should companies respond to Glassdoor reviews?

A reader writes:

Is it a good idea for employers to reply to Glassdoor reviews? I’ve never really thought there was much to be gained from replying publicly to positive or negative reviews. What’s causing me to reconsider is one we received that’s just not factual about our interview and rejection process. I’m wondering if you think we’d benefit from clarifying what happened or if we should just leave it be. If you think a reply would be a good idea, thoughts on the best way to respond?

Glassdoor does encourage employers to respond to reviews that employees and applicants leave of them. But a lot of employers do it really poorly — replying to critical reviews with canned, inauthentic sounding pablum (or worse, defensiveness), or replying to positive reviews with such chirpy marketing-speak that it casts doubt on the authenticity of the positive reviews themselves. In those cases, they’d be better off not responding at all.

Some companies also weigh in on every single review, which I also think is a bad idea. It comes across as saying “we don’t trust employees and applicants to talk about us amongst themselves; we feel we need to manage the discussion.” Since most people who use Glassdoor aren’t looking for the company’s party line but rather for real people’s experiences, it comes across as tone-deaf … and tone-deaf in a very specific way that’s likely to raise the hackles of anyone who’s ever worked in an environment where people’s thoughts and opinions were too closely monitored.

All that said … In your case, you have a situation where an applicant has outright falsified her version of events. (Note: The letter-writer sent me the review in question, as well as correspondence with the applicant that clearly disproves her version of events.) So there’s an argument for a short, dispassionate response correcting the record. The key, though, is to do it without sounding defensive. One way to do that is by not focusing the bulk of your reply on the fact that the reviewer is wrong, but instead on “here’s how we handle these issues; here’s what we strive for and why.”

And of course, write it in a way that sounds like a real person and not like a statement that HR carefully constructed to deflect criticism.

{ 67 comments… read them below }

  1. A Reader*

    Do you have any examples of companies that you think do this well? I’d love to know…or maybe if any readers see great examples of companies that respond well (especially to positive reviews!)….

    Thanks! Interesting topic.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’d say if employers are going to comment there, there should reserve it for unusual cases. Definitely not thanking people for positive reviews and that kind of thing. It just comes across as fake-cheerful in way can can be off-putting. And again, it’s not their space. It’s for employees and candidates to talk with each other.

      1. LouG*

        I agree. As a candidate, if I saw that the employer was responding to every review, it would make me think they were very closely monitoring Glassdoor, which seems…odd. It would make me feel uncomfortable leaving an honest comment.

    2. J-nonymous*

      I actually just saw one employer’s reply that I thought was well done. Point B (consulting).

  2. Steve*

    Would it be reasonable to frame the reply as an apology? Saying something like “we’re very sorry if there was any misunderstanding; we strive for X during our hiring process. We really felt like we gave our best by doing blah blah blah …. ”

    Or is that just being too much of a milquetoast?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think that’s reasonable. It’s about what’ll look like to people who don’t know what happened, after all, so it’s smart to sound kind about it.

  3. De Minimis*

    I’ve never actually seen any replies for Glassdoor reviews, but I don’t look at it that much and usually just stick to larger companies/organizations when I do.

    I enjoy writing reviews of my employers, and sometimes write new ones as things change.

    1. De Minimis*

      I have to add though, I’ve always worked for large companies/organizations that either had a ton of reviews or had so many locations that there was no way someone could figure out it was me…except for once!

      Years ago, at the Big 4 firm a fellow employee [who had many of my same complaints] asked if I had written a review of our office. I had written it, but didn’t admit anything! Since then I’ve been hesitant to reveal my location on there. The review of my current employer doesn’t reveal my job title, for instance, and certainly not the location.

  4. Ash (the other one!)*

    I have mixed feelings about Glassdoor….I definitely looked at it during my job search to help get a sense of salaries and general feelings about a company, but like something like Yelp, not sure how much stock to give to the reviews. The OP’s example of a truly incorrect review also worries me to an extent.

    That being said, I am also nervous about posting a review about my previous organization. They’ve had a mass exodus so a review wouldn’t necessarily be traced back to me, but I still worry about burning bridges. At the same time, I feel bad for those who are applying for positions at my old org who will likely go through the same thing (this particular org has mass exoduses about ever 2 years according to the few staff who have been there for more then 4 years). I haven’t posted it yet for this very reason. Glassdoor forces you to post something to maintain access to the site and I’ve now blown through all my email addresses there, so I should post something somewhere, I guess if I keep wanting to use it at some point….

