Beginners Guide: How to make the most of Glassdoor

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***Updated August, 15th 2018***

It’s your time you’re ready to take your professional world by storm!

Maybe you just finished college or are midlevel looking to advance your career. Were you were blindsided when you were swept up in a round of layoffs? Or, you’ve hit a dead end with your current job. Enough is enough! Whatever your situation, you’re ready to turn a new leaf.

You’re going to spend a third of your life here. Make the right choice

You work tirelessly to perfect your resume. All your friends have looked at it to make sure you haven’t missed anything.  Networked like a champ, got the interview, and you pressed the suit and look like a million bucks. You got the job….but it’s not what you thought it would be.

All that work, and back to the drawing board. I know I’ve been there, more than I would like to admit. All this can be avoided with a little research.

Research the company before you apply

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.

Where to start

I know I’ve used job review sites such as Glassdoor in the past. They aren’t the only site but they are a popular one. I’ve lived in six different states within 10 years, so I’ve had several jobs. Good jobs and bad.

My story

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. When 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. If I had used Glassdoor earlier it could have saved me a lot of grief. 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 examine the negative and positive. You can see if the company and job is a good fit for you. But there are some myths associated with using job review sites.

Myth 1: People only post the negative experiences


That is not accurate. 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 may not. I like a company that is “right down the middle” or higher with their ratings. Three stars on glass door are pretty decent. Not everyone is going to love every job or have a good experience with every company. After reading many of the insights, would you be happy waking up Monday morning to go to work?

 Myth 2: 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 strictly rely on the reviews, but you should consider what the reviews have to say.

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

A lot of major companies will have several 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 see many negative and positive responses. Its important to take both into account. For example, in the negative comments – “ long hours, little pay”. Positive comment,  “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 advance, this may be a good fit.

Invest in your career

Are you are just looking the pay the rent? Or are you investing in your career? 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.  Will the skills you learn from this job help you advance your career?  Will this job help you to reach your long-term goals? Is the company in good standing? Is the company is having money problems? You don’t want to be the last one in, first one out. Reviewers will let you know if there are financial problems within the company or a merger.

Final thought

Having a major company on your resume looks good, especially if you advance in your position there. (That is unless you worked for a company starts with E and ends with NRON. )  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. I took a job for a company where there was one scathing review. I thought to myself that is just one person’s opinion. I may not have the whole story. None of that will happen to me I’m a great employee! Of course, it all happened to me. (There were red flags I should have seen in the interview but that’s another post).

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 out 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 the review appears to be very emotional and not factual, I would do more research. Sometimes job sites (like Indeed) will allow people to post reviews on its site too.

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. It was bought out. Everything comes out in the wash.

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. However, I would still look into the longevity of the company and see if there are reviews on smaller sites too. There could be so new no one has documented them yet.

No job is perfect that is for sure. A job is not 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.