ask the readers: how accurate are Glassdoor reviews?

Glassdoor is one of the few places you can go to really get the inside scoop on a company … but how much weight can you truly put on their reviews? Some companies have clearly padded their reviews with fake glowing assessments, and some companies pressure employees into leaving positive reviews that aren’t in line with the reality of working there.

So — how accurate have you found Glassdoor to be? If your company has reviews there, how accurately do they reflect what it’s really like to work there? Have you ever taken a job and found the Glassdoor assessments were way off? Share your experiences in the comments.

{ 377 comments… read them below }

  1. JokeyJules*

    the ones i read for my company were somewhat accurate, but seemed to be written by people who didn’t fit in with company culture anyway. “There’s no room to grow!” well, yeah, if you only want to do Project Manager work, there’s not really an upward professional path…
    I kind of figured it was that way going in and just found out quickly that i was right.

    1. Thursday Anon*

      This is what I have also found with my company’s reviews. I don’t necessarily disagree with what is written, but it’s all about the culture which isn’t going to change. We’re a large organization with a lot of red tape, that’s just the way it is.

      1. Natalie*

        Isn’t that exactly the point of the reviews? Someone considering a job there is trying to find information on the organization’s culture, to help them decide on the job.

        1. serenity*

          I agree. I hope this page doesn’t turn into a harangue on people who left their companies less-than-satisfied – that happens, and if it does it can (and should) be chronicled in accurate Glassdoor reviews.

        2. Kes*

          Agreed – even if the points brought up aren’t issues for you, that doesn’t mean they aren’t valid information that could very relevant and allow others for whom that would a problem to self-select out

        1. JokeyJules*

          well there is room to grow, and i am currently taking advantage of the room and opportunities. However, it means changing depts or position titles. I’m currently an admin assistant, if i only want to do admin assistant work, then this is the end of the road. But there’s room to grow up for me since I’ve presented the idea of being a project coordinator and staffer for a nation-wide dept.
          so… kinda

          1. Gaia*

            But there are companies where there is room to grow within a given role. And I think that is an important thing to know.

          2. Audenc*

            Not trying to be rude…but room to grow from an admin assistant role to the next level up (which sounds entry-levelish) is not the same as room to grow long-term in a career.

          3. Bets*

            Good lord, just because something is true for you doesn’t mean it applies to everyone’s job! You’re supposed to relate your specific experiences with this employer, not provide a comprehensive review of what goes on in every department of the company.

      2. Kyrielle*

        Agreed. If you go off the aggregate numbers, you can end up two companies are equivalent when they are really not. I like to look at the WHY of negative reviews, because sometimes they’re complaining about a culture aspect I won’t mind – or will actively like. I take all reviews with a large grain of salt and try to look for trends or patterns in what is said, more than the numbers. Sometimes a mix of reviews shows a difference between teams – and it can be hard to tease any more detail out of those. But when the positive and negative reviews *agree* on the situation but disagree on whether it’s good or bad – there, you can read it more strongly.

        1. Emily*

          One thing Glassdoor made clear to me after I spent enough time with it, was how much two different departments within the same organization can differ from each other. I sometimes read reviews from people at my own org on other teams and barely recognize the culture they describe – but then, I never interact with the people they do and vice versa.

          I was once looking up reviews on a digital media publisher who was hiring a marketer to work on several brands they manage. The reviews on Glassdoor were TERRIBLE…but when I dug closer, they were almost exclusively written by developers whose main complaints were 1) They don’t pay as much as Facebook/Apple/Netflix/Google 2) There are no free snacks 3) There have been frequent layoffs since a recent merger that ultimately led to the shuttering of a couple of brands one by one. #1 doesn’t really apply to me as someone not in the highly competitive Silicon Valley scene, #2 doesn’t bother me as someone who would rather buy my own snacks, and #3 wouldn’t likely affect cross-functional departments like marketing that work on multiple brands. But if I had just gone on the ratings alone, I would have thought they were a terrible employer. Out of over a hundred reviews a single one had been left by someone from marketing.

          1. Zombeyonce*

            This is a big problem w/large companies being reviewed. I work for the largest employer in the state and there are hundreds of departments, each different from each other. Even if you separated out the review to the 4 major types of work we do, each section would still encompass huge numbers of groups w/many different cultures and payscales.

            Even in IT, where I work, there are some departments I would tell people to never apply for because the management and structure is terrible, but my department is amazing so it would be a total 180 of a review. There are even 3 different unions that represent different groups of employees and an entire large number of employees not in a union. Glassdoor is not helpful at all when evaluating my company.

            1. Red 5*

              Yeah, if something opened up in my department at work, I’d encourage some friends to apply.

              I’ve actively warned them off of other openings in my company because I’ve heard stories.

              Our reviews actually reflect that pretty well though, the most common thing I think people said was that it varies wildly by department.

            2. Ego Chamber*

              “This is a big problem w/large companies being reviewed.”

              Especially nationwide or multinational companies. Super important to sort reviews to your location only, and look at the department you’d be working for if possible.

              I experienced the opposite problem to a lot of commenters, where all the reviews I read about ExEvilMegaCorp said corporate was a bag of dicks but management did everything they could to protect employees from the fickle, pointless directives being handed down—after working at my local site for less than a month, I found out management there threw everyone under the bus as a matter of course. Wish some of the local reviews had mentioned that!

            3. Eight*

              I was recently applying to work in the corporate offices of a few big retailers and it was pretty much impossible to look at Glassdoor because 90% of the reviews are written by store associates. Which makes total sense, of course, because 90% of their employee base is store associates, but it was frustrating from my perspective!

        2. syseng*

          There can be huge caveats to the positive reviews, too, having looked at reviews for one of my clients who has a really…odd corporate culture. (The positive reviews were really “bought in”…in a bad way.

          It was probably obvious to people who didn’t know what it was like, though.

      3. General Ginger*

        But that’s the point of the reviews. They don’t have to mean something is changeable or not, but the whole point is that they accurately describe the large org with the red tape, so someone who doesn’t want to work for such an org can self-select out.

    2. Squeeble*

      Same with mine. One of our top reviews is “my internship here was great, but don’t expect a full-time offer afterwards.” Well…yeah, because that’s not how our organization is structured.

      1. Dragoning*

        Interestingly, one of my professors refused to count internships for class requirements (some majors required one to graduate) if they didn’t “have a possibility of ending in a full time job.”

        I’m so glad I didn’t have to do one.

        1. JokeyJules*

          what if the internship in your undergrad was for a position you needed a masters for? that was not reasonable of them at all

      2. Morning Glory*

        But your and Jokeyjules’ “well yeah buts” are exactly the kind of very important things that outside candidates would not know.

        You both seem to be kind of criticizing those reviewers but to me, this is Glassdoor working at its best. It allows program manager candidates who care about upward growth or intern candidates who are hoping to transition to a full-time job a chance to opt-out if these are drawbacks they cannot live with, or drawbacks that another offer does not have.

        1. JokeyJules*

          im sorry it came across as criticizing! i was just trying to point out that some negative reviews aren’t a completely accurate representation of what it’s like to work here.

          1. Squeeble*

            Co-signed! It honestly came across as negative in my example too. I totally take Morning Glory’s point that it’s good info for outsiders to know, which is the point of the site. The review in question just read to me like “this obviously should have gone differently ,” which is not necessarily true.

            1. Red 5*

              That’s the trick to it I think. There’s reporting information, and there’s declaring said information to be a wholehearted negative aspect.

              It’s a fine line. A lot of our intern reviews walked it well by saying “they never hire interns but this is what you get out of it…” But some for my husband’s company were just bonkers with like “suggestions to management: change your entire culture to what I deem to be correct.”

          2. Queen Anon*

            It sounds like it’s an accurate representation for those particular positions, though (project manager, intern). If a company’s culture is such that an intern can’t hope to receive a permanent job at the end of the internship, saying so in the review is a completely accurate representation of what it’s like to work there for an intern.

            1. Anna*

              I think it’s about how it’s presented. “This company doesn’t offer permanent positions to interns, so don’t take an internship expecting one” vs “Don’t expect a job offer after your internship!”

              One is legitimate information; the other sounds like an eye roll.

          3. Bets*

            The same goes for many positive reviews. I have worked at some virtual hellholes, which you’d never be able to recognize from their glowing reviews. I dont know if some peoole can’t admit to themselves that they’ve wasted years of their lives working for thuggish bullies, or what. In any case, I’ll never understand why regular working Joes are so eager to jump to the defense of huge corporations. I guess that’s why we continue to be stuck with unfair and unpleasant worklives.

        2. The Original K.*

          I agree. If I’m an intern who wants to do an internship that will lead to a full-time offer, I’m not going to apply to Squeeble’s org because it doesn’t align with my goals. Glassdoor just saved me a lot of time and effort, so yay!

    3. Liet-Kinda (nee Snark)*

      I noticed this with my old employer – “poor job security!” Well, yeah, it’s a federal contractor, contracts end sometimes. “Didn’t give annual raises!” Well yeah, see above, sometimes when the company can’t afford raises they don’t give them.

  2. Xay*

    I’ve found Glassdoor reviews to be more accurate for smaller companies than large ones, but I haven’t seen any that were completely off. Like any set of online reviews, the key is to look for the patterns within the reviews – if there are red flag issues, even the positive reviews will hint at them.

    1. Zip Silver*

      Exactly this. My company is rather large and the Glassdoor reviews vary wildly based on what part of the country you’re in, whose reporting structure you’re in, and who you work with. The only consistent thing is the benefits.

      1. Dan*

        Yes. I came to this conclusion a long time ago — I tend to work in areas dominated by the “big defense contractor” space, and business units get bought and sold on a regular basis. I once interviewed with “big defense contractor” but the interviewer straight up told me not to ask any questions about the company because “big defense contractor” just bought up the business unit and they had no idea what new company was like.

        Since then, I’ve worked for companies large and small. At smaller companies, there’s more likely to be generalizable statements about “the company”. At large company? Most people can really only review their department, although there are a handful of things that are applicable more broadly.

      2. Sara*

        Yes, this exactly. My company has so many locations – even just in-state – and its hard to evaluate because of that.

          1. Let's Talk About Splett*

            Right, but I think the point is that if the reviews for the Chicago office all say it’s a nightmare, that doesn’t mean the Kansas City office isn’t great.

            1. Ego Chamber*

              Which is why you filter for your location?

              I personally don’t even look at overall ratings, I only look at local reviews. If there are no local reviews, then I’ll try to see if there’s a “company culture” or whether it varies wildly by location (the latter is most common).

      3. Hills to Die on*

        Yes, I have had that experience too. It also seems that most reviews I read highlight common issues across the board (organization is too flat and managers don’t have reasonable time to manage all of the people they are supposed to, etc.)
        I would say on the whole that most places I have worked for have higher reviews than what generally represents what I see and hear within the company.

      4. Zombeyonce*

        My company is very large, too, and even the benefits aren’t the same across the board because of multiple union contracts and some unclassified people. Glassdoor is pretty useless unless you’re able to somehow filter to the exact department you’re in (and even then, different positions are under different unions and payscales). It might only be helpful if you could do that filter and see information about your future manager, but I think Glassdoor discourages the use of names so even that wouldn’t work.

      5. Anony Moose*

        I work for a large public university and you really have to filter through the glassdoor reviews to find permanent staff/faculty reviews. The experience of both undergrad and graduate student workers are far different from permanent staff. Some of the commons among the less positive reviews are low pay, managers that aren’t great managers, and office politics.

        I’m involved in a group that trying to improve the work climate in my division and it feels likes a futile charge at times. One group member made the decision to leave after about a year and a half because she felt that she had a target on her back. She was part of another statewide group that was writing up survey results and her contribution in the final report was rewritten by a colleague who didn’t like her conclusions. The more senior colleague put the other person’s name on the document, instead of her own, thus misattributing work that didn’t reflect the stated author’s views. I guess this had been bothering her for a while and another job came up, which she’s starting soon. She also had a supervisor that wasn’t very diplomatic about people who worked for her and the supervisor would complain about these people while they were present. The supervisor was the one who made the final hiring decision on all the people who work under her. She’s unsure about whether to write a Glassdoor review yet.

        Once, this person is gone, they’ll be doing at least the 4th search for this position in 6 years. That in the absence of any review is indicative of instability, poor management, and an unwelcoming workplace climate in itself. It’s not uncommon or rare.

        One department I work with has had at least 4 people in one position in the time I’ve been here. The reason why there’s a revolving door is that there’s one particular staff person who is particularly toxic. She’s office support with at least 25 years of experience in different departments and who has been in her current role for nearly a decade. Another person quit a year ago without having another job lined up because he had finally had enough of her infrequent attendance and having to do parts of her job. It’s not unusual for her to not be in her office so when students need assistance they come downstairs and ask a library staff member. It’s even more of a problem because we have a decent number of senior auditors who need a little more help and hand holding than the undergrad and grad students. My boss spent nearly an hour helping an older man with navigating his campus portal because she wasn’t around. That’s not a good use of my boss’ time and having salaried staff who have more specialized work to do cover for her isn’t a good use of their time.

    2. BRR*

      My experience is that the reviews for medium size companies are the most accurate. Larger ones include so many reviews for things that aren’t close to affecting my job while small ones tend to have nothing or a review that doesn’t provide any real details.

      1. Anon Today Anon Tomorrow*

        I think for many smaller organizations, that candidates or employees don’t want to be identifiable and so their feedback is either more vague or more neutral.

        1. deets*

          Yep – my very small company has no Glassdoor reviews, and it’s because there are so few current and former employees. The owners would immediately know who wrote the review, and no one wants to get in trouble and/or burn the reference.

          1. Red 5*

            This makes me wish Glassdoor existed when I left a particular company I used to work for. I would have burned that bridge in a heartbeat because I’d already moved on to a completely different field and was basically pretending I’d never worked there anyway.

        2. BRR*

          I realized my original comment might sound harsh for those providing few details but I definitely agree that it could be because employees are too identifiable and there might be ramifications.

        3. MsChanandlerBong*

          Agreed. The day I started my full-time job (I had worked for the same company as a freelancer for over a year), my boss asked me to post a review on Glassdoor. That was 10 months ago, and I still haven’t done it. The company only has six full-time employees, so I really don’t feel like I can be totally honest without it coming back to hurt me. I am fairly happy at my job, but our benefits/perks suck. I’d like to warn others, but I can’t do that without my bosses knowing I wrote the review.

          1. Ego Chamber*

            I wish there was a flag for “company asked me to post this review.” The last few years I’ve been working low-paying, low-status jobs and every single one of them has said it was a requirement of accepting the job to post a Glassdoor review (with a link to our manager, so they could check our name off that we’d done it). Ugh.

      2. phedre*

        Yeah, I’d love to leave a Glassdoor review for my company when I eventually leave, but there has only been one other person who’s held my position so it would be immediately obvious that I left it. Even though I intend to leave a positive review, I still don’t want to be identified!

    3. zuxoswik*

      Not sure if this is an aberration, but I’ve worked for a few different small companies, two of which were terrible for different reasons. In both cases, I noticed this pattern: a few reviews about why the company is terrible followed by a slew of “everything is absolutely great, management is great”. Then a few months later, the pattern repeats.

      It certainly seems like, in these cases, the company may have made a change that angered some folks, they left negative reviews, the company noticed not long after, & prompted employees to leave positive reviews. It seems unlikely that everyone who leaves a review sees the company as so black & white.

      1. Sevenrider*

        I noticed this pattern for my company also. Negative reviews followed by a few of the “This is great company!” or “It’s great work here!” type reviews with no negatives. My company is pretty good, certainly better than some but not perfect. In the last company-wide webcast we were also encouraged to write positive reviews on glass door.

        1. Mockingdragon*

          My boss at the crummy job I got fired from posted a review touting how since she’s taken over, she’s gotten rid of all the negative people who just wanted to sit around texting. That was my cue to post one detailing how infantalizing it was to work there…I wasn’t the only one (shrug)

      2. irene adler*

        I’ve noticed this pattern as well. One negative review, posted after this pattern of ‘negative reviews, positive reviews, then more negative reviews’, indicated that employees were instructed to post a positive review for Glassdoor.

        I checked the dates of the positive reviews, and sure enough, they are all grouped together within a few days’ time. And they all seemed to echo the same notion of ‘best place to work – ever!’ without giving any concrete explanation as to why.

      3. ChachkisGalore*

        Yup – pretty sure my former employer intentionally buried the mediocre (but detailed) review I left. All of a sudden there were like 5 one line, five star reviews.

        When taking in any reviews I try to mentally discount any reviews that don’t give any sort of specifics (ala “this is a great company to work for” or “This the worst, management sucks”). Even if they are not fakes, they’re not helpful at all.

      4. Not Rebee*

        It might not be that the company is prompting people to make positive reviews – my company is going through a large shakeup and our glassdoor rating has plummeted recently from a very high 4 to just under a 3. But there have been a ton of negative reviews lately and we are all convinced that they’re being written by the same handful of people or people all within the same department. They seem very focused on some GoT level scheming that is apparently happening and are very doom and gloom about our corporate overlords and the recent changes. Since we think it’s the same three people who keep writing them, there’s been some positive reviews left, all within a similar cluster, mostly because we feel the rating and reviews that have been left aren’t reflective of the current state of the company and unfairly weigh us down. This happened around bonus periods as well so those who might not have been otherwise inclined to write a review have now chimed in to point to their bonuses or raises as evidence that some of what’s in the negative reviews doesn’t seem to be indicative of company culture and maybe reflects single employee experiences. There’s even one angry review that tells everyone to stop leaving such nasty glassdoor reviews without trying to actually do something about it lol. So there’s a lot that can go on with the Glassdoor system and you can’t always assume that the company is requesting/soliciting/forcing people to review or trying to bury negative comments.

        1. zuxoswik*

          That’s completely fair. But, are your reviews detailed & fair? It is a bit suspicious if there are a cluster of one-line reviews with nothing negative to say. Or conversely, a bunch of one-line reviews with nothing positive to say.

    4. KayEss*

      Definitely yes to the patterns. My last job had a lot of systemic organizational issues brought on by toxic leadership, and looking at the reviews after the fact… the writing on the wall is clear. I’ve found that to be true in my searches as well–the place that has a whole bunch of reviews that boil down to “great place to work, but pays less than competitors” is absolutely going to be the one that sounds awesome in the initial interview but then tries to pitch you 30% less than your target salary, so expect that.