    1. HR_Anon*

      I wouldn’t worry about the review being traced back to you as long as you don’t get too specific. I keep tabs on our Glassdoor reviews and so far have only been able to trace one review (out of a dozen or so) back to an individual employee and it’s because she was very, very specific in her review and we’re a smallish org.

  5. Laura*

    Wait, has the LW flagged the review? Reviews can be flagged for violations of the Terms of Use – whether or not they’ll be removed is at Glassdoor’s discretion, of course.

    Terms of Use 4.2.d: “(You represent and warrant that:) (d) any information you provide in a Salary, Company Review, and Interview Review is correct”

    Surely, if it’s as obviously false as is stated here, that rule would apply?

    1. OP*

      I have tried flagging another review that I sincerely think was written for the wrong company. None of the details seems correct, the job title is not one that exists in our company, for example. I flagged it and Glassdoor said it was within their TOS.

      1. Laura*

        Lovely. :| But in this case you have correspondence proving it false? I believe there’s a way – I saw in the FAQ – to submit your evidence.

        Maybe they’d decide against you, but in that case you could just go back to figuring out how to respond to it anyway….

      2. Decimus*

        Interesting. I think that one is another one you can validly respond to without looking defensive. If you said “I think this may be for the wrong company; the title of Teapot Regional Distribution Manager doesn’t exist in our company and we’ve never had an office in Boise, Idaho” nobody’s going to think that is being defensive.

    2. Linda*

      You can flag it, but Glassdoor doesn’t seem to honor their Terms of Use. A client had a posting that was clearly fradulent, representing her/himself to be the Director of Operations. There has been only one in the company’s history, and she still works for them. We notified Glassdoor, and they refused to remove the post.

  6. TrainerGirl*

    I’ve recently seen this with a company I interviewed with. I went back to read the responses again this morning, and they’re at least thoughtful, not canned and not overly rah rah corporate speak. They were selective with the reviews they responded to, so it doesn’t seem truly defensive. One response even included the responder’s name, which I thought was a good touch. Some were a lot better than others, so it may be that some have a good handle on this, where others just want to shut the reviewer down, but overall I think the company did do a good job.

    The only place I think they’ve erred is by agreeing with the pros and addressing the cons. I feel that this is dismissive even while providing counter information and encouraging current employees to speak with management or HR about the issues. I think that if a company is being honest, they can admit that some of the cons in the reviews are legitimate and they should address them, not just offer up platitudes.

  7. some1*

    Fwiw, I’ve never read a review from a rejected applicant, and I wouldn’t put much stock in one unless something really egregious happened, like an offer getting pulled after a candidate gave notice or an interviewer saying something really offensive, like something racist.

  8. illini02*

    Eh, I don’t know. As someone earlier compared it to Yelp, I would agree. However, unless its a company I am familiar with, when places feel the need to respond to negative reviews, it just seems a bit desperate (maybe not the best word choice) to me if its anything but an apology or something along the line of “we just had a change in management to correct issues like this, I hope you will give us another chance”. If I saw a company respond to their negative reviews trying to say why that wasn’t true, it just doesn’t seem believable to me, even if in this case it is true. I think its because if its a big company, many times the what an HR person or higher up thinks happens, and what actually happens, isn’t the same. It seems you (the org) is trying to invalidate the experience that someone had.

  9. OP*

    Thanks for posting my question! I love the idea of pivoting to “Here’s what we do” instead of just… “Stop being a big lying liar, ya liar!”

    I agree that most replies I’ve seen sound canned and weird. I think it’s especially weird when you work for a small company, like I do. Even though the reviews are supposed to be anonymous, I pretty much know who they’re all from. Luckily most are positive, and for the few that aren’t, well…everyone’s entitled to their opinion and their experience is valid. I trust people reading the reviews to take them with a grain of salt and to know that someone who was let go probably had a worse experience with us than the average employee.

    1. Dan*

      Honestly, see illini02’s post above. You may be better off saying nothing. Even your “here’s what we [say] we do” line comes across (to me) as out of touch. To me, that’s corporate speak. Most of us know that there’s such thing as *policy* and “policy.” Just coming in and stating policy/procedure actually doesn’t tell me one way or the other that the person you’re replying to is lying.

