I am old. There, I said it. I remember a time when, if you wanted to know about a company, you usually had to know someone who worked there. Alternatively, you had to do what an executive I once hired did – cold call the company and ask to speak to random people or departments.

“Thank you for calling ACME Widget makers, how may I direct your call?”

“Yes, could I speak to someone in Purchasing, please?”

“No problem. Let me connect you.”

“Hi, this is Bob, how may I help you?”

“Hi Bob, this is Jim Perkins. I just got a job offer from your company, but before I join, I was hoping to get some information from you.”


“Is this someplace where you would recommend a friend work?”

When I asked this exec how this would turn out, he told me that occasionally the person on the other end would reply with a standard, “I’m really not comfortable talking about this,” but most of the time people would open up.

I’m here to tell you that when I heard this I was stunned, but he made a good point. Changing jobs is a big move, and as he put it, what is the worst that the company could have done? Rescind the offer? If they had, it would have been a clear sign that he didn’t want to work there anyway.

Now, as nerve-wracking as that sounds, the good news is job seekers really don’t have to do that anymore, thanks to Glassdoor. You know Glassdoor, right? Maybe you know it by its HR nickname: “OhcrapsomeonepostedtoGlassdoor.” While I know that you probably are familiar with Glassdoor, for the benefit of my Mom, who I recently learned reads this blog (yes Mom, I will try and come up this weekend), Glassdoor is that lovely platform that allows you to anonymously rate (and by extension, review) pretty much any company out there.

Now, as my comment earlier about HR’s nickname for Glassdoor would imply, there are a lot of HR people out there who hate Glassdoor. They will tell you that the happy employees don’t take the time to go out and do a review. That it is nothing more than a haven for disgruntled employees. Tell that to the fine folks at Silverline CRM. They have a 4.9 out of 5 stars on Glassdoor. Perusing their comments for cons, I saw things like “Working remotely means I don’t get to hang out with all of these awesome people on a regular basis,” and “We’re growing fast, which comes with your typical growing pains. However, I feel like it’s been handled well.”

The point of all this is simple – the workforce is moving more and more to a pure market economy. Gone are the days of the great company myth. You know what I am talking about: the manager telling everyone how great they have it because they work for a big company, or a well-respected market leader, or whatever. I actually fell for that once. Once. I went to work for an organization that had a great reputation in the market, was in a desirable location, and had a nice office. The pay was good, and everyone seemed nice. The problem is that the dude in charge was a sociopath. I am not joking here – he was a true piece of work. I knew I was in for a ride when day one an associate pulled me to the side and gave me the rundown of how things worked, and it wasn’t pretty. This was before I was in HR (I was actually still in college), which is to say it was long before Glassdoor. In fact, I think the internet was still a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye at this point. If Glassdoor or some equivalent had been around, I am fairly certain that the environment would have been made known and I probably would have pursued other opportunities.

If you don’t treat your employees with respect, not only are they going to grumble amongst themselves, and even tell their friends, they are are to tell the world. I’m not saying you won’t get people, you’ll just get people who couldn’t go to work somewhere else.

If you work in customer service, I would venture to bet that you pay attention to your company’s Yelp reviews. If you are an HR Pro, do you pay attention to your Glassdoor reviews? How do they stack against your internal engagement surveys? If there is a discrepancy, that might be a whole other can of worms. My challenge – to myself as much as to my HR cronies – let’s start paying attention to those reviews more. We can’t all get 4.9s, but I would venture to guess we can all work to do better.

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