    5. thestik*

      I agree with all of this. I worked for a small company for almost five years, and after I was let go, I saw how many negative reviews there. Even the positive ones could not get the overall rating past a two. Those positive reviews did hint at the dead end nature of the job/company (although I came close to get a promotion there on top of the lateral move I made).

    6. GreenDoor*

      Yes, you do have to look for patterns. I work for a government entity with about 10,000 employees 1/3 are administrative positions and the other 2/3 are the boots on the ground/working in the trenches type positions. The reviews are very different for each group so for my employer, you’d first have to sift through and identify which type of position you’re going for…and then look for the patterns within that group. We also have about 200 worksites, some of which are great places to be assigned and some of which are awful so you’d have to sift through to find reference to specific work sites, too.

    7. Blue Roses*

      Agreed, I work at a company that has many locations, all of which operate somewhat independently and have their own names and management, but are all part of National Teapot Corporation. There is only one Glassdoor page for National Teapot Corporation, so I saw a lot of worrying negative reviews from locations that are run by totally different people than where I work. Also, most of the reviews were by Teapot Technicians, which is a position with a very unique structure and system for hours and pay, but I didn’t know that those policies didn’t apply to my Teapot Customer Service position when I was applying. I went into the hiring process very skeptical, but have actually really loved the position, training, management, etc. here. I took everything with a grain of salt, but was still worried. We have also had a recent leadership change at my location and corporately, and many of the reviews were older, so the reviews may have been accurate to what my location was like 3 years or even 8 months ago.

  3. Eli*

    I have found them to be pretty poor. Most people only write reviews when they’re really upset. And I actually worked at a place that required staff to write weekly reviews to hide that they were a very elaborate MLM scam. It made me highly suspicious of any good reviews.

    1. JokeyJules*

      yes! that is definitely something to keep in mind! I have never thought to myself “I love working here so much i am going to write a review about it!” but if i felt wronged or jipped by my company, I’d absolutely have a scathing 5-paragraph essay ready in minutes

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      This has also been my experience – they’re like any product review; you tend to hear from the very happy and the very unhappy and not a ton in the middle.

      I’ve also seen a couple that are identifiable as people interviewed for one of my open positions, and sufficed to say that the unsuccessful candidate doesn’t disclose, for example, that they were a half-hour late for the interview without calling, stated they were only interested in doing the half the job requirements, and told us they would *never* be willing to stay late to meet a deadline (the latter two being wholly disqualifying).

    3. Eddiesherbert*

      Yeah, at ToxicJob one of my coworkers who had previously been in the marketing department told me how she was required to go write positive reviews for the company (…that was their response to all the bad ones…).

    4. The Original K.*

      I went to Glassdoor to check out a company because they’d cold-contacted me, and all the positive reviews were more or less the same. The ones that sounded different were negative (and they were VERY negative), and not only did they sound different from the positive ones, they sounded different from each other. I thought “I bet the positive ones were written by the company. Same tone of voice.” Sure enough, I eventually got to a negative one that said that the positive reviews were written by the company. It was pretty obvious.

      1. LMnoPeterson*

        My company certainly isn’t perfect (300 person law firm) but it’s pretty good and the management does care. They promote from within, 3 of the 4 partners are women, over half the staff attorneys are women and/or minorities, good parties, free food, solid benefits, etc….

        We have 30-ish reviews and 3-4 are awful – but those can pretty clearly be traced back to employees who were fired. One who liked to ‘go to the bathroom’ only to be found 30 minutes later at the restaurant across the street with her friends. Another who was hardcore asleep mid-shift when the CEO stopped by the office on a Saturday. These type of situations are super frustrating – what’s an organization supposed to do?

        I’m not on the management team (just a marketing minion) but as much as I question ALL good reviews and I do, knowing what I know, I have to put a grain of salt for the bad reviews too.

    5. Anon Today*

      This is the same problem we have with reviews for our company. Nobody that has a great experience writes reviews, but there have been a handful of fired employees who chose to write pretty vitriolic rants about everything under the sun related to the company. It’s not that I disagree with every complaint they made, but some of them exaggerated issues in great detail to the point where they mischaracterized the company and the situations as a whole.

      One review in particular was very disturbing – accusing one of the higher-ups of belittling them when they made a complaint about sexual harassment and ultimately ignoring the complaint. Having been involved in the process of a separate SH case (as one party’s manager), I can say for certain that the way they characterized how the higher-up and the company as a whole handle such cases is NOT accurate. It’s unfortunate that in some cases these reviews have hurt us as we sought new hires.

      1. Ego Chamber*

        So why didn’t you write a positive review of your company to let potential candidates know that your experience doesn’t line up with how the company was portrayed in the negative reviews?

        I’m seriously asking, because if there’s nothing there to contradict the negatives, that’s what’s hurting your company, not the fact that the negative reviews exist. As a job-seeker, it’s obvious to me when one negative reviewer seems to have an ax to grind, but if every review is posted by an ax-grinder? Wow, yeah, no thanks!

    6. anonynony*

      That’s true, though I’ve also found the reviews written by upset people to have a point. My current company has been stressing over how to fix glassdoor reviews that point out some latent sexism in the company, while I’m like, “have you maybe tried being less sexist?” Because sure, those are the disgruntled people who didn’t like how they were treated, but they were in fact treated that way.

      1. Elle*

        Yes, this.
        I used to completely discount the ‘angry ex employee rants’ because I figured they just had an ax to grind. Then I went to work for a toxic company, and suddenly I was the disgruntled employee who was completely appalled that it was even possible for a company to function like this. And you better believe I left a nasty review detailing everything that went down and even said “I know this story sounds unbelievable but its true” (not that I’d believe me if I was reading my review, but it was worth a try).
        Sometimes its OK to be angry at how a company you changed your life to work for screwed you over. So now I do pay attention to those very negative reviews, but look for a pattern where more than one or two have the same complaints.

        1. General Ginger*

          Yeah, agreed. The reviews for my company are all clearly of the disgruntled variety — but everything they say is accurate.

  4. Amber Rose*

    It’s completely useless for the smaller companies I’ve worked for. I guess it’s probably better for larger corporations.

    1. Avis*

      I’ve found exactly the opposite. It’s useless if you work in a large organisation because the experience of working in one department versus another varies so much.

      1. Gyratory Circus*

        I agree. I work for a company with tens of thousands of employees, scattered all over the country, and when I looked at Glassdoor it was all over the place depending on location, job, WAH status, etc.

        1. amd*

          This is my experience too. My nation-wide chain company’s reviews are either vaguely positive or overly specificalLy negative, and none really paint an accurate picture.

      2. Amber Rose*

        It’s also pretty useless if your company is so small it’s not even listed, as is the case for everywhere I’ve worked.

        I guess mid-size companies of a couple hundred to a couple thousand would be best?

      3. Sleepy Librarian*

        I agree. I work for a research university, and when I looked at the reviews this morning I found they were all over the place based on a variety of factors. Not only what unit someone works for, but also whether the reviewer is faculty, staff, or student employee, full time or part time, etc. We have so many employees in such different environments that it’s not helpful. Even in my library people’s job satisfaction (from what I hear just in normal office chit chat) varies wildly based on previous experiences and expectations (and some people’s expectations don’t line up with reality, in my opinion), which unit they’re in, etc.

    2. Kat*

      I really think its most useful certain types of organizations. I have worked for a university and a hospital – places where there is very little overlap in experience between say someone in billing and a OR nurse or a development officer and a maintenance tech and its very hard to find useful information in the reviews. On the other hand a very small organization, especially one with little turnover, probably won’t have enough reviews (or candid enough reviews because it would be hard to be truly anonymous). The most useful Glassdoor reviews that I’ve seen have been for companies with around 100 employees who work at a single site,

    3. Amber T*

      I just looked up my current company and there’s not that much information. There are a couple of salaries posted (not my own, so I have no idea if they’re accurate, but they seem right for the industry and area). It also says we’re a company of 10,000+ people… which, not even close. We’re ~50. So… yeah.

      1. Amber Rose*

        My company isn’t listed at all. None of the places I’ve worked since not being retail are there.

      2. Angela Ziegler*

        My company had a slew of bad reviews for the longest time, which I didn’t see until I was hired. But I was honestly surprised since none of them matched my experience either interviewing or as an employee.

    4. Persimmons*

      I’ve found that it depends more on department size than total company size. If you have a company of hundreds of employees but with only one or two people performing X task…it’s a lot to ask those folks to stick their necks out to review, knowing how easy it would be to figure out their identities.

    5. LiveAndLetDie*

      It was TERRIBLE for the job I held under a large corporation, because Glassdoor had it set up so that every last one of the 20+ subsidiary companies owned by the corporation was lumped under the big corporation. Searching the subsidiary companies found you blank profiles on Glassdoor, because either Glassdoor or the corporation itself had set it up so that they would all show up under the corporation’s profile.

      So unless the person reviewing their job had thought to put the name of their subsidiary company in their review somewhere, or you happened to be in one of the cities where there was only one subsidiary company and could tell by the location tag, you were SOL. There was no way to know which of the 1000 reviews were actually for the exact company that I worked for. So in that particular corporation’s case, Glassdoor is just about useless.

    6. General Ginger*

      I work for a small company, and it has only a couple of reviews up. But they’re absolutely accurate, though clearly left by disgruntled folks.

  5. Less Bread More Taxes*

    In my experience, there are either no reviews or the reviews left are accurate. People either are honest or they won’t leave anything at all.

    However, there was one place in which there was a serious Glassdoor review war. It was a horrific place to work (granted this was customer service, but still). Managers openly resented employees by bragging about their normal working hours, their pay, etc. It came to a head when the managers went out after work (6pm-ish for them) and got hammered at the bar next door. Then came back into the building around 10 or 11pm to hassle the night shift. We’re talking throwing paper cups and fruit at us, shoving some of us, laughing hysterically in our faces while we were answering emails. HR did nothing. So every single one of us started writing accurate reviews, which of course painted management in a bad light. All the managers then started writing fake reviews posing as customer service reps. It was awful. Thankfully, because there were more of us than them, Glassdoor still seemed to reflect the place fairly accurately.

  6. Turquoisecow*

    I glanced at the reviews for my last company and they seemed to be nothing but negative. It wasn’t a great place to work but it wasn’t that horrible either, but none of the reviews were even slightly positive or neutral and I got the sense the only people who left reviews were people who complained.

    1. k.k*

      I actually like that it’s mostly negative. In the interview I’m already hearing all the great things, I want the dirt. But I totally understand that negative reviews are written by people that are angry and feel wronged, so you have to read between the lines.

      1. Code Monkey, the SQL*

        That’s a good point k.k. – in an interview, the hype is on full display, and in the reviews (often), the negativity is front and center. If you average those two things, it seems like it might be a good way to suss out the actual company’s culture.

        It probably does make a difference as far as offices/departments too, because as I look at my company, I can see there’s a big difference in reviews between our different continental offices, but the same things are threaded through most of them. An applicant with a healthy B.S.-ometer would probably be able to peg one of our job’s pros and cons pretty well.

  7. WalkerTexasReindeer*

    I have a subsequent question–does anyone know how accurate salary estimates are on Glassdoor? Is the salary listed on Glassdoor for your position in your company (or maybe just market) in line with what you actually make? I’ve always been curious!

    1. Lil Fidget*

      I asked the same question. My own experience was that the salaries seemed off for my position. I wondered if that was typical.

    2. Persimmons*

      I have wondered how accurate their “salary guesses” on job ads are. When you look at a bunch of similar jobs, they don’t make much sense in aggregate. My only guess is that they are trying to cross-reference the zip code with COL, and not putting enough weight on job duties and previous experience.

      1. samiratou*

        I think they also ask people to share their salaries, and since that can vary a lot, that probably contributes.

        1. Blue Anne*

          They definitely ask people to share their salaries. I trust this info more when I’m looking at huge corporations with set titles and salary bands.

      2. Natalie*

        I’ve shared my salary with Glassdoor (to get review access) and they ask you for title, education level, years of experience, zip code. (They also have an optional question for gender.) Obviously I’m not sure what they do if they have zero report from a particular area.

      3. irene adler*

        I think you are right. It’s just a reference to their database pertaining to job title, zip code, etc.

        I’ve seen the Glassdoor estimate posted for the job wherein the actual hiring salary range was listed. And they were very different.

        Thing is, how old is the salary data in their database? Do they correct for inflation? Sometimes I see one salary given for the job title, and I wonder, is that number 5 years old or is it as recent as last week.

      4. Tableau Wizard*

        I know the salary guess for a position our team recently posted was off by about 50k+. Not sure what factors were taken into account for that calculation, but it was clearly wrong.
        What’s crazy is that the position is actually paid very well and above market rate (and in thr 6 figures), so it’s not like we’re underpaying people or anything.

    3. anon today and tomorrow*

      Nope. I wrote in a comment below that a majority of the companies I’ve interviewed with have really inflated salaries on GD. My current company posts my salary as about $10K more than the highest tier. A similar position in a different department has a range of $30K – $80K, which is ridiculous if you’re a potential candidate because how are you supposed to know what the actual salary is with a range that large (and inaccurate)?

    4. Green*

      Not at all accurate for high paying jobs. For example, law firms are lock-step (1st year associate makes X, 2nd year associate makes Y, 3rd year associate makes Z) and all at the same level make the same with bonus adjustments for hours (and bonuses can be a significant portion of comp), but the job title is still “Associate.” And there’s usually no room for negotiation there. Similarly, a significant portion of my comp package is 3-year vesting stock grants, which isn’t reflected on Glassdoor. It’s not really designed well for many industries or for executive or high paying comp packages.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        Not disagreeing with your comment generally, but not all law firms are lockstep. Much of Big Law is, but even then, there are some that aren’t.

        1. Armchair Analyst*

          And also… aren’t there other places besides Glassdoor to gripe about BigLaw or to find out the details? I’m thinking of Vault or Above The Law, not sure if they’re as title/salary focused as GlassDoor is.

          1. Blue Anne*

            There must be, surely. I know in accounting, the Big 4 folks are all comparing on the Going Concern blog.

          2. Green*

            Above the Law killed off the comment section (for good reason) and firms manipulate the Vault feedback as best as they can, so it tends to be word of mouth. Also, experience varies from office to office, and Glassdoor kinda mushes them all into one firm last I checked.

            (And yes, good qualification — not all large law firms are lockstep, but even for non lockstep firms the point about unique comp structures would resonate, since a lot of them have backend pay from collections or billables… so comp can very widely from lawyer to lawyer or year to year)

    5. Liz*

      The ranges were roughly accurate for my last job (company of about 1,000 people), but not 100% so. The job had very specific starting salaries for certain ranks, but Glassdoor does make the range seem wider than it was.

    6. hermit crab*

      I just checked, and my actual salary is quite a bit higher than the Glassdoor prediction. It’s accurate for my previous job, but the pay band is so wide for my position that it’s not very helpful.

    7. Annie Moose*

      Mine is not that accurate, judging by my own salary. But… my company has a tendency to underpay female developers, so maybe it really is accurate and all my coworkers are making $10k more than me.

    8. RR*

      Re Salary info: my experience (three organizations) is that the ranges shown in Glassdoor are WILDLY inaccurate — either way too low or way too high.

      Interview info generally looks about right.

      Reviews varied. As others have noted, so much depends on where you are in a larger organization. My experience is that for mid-sized organizations, one can usually spot trends that are correct. Reviews do tend to skew negative, as that’s when folks are inclined to leave a review, but if there are a large number of negative reviews, with enough responses providing some nuance, I’d pay attention to that. My last organization was dysfunctional mess, and I think one can see that from the Glassdoor comments. The CEO is a total narcissist, and one can see there are planted overly cheerful praises of the great leader, but it’s really clear they’re fake. I know for a fact folks were pressured to do this.

    9. Kes*

      I take them with a grain of salt – some have seemed fairly accurate, some not so much, but I find it tends to be useful information to provide a general idea of what kind of range their pay is in. I think it can also really just depend on who happens to be willing to provide that information, even anonymously.

    10. Eddiesherbert*

      That is probably the one thing I’ve found to be pretty accurate across all the companies I’ve worked at.

      Unfortunately, not a lot of places seem to have much (if anything) posted in salary :/

      1. Eddiesherbert*

        Which, after reading the other comments, it sounds like that is NOT most people’s experience; a lot of people have said the salaries are way off for their companies. Interesting.

    11. Bethany*

      I find the salary estimates are more skewed towards new graduates, who are excited to be receiving their first proper salary.

      I work in engineering and our industry mostly does graduate programmes, so that’s what it’s like for us.

  8. Bostonian*

    I see truth in about 90% of the Glassdoor reviews for my company (we employ about 2000+ people globally). Even if the review expresses something that is not the same as my personal experience, I know it to be the experience of people in other departments. On that note, since a person’s experience can vary so much depending on what group they’re in, it’s tough for candidates to know exactly what they’ll be walking into based on reviews alone; due diligence during interviewing is still key.

    1. Lil Fidget*

      Do you look at the salaries? I often scratch my head a little at where they’re getting those numbers from.

    2. Persimmons*

      SO true. I wish I could be that specific and honest; it would really help applicants parse things out. When half the software engineers on Glassdoor are spitting bile and the other half are singing praise, it’s because Manager Bob is a petty tyrant and Manager Fergus is a supportive mentor.

    3. Hard Boiled*

      Experiences varying by department is a really important thing to keep in mind. I’ve been happy at two places with mixed/terrible Glassdoor reviews.

      Example: At my last job I worked at an organization that offered two kinds of programs for students. Working on one of the programs was great. Working on the other sucked. The manager for those departments was a nightmare. They were understaffed. Their work was less satisfying because it was mostly paperwork. Whereas we got to meet the participants, coach them, hear about the difference the program made in their lives, travel abroad for their orientation.

      From the the outside, the Glassdoor reviews for that organization must have been really confusing, because half the staff was really happy and the other half was miserable.

  9. Green*

    It is really hit or miss–same with surveys. Some companies curate their Glassdoor reputation and “strongly encourage” employees to submit positive reviews. Otherwise, generally people don’t post the reviews while they’re working there and only post after they leave. And then it’s often the disgruntled folks. Basically, I view GlassDoor the same way I view the one star reviews on TripAdvisor for a 5 star resort: (1) understand that sometimes the people complaining are actually the problem, (2) no matter how good the company or service, some people will likely have a bad experience because no company has 100% perfect employees/managers/policies/etc., and (3) if I can get comfortable with the things that show up repeatedly and determine they’re probably not likely to impact my experience there, then I’ve already seen some of the worst they have and can live with it, so everything else that’s Not That is a plus.