      For your response to have teeth and not be corporate speak, you’d pretty much have to write something along the lines of “I was personally present and can assure you that our policy was followed to the letter.” (I wouldn’t even write “sorry for any confusion/misunderstanding/convenience” if you’re calling the person a liar, because you’re not sorry.)

      But again, see my stand-alone response below. A single review isn’t going to sway my opinion that much. If you were to write what I wrote above, I’d think, “huh. I wonder what the real story is here. Is the complainant a nut, a liar, or just had a bad experience? I will never know.” If I see trends, then it doesn’t matter what you write, other than, “we’re aware of the perception and are taking steps to counter act that.”

      1. GD Reviews*

        I have a personal policy (ha) to actually never use the word policy.

        Say the bad interview review said we never got back to her and we misrepresented the salary. I would maybe reply with something like…

        “The way we handle our interview process is to follow up with anyone who applies via phone or email within a week, and my direct contact information is freely available as well. I always invite people to follow up with me if they need a status update.

        We also have a conversation about salary on the first phone interview. It’s not really in anyone’s interest to continue the conversation if we’re not going to be a match there, so I bring it up on the first call.

        Appreciate your feedback, it definitely sounds like some wires got crossed here. I want everyone who interviews at the Teapot Company to have a good experience, whether or not we end up hiring you, and I’m really sorry that you didn’t.”

  10. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

    I’ve never really used Glassdoor (the organizations I’ve worked for aren’t large enough to get any traction there), but I obviously use other review sites (Tripadvisor, etc.). It stands out when a company responds genuinely to a complaint. I think the key is to use normal, human language – whatever you say.

    So, instead of “Our policy is to respond to all applicants within 72 hours. Our response was within our policy. I’m sorry if that was insufficient,” something like “Hi there. I’m a recruiter with Company X. We know that applications take a lot of time, and we work hard to make sure that we keep in touch with applicants throughout the process. Our standard is to respond within 72 hours, which we did in this case.”

    1. fposte*

      I was thinking of TripAdvisor too; I’ve seen businesses respond badly on there, but I’ve also seen them effectively deal with an unreasonable complaint.

      1. MJH*

        I love reading the horrible complaints on TripAdvisor and then the responses from the company. Usually the person who wrote the complaint just ends up sounding completely unreasonable when the company lays out exactly what happened.

      2. Cath in Canada*

        Yeah, I remember a 1-star TripAdvisor review for a place we stayed at in Puerto Rico where the person hadn’t actually stayed at the guesthouse, but was ranting about how terribly rude they’d been to him on the phone. The owner very calmly replied along the lines of “you called us at 3 am local time, three days before Christmas, wanting a room for Christmas Day. It’s not rude to ask you to call at a more reasonable time and to plan your vacations further ahead if it’s likely to be a busy time”.

        Reading the 1-star reviews on TripAdvisor (and other review sites) is a guilty pleasure of mine, I have to admit :)

        1. fposte*

          Oh, me too! And then when you find a place that really is a horrorshow the litany of awfulness is mesmerizing.

          1. A Cita*

            Speaking of reading reviews for fun, have you seen the tumblr that collects one star reviews of books? It’s called onestarbookreview. Some of them are hilarious (some are obviously written in jest, but other….).

              1. Jenny Lynn*

                Your 1-Star TripAdvisor Blog was fun — I’ll have to share.

                A Cita – Thanks for mention of two book sites…I agree — more “time vampires” on the horizon….

      3. Kevin*

        I read one where a lady complained about hotel staff being too attentive. All of the other reviews specifically commented on how awesome the staff was. I have a feeling they were awesome and so she said it was too much and she would have complained they weren’t attentive enough otherwise.

  11. steve g*

    I like when companies respond on glassdoor because the reviews there tend to be so negative or from more disgruntled than happy workers.

    What I don’t like is when restaurants respond on yelp. I think most yelp reviews are balanced enough that it is annoying when a restaurant feels the need to respond to every little criticism.

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      I have seen some pretty ridiculous Yelp reviews :) wonder what a balanced one looks like!

