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Talent trusts Glassdoor, and here’s why

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated May 14, 2020

Since I completed the first academic research in to Glassdoor for the University of Warwick in 2015, the trend of two-way rating and transparency has accelerated fast, resulting in increased interest in feedback and rating sites such as Glassdoor. Thanks, in part, to Uber, consumers now expect mutual feedback and employees similarly now expect to give feedback as well as receive it. Whilst Glassdoor promotes jobs and employer branding offerings, my research had one simple primary purpose – to establish whether or not individuals trusted the reviews on Glassdoor. What did I find? In short, yes, they do. Do they trust Glassdoor more than family and friends? No. Do they trust it more than pretty much any other source of careers and employer information? Yes. Firstly, as I run an employability consultancy, Career Design, why did I bother spending the best part of a year researching a single website/app? As an agency recruiter earlier in my career, Glassdoor had always been on my radar but it was when I had two offers for senior appointments rejected for the same reason that I started to really take note. The reason? Extensive and consistent feedback on the employers on Glassdoor. Secondly, I found myself increasingly relying on a travel feedback site for hotel and restaurant ratings, even for short trips. The logic seemed to follow that as we spend 40+ hours at our desk, transparency of employers and genuine ratings of workplaces could prove invaluable and become of greater importance to graduates, employees, recruiters and employers. The findings Using both focus groups and online surveys, the research concluded that 68% respondents regarded Glassdoor as either entirely or somewhat trustworthy. This is significant as it was second only to feedback from family/friends and ex-colleagues. The empirical research also suggest that individuals believe that Glassdoor can be most trusted for aggregated, overall trend information but could not be trusted for verbatim, individual feedback. Significantly, this contextual trust did not appear to concern participants. However, research suggests that individuals do not rely on a single source of information to make an informed career or employment decision.   Bimrose, Hughes, Barnes, 2011 found clients of career guidance practitioners to favour a blended approach to information provision – face to face information as well as digital. Glassdoor is unlikely to be the sole source information for individuals, so word of mouth continues to be both actual as well as virtual. Further, concerns were voiced about the accuracy of the reviews. Specifically, many made the assumption that the reviews on Glassdoor were more likely to be negative. “It’s a place where the disgruntled go to moan”, commented one. In reality, reviews on Glasdoor are actually pretty decent, rather than negative (3.3 out of 5), indicating that users are or were broadly satisfied. Glassdoor states “Your trust is our top concern, so companies can’t alter or remove reviews”. This policy appeared to resonate with the research sample - over 65% responding that this policy had a positive impact on how trustworthy they perceive Glassdoor to be. Why the surprise? Whilst this was the first academic research in to Glassdoor, other studies suggest that user generated reviews could significantly affect the sales of tangible products such as books, so it is perhaps unsurprising that an individual’s employer choices can also be impacted by user generated reviews. Why is this research significant? That this relatively new, near unregulated information source is considered more trustworthy than traditional information sources (such as career guidance professionals and employer produced information) is of importance particularly to employers, who need to understand the significance of this when shaping their employer brand. The research also found that 85% of respondents identified themselves as ‘likely’ or ‘certain’ to use Glassdoor in the future. This indicates that the pool of users is likely to grow, meaning Glassdoor as a trusted source of information will become of increasing importance to employers, career guidance professionals and employees. Tom Lakin is a Director at Career Design (www.career-design.co.uk), an employability and careers consultancy. Career Design provides universities and businesses with the latest independent employability research, insights and course content auditing services. Tom studied Coaching at City University, London and has an MA in Career Development and Coaching from the University of Warwick.
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