    1. JB (not in Houston)*

      Yep. Your last point especially–the things that pop up over and over are probably accurate, and if you can live with that stuff, there’s at least a decent chance you’ll be ok there.

  10. Doug Judy*

    Like any reviews I am a little hesitant to believe the extremes ends of things from “everything is amazing” and “everything is terrible”, because most lie in the middle. I like Glassdoor for getting a feel for the interviewing process, so I know yes, it will take forever, and to get a sense of the pay and benefits too.

    The best company I have seen was where the CEO actively responded to the reviews, both good and bad. One review was pretty harsh and the CEO responded, pointing out some things the reviewer highlighted that he was correct about, apologized and laid out steps they were taking to correct the issues. He even gave his direct line to the reviewer to have them contact him to continue the conversation. A few of the other reviews mentioned the interview process or the benefits were just ok, and he asked them to contact him to see what they could do to move from “OK” to “great”. I was impressed that they seem to actually take the feedback seriously and look for ways as a company they could improve the employee experience. They weren’t hiring at the time, but they are on my short list of companies to keep an eye on.

    1. Camellia*

      Were these reviews posted by people who had left the company? Otherwise, if he was asking them to contact him, I would be leery and think he was only trying to find out which of his current employees posted the review.

      1. Doug Judy*

        They were former employees. Their company website is very transparent that they are an employee first culture, so I think his request for feedback was authentic and sincere as opposed to vindictive.

    2. anon today and tomorrow*

      Honestly, I’ve seen so many CEOs/VPs/HR contacts say some variation of “here’s my direct email/phone number to contact me to continue this conversation” on GD. Do they really think someone who wrote an angry, anonymous review is going to reach out to them? Chances are they’ve either left the company or are too scared of the repercussions of putting their name to their review.

      I used to think employers responding to feedback was a good sign, but it tends to come off as lip service or a way for them to promote the company instead of actually addressing issues. Such as, “I’m sorry you didn’t think we have great career paths here, but we’re taking steps to work on that!”

      1. samiratou*

        I’m sure some companies are like that, but some aren’t? At least they’re taking steps to respond positively vs. say, threatening to sue reviewers, which is a thing that happens (not necessarily with Glassdoor, but review sites in general).

        I mean, if there are some very clear patterns going back years and the company is like “we’re totally working on that!” then, yeah, the responses are pretty useless, but I would take it as a positive sign (if not an overwhelming one) if I were evaluating a company.

        1. anon today and tomorrow*

          All of the companies I’ve looked at on GD say the same “we’re working on this!” over the course of a couple years, so I’m not really going to trust it. They’ve all been large, corporate companies, and if you’re saying “we’ll add a 401K match!” or “we’re working on improving career paths” for more than two years in a row, something’s wrong.

      2. Doug Judy*

        This one in particular was criticism that the company grew too fast and promoted people to management positions that weren’t ready. The CEO agreed and laid out very specific things they were doing to correct the issue and make sure they did a better job going forward. It seemed more genuine than “Sorry you feel that way, but…”

        Maybe they really do suck, but only a very small number of the reviews were negative, most were very positive. So either the CEO is actually very good or he’s very good at manipulating people into praising the company. Hard to say from the outside but it felt more genuine than most.

      3. Kes*

        I have to agree; I’ve seen some responses that seem sincere and are really addressing the issues, but in a lot of cases it just seems to be HR or recruiters replying to everyone, possibly meaning well but not really adding anything, just patting themselves on the back for the positive responses while trying to minimize the negative ones

      4. Shark Whisperer*

        Yeah, the VP of HR from OldJob responds to all the negative reviews on GD, but they are definitely just lip service. Most of her replies are vague and thinks like “your experience regarding communication does not reflect the value we put on communication,” which simultaneously don’t say anything and don’t actually address the problem. It also doesn’t help that the VP of HR is a huge part of a lot of the problems people at OldJob are complaining about…

        1. irene adler*

          That kind of response shows that invalidation of an employee’s experience is an acceptable practice. As an outsider to the company, I can assume my internal complaints will be handled similarly. Not a company I wish to work at.

    3. Kes*

      I definitely agree on taking the extremes with a grain of salt – I tend to look for patterns, eg if multiple people are complaining about work life balance it probably is a real issue at least in some areas

    4. Eddiesherbert*

      To be fair, company replies are something I pay attention to (if they reply). At ToxicJob, the company only responded to positive reviews (half of which are the marketing team being forced to post reviews) like “hey thanks! we ARE great” and totally ignored negative reviews.

      I just hope other people also take that as a red flag!

  11. UnderwaterOphelia*

    With my current employer, not at all. I work at a large university which varies widely from department to department, and includes both full time and part time jobs. The benefits are good, the pay could be better, but upper management is a nightmare. Anything above direct supervisors/middle management care nothing about what might be going on in your life, and hand out PIPs like candy. The real problem though, is that it seems like part timers have a very high opinion of their workplace on glassdoor (because they’re sheltered from office politics), but there are less full time staff reviews, which tend to be negative/do not recommend.

    1. Lil Fidget*

      This was true of my last job. The individual positions and departments were so different than it didn’t really help to read about someone else’s experience, as your could be totally dissimilar depending on your boss and your title.

      1. UnderwaterOphelia*

        Oh yes, definitely. There’s a huge difference between people working in the cafeterias vs. people working as actual teaching faculty vs. events coordination vs. librairans, etc. We don’t just have differnet departments, we have completely different buildings spread over acres of land.

        1. anon today and tomorrow*

          Yes! My current company has a lot of PT seasonal staff or warehouse workers and their reviews are so drastically different from the office workers, and office worker reviews are drastically different from reviews by sales reps.

          I find it helps to narrow down review by the position. When I first started using GD years ago, I fell into the trap of reading all reviews equally before realizing someone’s complaints about the warehouse or sales wasn’t relevant to what I’d experience in the office role.

          1. Doug Judy*

            Yes, I always try to narrow it down to roles that I am considering or would be similar. I might read a few other ones, but I tend to ignore a review from a production worker that is working in a plant in a totally different region.

    2. BRR*

      I used to work at a large university and the reviews included tons from postdocs, student workers, and graduate assistants. While I think it’s helpful to have those available, those roles vary a lot from each other and also from administrative staff.

    3. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

      I worked in a place- let’s say it made llama grooming products. Even though you had the same title- “production worker”- the experiences of those making llama shampoo and conditioner were really different than those making llama soap, due to the different supervisors. The reviews were all over the place for the same position at the same job, because the llama soap supervisor was awesome, whereas the shampoo and conditioner supervisor thrived on the discontent of his underlings.

      1. TheBeetsMotel*

        I’m sorry – a brief break and a round of applause for this username.

        With my carrooooot! And my celeryyyy!

  12. Anononon*

    When I left my awful job, the owner and/or his assistant left a fake review pretending to be me. My name wasn’t used, but there were only like five employees, so it was darn obvious. I was pretty pissed at first, but the review itself was pretty funny. It read like a job posting instead of a review. “You have so many opportunities to do this, this, and this….”

  13. Muriel Heslop*

    The last place I worked was a small business and the reviews seemed to be fair and balanced. It was an imperfect but fairly relaxed and pleasant place to work that offered low pay/incentives and no mobility but tons of flexibility. The reviews for the school districts in which I have worked are all over the place, most likely because so much varies from campus to campus. I would still use the site, but take it with a grain of salt.

  14. Lil Fidget*

    For what its worth my company has a similar name to other companies, and although it can be hard to tell, there are a good number of terrible reviews that are not about us. Our HR doesn’t think it’s a big deal and can’t be bothered to dispute each one (which might look defensive anyway, I’m not sure) but I always cringe to think of new hires checking them – since obviously it wouldn’t always be possible for them to tell that it’s the wrong company, from the outside.

    1. NotThatCompany*

      I’m an employer on Glassdoor despite not having any employees. There’s another company in a different part of the state that apparently has the same name we do. I’ve had multiple reviews for that other company. They’re not bad, but really, they’re not accurate.

      Glassdoor will take them down, but it’s a pain to deal with it. There’s no way to flag a report automatically, you have to go through a tedious process. They’ve taken the incorrect reports down eventually, it’s pretty frustrating. I’m trying to do the fair thing to the other company but it’s all on me to correct their (former?) employees mistakes.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        Yeah I think our HR person just doesn’t want to deal with it, and also because the reviews we care about are the ones that are just terrible (but not about us) I think we all assume Glassdoor will push back pretty hard about us trying to delete the bad reviews, when we would have a pretty good motive to do so. So she just leaves them, but I keep suggesting she could at least encourage more employees to write honest reviews! We could at least push the bad ones down / balance them out a little more.

  15. anon today and tomorrow*

    If there are a string of glowing, five star reviews that all have the same variation of praise and which are all posted within a day of each other, I know those are fake. Those are usually one or two lines long and don’t really give much insight into the company. Think: This place is great, can’t think of any negatives!

    It’s pretty easy to spot reviews that are written by people with gripes, so I always take those with a grain of salt. It’s obvious when someone is writing because they’re annoyed.

    I tend to look for ones that point out any red flags – sexism, homophobia, racism, the company being an old boy’s club, etc. Those are the things where it’s harder to pickup in an interview when everyone is on their best behavior. So I appreciate GD reviews that do mention that. Same goes for the reviews that aren’t angry yelling about no room for growth or restructuring, and actually write a good review with positives and negatives.

    I have found that salary listings are wildly inaccurate on GD, though. I’ve interviewed with a few companies where the salaries in GD were about $30K higher than the offered salary. It’s rarely been the other way around, in my experience. This was a range of large, corporate companies, small companies, and startups, so I’m not sure why the salaries have always been off.

    1. Earthwalker*

      That’s my place. There are a few longer postings from people who have been there awhile and make fairly long, reasonable, well balanced statements of positives and negatives. There are a few long and vitriolic ones as might be expected. But most are very short, so short that they include text like “… and more words so this post will go through…” and say “can’t think of any negatives.” Some posts end mid-sentence as if the word count was reached and they can’t be bothered to write another word. They’re too bland to sway a job candidate one way or the other. Who does this? If I ran the company and told the HR people to skew the Glassdoor reviews I wouldn’t accept these silly scraps. But if not HR, what’s the story behind these posts?

      1. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

        I know in order to sign up for Glassdoor, I had to leave a review for a company I’d worked for. Not sure if it is still like that, but if so, I’m guessing those short reviews are so they can get access to the site without identifying themselves, or just having to put too much effort into the thought process.

    2. Super Anon for this*

      Yea, it’s funny. OldJob was a newish company that had a very, very toxic workplace. Therefore, their GD reviews were things along the lines of “Run for the hills!” or “This job made me quit the industry”.

      CEO suddenly decided he cared Very Much about GD reviews. He enlisted upper management to write glowing, detailed 5-star reviews. So detailed, in fact, that it’s not hard to guess who wrote each review.

      This began the Glassdoor War.

      As new 1-star reviews went up, so too did 5-star reviews that seemed to aggressively negate everything in the 1-star reviews.

      So, the 1-star reviews started writing that the 5-star reviews were fake and were written by upper management by the request of the CEO.

      …And the 5-star reviews responded saying the 1-star reviews were all fake news, and written by someone with an unusual gripe with the company. (They also started to write reviews that were more realistic and less obviously from upper management.)

      The result is nearly 100 reviews for this tiny, new company that only has about 60 employees. (Of course, part of that is from the extraordinarily high turnover rate.)

      While I would hope that a savvy outsider would be able to read between the lines and figure out this whole story, I imagine it’d actually be very, very difficult. Loads of 4- and 5-star reviews with legitimately positive things to say, then a slew of 1-star reviews describing a horror company.

      Part of the issue is that the 1-star reviews can’t be as detailed out of fear that the company will then be able to identify them and might retaliate with a bad reference (the company would totally do this). Meanwhile, the 5-star reviews can get very specific.

      Anyway, not sure what conclusion to draw from this, but something to certainly keep in mind when considering GD reviews!

  16. grey*

    I had to go check at LastJob – the job I got laid off from and am having a giggle fit over the reviews. Are they accurate? Yes, but some of them only make sense in light of what I know from working there for a number of years. Some of the reviews will say “Great HR” and others will say “Bad HR” and I’ll be like – I bet you worked in such and such area…. LOL.

    CurrentJob has no reviews on Glassdoor.

  17. There's Always Money in the Banana Stand*

    Only one company that I have ever worked for currently has reviews on Glassdoor. The 3 most recent reviews read sort of like upper management “encouraged” people to leave some positive reviews because there were so many negative reviews to be found there prior. The reviews as a whole seem to fall all over the spectrum. Some obviously sound like they were written by someone who was seriously disgruntled, a few seem to be fair and accurate, and then there are the 3 recent ones that seem to have been paid for in some way.

  18. Andrew*

    The two small companies I was it the reviews were accurate and I have an idea who wrote them.

    The medium sized company was also accurate. Especially for the reviews that showed up around the same time and after my lay off. There was a lot of reviews mentioning a change in direction that I was noticing. The biggest pattern I saw was most of the anger directed at mostly one higher up, the coo. He got the most negative reviews mentionings. People basically have said he’s ruined use company. I never noticed it, but got a bad vibe from him the times I did talk to him.

    What was interesting to me was the reviews from those that worked outside the head quarters. Different experience sometimes a lot worse.

  19. ElleKat*

    When I worked for Congress we got nothing from complaints from constituents, despite how hard we and the boss worked. One of my coworkers told me, “People only make that effort when they’re angry. No one has that same energy to call and tell us we’re doing an ok job. ” I apply that to job review sites — the disgruntled folks have a motivation to make the effort of registering, writing out a review, and filing it. People who are happy or at least satisfied probably don’t feel the same need to shout their satisfaction from the rooftops. So, grain of salt on a few negative reviews. On the other hand of course, 10 pages of reviews specifying concrete problems do merit consideration.

    1. pcake*

      I write positive, negative and neutral reviews of companies, products and services. I find many reviews helpful to me in making certain decisions, so I want to pay it forward.

    2. gbca*

      While I generally agree with you, the thing about GlassDoor (if I’m remembering correctly) is that you have to provide some kind of feedback on a company to get access to all the reviews. So there is an incentive for someone seeking info to write a review about a current or former employer who may not necessarily be disgruntled.

      1. Natalie*

        That’s correct, in order to see all of the reviews, you have to periodically provide them with some kind of content – a review, salary information, interview information, etc.

    3. Bea*

      This is why I do go out of my way to leave positive reviews. But I’m a bit of a Pollyanna at times, I know I’m the exception not the rule.

    4. ThatGirl*

      This is why I occasionally make an effort to tell my truly great senators that I appreciate them.

      (I work in customer service and yeah, generally people only call when they’re mad.)

  20. AnOh*

    I’d say they’re fairly accurate. In all my previous job searches, I’ve utilized Glassdoor because it saved me from entering into a toxic work environment that had red flags during the interview that at the time I might have dismissed had I not read the reviews prior. I always try to keep in mind though that most people will leave a review if they have a negative experience versus people that are happy in the organization. It’s important to notice patterns in the negative reviews, whether it seems to be consistent across the company or if it’s mostly the same types of positions/locations leaving the reviews. For instance, when I was searching a few months ago, one company mainly had negative reviews at the hourly/retail locations when I would’ve been applying for a position in the corporate office so most of the reviews wouldn’t have applied (unless it was a top-level complaint).

  21. Milvus milvus*

    In my limited experience, Glassdoor was fairly accurate (outlined the major negatives of low pay, understaffing, and lax Health and Safety standards, mentioned the positive aspects), but a data point of one company isn’t worth much…

  22. Geneva*

    In my experience, accurate. But that’s because I look for trends in the reviews. If one person’s review is unfocused and emotional, I give it the side eye. However, if several people touch on similar themes, then that’s a red flag worth paying attention to.

    I also ignore the ones that are overly positive with a defensive undertone like, “Of course every company has its problems, but if you’re willing to work hard, you can accomplish a lot here.” Um….hello HR lol.

    1. Eddiesherbert*

      I agree to look for trends in the reviews!!

      Even at ToxicJob, which I despised, I tried really hard to write a neutral review because I didn’t want mine to get labeled “disgruntled employee.” Afterwards, when when I was reading through the existing reviews, I realized people should see the big issues throughout all the reviews (not just mine) and felt better :)

      (Yeah, it’s hard not to be disgruntled when you spend your days having guy-who-got-his-job-by-marrying-the-owner’s niece scream “anyone can do your jobs” at you and your employees…)

  23. Long Time Reader, First Time Poster*

    A few days before ExCompany did a big round of layoffs, they posted a super positive fake review on glassdoor from an “employee” that loved it there soooooooo much. It was so obviously a specific from the marketing team that wrote it — he used all of his favorite catch phrases.

  24. Meredith Brooks*

    I’ve worked with several large, very well-known organizations. I’ve found for the most part that while I agree with the comments made, they also tend to be exaggerated, which makes sense because honestly I think the only folks who would bother to rate their place of work are people who either love it or hate it. Nonetheless, the responses are fair enough, I think people just need to factor in some salt when making their decisions about what is important to them.

    As a point of comparison, I don’t find it completely shocking that the company I left due to an extremely cliquish and toxic work environment has a rating of 2.7, while the company I work for now and have done so relatively happily for the past 5 years is rated a 3.5.

  25. BRR*

    I find most of them are not terribly accurate or helpful if I was applying to a company. There are extremely positive ones that seem way too good to be true even at great employers. I find almost every employer has negative reviews that mention incompetent leadership a lack of communication. I have to wonder if people’s expectations might be a little out of line. I err on the side of caution for all reviews.

  26. Ann O'Nemity*

    The reviews for my current company are so polarized! Either 1’s or 5’s. I suppose that makes sense; only the really happy or really unhappy people are motivated to take the time to review. Looking through the comments, I see some truth, both good and bad. I actually laughed out loud when I saw some comments about a certain department; oh my gosh it’s so true. And it made me feel good to see so many of the positive comments echo my own reasons for loving this place.

    But if you look at salaries, they are way off! One position is listed at $30k less than the minimum of HR’s range for that job. So I don’t know if the ex-employee who gave that number lied out of spite or if it’s like 10+ years old.

    1. AdAgencyChick*

      Yeah, I wish the salary info were better. I get why it isn’t — especially in a smaller company like mine, it’d be too easy for management to identify who contributed salary information. But a gal can still dream.