      I like to see a theme of criticism addressed. If all criticism on Yelp was about the food being too cold, I think it’s good to see the restaraunt respond and at least acknowledge that it is hearing the public. Same thing with employers on Glassdoor. If there is a constant theme in the reviews, pipe in. But if it’s just a one off, I think a response can be interpreted as very defensive.

    2. Sara*

      Really? that’s interesting. I reviewed a restaurant once and when I checked back on yelp about 8-9 months later I saw that the owner had commented, asking how he could improve on the thing I had criticized. Well tbh, I wasn’t sure how to respond to it–I’m no expert on it but I know when somethings’ good when I have it, knwo what I mean?

  12. GrumpyBoss*

    Ahhh Glassdoor. The Yelp of the job seeking world. Reviews with little context and absolutely no accountability for making things up. I found it almost useless as a job seeker. I wouldn’t imagine it’s any more valuable from an employer standpoint.

    The only thing I would be concerned about is a pattern. Just like Yelp, if there are 14 5* reviews, and one person gives a 1* because OMG they wouldn’t split my check 15 ways, it’s easy to see what can be dismissed out of hand. But if there is a theme across the reviews, I pay attention. So if Glassdoor had a lot of reviews that were complaining about the interview process, then that’s something to sit up and take notice of. But otherwise, one anonymous review is just noise.

  13. Dan*

    I haven’t used glassdoor much either. Although, there’s been some turmoil at a previous employer, and I went to check out the commentary just for fun. Yes, the reviews were negative, but they were also accurate. For management to follow up on every single one of them would be… weird.

    I do read tripadvisor a lot (not so much yelp), and I can’t stand companies that respond to Every Single Review. I also don’t believe any particular review, but take them all together and put them into context. So if a bunch of people are saying “this is average,” I’ll discount the “best place ever” comments. Likewise, when it comes to poor reviews, I’m looking for trends and patterns.

    There’s two reasons for looking at trends and patterns on the poor reviews: First, people will tend to use one issue to give the lowest rating possible. If that issue doesn’t even have the potential to apply to me, then it simply doesn’t matter. Second, I don’t doubt that *you* had a bad experience. What I’m looking for is to see how pervasive vs a one off the situation is. (And if *you*, and only you had a bad experience, I’m wondering if you’re a plant from the competition.)

    The responses *I* appreciate most are ones that correct factual errors. You really can’t effectively refute opinions — “review” sites exist for people to share theirs. Trying to refute a negative opinion comes across as “we’d don’t want you to have your own thoughts and opinions on what you enjoy” which just isn’t going to sell.

    1. UK Nerd*

      According to my parents, whose business is on TripAdvisor, they reply to every review because you get ranked higher on TripAdvisor if you reply to your reviews.

  14. A Cita*

    I think the “Here’s what we strive for….” sounds like canned marketing speak/company line. It doesn’t sound like a real person and would turn me off. I’d just not respond to it at all, especially if it’s just one review out of a dozen other accurate ones. If your ratio of good to bad reviews puts you in a positive space, leave it alone. People read reviews to get a sense of a total picture/experience, we don’t care about the details involved in one or several experiences. Give review readers more credit for being savvy. If you really feel the need to respond, some of the other suggestions in the comments seem more helpful–keeping a real person voice, apologize, etc. But the “We strive for…” type of response is a serious turn off. Way too much company slogan marketing speak.

  15. Eudora Wealthy*

    Successful libel suits have been filed in situations like this. You’re not at the mercy of Glassdoor.

    1. A Cita*

      You want to be known as the company that sued a reviewer or site for a bad review? No. You’ll do more damage than good. Talk about the Streisand Effect.

      1. Eudora Wealthy*

        The successful suits I’ve seen have been against the individual commenters, not the sites.

        And, yes, good companies sue to protect their trademarks, brands, and reputations, every day. It depends on the circumstances.

          1. A Cita*

            Yep, you’re doing your brand no favors by being known to a now much wider audience than the audience of the original review as the company who sued a disgruntled candidate. The lawsuit can harm the brand much, much more.

          2. Eudora Wealthy*

            Evan, it seems that in your example there was not evidence that the customer lied. Rather, the customer complained and said negative things, like I might say, “I hate Coca-Cola because it reminds me of cow dung.” That’s just my opinion; it’s not the same as libel. The OP, on the other hand, is talking about comments that were untrue. Right?

