like a company that is “right down the middle” or higher with their ratings. Three stars on glass door is pretty decent. Not everyone is going to love every job, or have a good experience with every job. After reading many of the insights, would you be happy waking up Monday morning at going to this job.

 That’s just one person’s experience, it doesn’t mean it will happen to you.

I used to think that too, but, if they treat one person that way why wouldn’t they treat you that way? What makes you much different? Do you really want to take that risk?  Or, “you have to take that stuff with a grain of salt” I wouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket, but you should consider what the reviews have to say.

So, how do you utilize job review sites without losing a big opportunity?


How many reviews are on the site? Is this a big well known company?

A lot of major large companies will have a lot of job reviews online. This is very good for you, you have a better chance at getting a good look at the company through former and current employees eyes. You will likely see a lot of negative responses and positive responses too. Its important to take both into account. For example, in the negative comments – “ long hours, little pay” but “lots of room for advancement to management, if you put in the work” This gives you a few questions to ask yourself. Is this a company I want to advance with, or is it just a job until the right one comes around? If you are ok with working 60 hours a week, knowing you will likely advance, this may be a good fit. If you are just looking the pay the rent, you may want to try another company. Will this advancement look good on my resume? Especially just starting out, sometimes you’ve got to put in the time…sometimes lots of it! But make sure its worth it for you. Does it advance my career? Will the skills you learn from this job help you advance your career?  What is it that you want to do long term? Will this job help you get reach your long term goals? Is the company in good standing? If the company is having money problem, you don’t want to be the last one in, first one out. A lot of reviewers will let you know if there are money problems within the company, or a pending or recent merger.

How do you asses these reviews?


I like to see an overall average of 3 stars on major companies, that’s right in the middle and pretty reasonable, since you will have people with both good and bad experiences.

Takeaway: Having a major company on your resume looks good, especially if you advanced in your position there. (That is unless said company starts with E and ends with NRON, and used to be a major energy company. )  However, don’t let trying to climb the corporate ladder destroy your quality of life.

What if there is only one review?

That makes things a bit trickier, but not impossible. I took a job for a company where there was one scathing review. I thought to myself that is just one person’s opinion, who knows what happened there. None of that will happen to me I’m a great employee! Of course until it all happened to me. (There were red flags I should have seen in the interview but that’s another post). I would recommend looking at a few things on the reviews:

How detailed is the review? Does the review state that the company will fail if they don’t get their act together? Or does it state that there is one person doing three peoples jobs in the manufacturing department due to high turnover? Does it state that the company is putting our inferior products? Or does it state that on time delivery takes priority over quality control? You are looking for a specific review regarding what is wrong or right about the company. If they review appears to be very emotional and not factual, I would do more research. Sometimes job sites (like Indeed) will allows people to post reviews on its site too. Do your due diligence.

Side note: That company I was just speaking about with the one review, now has about 40 reviews of people who had the same experience as me, and it was bought out. These things work themselves out.


What if there are no reviews?

As crazy as this sounds that could be a good thing. It means that no one has had such a bad experience that they want to prevent others from going through the same thing, or to vent. However, I would still look into the longevity of the company and see if there are reviews non smaller sites too. They could be so new no one has documented them yet.


No job is perfect that is for sure. No job is responsible for your happiness. But, there are resources to help you find that good job, which helps advance your career, and at the very least, not make you miserable 🙂 After all you will spend 40+ hours there, might as well enjoy yourself 🙂 These are my opinions based on my experience with the workforce. This is what has worked for me, and I hope my experiences can help you too.