    2. Lil Fidget*

      Yeah you have to create an account and log in to leave a review, so you’ve got to be kind of motivated – you probably have something you feel strongly about sharing, versus just “meh, they’re fine, pretty typical of this industry.”

    3. Isabel Kunkle*

      I find specific aspects useful:

      1) If the company has confirmed a certain benefit. For instance, if a place is an engaged employee or whatever and has checked several other things but not “work from home,” I know it’s not for me.
      2) If the company’s responded to the reviews, how? “We’re trying to improve this thing,” or “Y is just how it is, so suck it,” are both telling, especially for specifics: I noped out of one place because the GD reviewer was like “they install a minute-by-minute activity tracker on your computer” and the rep was like “we sure do! Productivity!”

  27. Shay*

    Meh, the usual extremes of an angry employee or the glowing rave review. This isn’t unlike any other review site – you have the angry people that feel they were unfairly treated and you have the ‘friends and family’ mixed in for balance. Sadly, this is why review sites are not meaningful or informative .. the generally happy people don’t take the time to leave a review.

    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      I tried to use GD recently, and they limited how much I could see unless I posted a resume or left a review of my own. I considered reviewing something just to see more reviews. I can see the point (don’t just be a user, be a contributer) but it was still off-putting. In the end, I just let my procrastinatory abilities handle that one for me.

  28. OhGee*

    Around 2007, I found Glassdoor reviews for a publishing company very helpful. I was working for Company A doing a project management role, and interviewed at Company B for a more complex project management role. Company B had several reviews indicating that they lowball salary offers. Lo and behold, they offered me what I was already making, for a more complex job. Knowing that others claimed they lowballed helped me make the decision to negotiate (I was 26 at the time and had never negotiated a salary). We agreed to a slightly higher starting rate, and when I was promoted, I was told ‘we can’t give you a big increase because you already make what people with this title (the promotion) are paid’.

    I think for bigger companies, they can give you a good, GENERAL idea about culture or company policies, especially if you stick to reviews in the last 2-3 years. But my current organization has a staff of less than 15, and we have two Glassdoor reviews: one is neutral-to-positive, from a former employee. One is negative and makes some nasty allegations about our culture and work environment that are clearly from someone who was fired 2 years ago — I know that their claims are entirely inaccurate, but I can’d really do anything about it, unless I leave my own review when I leave for a new job next week. I’m much more cautious about reviews for smaller organizations — they’ll have fewer reviews, which means one disgruntled review can carry a lot more weight.

  29. AdAgencyChick*

    My company’s reviews are either pissed off or glowing. Either way, they’re not detailed, which means they’re pretty worthless to candidates IMO.

    I get that employees, especially current ones, might not want to add detail to a review because they’re afraid that doing so will identify them. That’s part of why I haven’t myself posted a review — not that I don’t like my company, but there are definite areas for improvement. The problem is, I think if I wrote specifically about those areas, a smart reader could pin the number of reviewers down to a small enough number that I’m reluctant to do it.

    I had previously thought that some of the glowing reviews were fake. A few months ago I learned that they aren’t, but senior management did ask a few employees who drink the company Kool-Aid whether they would consider writing a review, given the number of negative reviews. (There’s also a person whose job description includes monitoring our Glassdoor page, and the company writes responses to every negative review. I find the responses to be nearly as vague and uninformative as the original reviews.)

  30. hermit crab*

    In its recent Glassdoor reviews, my former company (which I left on good terms after working there for a decade) has about an even split between really good reviews and really bad ones. As far as I can tell, they’re all accurate! As an insider, I can tell that the bad reviews are all from a particular department that used to be a separate company and was acquired a while back, and it’s basically been imploding ever since; it operates more or less as its own entity and the issues there (which are genuine) generally don’t affect people in other groups. However, there’s no way to tell that from the outside. Maybe I should write my own review and mention that, as a public service…

  31. AliceBD*

    It’s hard for big companies because it can vary a lot by department in my experience. But then for small companies there are usually not any or just one employee or so who leaves a bad one, which I am disinclined to trust because it could be their problem.

  32. Trout 'Waver*

    The reviews for my company are pretty inaccurate. One disgruntled temp claims he was promised a long contract, which is something we don’t do. He also claims that his contract was ended because our company refused to accommodate his disability. Which is completely untrue as well.

  33. Mazzy*

    100% accurate if you exclude the fake reviews. And I have found that when people wrote “beware of the fake reviews” for places I’ve worked, I thought the reviews were fake as well. Heck, my current job asked people to add glassdoor reviews and one was obviously fake, and I knew who wrote it. I asked management to ask her to change it because it was so incredibly unbelievable, but they haven’t yet. It said under “advice for management,” “Nothing – keep up the good work!” Seriously!

    My longest lasting job was at a company where management kept changing and they hired corporate types for management roles that should’ve been more technical and gritty, they didn’t promote from within, and the upper management lacked vision, which was a shame, because there were some really awesome low-level employees holding the thing together. Sounds negative or like a disgruntled employee when you read the reviews, but it’s exactly what I experienced.

    I interviewed at a competitor with a 1 out of 5 on Glassdoor. That can’t be true, that must be an exaggeration, right? Well, I met the owner and he didn’t say one nice or positive thing. All he did was grill me for dirt on other people in the industry. I felt dirty when I left. I probably gossip too much, but this was too much. I don’t insult the very fiber and integrity of people I talk about unless they are truly bad. I may say it’s ridiculous or dumb that someone did this or that, by my my, this guy seemed to actually want to prove that all of these industry contacts were horrible people. Yeah, some of them have made mistakes, but I wasn’t going to share that with someone who was going to use it for character assassination. The recruiter seemed stress about having to fill 15 positions in a year and complained about employee churn. I found it odd that they thought it was such a chore to find people but it makes sense when you see their outdated software, how afraid and quiet everyone seems, and meet the owner.

    So I think the reviews are all accurate.

    1. anon today and tomorrow*

      I always roll my eyes when I see “Nothing – keep up the good work!” under advice to management. Come on, we know it’s management or HR writing those reviews.

  34. Avid reader infrequent commenter*

    I always take written reviews with a grain of salt, although I do think it’s useful to look for a pattern. Repeatedly mentioned issues are definitely a red flag. The thing to remember overall, though, is that people are much more inspired to write a review when they’re displeased. This goes from something like glassdoor to product reviews on amazon. I’ve tried to make a point of writing more reviews for things I’m pleased with, but let’s face it, the motivation is much stronger if you’re pissed off…

  35. Manders*

    At my last job, an employee quit and left a negative but accurate review. My boss had a bit of a meltdown and posted at least one glowing review to “counter” it. So I don’t tend to trust 5-star reviews.

    In general, I ignore glowing reviews and try to look at the middling and poor ones for patterns. I also look at how the employees talk about upper management and whether there are complaints about layoffs, lack of direction, or other signs that the overall health of the company may be poor. But I also work in a niche that’s often a fairly small department in an organization, so seeing a bunch of complaints from engineers often tells me very little about how the marketing team runs.

  36. ThatGirl*

    Similar to yelp reviews, I find Glassdoor best when taken in aggregate. If they’re universally negative with big red flags, (not just aggrieved nitpickers) I find that helpful and run away. If they’re mostly positive, that can be a good sign.

    I wrote one for my last company after I left, and consulted the ones for my current job before I started.

    It seems like a lot depends on a) what area/location you work in b) what department you work for c) what your expectations are like in general. Distribution center work is always going to be different from sales is always going to be different from customer service. But seeing trends is definitely helpful.

  37. Bunny Girl*

    I kind of use Glass Door reviews the same way I use Yelp reviews; I look for patterns. Is there one poorly written rant with a bunch of glowing reviews? Then I don’t put a lot of weight on it. Are there a lot of complaints that have a really similar feel to them? Then yes I look at that differently and would probably give it some more weight. The same thing goes with if I see a ton of glowing reviews without any critics at all. Glass Door doesn’t verify that anyone has worked where they say they do; it could be anyone going on there and posting stuff. So overall, I can’t say I put all my chips on the review, but I do look at it to get an overall feel.

  38. Kat*

    I looked at Glassdoor before I took my current job but it was hard to get a sense because it’s a large organization (university) and people’s experiences vary widely by department and position. One common complaint on Glassdoor though was about stagnant salaries and little opportunity for growth which had turned out to be 100% true and I’m thankful that I was aware of it going in.

    I have a permanent bookmark of a previous employer’s Glassdoor reviews. I worked there just before Glassdoor was really a thing but the reviews since have been like therapy for me! I was miserable, so stressed (I lost 15 lbs in my last year there – and not in a good way) but thought it was my fault that I just wasn’t cut out of a high-performing work environment. Reading the anonymous reports of my former colleagues (I enjoy trying to guess who wrote them) and their equally terrible experiences was very validating – I began to realize that it had been a toxic and even abusive environment. One review actually specifically absolved me of what I had considered my greatest failure and I felt so much relief reading it. Stupid, I know, because it’s an anonymous online review, but it helped nonetheless. Glassdoor reviews and more recently media reports featuring former employees after a rather public scandal which led to some much needed resignations actually gave me back a lot of confidence.

    1. Bunny Girl*

      I feel like it is really hard with larger organizations (especially universities) to read the reviews. I looked at it before I took my previous position and the reviews were all pretty positive. But my department was a dumpster fire. Everyone was unhappy and everyone jumped ship to a different department the absolute second that they could. I absolutely hated it and used the fact that I already worked at the university and jumped ship as soon as I could too and was much happier in a different department.

  39. Bigglesworth*

    At my last company, HR sent out an email to those they thought would write positive reviews. They asked these people to post on Glassdoor. I was not one of the people who was asked and when’s i found out I posted a review myself that explained that the latest rounds of positive reviews were requested by HR to help offset the negative reviews they recently received due to a massive exodus (updating the lifestyle covenant didn’t go well for them). I got a response that said, “Wemre sorry you think that but all reviews are unsolicited.” That worked great until others started to agree with me on GlassDoor. Kinda funny to watch the fallout.

      1. Bigglesworth*

        It really was a moment of, “Be careful what you wish for.” They wanted more employees to leave reviews and they got them.

      1. Bigglesworth*

        It was. It really was. Small private religious university. I have so many stories from that place. :/

  40. Roscoe*

    I find Glassdoor to be mostly like Yelp. The “average” employee isn’t really going to post anything. Its either people who REALLY love their job (or are just company shills) or people who are bitter for some reason. Even the ex employees information can be that way, because even if you left on good terms, its not super likely you are going to bother to post something if your experience was just “its a job, its fine”.

    That said, I do like to read them anyway to be on the lookout for the issues presented when people leave negative reviews. Often they are overstated, but have some truth to it. For example, at my last company someone wrote a SCATHING review of the place. While it was a bit much, a lot of the issues raised were valid issues. The problem was, it was so over the top that management didn’t really take it seriously. They made themselves look worse by replying to it (in my opinion).

    I also like glassdoor to get a sense of the interview process. So I know the type of question to expect, how long the process takes, etc

  41. Mystery Bookworm*

    Accurate? Hard to say, and varies greatly.

    Helpful? I think so, if you’re willing to do the work. You can’t just look at the stars, you have to actually skim through the reviews. Then look for patterns.

    – are the ones from the retail locations low while the corporate ones tend toward positivity?
    – do people routinely comment (whether positive or negative) on similar things?
    – are the comments all very general (good culture, etc) or are there specific things called out (regular Friday happy hour)?

    I think doing this before an in-person interview can help you compile, at the very least, a list of curiosities and things worth scoping out. Plenty of locations with low-ish reviews might still be great places to work for in a particular role, and plenty of places with high-ish reviews might be beloved by their employees but awful for you (Nerf gun battles!)

    In short, Glassdoor can be a really useful part of the job hunt investigation, but it’s most useful for highlighting isssues that warrent closer examination. It’s probably not so helpful for just deciding what companies to apply to in the first place.

    1. Bostonian*

      Oooooh that first bullet point is a good one! At my last company, there was a main, corporate location that always had glowing reviews on Glassdoor. I always thought, “this can’t be the same company!” Turns out it just sucked if you were a worker bee at one of the satellite locations.

  42. Dagny*

    I’ve had very good luck with Glassdoor, but I’ve only ever worked for very small organizations where one bad review represents 1/5 of the staff; I imagine it would be way less accurate for very large companies where one bad (or good!) opinion is a drop in the bucket.

  43. Mazzy*

    Before this goes much further, everyone is commenting on the text part of the reviews. But what about the salaries. Do people think the salaries are accurate? Or are they from a highly paid employee finding an avenue to humble brag, or a lower paid employee venting their frustration by posting their low salary online? Or are the salaries simply outdated and not updated to reflect inflation and raises?

    1. Mystery Bookworm*

      Hard to say overall. But for the two places I’ve worked that were on Glassdoor, they were.

    2. Bostonian*

      The salaries and reviews are separate parts of Glassdoor, so I guess I never thought to comment on both… I’m glad people are giving that information, as well, though! Certainly worth commenting on.

  44. Workerbee*

    We had an absolutely atrocious experience internally when we partnered with Glassdoor. Glassdoor themselves were great. It’s certain people here who went a little spare.

    To wit:

    1. We only partnered with Glassdoor in the first place via paying for their Employer Package because employees were leaving bad reviews about a recently hired senior executive.
    –These reviews were actually true. Gaslighting, bullying, undermining were the most common themes.
    –One of our other executives was all up in the badly-reviewed-executive’s business, so claimed that “because these people didn’t put ‘I think’ in front of their statements, they’re being taken as fact and they shouldn’t be because that executive doesn’t do ANY of that! It’s all lies!” –Yeah.

    2. What you get with the Glassdoor Employer Package is extra control over look and feel of your page. Pictures, videos, text, arrangement of feeds, responding to reviews (which we ultimately didn’t do, as it would be obvious we only started responding when the negative reviews started coming); but what it doesn’t do, of course, is allow you to remove negative reviews. It even says so on each Glassdoor company page, if I recall correctly. You can always file a claim if you think something is really misleading, but the Glassdoor people scrutinize this very, very carefully.

    3. The overly-interested executive had calls with Glassdoor demanding that the bad reviews be removed on grounds of libel because a couple of them named the executive and these were OPINIONS, and also that we be allowed to KNOW who wrote what review. Because Yelp makes you put a name, etc.
    –Glassdoor politely but firmly declined to waive their policy on either front.

    4. Senior executive was finally removed from the company, and the overly interested executive coincidentally lost all interest in managing/digging into Glassdoor henceforth.

    THE END.

    1. Workerbee*

      Forgot a piece until reading a comment upthread reminded me!

      The overly-interested executive also launched an initiative to flood Glassdoor with positive reviews. It was a “Hey, if you’re having a good day at work, go on Glassdoor!” campaign.

      Found out later that one of the departments had privately tasked their people to put positive reviews up OR ELSE. Oy.

    2. Lillie Lane*

      Question (since you seem to know about the employer package options): My former employer obviously pays for a package, because they post jobs and have a “featured review” at the top (which is really old and reads fake, but is four stars so I suppose HR thinks it looks unbiased to feature it). I have noticed lately that there have been a number of recent terrible reviews (say, all from September 2018). All of these terrible reviews are rated as very helpful. However, one older 5-star review (from, say, August 2018) continues to stay in the first review position (right below the “featured review”). This 5-star review has no “helpful” ratings. Can employers pay to have specific reviews hang around the top, first-seen position?

      I know the review listing is generally chronological (at least in the app). However, what I’m trying to say is that the most recent, helpful, but negative reviews for this company get shoved down the line and older, positive (and IMO fake) reviews always seem to float to the top of the list so they are seen first. Is this some quirk of Glassdoor, or can companies pay to control the order of review listings?

  45. Natalie*

    For the two large companies I’ve worked for, they’ve been reasonably accurate about the overall company culture, values, etc. For example, at my current company there’s no reviews from anyone in my department, so if I had looked at it as a prospective employee it wouldn’t have given me any specific information about my boss and team. But the reviews from other departments mention aspects of the culture that are definitely true organization wide (we’re very outdated and slow from a tech standpoint, for example).

  46. Nita*

    Just checked ours, and for the most part they seem accurate (both the good and the bad ones, and the salary info). There was one jaw-dropping comment – it seems very off-base to me, but we have a lot of people so there might be one horrid manager out there… I hope HR saw that one just in case there’s a grain of truth to it.

  47. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

    The reviews for my company are a mixed bag. The positive ones tend to be submitted by people who have worked here for less than a year, and the negative ones are from people who have definitely had the shine taken off. There is also a noticeable difference in reviews submitted across sites – given that roles are different across sites, this makes sense.
    I 100% agree with the negative reviews, but I can see where the enthusiasm of the positive reviews comes from – I remember being that naive!

    1. Lumen*

      At my last job (toxic), they started asking employees to leave reviews. I had already mentally quit that job, had almost nothing positive to say, and knew that there would be retaliation for negative reviews. I waited until I left (and then waited a few more months so I could calm down) to write a review for them. I really wanted to maintain a level ‘tone’ in my review so it wouldn’t be dismissed as ‘ranty’, but I also had serious concerns that I thought potential employees needed to know about. Even then, it was pretty scathing. Because the things they were doing were really, objectively bad.

      The ‘people and performance manager’ they hired (because they really hated the idea of HR – red flag #287) they hired after I left was apparently tasked with replying to every single review on Glassdoor, but mine? One of the owners replied. They were condescending, the fact that they wanted to reply to this one themselves felt vaguely threatening (I honestly would not have put it past them to try and sabotage my new job), and obviously they wanted to make it clear that they knew (or thought they knew) who had left the review. They wanted to give the impression that the whole problem with this reviewer (me) was that they never brought up their issues! How could management have done anything?

      Except that I’d had numerous conversations, most of which were not initiated by me, about challenges and issues at that job. Which I’d addressed in my review.

      I think it’s still ranked as the most ‘helpful’ review for that company. I hope I’ve helped at least a few people avoid a toxic, misogynistic workplace. But mine is just one of a number of reviews from current employees who have been there less than a year talking about how awesome unlimited* PTO is.

      *at your manager’s discretion, hope your manager likes you
      *will not be paid out when you leave the company since it’s not considered compensation
      *but it is considered compensation when they’re trying to justify not giving you a raise

      1. Lumen*

        Whoops, didn’t mean to leave this as a reply, just a standalone. Apologies, WonderingHowIGotIntoThis.

