Company review sites are great for providing reference points for a potential employer, but they should not be used as the final deciding factor on whether or not to take a job.

In today’s society, we look to reviews before making any decision. From restaurant reviews on Yelp to product reviews on Amazon, we check out what others have to say about a product or service before committing to anything. The same goes for reading company reviews during the job search process. While company review sites can be helpful, I advise using them as a data point and not as a final deciding factor.

Consider this. If you’re looking at Greek restaurant reviews, you may come across a review from someone who doesn’t like Greek food. Their review may be skewed toward the negative side due to their dislike of Greek food in general, and not their disdain for that specific restaurant. Or think of it in dating terms: just because someone isn’t a good fit for a specific individual, it doesn’t mean he or she isn’t a good fit for anyone else.

The same is true of evaluating company reviews. Someone may give a company a negative review for a variety of reasons such as corporate culture, compatibility with coworkers’ ideals or general dissatisfaction with their career. I encourage job seekers to look at reviews, but don’t discredit a company based solely on feedback you read online. When you consult company reviews consider the context of the review and then formulate your own opinion based on research, discussions with current or past employees and/or the actual interview conversation with the hiring manager.

The best way to find out if you like a restaurant is to try it; likewise, the best way to know if a company is right for you is to interview. Use the interview to ask about issues you’ve read online to uncover the true reason behind the individual’s satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with the employer. Bring up the issues that concern you. If there are bad management reviews, ask about any recent changes in leadership. If culture seemed to be an issue, inquire about the work environment, employee engagement opportunities and so on.

In addition to Glassdoor, which is the largest and most popular company review site, there are several other places to turn to for company reviews. LinkedIn is a great place to start as you can read testimonials and check out current and past employees. Indeed is another resource where you can find company information, along with Vault, Monster and CareerLeak.

Have you consulted with company review sites recently? How did it affect your decision to work or not work with the employer? Share your thoughts below.


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