When looking for job opportunities, more people turn to services where existing and former employees of businesses can provide feedback on their experiences working for a given organization.
In some cases, these employee reviews can paint companies in a negative light, which in turn might make you think twice about applying for a position with the employer in question. This creates quite the conundrum; should you steer clear of businesses based on a single review, or is this an overreaction?
First and foremost, before you make a judgment you need to be aware of where the review is coming from. If it is via an anonymous account on social media, then you have little chance of actually verifying whether or not the person providing it has ever actually worked for the business, or indeed if there is some other nefarious reason for the negative comments being posted.
It is better to rely on reviews provided from a trusted, independent source, such as jobsage.com/review. Such services provide a broader range of opinions, as well as an added layer of accountability that is simply not present in the social media sphere.
Another aspect of researching the relative quality of a prospective employer is that this will take time and effort. This means that it is arguably a waste of your resources to do any kind of background digging before you have secured an interview with a firm.
That is not to say you should completely steer clear of research as part of your pre-application research, but rather that you can get bogged down in employee reviews too soon, only to find that after coming to a decision you do not even get invited to interview.
Anger and frustration are both major motivators, which of course means that when a person is fired from a job they will have a higher likelihood of looking for a place to spew vitriol on their former employer, compared with someone who leaves on amicable terms.
As such, you need to remember that the most searingly negative feedback must be taken with a pinch of salt. Just because one person perceives that they have been treated unfairly, that does not mean the whole organization is problematic. Indeed in the majority of cases, employers only dismiss members of staff for good reasons, so it is unhelpful to base your opinion on the feedback of just one person.
Instead, aim to seek out a mix of reviews from as many employees as possible. The aforementioned use of comprehensive sources will streamline this.
While the subjective nature of reviews is undeniable, they are more useful is in providing you with a starting point for further research into a business.
If things like perks, compensation, and managerial re-shuffles are mentioned, these can easily lead you to media stories relating to the concerns in question, which should, in turn, provide you with a more balanced and in-depth look at what is going on within an organization.
By now it must be apparent that negative reviews of an employer are not enough on their own to make applying for a job a bad idea. What does make a difference is how the interview goes, and whether or not you decide to accept any role which is offered to you as a result.
This is where employee reviews can come in handy since all good interviews will provide time in the end for the candidate to ask their own questions. If you have looked into feedback on the company and found that there are recurring themes among the complaints, you could bring these up at this point; just avoid being overly blunt with the way you present your questions.
For example, if you are worried about the amount of progression and career development that is available within the organization, you could raise this at an interview and hopefully get a concrete answer.
There are plenty of red flags to look out for when finding a job with a new employer, and employee reviews can definitely help to bring these to your attention.
However, negative or positive feedback on a firm is only one of the things to weigh up in this context, and as applications for roles are not a long-term commitment, they should not be given undue attention.