  48. Maggie*

    I think ones for smaller companies can sometimes be inaccurate. I worked at a small company (8-10 people) and they had 100% on Glassdoor. All positive reviews, really no negatives from both current and former employees and interns. However, my manager, lovely as they were, was a terrible manager and didn’t manage me, my coworker, or our workload well at all. I wanted to leave a review on Glassdoor about it, but since I was the only person who had left at that time, it would be really easy for them to determine who wrote it. I wouldn’t have expected any backlash, but it’s still awkward to burn that bridge by writing a review, especially since it was my first job out of college.

    1. Lumen*

      Yup. In a small company, it’s impossible to leave a review on Glassdoor that is truly anonymous. And from reviews, there’s no way to tell if those 8 people all left glowing reviews because they genuinely love it or because they’re afraid their boss will retaliate against them.

  49. Rose Tyler*

    Glassdoor offers companies with negative reviews a marketing package aimed at improving their overall Glassdoor rating, so I take it with a big grain of salt. In reading my own company’s reviews, there are some accurate points that are mostly only useful if you’re interested in that particular silo of the company.

    1. She persists*

      My OldJob had my negative review removed twice AND my email banned from Glassdoor (Glassdoor emails won’t even fwd to this account anymore) with absolutely no explanation as to why. Said review managed to pass Glassdoor moderation twice, so clearly I was not violating any terms of service. This was in 2018.

  50. ElmyraDuff*

    At OldJob, we basically had our own campaign amongst coworkers to get everyone to write honest Glassdoor reviews about how absolutely shitty the place was, how they preyed on recent college graduates, and just generally warning people not to fall for it. A year or so after I left, the HR manager started OFFERING BONUSES to people who would write positive ones. So, yeah.

    Also, with any review site, you have to take into consideration that most people who are reviewing something are doing it because they’re mad about something.

  51. Labradoodle Daddy*

    I’ve seen accurate negative ratings disappear from a former job’s Glassdoor site, and clearly fake positive reviews show up shortly after a negative one (that they can’t get deleted) goes through. I’d be wary.

  52. Who the eff is Hank?*

    My current company doesn’t have a Glassdoor page, but my last job did. That company paid people to write positive reviews so there are a lot of “Great place to work!” and “Love it here!” without any substance. The people who left negative reviews (myself included) got responses from HR saying things like “Sorry you didn’t fit in with the company culture here”.

    1. Doug Judy*

      I always ignore the super generic ones, good and bad, because they tell me nothing. Ones that can give specifics have more way more weight and tend to be more accurate and credible.

    2. Geneva*

      I HATE it when HR does that. Don’t they realize it makes them sound like a Mean Girl? How about saying something like, “We’re sorry you didn’t have a great experience working with us and appreciate the feedback…” because guess what employers, sometimes people don’t fit because of your problematic expectations.

      My Ex Toxic Job responds to negative Glassdoor reviews this way, which is why I haven’t bothered to post one. In their mind, the only reason people resign from their perfect workplace is because they can’t cut it, which is far from the truth.

  53. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

    I haven’t looked at mine in awhile, but one problem I noted for my company is that we are multinational company so experiences are going to be vastly different depending on location.

    Of all the reviews, I’d say there were only a handful that I thought accurately reflected my company (both good and bad). I could understand some of the really negative ones “No room for advancement!” types that were probably accurate for the writer, but didn’t tell the entire story since they gave their location as a small satellite office with an average of about 20 employees. They were right advancement was limited, at their location which only had 2 maybe 3 managers. But the company is also very big on internal promotions and advancement, but it would probably mean relocation to another state in a bigger office.

    And I had to chuckle at the one written by someone on my team (not one of my direct reports but a report of one of my peers). She had been fired for quality/accuracy issues after going through a fair PIP process. Her review basically said that the management team in my area (so umm I guess me and my peers) should be fired because we micromanaged and made everyone nervous. Yeah, I knew who left it, mostly because she named the department and her review was riddled with typos (those same ones that she was fired for making – To be clear these were accuracy errors that resulted in $$$ not just an email or two with some misspelled words). I guess she thought the PIP was considered micromanagement, maybe the accuracy expectations?

  54. Librarian of the North*

    I look at them for a general idea but don’t put too much weight into them. My company doesn’t have one, but my Husband’s old employer did. They were truly terrible and had many reviews stating that. Then HR started writing their own and encouraging employees to write positive reviews. Now instead of the 1.7 they deserve their rating is closer to a 3-4.

  55. AvonLady Barksdale*

    At the last company I worked for, HR asked people to write reviews. Those reviews were pretty neutral bordering on positive. After I left, several people wrote absolutely scathing reviews, and even though I had never worked with them (turnover was really, really high), they said a lot of the things I was thinking. In that case, totally accurate if you ignore the neutral reviews. This was a tiny company.

    I used to work for a large corporation and I agree with everyone who says that opinions can vary by department and location. Those reviews are all over the place.

  56. HarvestKaleSlaw*

    In small companies, nobody posts to Glassdoor, because everyone would know who it is. Large companies vary so much from one department to the next that reviews are of limited use. Unfortunately, I think there’s really no shortcut around having to pay attention during the interview, ask questions, and really do your homework.

    1. Delta Delta*

      That’s true. I left a small company that had its good points, but also had some bad points. I know if I posted, they’d know it’s me. I’m hoping other former employees will start posting things so I can post, as well. I have been approached by subsequently-hired employees who say they wish they fully understood the bad things before taking the jobs because they’d have thought twice.

      A small business local to me has 1 review. It’s so scathing it makes me feel badly for the owners. However, I also see there’s probably at least a nugget of truth to some of what the reviewer was saying. So, yeah, I probably would avoid working there based on the contents of that review.

  57. ragazza*

    I work for a company with multiple locations and business units in the U.S., so there’s some variation, but it’s interesting that the general or high-level criticisms seem to be the same across the board. They asked us to provide positive reviews, so they definitely want to counteract the negative ones. Taken in aggregate, I think you can get a pretty accurate picture.

  58. samiratou*

    Heh. I just checked ours. The top pro review? “Good work/life balance”. Top con review? “Work/life balance kinda sucks” (FWIW, my experience is more in the former category than the latter, but it’s a big company, lots of locations, etc. etc.).

    Otherwise they look to be pretty accurate, if generically so.

    1. Nita*

      I can see how that might happen! My company has good work/life balance – except when you’re at certain levels in certain departments. In which case, your work/life balance will be awful, because the specifics of that work mean less flexibility and more irregular hours then the rest of the company deals with. It’s partly an under-staffing problem, which is being addressed, but partly just baked into the nature of the work.

  59. Running up a Hill Made of Sand*

    I work in the head office for a retail company. We have a lot of younger (20’s – we don’t hire under 18), inexperienced staff across the country and while we occasionally get a review that offers legit criticism (which we try to address if possible), most of the reviews we get are from people with unrealistic expectations. They seem shocked that they have sales goals and are held accountable. We have also had people call us a toxic work environment because we don’t let staff use mobiles while working and because we have a dress code. I tend to view Glassdoor reviews like any other review on the internet – how rational does the person sound? Do they come off ranty or calm? When I am looking for positions, I do check the company out on Glassdoor and if I see anything I am concerned about, I find a way of asking about it during my interview.

    1. Red 5*

      That was actually one of the other interesting splits between my company’s reviews and my spouse’s. Ours had a LOT of intern reviews, but they were fairly positive except for pointing out that the internships were unpaid and should be paid, so pretty accurate overall.

      The ones for his, almost all the negatives were from lower level staff (according to the titles they put on their reviews) and some of them really came across as basically “I had no idea people would actually expect me to WORK at work…”

  60. Ro*

    My personal experience is…. Glassdoor reviews often don’t give you the full picture of a company or it’s hiring practices… and this is often due to omissions.

    Now I know this is not hard data, but I’ve left many Glassdoor reviews and have had 2 of them removed, presumably by the employer since in no way did my reviews violate the Glassdoor terms. The only fault was they were negative.

    In one case, I posted that my current employer was now on year two of no raises across the board (not confidential info., it had already been mentioned in local press) and I thought potential employees would want to know about the belt-tightening. In the other case, I reviewed a company’s interview process. The HR rep was really, really rude. And for no discernible reason. There were other negative reviews that mentioned something similar (and only for our local office- although who knows if each review was referring to the same person). One day I went back and checked and all of those negative reviews mentioning poor treatment by the HR person were gone. Curiously, one negative review about the company’s interview process that mentioned they wished they’d heeded the earlier reviews, was still there. So I wasn’t crazy or misremembering all of the bad reviews.

    So yeah, I read them but I take them all with a grain of salt since there is likely missing info. too.

    Plus, you can easily detect the company-planted reviews (at least the really obvious ones). I wish I could tell the people doing this to stop wasting their time.

    1. Elysian*

      When I was at my old company, it had one review (and I could tell which ex-employee had left it by what they said). While perhaps more negative than I would have been, it was basically true. At some point, that review was removed and replaced by a glowing one that sounds like it could have been left by the owners themselves. Since then I haven’t really trusted Glassdoor.

    2. Natalie*

      I couldn’t tell you what happened with yours, but employers can’t just have negative reviews removed for no reason. (See the story upthread about someone who’s employer tried to do just that.) They have to actually violate the guidelines somehow.

  61. Steve*

    I’ve found it to be relatively accurate about places I’ve left. But, perhaps by the time I leave a company, the complaints resonate with me more than the praise. I don’t think I’ve gotten a lot out of reading the reviews during an interview process. It can be hard to get a good sense of a place just from those reviews.

  62. MP*

    I was stuck in a textbook dysfunctional workplace for three years and after getting a new job and regaining my sanity, I posted my scathing yet professional review of my ex company on GlassDoor. I was not surprised that all but one of the entries agreed with me. The sole glowing review seemed suspicious.

  63. If they're ALL positive, be wary*

    I think if all of the reviews are glowing with cons being listed as “I can’t think of any!” in all of them (such as with my old company which was a horrendously toxic workplace), peppered with a few very specific negative reviews, it’s pretty obvious that the glowing ones are faked.
    It’s true that people only write reviews when they’re pissed, for the most part, but it’s also true that no one takes the time to write A+, 10/10 job reviews on their own accord. Even in the best job ever, there are some cons.

  64. Us, Too*

    I work for a large tech company in Silicon Valley and I think most of the Glassdoor reviews are pretty accurate. BUT…

    Although the overall corporate culture and big items are correctly indexed and described (benefits, leadership team, etc), individual teams and jobs can vary so widely that it makes comments beyond that pretty worthless. For example, work-life balance on some teams and some roles is fantastic and in others is non-existent. Or, “my team is super diverse” when many others aren’t.

    Also, it’s clear that every company has bad hires – just not a good fit – and sometimes you can clearly see that in the reviews, too, which I think is good. :)

  65. Anna Canuck*

    I work for a fairly large local employer, so the job types are pretty different. The reviews are accurate, but it’s not really relevant how the lifeguards are treated if you’re a lawyer.

  66. But you don't have an accent...*

    For my old company, the HR department would periodically go write a bunch of 4 star reviews so as not to seem fake.

    The 1 star reviews, honestly, I agreed with them. Even the positive reviews tried to turn these negatives into positives “it’s a work hard play hard environment” and “If you just want to punch in 9 to 5, this isn’t the place for you”…while the negative reviews were way more honest about the brutal hours that were expected but definitely not compensated for.

    What I learned is to look for patterns across the reviews – if every review is saying something, then you should probably pay attention; whereas if one review seems off base, or the writer seems to be trying to spin everything one way or another, you should toss it.

    One thing I wish would have been noted in the reviews, however, before I took the job was the disparity in how hard it was for women to advance there.

  67. Bigintodogs*

    My company is about 30,000 people, but owned by a company that’s about 400,000 people. The reviews are mixed and there’s only one from my office. I don’t like working there, so I tend to agree with the negative ones, but I’m sure a lot of people have a positive experience.

  68. Annie Moose*

    I work for a smallish company with something of a startup feel. I think the reviews are accurate in their positives–but miss a lot of the negatives. All of the current reviews are almost entirely positive (and I believe them to be genuine reviews and have a good idea who wrote a couple of them), and sort of gloss over the cons of this place. Or perhaps the review writer doesn’t notice them because they’re the right sort of person for the company culture.

    Maybe I should write a review–mine would still be positive, as I think my company is a good employer, buuuut I would definitely have a few more cons to write about. Such as the aforementioned startup feel.

    1. Annie Moose*

      For interest sake, inspired by this thread, I checked and 8% of our technical roles are filled by women… 17% if you include BAs! what a number.

      But this is the kind of thing that most male developers are not likely to notice or consider worthy of mentioning in a Glassdoor review. So maybe I should.

  69. EH*

    I used to work for a midsize company that had fairly obvious HR sockpuppets leaving positive Glassdoor reviews. (HR was notoriously awful at that place.) I sometimes still go look at the company page to see if they’re still doing sockpuppet posts, which they usually are. Heh.

  70. y_cat*

    My organization has an AWFUL rating… which I personally don’t agree with, and I think most people wouldn’t either. Not sure how it got that way…. So I say – trust your gut, and take it with a big grain of salt!

  71. londonedit*

    I get the sense that Glassdoor isn’t nearly as big a thing in the UK as it is in the USA, but a former employer of mine has a listing on there and for ages the only review was utterly scathing. And completely accurate – calling out the boss for unreasonable behaviour, suggesting they need to treat employees with respect instead of cultivating a culture of blame and fear. All true. While I was working there, the boss got wind of this review and totally flipped out about it – then, amazingly, suddenly three or four really good reviews appeared, waxing lyrical about what a brilliant place it is to work. Boss had obviously asked current employees to write some glowing reviews. Doesn’t exactly make me trust Glassdoor in general, though I suppose it is like any review site – you’ll always get wildly differing opinions!

  72. animaniactoo*

    The ones for my company are accurate. The range of them show that some departments are somewhat dysfunctional, some areas of benefits tend to be on the skimpy side, and they actively present the “good place to work if you can handle the internal politics and nepotism issues”. Because some reviews mention those things and some don’t, so between them you pretty much get the full picture. Oh, and there’s the scathing review left by the receptionist who was fired because… basically… she refused to acknowledge that the other admin was her boss and really did have the authority to manage when she took her lunch break and for how long.

  73. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

    I’m also curious if the data is skewed on glassdoor due to likely demographics of reviewers.

    Meaning that, in general*, it’s more likely for reviewers to be younger workers. Does that make a difference? I’ve also noticed that there’s a higher percentage of individual contributor reviews than management (would make sense because there are more individual contributors working at the companies than managers), but does that make the data more or less reliable based on frame of reference and position level for the person reading it?

    *Yes I know that this isn’t an absolute rule. Please don’t tell me about your great aunt Mabel that left a review on yelp or glassdoor :) I think it is true that younger demographics are going to be more likely to contribute to and read reviews as a general rule.

    1. Persimmons*

      I see a lot of negative reviews in this vein as well, but I’m in tech so that strongly correlates. A lot of “LOL, this place is a sea of old white dudes who want to write everything in Algol”.

  74. Anonymous Commenter #890*

    The Glassdoor reviews for my current employer (300-person nonprofit consulting firm in the U.S.) are astonishingly accurate. There are maybe one or two ridiculously negative reviews, but the rest discuss the pros and cons in ways that I agree with. I haven’t looked at them in awhile, but as I recall, several reviews speak to the differences in how employees are treated based on position, department, location, etc.

  75. Leela*

    I’ve found them to be accurate but a little vague! Especially at a larger company. I think that people tend to write reviews if they had a knockout experience or a terrible one and less so if they just had a normal-ish experience, and I definitely think that someone’s team/manager can color their experience, and also that different departments/strata can have wildly different experiences at the same company.

    I used to work at Online Teapot Company, and I was a contractor. I didn’t experience any of the monstrous OT that other people report experiencing there (though I don’t doubt that they did indeed experience that), I’ve worked at a company with middling benefits where a terrific manager made it a “good company to work for” in my view, but a friend who had a terrible manager felt more of a “terrible manager + middling benefits = awful company to work for” opinion of the company.

    Also I was reading the glassdoor reviews for Big North American Branch of Japanese Teapot Company a few weeks ago and they were appalling and everyone said they couldn’t believe the company was still viable and they didn’t think it possibly could be more much longer. It closed mid-September. Granted that’s just one company but it definitely re-enforces my bias that Glassdoor is accurate (but again, vague because there are a lot of variables you don’t know about the company/who’s writing).

  76. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    Other than the easily spotted fake ones, and the also easily spotted “omg everything is horrible (insert irrational complaints)” type, ours are accurate. They are mostly negative, but most of them list basically the same pros (great people to work with, great benefits).

    When the place hired a new Big Boss several years ago, I got a list of his previous workplaces from his LinkedIn (I’m saying “list”, because he hadn’t stayed anywhere more than two years), then looked up the glassdoor reviews for each for the time when he worked there. I found a lot of similar reviews across all his old jobs, along the lines of him running off the good performers, replacing them with his yes-people, offshoring everything, and running the place into the ground. He was let go after two years of working at our place, and did every single thing mentioned in the reviews from his previous jobs in the two years he was here.

    I have not yet figured out how accurate the Glassdoor salary estimates are.

  77. I'm Not Phyllis*

    I just looked up both my current employer and the last place I worked and I felt like they were … meh? So-so?

    My experience in my former place of employment was pretty negative, but I can see how that may not have been everybody’s experience. There were specific departments that were more insulated from the drama, but a few of the reviews did say that it was a really positive place to work and … no. Not my experience.

    My current place of employment … what people say is mostly true – both the good and the bad. One example is that there isn’t much upward mobility because people stay for years and years … you can take that as good or bad, but it is something that’s important for people to know when they’re coming in.

    I think it’s important to read between the lines and take things with a grain of salt but I find them to be somewhat accurate. That’s probably not helpful at all – ha.

  78. Imaginary Number*

    I’ve found glassdoor to be extremely accurate for information about salaries and the interview process. Reviews of the company itself are nearly always skewed.

    Most companies they skew negative because people only go on there when they’re pissed about their job and want to vent.

    Shady companies like MLMs and boiler-room sales tend to have rave reviews that are a far stretch from reality. Usually anywhere “employees” have to recruit to make money.

  79. AnonBecauseThisIsRecognizable*

    My company is a little interesting (and some of you will likely be able to guess what it is), because we are a hotly publicized spin off of a much larger company caused by a large and notable scandal a few years back. We also have contentious leadership, which tends to color views. Since our spin off holds the name of the original company, a lot of the reviews are still related to operations before the split. We also own many subsidiaries, and some of their feedback ends up under us, too (for example, I am 100% positive we have no reporters working here at HQ). For what I can see from more current reviews that seem to pertain how things are right now, it looks accurate. Generally positive, with a little accurate criticism.