            1. internet lawyer*

              The bar for libel in the US is really, really high–even for untrue comments!–and suing for reviews tends to bring really bad press. (Also, it’s expensive.) I think it’s generally a terrible idea to sue for speech unless something said was so potentially damaging (serious false accusations: harassment, discrimination, etc.) that it is worth the downsides. Much better to just respond where it’s important to clarify to job-seekers.

              1. Evan (in the USA)*

                Exactly. Even if the customer did lie, the press or the internet could put the hue and cry up against the company, leaving OP standing waving her evidence without anyone listening. And that’s even if she had enough evidence to prove it to the court’s satisfaction months or years later when it finally would come up to trial.

  16. A Minion*

    I went to Glassdoor for reviews about a company that I had an interview with and ended up withdrawing from the process. After reading the employee reviews, I googled the company and there were (it seemed like) tons of customers that also had really negative, terrible things to say about this company – accusations of outright lying, misleading customers, falsifying documents, taking payments and never rendering services, etc.
    Interestingly, the manager that scheduled my interview did not seem surprised when I withdrew. I was honest regarding my reason. She didn’t offer any explanation or apologies regarding the company’s reputation, just a “Thank you for your honesty. We wish you the best in your future endeavors” type e-mail.
    I will admit – I’m a second-guesser by nature, so I can’t help but wonder if I dodged a bullet or lost an opportunity.

  17. Puddin*

    Feedback is a gift. If any company replies the first sentence should be, “Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.” Provided the rest of the reply is sincere, as AAM advised, I think you could only win people over, clear the air, or demonstrate your positive company values.

  18. Ann Furthermore*

    I always take Glassdoor reviews with a grain of salt. Some are super positive, like, “This is the greatest place EVER!!” and often the person’s job is listed as an Intern. Others are incredibly negative, all some version of, “This place is responsible for all bad things that happen in the world.” But the in between ones are pretty useful, I think. Many are written by people who want to give their honest opinions, including the good and the bad.

    Even if a company doesn’t respond, I think it should read their reviews and see if there are any common themes among them. I have written a review for my company, and quite a few others have too. Most of the in between reviews, including mine, talk about things that really do need to be addressed: the ridiculous number of directors (with more people being promoted to this level all the time) co-existing with across the board headcount freezes which means fewer and fewer people to do the actual work; the unbelievable indecisiveness of upper management; and the old-boys network. The “advice to senior leadership” section is always the same: lose half the directors, identify the people who are just trying to coast into retirement, and so on.

    I’ve heard that the CEO only cares about reviews by current employees, and he dismisses reviews by former employees as sour grapes or bad attitudes. I think that’s unfortunate.

    Many reviews of my company also address the rampant political BS. I talked about this with my boss once (not in the context of Glassdoor) and she said something like, “People complain about the politics here, but that happens everywhere.” She has spent almost her entire career with the same company, in many different roles. My reply was, “You’re right, it does happen everywhere. But I will say that I’ve never worked anyplace where the politics are SO blatant and publicly displayed. Most people try to do this stuff with a little bit of subtlety and finesse, but here, there just put right out there.” I gave an example of a director being awarded a very prestigious, high-level award by the VP she reported to, almost 2 years after the launch of the project she got the award for. The VP also just happens to be the director’s BFF, and I asked my boss if anyone really believed those 2 things were unrelated. I don’t know if she agreed with me, but I’ve talked with many other people about this and we just shake our heads and laugh. It’s a great company in many other ways, so I usually just let it go.

  19. Negative Reviews*

    My employer didn’t respond to the negative reviews, they had them taken down! Glassdoor states that reviews are only taken down if they are false but these reviews weren’t false or from false employees. I have no idea how they managed to convince Glassdoor to take them down but it’s a shame because the complaints were definitely accurate and offered good insight into why we have such high turnover at our company.

  20. Kelly*

    Glassdoor helps give you as a job seeker the sense of what the work environment is like. I’ve always felt safe and secure enough posting an honest and candid review of my employees, but I’ve always worked for larger companies. My personal division of the reviews are positive, mixed, negative, and supernegative. I usually don’t take the positive or supernegative ones seriously. Most of the positive ones seem too vague and like corporate plants. The supernegative ones seem to be from former employees with a grudge against their former employers.

