What It Is:
A place where employees can anonymously post various details about their company.
- Salaries for different roles within a company
- Pros and cons of working there
- “Advice to management” from the employee’s perspective
- Details about hiring interviews
Glassdoor (http://www.glassdoor.com) is a Web site that lets employees post a wealth of information about their employer. By sharing their individual salaries, interview experiences, and reviews of their company, employees get to see what other people have posted about their company and others.
Tim Besse, cofounder of Glassdoor, explains the genesis of the site, saying, “We started wondering what our company would be like if the internal company survey, and internal company salaries were just posted to the Internet. Not that we could do that, but what effect would something like that have on companies?”
For employees and job seekers, this is obviously a huge boon. Are you being offered a competitive salary compared to other people with the same job title at the company? How’s morale? What can you expect for raises? How can you best prepare for an interview? For an idea of the data and how it’s presented, the following is a screen shot of the salaries for a technical company known as VMware:
Employees can also review their company and describe what they see as the pros and cons of working there, as well as provide “advice to management.” Any individual employee review should be taken with a grain of salt, but a relatively large number of reviews do paint a reasonably good picture of the company culture.
In fact, Glassdoor goes to great lengths to ensure the quality of the data. As Besse explains, “Every review has to list pros and cons, and every review is read before it goes live. There’s not a single review that’s all negative. Users have to join the site to post a review, and have to use a valid email address. And we have processes in place to keep a user from posting multiple reviews to drive down the rating of companies. Ultimately, we disqualify 15 percent of reviews for not meeting our standards. Sixty percent of the companies on Glassdoor are rated ‘OK’ or better.”
And with the wide range of review sites out there, users have become conditioned to read multiple reviews and look for trends, rather than just rely on a single review. Going back to VMware, the following is an example of one such review:
From a competitive intelligence standpoint, we often look at Glassdoor for information about morale, layoffs, expansion, and floundering or excelling product teams. In short, it gives you an “inside the company” flavor that would take significantly longer to determine through interviews and other Web searches. It’s also a place where you often discover unexpected tidbits of information that can lead to further investigation.
Besse provides further advice for competitive intelligence professionals, saying, “You can subscribe to an RSS feed for companies so you know immediately when a review is posted. You can also filter by location, job title, or keywords. For example, you might sense that the inside salespeople are saying something very different from the outside salespeople, and you can use filters to look specifically at the challenges that outside sales is facing. One other thing we’ve noticed is that when one company starts to run away with the market, their company name starts showing up often in competitor reviews. When Apple introduced the iPhone, “Apple” began to show up in many reviews for RIM.
Competitive Intelligence Usefulness:
It’s always worth looking at Glassdoor. It often provides information that you just won’t find anywhere else, and exposes many threads that warrant further investigation. This kind of internal information on the competition is always interesting. The biggest challenge is determining out how to translate the findings about culture, compensation, and morale at the competition into strategies and tactics for your own company.
By Sean Campbell
By Scott Swigart