  80. OnTheSpot*

    My company has very few GD reviews but one of them had at least six outright falsehoods in it, and it appeared to be written by someone who was let go for performance reasons. In the event industry (especially weddings), I know of two instances where difficult clients threatened negative Yelp reviews in order to demand refunds. It’s reasonable to request refunds if a vendor didn’t perform — but when you threaten the florist, venue, wedding planner, caterer, AND furniture rental place, it’s extortion. So I’m wary of anonymous reviews and where this trend might lead us. How helpful will the information be, really, when it runs the gamut of vitriol from disgruntled terminated employees to companies soliciting/requiring good reviews from their employees? You have to take Yelp and Glassdoor with a grain of salt.

    1. media monkey*

      like the blogger who hauled their wedding photographer over the coals on local news because she had to pay extra for something she had already agreed would cost extra? I believe one of the Yelp reviews that her husband left said the photographer had given him an STI or similar. blogger is neely moldovan and photographer is andrea polito if you haven’t heard of it and want to google!

  81. NYC*

    I’ve had different experiences. 2 giant corporations (+10k worldwide) and 2 small businesses.

    Giant corporations are generally pretty all across the board and honest. HR isn’t pressuring people to write positive reviews.

    2 small businesses – when one is so disorganized that the reviews are honest and not managed. The other, the owner of the company writes fake reviews every few months. It’s hilarious to read. Everything is a “positive working environment” and the negatives are “the commute I guess.”

  82. Dessi*

    Two of my previous employers pad the negative reviews with fake ones. Their marketing teams go around and ask people to leave positive reviews. The president of one company asked if we could leave positive reviews only if we wanted to, but then gave a directive to lower level management to really push us to do so.

    I’d say the reviews that employees have left on their own accord are accurate. I had a really unfortunate run with my old career. The one place had great reviews when I first got hired. I can’t speak to the accuracy of those because a month after starting a huge financial scandal was uncovered and the culture drastically shifted with new management. The now awful reviews are terribly accurate

  83. Nicki Name*

    Some variation is inevitable, but I think the overall picture is accurate for my current medium-sized workplace (good place to work, but has a couple definite ways it could improve that come up in multiple reviews).

  84. Emily*

    Overall the reviews for my organization are accurate or at least reflect pieces of reality, but also at times present the strongest perspective. The most negative reviews do capture what it’s like if you don’t get along with your boss, have a very high workload, etc. but having been in that situation and had changes which greatly improved things, they accurately reflect that aspect of things but not the more positive elements of the workplace, which I guess makes sense if they didn’t personally experience them. Basically, believe them, but also know they are coming from a personal experience and don’t reflect everyone’s experience.

  85. T*

    I saw fake reviews clearly written by my ex boss for an old job after several bad reviews directed at her were posted on Glassdoor. The negative reviews were 100% representative of what it was like working with her, though. I think the reviews are helpful as a snapshot of the company, but there’s always going to be someone who just didn’t work out, or people posting fake glowing reviews.

  86. Frequent Glassdoorian*

    Glassdoor has saved my backside quite a bit. I’m a marketing copywriter by trade and looking for new work as my current work has no benefits. The problem is that in my area people use the word “marketing” in the job title and description when what they actually mean is door to door sales with no pay. Glassdoor is the main source for me to actually distinguish these jobs from actual marketing jobs.

  87. mythopoeia*

    I’ve found Glassdoor to be generally accurate within my industry (publishing), especially looking at the aggregated stars. A company that hovers around 3 stars is pretty typical, and that let me know during my job hunt to expect “average/more of what you’re used to.” When a company had >4 or significantly fewer than 3, that always meant “dig deeper”–sometimes it was skew from only a few intense reviews, but sometimes it was an accurate signal that there was a notably good or bad culture.

  88. Chaordic One*

    When I look at the reviews from my last job at “Dysfunctional Teapots,” I do take them with a grain of salt and recognize that things vary from department to department and vary greatly depending on your supervisor. It was a place with comparatively high rates of turnover, so the working conditions for the same job in the same department could be extremely different from one year to the next.

    The 5-Star Reveiws all make a point about the company’s “mission”and I pretty much dismiss them as being from people who have drunk the “DT Kool-Aid”. I suspect that they were written by one of the many overenthusiastic interns who haven’t been around long enough to be burned, or by one of the more successful contractors who has contracts with other companies and who doesn’t have to rely on just work from D.T. On the other hand, even some of the 4-star reviews were critical of the company, and from my personal experience, the 1-star reviews were on target, so I would tend to believe anything but the 5-star reviews.

    Much of the salary info from my last job at “Dysfunctional Teapots” is too old to be considered informative. Customer service reps pay averaged around $24,000 per year when I worked there 3 years ago and it was quite low for the industry then. In more recent reviews I see the same complaints about the pay, but it is now reported that they average around $30,000 per year, which is close to the industry standard and probably accurate because I would imagine that they had to increase it in order to fill the ranks with competent people. (I would have been so happy to have made $30,000 back when I worked there.)

  89. Curious Cat*

    As with any review site, I think you’ve got to take everything you read with a grain of salt. The reviews for my current job were a majority positive, and they turned out to be right, but I know that’s not often the case and sometimes companies can leave fake positive reviews to counteract any negative ones! If you’re seeing consistent complaints, or consistent compliments, I think that’s the most telling of what’s actually good and what’s bad. Sometimes negative reviews can be one-off bad experiences, which are valid, but not telling of the company as a whole. Same with positive ones.

    I say read the reviews, but understand you’re not getting the full picture.

  90. KayEss*

    I had an interview where the interviewer actually brought up the negative reviews about their company dress code (full suits for men and skirts with hose for women!) and flat-out stated that it wouldn’t be changing any time soon, even for positions where the industry standard trended toward casual dress. Which, I mean… points for the full disclosure, but yikes.

    I hadn’t checked the reviews prior to that because I was very early in what was shaping up to be a tortuously long interview process and seeing quite a few red flags already, and I wound up declining to continue and wishing them well in their search for a web developer willing to wear a suit and tie every day. (Possibly while rolling my eyes. I can’t always be mature.)

    1. Persimmons*

      Skirts with hose for a web developer?!? Is colonial Williamsburg coming online?

      *chokes on laughter and dies*

      1. KayEss*

        Just about… they were based in Kansas with a clientele of primarily farm equipment suppliers. Even for a remote office position several hundred miles away with no face-to-face client interaction, the “family” owners felt that kind of conservative professional appearance was important.

        The interviewer went on to tout such perks as the owners giving every employee a ham for Christmas (Jewish and Muslim employees can suck it, I guess?) and monthly catered lunches for all on-site staff. I asked if that also applied to the dismal, barren remote office with three visible employees where I was sitting (it was a Skype interview that they made me come to the office for) and she was unable to give a firm answer. “Well, the site manager might do something,” she said noncommittally. Like I noted, even without the glassdoor reviews it was a parade of red flags.

    2. Pebbles*

      Did you excuse yourself from the interview right then and there? I would have automatically tacked on another $1500 – $2000 to my requested salary to pay for all the hose I’d have to buy since I could never manage NOT getting a run in them almost immediately. That is, if I would have even considered the position.

      1. KayEss*

        About 70% of the reason I did the interview at all was essentially for the lolz (and 30% to give them a chance to magically turn around my opinion of them and the position), so I finished it out… the dress code thing didn’t come out until close to the end of the scheduled time, anyway. But the first thing I did when I got home was send the “thanks but no thanks” follow-up email, because it will be a cold day in hell before I wear hose ONCE, much less every dang day.

  91. LQ*

    I work for a decent sized government body and if you can manage to drill down to find reviews in the specific area within the specific agency they are pretty accurate. But I know enough to know what is close enough and what isn’t. I’m not sure how someone who wasn’t already an insider would know enough to use it here. You might thing you’re getting it right. (Hey it’s IT and they are all one agency!) But be wildly off because you don’t know that the dmv and dnr are radically different environments and you can’t tell which group each person is working for.

    Some of the big overarching things are pretty accurate but a lot of those you can get out of union contracts and hiring website too.

  92. PlantLady*

    The issue I see on Glassdoor for my company is that the vast majority of the reviews aren’t applicable to people who work at the corporate level. It’s a big company that has a corporate headquarters and then hundreds of retail franchises, most of which are staffed by part-timers. So, most of the reviews are from people who worked at a franchise location (it’s a popular job for college kids, high schoolers, etc.), and their experiences are not really applicable to, say, a person looking at a full-time job in the accounting department at the corporate headquarters. Not to mention that franchises are independently owned and have their own management structures.

    I’m not sure if any individual franchises have their own Glassdoor pages, but if they do, people still frequently use the main brand page to post comments.

    1. Mazzy*

      Oh this is a good point. I recently applied for a financial role at a large luxury brand and the glassdoor reviews weren’t great but then I noticed a bunch of salaries in the $12 – $20 hourly range, which made me think the horrible reviews had nothing to do with the corporate job I was applying for. I wish people would realize short-term retail jobs tend to suck and that fact doesn’t warrant a horrible company rating.

      1. PlantLady*

        Yes, exactly! A lot of the reviews were complaining about bad retail managers, which is only relevant to anyone interested in that one specific retail location. I’m not sure what the solution is, other than to encourage individual retail locations to set up their own Glassdoor pages.

  93. Roza*

    In contrast to what other commenters seem to be saying, I’m skeptical of the reviews of smaller companies, especially when all the reviews are positive. This was the case at my previous toxic job — the company was so small and dysfunctional (think a core set that has been there FOREVER and is convinced everyone who has not worked there forever is an idiot, and rotating cast of folks who spend a year or two before fleeing) that anyone who left a negative review feared being identified and retaliated against professional. So the company still has close to five stars on Glassdoor, despite the fact that half the staff of one office quit within a few months of each other…

    1. absolutely anon for this*

      agree 100x! My old company MADE UP fake reviews and posted them, all on the same day. I think they were all written by the CEO. She would totally spend her time of things like this while the rest of the company was falling apart around her. Ah, so happy to be gone!

  94. Bea*

    Sick curiosity got to me and I see my last job doesn’t have a page. However there’s a company in another far away land with the same name. The detail of the review is enough to know it’s actually about Last Job. And it’s dead on. Right down to the fact the ownership is a massive failure who talks crap about those of us who leave.

    I’m interested in the comments here about small businesses and their reviews. My experience is the ones I’ve worked with have no GD page so no reviews.

  95. Smuckahs*

    The toxic job I fled after 6 months currently has 3.8/5 on Glassdoor, and all of the negative reviews I’ve seen posted all seem to magically disappear. I don’t know how they’re cooking their ratings (I’m guessing they make people take them down as part of severance packages). I just know I don’t trust Glassdoor anymore.

  96. RussianInTexas*

    The one for my company is pretty accurate, and not great. I wouldn’t take this job if I was not unemployed for a while by that point.
    Fun story: last year a coworker was fired for leaving a bad review on Glassdoor, after working here for only few month.
    None of what she said was false, especially crappy benefits, and company refusing to pay to anyone who couldn’t make it to work in the Harvey aftermath (they technically were “open”, although no one except for the owners could get there”. The review was anonymous, but it was really easy to figure out who wrote it. As a response, my boss used his newly acquired MBA skills, and wrote his own glowing review.
    Oh well, the rating is still 2/5.

    1. clunker*

      If you are still in contact with that coworker, you might encourage her to speak to a lawyer? This sounds like it would be a violation of labor laws intended to allow union organizing. Not to say that it certainly is, but if she has the resources to at least briefly consult a lawyer, it makes sense to look into filing some sort of complaint about the company at least.

      (IANAL, this is not legal advice)

  97. Celia*

    I worked for a company with more than a hundred one-star reviews, and I think the line between reality and Glassdoor became blurred for me! I knew that many of the people writing horrible reviews were those who had been recently laid off, so maybe they were disproportionately angry. But reading those reviews really fixed me in a mindset of, “All my coworkers are miserable, the company is doomed, and no one in management cares.” Every problem I encountered started to seem like a symptom of broader dysfunction, and I still don’t really know whether that feeling was accurate or not. Ultimately, I was so unhappy that I quit, and now I have a much better job that I love.

    1. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

      “Every problem I encountered started to seem like a symptom of broader dysfunction”

      Celia, I see this on a daily basis at my workplace, and at least there, it’s all too real. Frankly, I think it’s unlikely you were imagining it. Organization dysfunction can rain on every aspect of a business– a gentle rain or sometimes a deluge. It seems curious that many people don’t see it, or don’t make the connection. I have this curse I think of as “pattern disease”. I see patterns all over the place, in actions, events, problems, etc. It’s like my brain is constantly trying to connect all these miscellaneous dots to make sense of it all on a big scale and understand all the implications and the underlying cause, even when I desperately just want to deal with one thing at a time in peace, in isolation, without the distraction of the pattern implications.

  98. It's fun to stay at the*

    I’m going to doxx my former company because I think it’s an excellent example of a weakness in Glassdoor.

    I spent many years working for the YMCA, in the United States. In the US, the YMCA is a franchised/federated nonprofit. YMCA of the USA is the national arm, and then each regional organization operates independently under its own local association as an independent company,. There are 2,700 of these local associations.

    However, Glassdoor has all of them pooled as one entry: YMCA. They are 2,700 essentially separate companies, with 2,700 different pay scales and raise metrics, hiring/firing practices, executive leadership/management practices, and employer tax ID numbers, all pooled under one entry. You have to read through all 600+ pages of reviews to see if someone has tagged their location to find information that is helpful or pertinent to your job search. And in my personal experience, this information is highly variable from location to location, so you would not be able to prepare for a job interview or pay negotiations based on the information offered on Glassdoor, and you would not be able to estimate your likelihood of being promoted or if you are moving into a supportive work environment or a toxic one.

    I was able to glean some general themes about the organization’s structure that were accurate, but the reviews were to variable to be informative in most regards. If Glassdoor separated each of the 2,700 regional associations as their own employer, this information would be much more helpful.

    1. FD*

      Yeah, I have noticed that and it’s irksome. I understand Glassdoor’s automated system may struggle to separate them, but with a lot of franchised locations, your experience depends much more on the location where you work than on the trends of the overall company.

    2. Jay Bee*

      Couldn’t agree with this more! We’re having trouble hiring for a role at my company so we were checking out Glassdoor to see if that maybe was a factor.

      But I work for a Chapter that feeds into a National nonprofit. And there’s no separation of information about Chapter OR National. And supporters and employees tend to be happier on the Chapter level, and a lot of the review reflect the National level.

      We really need to be split out, as this method doesn’t help anyone with this structure

    3. she was a fast machine*

      Yep, I worked at a Workforce office which is essentially a franchise of the state’s workforce and they wouldn’t separate out. Very annoying.

  99. Busy Bee*

    I work at a medium size company (about 500 employees) and I oversee the team that manages our Glassdoor account. Overall, the reviews paint a pretty representative picture of our workplace, but they do tend to get more of the extremes (the employees who love it or hate it here). We don’t post false reviews, but if employees mention that they really like working here or they had a positive interview experience, we’ll ask them to post a review. I would also say from an employer standpoint, we take our reviews seriously and follow up if we see patterns emerging or if someone reports something especially problematic. We can’t always say publicly what action we took, but it doesn’t mean we didn’t do anything about it. It’s a pretty good company to work for with a pretty competent management team, so I can imagine that’s not true everywhere.

  100. Yet Even Another Alison*

    One of my close friends works for a San Fran based technology start-up. He was out to dinner with the marketing manager who tasked each person at the dinner (all worked for the San Fran based technology start up) to go to Glassdoor and write a positive review on the company. The company is looking to be acquired; this company has terrible employee morale due, in a large part, to the abusive and nasty president. They have lost deals because of him; he refuses to see it. Currently the Glassdoor reviews are fairly poor. My friend told me there was no way he would do it.

  101. tink*

    I tend to look for trends, particularly outside of the most negative and most positive reviews. Sometimes they give me insights I hadn’t considered or known to think about, and other times they don’t. I guess overall I’d say they’re a mixed bag?

  102. Cookie Monster*

    My old job was for a GIANT company. I left a glassdoor review for them after I left and was job hunting and looking at glassdoor everyday and also had time on my hands. I also read a lot of the reviews-many of them were very accurate. the problem I found was that we were a network of thousands of branchs and to a point, you would have the same experience across the board, but on the other hand, there were different experiences for each branch, some of which had as few as 3 employees-so you might get a super positive review from the Schenectady office and a super negative one from Albany but those were 2 different managers or possibly even 2 different district managers as well. And, you might get a few negative reviews from one office, but surprise, that was only from when employees were working for Joe, but now Joe moved to a different branch and John took over Joe’s old branch and everything is great. We were both too big for it to be super accurate…but then also too small because you weren’t likely to find a review of the specific branch you were interviewing in. But, despite that, a lot of general information was accurate.
    Now, I work for a company of maybe 40 people-we are so small I don’t believe we exist o n glassdoor.

  103. Lizabeth*

    I try to take all the reviews on a place and make a general impression from them. And yes, I’ve not applied to places where I didn’t think I would fit based on Glassdoor.

    Has anyone brought up Glassdoor reviews (good or bad) in interviews? And what did they say about them when asked? If and when I get an interview at a company that’s on Glassdoor I plan to ask.

  104. Janey*

    I find them mostly accurate since I’m looking for high-level trends. I also watch for comments that may be specific for the team I’m looking to work in, or if it’s clearly written by someone who previously held the role that I’m applying to

  105. FD*

    I’ve only worked for a couple of places that were large enough to really have Glassdoor reviews, but they were pretty accurate in both cases. I’d say it’s the same rule as with Amazon reviews–distrust anything with too few reviews or where the reviews are universally positive.

    1. FD*

      I rarely see them for smaller businesses though, and I can’t imagine writing one for a company below a certain size threshold because they’d know who wrote it right away.

  106. Secretary*

    I look for 3 star reviews. Those are the ones that tend to give both positives and negatives.

  107. Steff*

    I work for a small employer (150 to 250 employees), and the reviews are accurate and capture a wide range of experiences. Not just the extremes. Funny thing is that my bosses dismiss the Glassdoor reviews as comments left by disgruntled employees.

  108. Sesame*

    I worked at a national nonprofit, and I can say that the glassdoor reviews for that place are HIGHLY accurate. It was an extremely toxic culture, but there were a couple of good things about working there. If you look at the trends of the reviews, i.e. what they mention (both good and bad things), they are all super similar. I wish I had paid attention to the reviews before I started, because it ended up being the two most stressful and demoralizing years of my life.

