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I've interviewing for an exciting opportunity at a company who has 100% positive reviews from employees, but 100% negative reviews from candidates in the interview section. Most common critiques are:

  • Recruitment communication seems all over the place
  • No behavioral/bg questions asked
  • Long process
  • Suspicion that case study seems to be a free consulting grab

Personally, I've been less annoyed by this except the excessive case study work.

I've heard some say that the interview process is highly indicative of the employee experience, but assuming these reviews are accurate, they seem to indicate that it's rather separate and that I could expect a positive experience on the job.

Based on this data, should I be concerned that the company's day to day will be as haphazard and negative as the interview process?

There are about 40 reviews on each side.

  • 5
    "Based on this data, should I be concerned that the company's day to day will be as haphazard and negative as the interview process?" Probably, if you work for whatever department that handles the interview process. – sf02 Oct 9 at 16:39
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    Don't do non-trivial work for free. I'd say if it's 2 hours or more of work, then it's too much, if it's something useful to them then you should ask to be paid in advance for it, or just look somewhere else for a job. – Aequitas Oct 10 at 5:44
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    The number of reviews is important to an answer. Even more so with the 100% values. Statistical methods often give non-obvious (or even counter-intuitive) results. – Volker Siegel Oct 10 at 8:01
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    Do the positive reviews seem balanced? Personally I would be suspicious of astroturfing in the positive reviews. – user3067860 Oct 10 at 13:36
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    @user3067860 I'm more suspicious of the positive reviews than the negative ones. – John Oct 10 at 13:54
52

Glassdoor can be useful to flag up things to watch for, but it's definitely not a replacement for going to the company, doing the interview and making your own decision on how the company itself 'feels'. In an interview you have every right to dig as deeply as you need to assuage any fears you have about the company (hopefully without being insulting though!)

Regarding the interview process - I've found that the quality and speed of this can vary considerably from department to department, and it can abruptly change when the process is handed over to a HR department, or to a busy director for decision making.

On the subject of free consulting, I've been asked to do whiteboards, to plan out processes and make hour long presentations on complex subjects. I've never considered it to be free consulting - it feels like a good way for me to get to know the people I might be working with, and for them to feel out the limits of my knowledge more effectively than a formal interview.

You should usually assume that at least a handful of Glassdoor reviews are written by disgruntled ex-employees or rejected candidates, and that a handful of them are written by middle management wanting to make the company look better. Not always the case, but anecdotally I've heard of employees being asked to improve Glassdoor ratings, and I've actually spoken to someone who left a scathing review of my current employer, and he admitted it was highly exaggerated because he was angry at his (then) boss.

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    Agreed, this is a good rule of thumb for most types of crowd-sourced review systems. People generally leave a review when they're either incredibly happy, incredibly dissatisfied, or have some other incentive which may bias their review. Instead of looking at the scores, look at the themes the reviewers talk about and see if they're things that would matter to you personally (e.g. lack of flexible hours might be a reason for a low score, but if you don't care about flexible hours you can disregard those reviews). – delinear Oct 10 at 11:27
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You say 100% of reviews are either positive or negative, but numbers also matter. If one candidate reviewed them poorly, vs 20 employees, then that should tell you something.

Also worth remembering is that the reviews on glass door are sometimes very subjective, rather than objective. You could find it a much better place to work than the person who felt strongly enough about the place to review it, even though they only ever interviewed there.

At any rate, don't stress before you've actually faced the interviewers, and gotten a vibe for the place. Remember that an interview is a two way conversation, and that you're assessing them as much as they you.

You can use the opportunity to ask them about their processes, projects in the works, etc. If their interview process ends up involving a convoluted programming assignment, you can choose to discontinue the process, you can push back on the task, etc.

You have options, but you won't know what those options are unless you play the game.

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    Good point. There were about 40 on both ends, just FYI. – John Oct 9 at 16:44
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The interview process is when both the employer and employee are on their best behavior.

Neither one is ever as good afterwards.

Always remember when you are interviewing with a company, you are also interviewing that company. If there are problems with the interview, they will only be worse once you are employed, so take any red flags very, VERY seriously.

That said, the glassdoor reviews seem pretty mild. Still worth an interview unless anything you see there would be a show stopper for you.

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    The first line sounds nice, but I don't think it's generally true. It might be in some fields, where there's a strong expectation of a certain pattern (wearing suits and ties to interviews, for example). Especially in interviews at the tail end of a hectic day, I'm pretty much nowhere near my best behaviour. – muru Oct 10 at 6:05
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If we assume that the sample is statistically significant (if total reviews are in single digits it doesn't matter), then this indicates that the company's hiring process "works as intended".

When you interview, if you don't end up being an employee, you will have a bad experience. But if you do end up working there, you will not see the interview in a negative light*, on the contrary, you will be very happy with the working conditions. This filters perfectly good matches for the company culture.

Of course one can argue that disgruntling other potential hires is a failure, but, still the hiring process filters out completely anyone who would not be 100% happy working there, so it sounds like a resounding success.

All of that, is of course assuming, that the reviews are legitimate. Negative reviews are usually legitimate, but they can be very biased, by simply having a much greater chance of being posted (people are incentivized to share negative experiences rather than neutral ones). As for the positive employee reviews, these are far more questionable. Your best course of action, is to find people working there currently (through eg Linkedin) and ask them to give you their unofficial opinion, why they would (or not) recommend a friend to work there, and what was their worst day on the job.

Personally if I knew that if I were to become an employee I would have an insane chance of liking it, and otherwise I would refuse the offer or not get one, I'd be happy with the review process, as it would filter me out of an environment I wouldn't want to be part of (no matter whose fault it is, theirs or mine).

*Assuming that none of the interview reviewers accepted a job offer (if they were offered but did not accept, it still was a good filter, by presenting them why they would not want to work there)

  • You have a contradiction, "if you don't end up being an employee, you will have a bad experience" and "I knew that if I were to become an employee I would have an insane chance of liking it, and otherwise I would refuse the offer or not get one, I'd be happy with the review process"... It seems like it's not just that candidates are being turned down, but some other problem as well (turned down in a negative way, or made to feel like a good fit and then turned down, etc.). – user3067860 Oct 10 at 13:31
3

One broken business process is a red flag but not a sure fire indicator that most business processes are broken. During interviewing request to speak with team members and really delve into how organized business processes are.

2

Looking through the other answers, I'm surprised people haven't focused more on the fact that there are approximately forty employee and forty interviewee reviews. These numbers are too high for me to ignore.

The fact that the ratings are identical seems odd--my hunch would be that management is pressuring employees to write positive reviews and that there exists a systemic problem with interviews. Is there a reason so many people seem to have had such poor experiences? Clearly not everyone has had the same experience as you.

I wouldn't categorically write off the opportunity, but I'd certainly want to learn more about the company before committing (perhaps you could reach out to a previous employee or ask the HR representative if you feel comfortable).

Assuming you have flexibility in your job search, I'd recommend you exercise caution here.

  • I'm a fan of thinking a little outside the box when there are red flags with a potential employer. I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to reach out to previous employees as asking them for their thoughts, as long as you take their opinions with a giant pinch of salt. I do this with house purchases as well - if I'm going to spend that much money on a property, you bet I'll try to speak to neighbours, hang around on the street on a Friday night like a wierdo, and generally get the deepest possible impression I can. – Cyclical Oct 18 at 21:59

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