  21. Just a Girl*

    I felt pressured by Glassdoor to leave a review, I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t going to be able to use their services if I don’t give them the review or what was going to happen, it didn’t feel too good even though i wrote the truth, the truth wasn’t pretty. Worse yet, somehow the company traced the comments to me, and they lied, which was so weird because the person responding to my no so sweet truth stated his title as CEO? Why would he get involved and why would he lie, I had everything black in white in writing that went back and forth between me and the company. I replied to the CEO false statements stating that everything he said was false and I have proof “black in white”, I asked him to check his facts before he comes out with a statement that is false and acts so states how very disappointed he is my comments after. My comments were just stating facts, you could take them as negative if you were the CEO of the company or you could read that, call the manager, ask if that really went on, which it did, and do something about it, so it doesn’t happen next, instead the CEO decided to get involved and make a silly person out of himself. I don’t know why would anyone let him respond knowing that there is a long trail of emails which is going to make him look like a fool and because he lied about something he said I did or didn’t do and and the manager knew that I had a long project that I emailed him and cc’d half of department to proof him wrong. After that, there was no more comments from the CEO or anyone but the current employees have made so many positive statements that now they have 4 stars form 2.5, to me that is just childish. I wish that Glassdoor didn’t play this game, I don’t enjoy giving any reviews positive or negatives, I believe that at the end this is only my opinion, and I rather keep it to my self. I have no respect for Yelp reviews and the game they are playing, which reviews count and which don’t, plus if someone does lie on Glassdoor or Yelp they can ruin someones reputation, and to me when I apply for a job, it matter what people say, this is my career I research the places I want to work at, I don’t want another nightmare. I know that there isn’t a perfect place to work at but I don’t want get stalk somewhere where everyone is unhappy, but I look at on how many people’s opinion is the rating based, and on Glassdoor sometime it is only one or two people.. that’s silly they need to wait to rate thing until they have at least 10 opinions or something. Plus just as my former employer did, they were at 2.5 stars and since they are care so much about the star count on Glassdoor they had current employees make positive statements, so then one can get really confused what is real and what is BS.

  22. ktoo*

    Companies should read the reviews and if they care enough, work on improving company culture especially when there are common themes that appear in the cons section.

    A good rule of thumb for GD is to be mindful of the 5 start reviews and reviews that make excuses for certain types of behaviors that are mentioned in unsatisfied/ neutral reviews. Those are most likely written by someone in marketing or upper management.

  23. Wish I had listened*

    I really wish I had listened to the Glassdoor reviews about the last company I worked for. There were I agree that people will make things up but I really think that if the same thing is mentioned over and over again you really should take some time to consider it. If I had I would have saved myself a lot of grief and stress. This particular company had about 80% terrible views with a lot of information in them (another reason I should have listened to them, they were not just “they were mean”) and the rest were five star review all written within two days of each other. I found out later that these were written by the upper management after finding out about Glassdoor.
    All of this is to say that even though you should take the reviews with a grain of salt like all online reviews, you do yourself a disservice by rejecting them out of hand but they can give you a great insight into the company culture that you really can’t get from the interview. I am also not saying to base your decision just on the reviews but in my case there were other red flags and the reviews on top of that really should have made me think about if I really wanted to work there.

    1. ktoo*

      +1. I wrote a review 2 years ago for a toxic company and recently visited GD to see if there were updates. A prospective candidate interviewed with them this year and stated that she had read the reviews after post interview. She declined their offer based on what she read.

      Certain behaviors were displayed during her interview that were mentioned in my review and a former teammate’s.

      Whatever people may think Of GD, it can be very helpful when deciding if a company is the right fit for you.

  24. Mimmy*

    This post got me curious, so I decided to try it out to look up a large research organization I’ve wanted to apply with, and most of the reviews (what I was permitted to read without signing up!) seem pretty genuine. The set up looks similar to Yelp. I really like that there’s separate spaces to review the interview process and the actual employment experience.

    I agree with everyone else–unless there’s a clear pattern, I don’t see the need for an employer to respond to negative reviews.

  25. Nervous Accountant*

    How much stock do you place when a company has only one employee review? Before I interviewed for my current job I saw only one review, and it was pretty horrible. For a few reasons I din’t pay a lot of attention to it and accepted the position.