  109. FamousBlueRaincoat*

    In my experience, the reviews are fairly accurate. I recommend sorting by date so you can identify any trends in theme; you can also sort by location for larger companies which can be helpful since issues sometimes vary by location.

    At my last company, when I first joined the reviews were an average of 3.5; and by the time I left, it was 2.2. That reflected my experience of a positive culture that turned toxic after numerous reorgs and layoffs and cost-cutting measures. Obviously some reviews were pretty extreme and I think the average person would know to take it with a grain of salt; but some that seemed hyperbolic were actually 100% true sooo–your mileage may vary but stay away if there are a lot of bad reviews.

  110. Llama Wrangler*

    I have only worked for one place (current job) that had glassdoor reviews, and they are really bad — bad enough I asked about them in the interview process. I think that they were relatively accurate for the previous leadership, but we have a new CEO as of this year who has really worked to address the problems. But there are no recent reviews, and the company doesn’t seem to care that they’re turning people off.

  111. Ronaldino*

    My organisation’s glassdoor is actually quite hilarious – there only seems to be strong positive and strong negatives. And the strong positives are ALWAYS by interns, and the strong negatives are ALWAYS by former / existing staff. And I do not mean it by a “Bosses getting Interns to seed positive reviews” kinda way, because I can honestly see that our bosses might not even know what Glassdoor is. I mean it in a way that our organisation is very kind to interns – the office is not very high pressure, so the interns has time and space to get their footing steady. There is also a lot of effort to let the interns try actual projects and make real research. We also credit It is a VERY good place to have an internship.
    However, as a long term staff, you can be very bogged down by admin, politics and paperwork. It’s very frustrating place to be in, because a lot of the talented staff is hired on the promise that the company is a place for breaking new ground and being at the forefront of research.
    I’d say our company’s glassdoor is REALLY accurate, despite the strongly polarising reviews.

  112. Liz*

    Much like the comments here, I’d say Glassdoor reviews are a mixed bag. Really, that’s the case whenever you’re asking for the opinion of strangers on the internet. I have found Glassdoor reviews to be very valuable when interviewing, as when I see something concerning in a review, I can ask about that during the interview process. The company’s response to those questions tells me a couple things:

    1. It helps me see whether they’re interested in hearing or addressing feedback from employees who’ve had a poor experience. For example, if I ask, “I’ve heard some employees have had a hard time with work/life balance here, can you tell me about that?” and the interviewer rolls their eyes, that tells me more about the workplace culture than the Glassdoor review ever could. (True story, that happened to me.)

    2. I can get more information about the context of the work environment complaints. For example, if there were a string of reviews that say, “don’t join this company, they lay everyone off every 6 months!” I would ask about their history of layoffs and more targeted questions to help me assess the financial viability of the company. The answers to those questions tell me about the environment I’d be walking into (e.g., a culture fearful of constant layoffs) and whether joining the company would be a risk to me.

    I wouldn’t be able to get to the level of detail in interview questions, or even know what questions to target, without reading online reviews first. For me, Glassdoor has been invaluable, even though I take every review with a grain of salt.

  113. Chicagoan*

    I’ve definitely gotten burned by ignoring Glassdoor reviews. I had an offer from a consultancy where many of the Glassdoor reviews complained of the workaholic atmosphere and poor organization. I put it directly to the owner, who copped to the problem and explained several reasonable-sounding steps they’d taken to address the issues. But just a few months later, on a very avoidable 3am client call the night before a deliverable, and after several ignored attempts to actually fix the disorganization, I decided to cut my losses and move on.

  114. Pebbles*

    I work for a medium-sized company that has been around for over 30 years. However a few years ago we were bought by another (smaller) company and changed the name to a blend of our two old names. Glassdoor does not keep the reviews from the previously-named companies, so there’s only a history of reviews for a few years. I realize why that is (and it would be very confusing if they blended the reviews of the two companies into one history), but by doing so, other people don’t see the extent of the downward trend in the company overall. Some reviews have alluded to it, but I can tell that those were employees of the medium-sized company. Other reviews are obviously from the buyer company, and there’s a mismatch. So it helps to see exactly which office the reviews are coming from (not all of them say).

    One funny/semi-misleading review was about how the benefits have been going downhill and slowly taken away. I generally agree with that statement, but the reviewer specifically mentioned the free pop is now gone. Well…..there’s a story there. The company didn’t like it when people were emptying out the fridge each night to take the free pop home. They knew it was multiple people, mostly from the department that reviewer was in. My department is in the same building as that other reviewer, but on the other side of the building. This is a secure building so people only have access to the areas they need to be in. My department still has the free pop benefit that the reviewer can’t get access to. So maybe don’t abuse the freebie benefit?

  115. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

    My employer, which is relatively small (100 employees), used to encourage current employees to leave GlassDoor reviews, when things were looking rosy and optimistic. There was no particular pressure to do so. But NOW that things are bleak, and the employee turnover is high, there is not a peep about leaving reviews.

    I believe the GlassDoor reviews for my current employer are too positive and don’t give a real picture of what is going on. The age of the review is important–companies change. I would describe my employer’s reviews like this:
    Most of the positive reviews are from young, low-level teapot designers, including interns, who were employed less than a year at the time of the review and believe that things like free food/beer, social activities, fun and “nice people” warrant 5 stars. The moderate-to-negative reviews are from mid-level, experienced teapot designers as well as any non-design employees (general and administrative staff) who no longer work at the company, and those reviews tend to focus more on substantive matters, such as organizational weaknesses, workload, management issues, etc.

    I think GlassDoor reviews are mostly a curiosity and I would look at them out of curiosity and with a very critical eye, just to see if there are any useful, believable nuggets.

  116. Len*

    At a company I worked for a few years ago, the CEO noticed a few negative Glassdoor reviews, so he told the entire staff they should write positive ones. Many did, and the rating went up significantly — until a few months later when there was a round of layoffs, and a few months after that when the owners sold off the assets of the company and fired everyone else with zero severance.

    So, no, I would say I don’t really trust Glassdoor reviews.

  117. HereKittyKitty*

    I feel like also knowing what position the glassdoor person was in is important. I’ve found some pretty negative reviews by people in customer service (which tends to have a high turnover anywhere and be a fairly stressful job) but my experience in teapot glazing has been an entirely positive one. Because of that it tends to be a mixed bag. If I see any patterns, I’d bring it up in the interview.

    I might be getting a job offer at a place that has a 4.0 rating on glassdoor, but a few alarming reviews that had me pause for a second. I might ask about those issues during 2nd interview time.

  118. Bennie*

    My experience trying to research smaller companies or public institutions has not been very fruitful. I get the impression that it’s more likely to be used by people in more corporate type environments, and/or who are working for very large companies.

    Though I have looked up a former employer on there. One where I worked when they were very small (half a dozen people in a room, after we finally got an office space), which has now grown into what seems like a more robust medium sized (for its city) business. There are a lot of negative reviews, and I have to say, none of them surprise me. I can see how my problems with the personality and managerial style of the company owner/founder would turn into the complaints being made by more recent or current employees. I am also not that surprised by the positive comments about said company. I can see how it’s a good situation for those whose lifestyle fits what is expected of employees there. But without the perspective I have on that place, I’d probably find the mix of reviews confusing, as opposed to the clear picture I can see because I know more about the place and who runs it.

  119. Oof*

    My organization has only one review. It’s not bad, fairly neutral, and quite honestly would tell you nothing much about us. (The comments are fairly applicable across the industry) It also would tell you nothing about us BECAUSE IT IS ABOUT ANOTHER ORGANIZATION! Similar names, different missions. I’m not sure how to correct it, since it’s just one specific comment that gives it away, and I don’t want to embarrass the reviewer. It wouldn’t be hard to figure out who left it, small world, but it doesn’t do us any harm. It’s just wildly inaccurate!

  120. Ambs*

    In general, I would say “mostly accurate.” But there are cases when companies with a dismal rating will plant reviews to try to bring it up. That said, it’s pretty easy to tell when a company is planting fake reviews to boost its score, which 100% DOES happen.

    I worked for a company years ago and still follow it on Glassdoor because the new CEO is, apparently, a nightmare. Right now the overall rating is 2.3: not great! I have heard from several people that the HR department spends quite a bit of time on Glassdoor writing fake reviews, which I fully believe. Here are some indications that a company you’re looking at might be doing the same.

    – Look at ALL of the reviews, not just the “helpful” ones surfaced. Check out the ratings. Are there a lot more 1’s and 5’s than there are 2’s, 3’s, 4’s? Red flag! Most people fall somewhere in the middle in terms of feelings/ratings about their company, not all the way on either end of the spectrum.
    – Read both the glowing and the abysmal reviews. Are the glowing reviews suspiciously similar to one another in terms of phrasing? Do they attempt to address the bad reviews in similar ways? Are they all or mostly about the same length? Red flag! (Usually, you will also find that the bad reviews have very different phrasing and are different lengths even if they name the same problems over and over again.)
    – Look at the headlines on the reviews. Some examples that I’m pretty sure were planted on this company’s site include: “Great benefits and people,” “Great people, great mission,” and “Great company, relevant product, promotes professional development.” (New adjective, please!) Some of the ones that I’m pretty sure are real include: “Stay away!” and “No space to grow” and even “Employee.”
    – Use your gut. Look, if you are desperately in need of a job, maybe anything, including a company with 2.3 stars on Glassdoor where most of the positive reviews were clearly planted, is acceptable. But pay close attention in interviews (I would even ask about issues surfaced on Glassdoor and see how they respond — do they seem to be taking it seriously or are they dismissive?) and give yourself an exit strategy just in case it’s truly awful.

  121. MRV*

    The ones for my former company were 100% accurate (and abysmal!). I didn’t trust them when I accepted the job, and a few months in realized those negative reviews were completely accurate. Even going back to the older reviews (posted in 2012) showed employees then were complaining about the same things employees now are complaining about… so the company has made no effort to correct its shortcomings. Very disappointing. I will say that if there are a ton of super positive reviews on Glassdoor, you should be slightly suspicious as it is not unheard of for companies to “encourage” employees to write favorable reviews.

  122. Brad M*

    It depends on the company – my company engages often with Glassdoor so they always have our human resource team post 5 star reviews to keep our score up. It is REALLY EASY to manipulate their algorithm to keep best reviews at top

    1. Yikes Dude*

      I suspect it might be like Yelp where companies can pay to get bad reviews removed. I know my previous company focuses on getting negative reviews removed over trying to improve.

  123. KH*

    The ones for my last company where I only spent 9 months because it was truly awful are all accurate (any good ones are planted by leadership or the select few who’ve drunk the kool aid). My current company, which like every company, has its flaws and has a middle of the road rating, but the biggest discrepancy or thing that I could see misleading people is having an overhead corporate position vs. being on a contract at a client site. I am the former, so I have a unique perspective. A lot of the negative reviews come from folks who are unhappy on their contracts, or their contracts ended, or they felt disconnected from the company leadership. All of which may be true (I don’t know), but every contract is different (depending on SO many variables), so it’s hard to use Glassdoor reviews to judge the company specifically. I personally love my company (have been here 3 years with no plans to leave any time soon).

  124. IndieFilmExile*

    I worked for a tiny company (<10 employees) in the film industry and it was HORRIBLE. Laws broken, boss off the deep end, dysfunctional, abusive, the whole nine.

    There are no Glassdoor reviews for it yet; should I write the first to warn off other impressionable youngsters eager to get a foot in the door? I worry that it would be obvious who wrote it, and the boss is the sort of guy who would totally lie to someone calling to verify my dates of employment.

    OTOH, if it warned a prospective intern or employee not to work for this guy, it would almost be worth it–it was that bad.

  125. SoooAnonymous*

    A former company of mine incentived employees to post positive Glassdoor reviews. And positive reviews anywhere else (Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.). So there are legitimate, honest reviews buried in there, but you have to dig deep. Money talks more than honesty I suppose.

    For my current position, I read the Glassdoor reviews, but NewJob is a very large national company with many offices, and that definitely skews all the data. Someone working as a teapot machinist in California has a terrible time, but in Phoenix it’s great, in Kentucky, it’s only mediocre. If you narrow by office, each department has widely different dynamics, so who knows about the machinists vs the warehouse vs the admin staff. The benefits at least stay consistent.

  126. Binky*

    I’ve had problems with Glassdoor. We had a disgruntled employee who was let go (in the kindest way possible! We kept paying her for a *year*, and she was bad at her job!) who wrote two separate scathing reviews. But they used some of the same language verbatim. I pointed that out to Glassdoor, that it was clearly the same person, since one review plagiarized another, and they said there was nothing they could do, and left both up.

    Not that our department doesn’t have it’s issues (see above re: being unable to deal with problem employees), but c’mon. You’re undermining your own system by leaving up duplicate reviews.

  127. DCGirl*

    I definitely wish I’d paid more attention to the reviews before I took my last job. I wrote off the negativity to the fact that more than half the employees were in the call center, which might bring down any company’s overall ratings. The reality was that the negative reviews coming from the call center employees reflected an overall negative and dysfunctional culture. So, yes, I do think the reviews are generally accurate.

  128. ce*

    I worked for a large national (although by no means leading) digital technology and marketing corporation until most of my department got laid off earlier this year, and its Glassdoor reviews are deeply accurate. The majority call out the same pros (lots of time off and flexibility to work remotely) and cons (executives are consumed with internal politics, constantly change direction midstream, and have never made a serious, sustained effort to get all of our offices, which were separate companies just a few years ago, onto the same page). Interspersed with the legit reviews are a few written at the request of management to try to improve the company’s star rating, but the difference is clear to anyone who’s paying attention: The real reviews provide a lot of detail; the “fake” ones are short and vague to the point of uselessness.

    The company’s HR director makes a point of responding to nearly every review, which is … cringeworthy. People are calling the place a Kafkaesque pit of torment and urging leadership to quit en masse, and she’s replying, “Thank you for your review. We are focusing on our core value to Achieve Excellence Together and have moved to an open office floor plan that will allow employees to collaborate meaningfully. Our wellness team has also just launched a new mindfulness initiative that we are very excited about.” Deck chairs, meet the Titanic!

    1. DCGirl*

      I’ve got news for her. That open office floor plan isn’t going to solve any of the problems and is only going to make people even less happy.

      1. ce*

        I mean, we’ve already tried changing the company logo and giving everyone adult coloring books, so if the open office doesn’t work, it’s hard to say where else there is to go.

    2. Wild Bluebell*

      I love responses like that! They tell a lot about how the company management treat employees’ concerns.
      It’s basically “la-la-la, I can’t hear you!”

  129. KnottyFerret*

    Took a look at the last 2 companies I worked for, a family owned place with ~50 employees and a huge fortune 500 company most people would recognize.

    The star ratings were kind of nonsense and all over the place. CEO rating is subjective to the reviewer. These were more consistent at the small company, where it was impossible not to run into the CEO.

    The actual commentary for both was, to my experience, more or less accurate, if you paid attention to the position posting. For example, the small company used a lot of unskilled workers and gave them a lot of flexibility – but otherwise treated them terribly. Not all the sales and IT reviewers noted that, but they did consistently say management had issues while the unskilled workers might only note the excellent flex time but that it came at the cost of any benefits.

    I worked in 2 locations for the large company, and had quite a few coworkers move to a 3rd location, so I tried to filter the reviews by the location. Only the West Coast location was available as a filter, which seems odd because it was the home location of a smaller company that was absorbed and has since been significantly reduced, while the other 2 are significant locations for the parent company. Reviews for the company in general and for the west location were consistent, but issues specific to location didn’t seem to come up much. For example, integration with the larger company was such a significant issue it was addressed in my hiring interview, and not resolved as of my separation 6 years later.

    I think it’s really hard to judge a larger company with this info, because the specific team and location can make a huge difference in the experience. Depending on the department, it could be years before the company’s radical direction shifts affect you – or you might run into it monthly. Your boss might insulate you from the toxic performance management system, be indifferent, or use it to its fullest Hunger Games potential.

  130. Pink Hair Chick*

    The last company I worked for has terrible reviews on Glass Door. I asked about them during my interview and they assured me they were making great strides towards positive changes. Well they lied! I just quit on Monday after 10 months of toxic hell! I start my new Job on Tuesday and they have good reviews on Glassdoor. Fingers crossed.

  131. Matt C.*

    Pay more attention to the lower rated reviews from existing employees rather than former employees. Nobody is going to fake a 1, 2, or 3 star rating and former employees sometimes have a bias toward their former employer. Look for patterns of responses both good and bad that define the culture. Pay attention to the geography and job titles of the reviews, as different locations and teams can have polar opposite working conditions. And note that an overall rating is not weighted, so it will skew in the direction of the most populated jobs with the highest volumes and turnover (customer service, hourly employees, entry level-sale and admin type roles). In my recent interviews, I’ve brought up Glassdoor specifically as a question. Something like, “In researching the job and company, I noticed a wide variety of answers in your Glassdoor reviews. How does HR view the responses?” The answers have been very interesting and will tell you a lot about the culture.

  132. PolyWally*

    One time, I interviewed for a company that had terrible Glassdoor reviews, the gist of which said that while patient care was a priority, staff were treated as disposable and worked to death. I brought it up with my interviewer, who would also be my supervisor. He was very open about the issues that had plagued the department beforehand, told me he had been recently hired to revamp the program, and discussed positive changes he was implementing. His transparency was one of the deciding factors in my decision to take the job.

    Unfortunately, a few months after I came on board they cut his position as a cost-saving measure. I was inundated with too much work and left as soon as I could. After that experience, I take reviews much more seriously, and am much more skeptical about promises that “things are different now.”

  133. agatha_31*

    For the places I’ve worked, as a sole resource it’s useless. I live in a city of 90,000 and it’s an absolute crapshoot whether you’ll even see any reviews at all, or if the company even has a listing. Having said that, some do, and in those cases, I use GD as *one* of my resources. As others have mentioned, there’s a lot of things you have to consider when reading reviews: do they sound fake, do they sound bitter, are there common themes running through enough of the comments to validate complaints, how long did the person work there before writing, what position were they in, will it affect my position… and then I go everywhere else. I look at their website. I look at their social media. I look at if and how they respond on social media. I look for news articles. I consider how I connected with who I spoke to when setting up an interview. I keep an eye on the people working there to see whether they look stressed or tense, whether their friendliness comes off as genuine or artificial. I look at customer reviews to see whether I’ll be dealing with a company that knows how to keep people happy, or one where I’ll constantly be trying to calm down angry people. If I know anyone who might know anything about the company, I ask them what they know. And honestly, this is the same for any review source. If I’m shopping for a washer & dryer I look at multiple sources as well, and while the company may succeed in biasing publicity toward themselves in some arenas – news, their own online presence, etc – they can’t possibly be everywhere. Looking in multiple sources helps you get a better view of the big picture.

    There have been a few in the past where I’ve looked at the job, looked at the GD reviews, and seen so much negativity without seeing anything to counter that elsewhere, that I decide to skip applying there. I’ve had my share of aggravating jobs in the past. There have been others where I hesitated over the job description, looked at the reviews, and even though it was outside of what I *thought* I was looking for, the reviews were so good they influenced me to give it a go.

    Current example, I’m interviewing soon for a company with 3 stars. That’s kinda meh, but what complaints they have are “there’s too much overtime” (um… it’s an accounting firm, duh?) and “not enough benefits” when I’ve seen their benefits package and it’s *very* generous. I’ve also looked at their website and social media accounts to get an idea of what they say about themselves and their culture, and I’ve checked their customer google reviews which are stellar, which suggests happy clients. Having seen *all* of that, I’m going in cautiously optimistic.

    1. Techworker*

      I hope this works out for you – and agree trusting Glassdoor is dubious – but I would be so surprised if social media gave an accurate representation of company culture, like, anywhere.

      1. agatha_31*

        Well, like anything else, it’s only one out of a bunch of ways I research a company. It’s not something I rely on to *definitely* tell me something, but I have seen companies who have SM accounts they don’t use, or use terribly (suggesting they like having technology without understanding how to use it, suggesting I don’t want to work there because I’ve been in those places and they suck). I’ve seen some companies that use SM very well, keeping an eye on customer comments and responding quickly, personally and appropriately – again, a sign that a company wants their customers to be happy is to me a good sign. I’ve seen some companies that have actually made retaliatory responses online – and that’s a huge red flag! And then of course a ton of them that are very clearly just full of empty corporate speak, which is not necessarily either good or bad, and just means that it’s not something I can use in any first impression of the company.

  134. Yikes Dude*

    My old work has horrible (accurate) reviews but they force current employees to post fake good ones and try to figure out who wrote the accurate ones to pressure them to delete the reviews. There is so much drama over the reviews, but they treat it like attacks from traitors, not the accurate feedback that it is. It’s all very strange.

  135. halmsh*

    I just revisited the reviews from old job. They are largely accurate. Almost everyone speaks to the great culture, bad pay, and lack of advancement to some degree, which is consistent with my time there and most people I worked with. You can see both manager and entry level positions reflected, and the differences within. There is one super obvious HR plant (no one says “great onboarding!” except for an HR person) that cites a lot of really basic workplaces things as pros. It’s incredibly obvious in contrast with the other reviews and pretty hilarious that the HR director (who undoubtedly wrote it) thought it wouldn’t stick out. She was notorious when I was there for taking everything personally, including identifying who wrote glassdoor reviews and reaching out to people about them.

    My new job has a pretty sparse glassdoor, it’s mostly interns and teen staff (who are clearly instructed to post reviews) and some operations staff. The operations reviews are pretty alarming, because they allege racial discrimination, but they date from a time with a different operations head and I haven’t heard anything about those issues since I’ve been here. I’ll definitely be leaving a review when I leave because people should know what a mess it is here. . .

  136. Techworker*

    My company is small enough that Glassdoor is basically useless (I think there’s like 3 reviews total, and none are recent). A friend from school however, works for a company he basically describes as living hell (terrible management, unrealistic workloads). I looked up his company and the reviews are kinda hilarious – half awful, half ‘this is the best company ever and they always offer the best to their employees’. The extent that it’s over the top means that even without other knowledge I would probably assume the reviews are fake, but it does mean the overall rating isn’t that bad… so in conclusion I would generally not trust it one inch :)

  137. Peaches*

    I’ve only worked at one company aside from my current company since graduating college. It has scathing reviews on Glassdoor (1.7 stars), which I would say is quite accurate. The company was owned by a quite larger multinational company with mediocre reviews (3.0 stars). I interviewed with the large, multinational company, and was not even told that the job offer I received was for a small (highly dysfunctional, I might add) company that was OWNED by the large, multinational company (working out of the same large office as those as a part of the larger company). Had I even known the small company’s name ahead of time to look it up on Glassdoor, I never would have taken the position. I was a fresh out of college 21-year-old, who in retrospect did not ask nearly enough questions at the interview. I was just excited to have a job lined up before graduation.

    My current company has 3.6 stars, which I would also say is accurate. I like my company and would personally give it 4 stars, but the few poor reviews do have legitimate complaints.

  138. Wild Bluebell*

    I usually read the negative reviews first. If I see a pattern there, it’s a red flag.
    Positive reviews are useful to me if there is some factual information in them, like “this company allows work from home 1 day a week”. But I don’t completely trust them anyway:)

    I’ve recently been approached by a recruiter with what seemed to be an exciting opportunity – until I read Glassdoor reviews for the company. Person after person, year after year, were saying something along the lines of “abusive management, chaotic work environment, nobody knows what they are doing”. I decided to pass on the opportunity.
    There are some things I could live with, abusive management is not one of them.

    I’ve read Glassdoor for my past employer (big IT company), and I agree with most of them – the positive and the negative aspects.

  139. she was a fast machine*

    I’ll share my frustration with Glassdoor; I tried to leave a review for toxic oldjob, but they kept refusing it because they thought I worked for another organization with the same name in another city. Despite repeated attempts, they refused to create a new listing for my actual job. So I’m sure plenty of bad workplaces don’t get their reviews out there if they might have a similar name to somewhere else.

  140. It's Pronounced Bruce*

    You wouldn’t think so, but I’ve found that the reviews are much more accurate than the ones you’d find online for, say, a restaurant. I’m guessing that’s because the people who seek out or write them tend to be people who are more plugged into an industry or their careers, rather than it being like most online reviews where you’re drawing from the general population.

    Everywhere I’ve ever worked that was big enough to have a Glassdoor was pretty well matching to their reviews, good and bad. Even in very large organizations with locations in multiple cities or countries, complaints that scale outside an individual team tend to be very accurate. Especially ones that talk about the overall management culture that you’d think would be variable from team to team. I’ve worked for companies with many thousands of employees and many regional offices where the management culture (attitudes about time off, overtime expectations, how feedback is given, mentoring or advancement) matches Glassdoor closely on all or most of the teams I’d worked with. I think when people write that off as “oh, that company is huge, it’ll depend on your reporting chain” are underestimating how much those things are determined in a top-down fashion.

    This is especially true for anything you see repeatedly noted in reviews, even if it seems… Weird? Or hyperbolic. If even just a handful of people are reporting the same weird or crappy thing, take it seriously.

  141. NW Mossy*

    I looked at the ones for my company, which is a large employer in my city but also has sites nationwide. I was somewhat surprised to see how many reviews talk about the CEO. I give him relatively little thought because he’s so many layers removed from my day-to-day, but other frontline employees seem to have pretty strong opinions about him. Not sure if it’s because their job functions cross into his space more or just that they care much more about top leadership than I do, but I found it interesting.

  142. voluptuousfire*

    I once had a candidate drop out of an interview last minute based upon a Glassdoor review he read the morning of the day he was due to interview. Something about we didn’t get back to our candidates. Turns out the review he read was from 2013 and for one of our California offices (this interview was in 2015 for one of our east coast offices). I think he was likely so-so on the role and this particular review tipped the scales. Either way, the info then was correct but had vastly improved since my company expanded it’s recruitment and operations teams.

    I also look at patterns. If I see a lot of 5-star reviews that sound too good to be true all posted in the same time frame, it’s likely fake and that’s a negative for me.

  143. Zip54*

    Regarding the company I work for, the reviews are pretty accurate. Earlier this year we had a person applying for marketing managers job post thier very brief maybe five minute interview with the director of marketing. It was a disaster, the interview that is. But it was completely accurate. So I like glass door reviews. The reviews to me appear to be very accurate. The marketing director no longer works for my company. But if a future employer looks on glass door and finds this review from a unknown person who went for an interview for a job, well that’s not gonna look good. For the marketing director that is. That was a complete disaster. Thank God that person no longer works for my company.

  144. Nobody Here by That Name*

    The ones for my company are hilarious. All of the negative (accurate) ones are full of details about why the company is bad to work for (ex. no work/life balance, micromanagement, poor pay, the actual systems and processes that make it difficult for people to do their jobs, etc.). All of the positive ones have been written by HR people and have the same vague, buzzwordy feel to them (ex. “I love working here because of its great growth opportunities for those who take ownership of their core competencies! Working here is better than Cats! I want to work here again and again and again…”)

    The particularly amusing thing is that the company deliberately tries to seed positive reviews by sending out notices to everyone saying they certainly wouldn’t want people to LIE, just please go to Glassdoor and talk about how awesome it is to work here! Which has the opposite effect of reminding people that Glassdoor reviews are a thing and thus the number of negative reviews jumps while HR has to scramble to get anyone vaguely related to their department to supply positive reviews to offset it.

    1. dumblewald*

      That’s the thing!! My company seems to forget that the best way to avoid negative reviews is by not reminding their employees of Glassdoor. Last year, some manager went around interrogating people on their team about a negative review (for some reason, they thought doing so would motivate someone to come forward and admit they wrote one.) Then a review popped up ranting about how horrible it is to work here and that people get interrogated for writing bad reviews on Glassdoor.

      1. Nobody Here by That Name*

        Do we work for the same people? We had something like that too. Somebody who said they were from corporate posted a blistering review which was incredibly detailed about the poor pay, nepotism, and so on. HR did everything they could to try to find the culprit. The review actually got taken down. But, like with you, this resulted in people posting to warn others about how reviews were erased and negative comments could get people in trouble.

        1. dumblewald*

          Wait a minute – how do reviews get erased? Glassdoor has a notice on their site saying that employers can’t take reviews down. That is scary.

  145. somebody blonde*

    I’ve found it to be pretty accurate. Not so much the individual reviews, but the overall impression is generally pretty accurate. If the company has less than 3 stars, there’s usually a reason for that.

  146. MissDisplaced*

    I don’t think HR at OldJob even knows what Glassdoor is. They never update anything.
    Reviews are mixed, but trending toward the bad in the last 2 years which reflect a change in management.

  147. Red 5*

    So I decided to check out the pages for both my company and my spouse’s company.

    Mine were super accurate actually, the only thing I’d quibble with is some of the more positive ones were a bit too glowing.

    But then I checked out the ones for the company my spouse has worked at for the last decade or so and WOW…they were off the wall. There weren’t a lot of them, which I think made a difference (over 100 for my company, five for his). There were accusations leveled at specific people (not named but “the IT guy” isn’t ambiguous) that even I know are false. I know there’s room for different people to have different experiences, but it was really amazing how off the mark it felt, after seeing how accurate mine were. I wonder if it’s specific to certain fields.

  148. Glassdoor Lies*

    My old company had some very accurate (bad) reviews. They disappeared after a while. I reached out to Glassdoor to ask why they deleted the reviews because they were accurate, and they replied that they didn’t delete any reviews. But they definitely were there and aren’t anymore. Since those bad reviews, my old company has been asking people in their annual reviews to leave positive reviews on Glassdoor (in exchange for favorable annual reviews). There’s still a mix of bad reviews and good reviews on there, which is also accurate. There were pros and cons to that company and some positions were better than others. But I will never trust Glassdoor because they deleted bad reviews and then lied to me and said they didn’t.

  149. Sam Carter*

    This doesn’t answer the question, but Glassdoor shows that Glassdoor has a 4.1 rating. For some reason that made me laugh.

  150. LT*

    I never pay them any attention and have a neutral stance on Glassdoor reviews, but I think I did check out that site when I was putting together my desired salary range for the job I took a year ago. It was part of my research, along with information I gathered from other sites that I found on AAM

  151. dumblewald*

    I recently re-read my company’s Glassdoor reviews since starting work here a year ago. Pretty much all of the reviews written by the Analysts range between 2 and 3 starts and pretty much echo my on opinions on the company. However, there are 7 reviews that stand out from the rest. They are completely Anonymous (in that they don’t list their job role or department categories…hmm I wonder!), are all 5 stars, and list no cons.

  152. iglwif*

    CurrentJob is too small to have any reviews on Glassdoor.

    ExJob had some; the overall impression was quite misleading, not intentionally, but because the overwhelming majority of reviews were for just one of the company’s 4 divisions, and most of those were from part-time or seasonal employees. So if you wanted info about what it was like to work in a full-time office position in that company, you wouldn’t find it on Glassdoor.

  153. Mixed bag*

    I’ve had differing results. #1- process explained correctly, but bc of location differences, would’ve been nice to know about structural misogyny in the one I was interested in. #2- GD salary was off by $1 an hour, at a time when that $1 was huge. #3- was pretty much accurate- I gave the interviewer a chance to address concerns raised, and he answered w/below avg. salary being used as motivational tool. Pretty much told me all I needed to know…

  154. No real name here*

    Lololol… the company I used to work for padded their reviews, but they read like fake reviews so hopefully a prospective employee could figure it out. Considering my former employer tried to sue someone who posted a true but unfavorable review, it’s no surprise that there aren’t too many real ones.

  155. Effective Immediately*

    I just went back and looked at my company’s and yeah: super accurate. I would imagine they would be enough to drive a lot of candidates away, though some (like me) will take the positives (super-flexible) over the negatives (poor pay, incompetent leadership).

    There are two reviews–the most recent–that I suspect are fake (“management is excellent!”). I would not be in the least bit surprised.

  156. Beatrice*

    My experience has shown it to be accurate. I left a review of a larger company only to look back years later and see my complaints echoed by quite a few people. I was encouraged to check another (local, medium size) company’s reviews before applying there and totally dodged a bullet. How do I know? The (married w/ kids) VP propositioned one of my co-workers for sex at an event our company sponsored for them. This was the company culture written about on GD. So, validation all around here.

  157. Ehh*

    I usually take reviews on Glassdoor with a grain of salt, simply because my past employer pressured us to write positive reviews as so many employees were saying negative things (which were mostly true). To me you just never know what a place is like until you work there, and that’s why I usually look more at how good the benefits package is and the work life balance they have rather than online reviews.

    1. Katherine*

      I had an absolute nightmare of a former employer. At one point, HR requested IT to allow access to GlassDoor for recruiting. It was only after that, the company got some good reviews, and in some cases, they read like they were written by the execs. They still have a pretty low score, but the good ones were enough to bump them just over 2 stars.

      One thing I look for is commonalities between reviews – if all the good reviews read like HR’s marketing materials, I’m betting they were written under duress. If the bad ones just say “this place sucks” I tend to suspect sour grapes. If the negatives are all different but highlight the same/similar issues, that’s a warning sign.

  158. Training Goddess*

    I cancelled a job interview with a company after reading some of the Glassdoor feedback leading to a 1.5 rating. No thank you!

  159. Christian*

    My former company posts fictional reviews and threatens legal action against former employees if they post a review that is less than favorable.

    When I was still working there, there would be a fire drill after a new negative review popped up – and they’d brainstorm on who would write a 5-star review as soon as possible and what it should say. After a pretty terrible firing (the employee was being bullied/gaslit/marginalized to boot), the fired employee wrote an unfavorable albeit completely honest and justified review. The company lawyer sent a cease and desist to take it down. The fired employee did, because they couldn’t afford a lawyer of course.

    In addition, the day after a bunch of layoffs, three 5-star reviews popped up about how the place had a “bright future.”

    Then there was another set of layoffs 14 months later; the day after, some 5-star reviews popped up sharing how important the mission was.

    That place is and continues to be a trash fire.

  160. Trilby*

    I wrote a very detailed, negative review of my former employer on glassdoor. They have about 30 reviews, generally quite negative. Recently one new review was added and it is obviously written by someone in HR trying to paper over the complaints. It was quite ham-handed and I doubt it will convince anyone who reads it.

  161. Peter Guilherme*

    Here’s how I work with GD.

    After I come back from the interview, I look on GD specifically for the bad reviews. I don’t even look at the positive reviews, if HR did their job I already know everything good about the company. I check GD for issues that might come up over and over again and if those are downsides I’m okay with then I go ahead, if not then I’ll make the decisions to reject an offer if I get one.

  162. Herman X.*

    I noticed that some some companies have only a handful of reviews despite having several hundred+ employees. What are possible explanations for this, other than NDAs?

  163. C.*

    My current role is with a major university, so the Glassdoor review results are a little skewed (I think, anyways) because a lot of those leaving reviews are post-docs or fellows, etc. That said, the university is known for having excellent benefits and—while the culture can shift on a dime from department to department—generally speaking, I think it’s a pretty accurate assessment.

  164. Shawn*

    I will say that the reviews I’ve seen for the companies I have worked at have been pretty accurate. I mean, everything is relative but even so…they’ve been pretty spot on.

  165. Shawn*

    One more thing I want to add…I did leave a somewhat negative review about a toxic work environment that I left. One of my coworkers and I had become friends during our time there together and she worked there after I left. She said the management team was trying to nail down who exactly it was who left the review, so they could “black ball” that person for future positions. My name was being passed around but of course they had no way of knowing for sure. I’d just be careful about that because some companies are out for blood if they get negative reviews, even if they are true!

  166. Latetothisparty*

    I work for a small, family owned company. I read the Glassdoor reviews before my interview and was freaked out by the negativity, but I needed a job, so I took it. Within a few months I saw there was a fair degree of accuracy. For me it isn’t quite the toxic hell hole former employees described, but it’s pretty bad. And yes, right before the spring recruiting season of new college grads, a slew of positive reviews popped up, some written by HR, and some written by employees who’d been here awhile who were recruited to appear in videos called “We Are {ContentWidgetFirm}!!!!” and I could tell some of them were done by those folks. I expect a new round of negative reviews since the firm fired the only female employee who was trying to improve morale and put in place a walking lawsuit, who of course is male and gets along great with the wacky CEO. So maybe overall, yes, GD is best for small to medium places, I can see how it would be tricky for larger corporations

  167. Sun Tzu*

    Considering the reviews about my current and previous employers, I find Glassdoor quite accurate. My current company, too, has a pattern of negative detailed reviews, hilariously interspersed with fake positive reviews full of buzzwords. Glassdoor is a great website!

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