    At a previous job, the company itself had a horrible reputation (I mean, lawsuits against fraud etc) but their reviews by employees were pretty mixed.

    So I’m not sure how accurate or helpful the reviews are. I mean I’ll continue to (or rather start) reviewing companies, but..yah.

    1. Becca*

      It depends. My old company was horrible and toxic, and one of my former co-workers wrote a scathing review after quitting. It was completely true, and that’s the only review posted because I haven’t gathered up the courage to write one myself. (We had 5 people leave in 6 months at a 14 person company, so I doubt they’d be able to trace it to me specifically.)

      When I was job searching I was super skittish and kept declining any company who had bad reviews on glassdoor. Probably wasn’t smart, but when you’re suffering from workplace PTSD…that’s what happens.

      Now, I’d probably be more relaxed about it, go on the interview/apply, but be cautious. I think most reviews will have an air of truth to them…otherwise why would someone bother to write a review?

  26. voluptuousfire*

    I think you really have to take a look at the progression of the reviews (provided you can do that). That would be the easiest if you organize the reviews by date. With my FormerJob, there are 23 reviews and 16 of them are 1-2 stars. The last 7 are all 4-5 stars and coincided with the company unlocking their Glassdoor profile, which occurred a month ago. You can pretty much tell people were”strongly encouraged” to post positive, upbeat and chirpy reviews which directly try to counteract the reviews that speak of the disorganized and passive aggressive culture, nepotism and an overall disagreeable work environment.

  27. Charlie*

    Glassdoor is gradually making companies accountable for their inept practices that they have been getting away with since their inception. Too often companies make these life changing decisions and expect people to just go home and cry it out on your pillow and move on with your life. I believe that companies should trust in their decisions and should have no reason to hide them. Everyone makes mistakes for sure but the employee’s mistakes will follow them on their resume’ for the rest of their career….so why should the company get a free pass to do whatever they wish with no visibility? Glassdoor is a wonderful tool if you utilize it correctly (actually read the comments and make your own decision.) No one can ignore a company who has 1,000+ negative reviews. Do you think it is just coincidence? I think not.

  28. Glassdoor Gripe*

    Glassdoor required a review in order for me to be able to access complete listings. I did, and the review was so grossly edited that the context of my observations was completely lost. This was for a company that often promoted through Glassdoor feature stories, and I wondered if that was why. Since then, I look elsewhere.

  29. worrylines*

    Ah! I know this is an older post but I just found it while Googling advice on something that’s happening at my workplace. We have terrible reviews on Glassdoor… terrible but true. I have been loosely monitoring the page out of interest and was shocked that our HR person hadn’t claimed it at least or even knew Glassdoor existed. Move forward a few months and a junior co-worker took it upon herself to talk to HR about the reviews and as a result HR thought it would be a good idea to write a fake review which is sickly sweet and obviously staged to anyone with a brain.

    The execs at our company are well aware that we have problems and they are making an effort to try and make things better, which is great and we shall see if they follow through. I feel that what HR did was unethical and want to speak to the HR manager about her approach as I feel she just didn’t know it was wrong as she’s not digital savvy (I am a communications professional). I feel I can offer her advice and possibly partner with her on these efforts because of my background. Do you Alison, as an HR professional, feel I am overstepping my boundaries? The tension is immense in the office at the moment and I’d rather not cause issues. It really bothers me that we could be missing out on the qualified talent we need due to these reviews and when a smart, sharp person sees the fake one – you know they will move on! I know ultimately it’s down to our strategy and culture moving forward though. Does anyone have any recommendations?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it depends on where you are in the hierarchy relative to her. If you’re above her, absolutely speak up! If you’re a peer, maybe — depends on the dynamics, but probably still okay.

  30. R*

    You could just pay to have the review removed. Experience suggests that Glassdoor will santise any company’s reputation for the right price. This happened to me as an employee, when I wrote a negative but balanced and accurate review of a company I worked for. The ironic thing was I just published the review on my blog and LinkedIn instead, which now ranks higher on Google than the Glassdoor page for the employer does. So, ironically, by trying to suppress my review my former employer and Glassdoor only made it more obvious that the remaining reviews were falsely sanitised. The company concerned still have trouble recruiting for my specialism, because I’m quite well known in my field and have a lot of credibility when I’m willing to put my name to an opinion, whether positive or negative.

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