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I have a phone interview in a few days for a new company and have read many negative glassdoor reviews. These reviews are kind of old, in fact there have been no reviews posted in over a year, and that makes me concerned. Are they hiding something, or have things significantly improved and the disgruntled employees are no longer posting?

The issues raised are all of concern to me...low wages, lack of advancement, no 401K match (that's easy to find out), and most importantly for me as an older worker, job security. It kind of feels like a good match for my skills but these reviews scare me a little bit.

I am interested in a corporate training position and I sense that most of the reviews posted are from contract employees who are trying to trash the company. Not sure if I can believe them, or if I can believe the company either

Any advice about how to handle this in a phone interview?

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    I think you should change the title. The fact that your interview is over the phone have very little relevance to your question.
    – user111472
    Dec 11 '19 at 13:08
  • Can you explain the hiring process for this employer a little more thoroughly? If this will be a typical phone screening carried out by an HR rep, it may not make sense to ask such deep questions - you may want to wait until an in-person interview with the actual hiring manager. However, if this phone interview is literally the interview on which the hiring decision will be made, it may indeed make sense to ask about your concerns.
    – dwizum
    Dec 11 '19 at 21:39
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There are a few things you can do in a phone interview to probe the environment, the following are those which I have used myself.

  • Ask the interviewers what they like about their work and what would they improve (it's important that you don't use negatively biased words)
  • Ask about the employees turnover rate. A good place to work will likely retain employees longer, while a company where employees switch or leave within short time might be a red flag.

And while you ask those questions, pay attention not only to what they answer, but also how they answer.

I have seen interviewers literally freak out upon being asked those questions (we were having a video call), and even though they managed to put together an answer, their reaction and the broken sentences they used in answering convinced me I had poked a sensitive spot. In other cases instead the interviewers jiggled and spoke with a more relaxed voice, making me feel he was not uncomfortable with the answer he was giving.

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That's a lot of stuff you can find out during the interview. If everything sounds better than on glassdoor I would even ask about the reviews there.

For example the reviews for my current company were similar, but it turned out the company was bought up a year earlier and one of the former CEOs was let go in the process, so you can guess where the reviews came from.

I asked around a little and he seemed the kind of manager who promised the customers everything with crazy deadlines, dumped the whole work on the employees and then left the building, probably to play golf. Atmosphere is really relaxed now that he is gone and there is less turnover.

Don't get scared from a few reviews, it's on the internet and anonymous. I would do at least the interviews and then you will see if they make you an offer you cannot refuse or if the reviews were right.

But prepare for salary negotiations and common tactics, this is never a bad idea.

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In addition to the other answers that I partly agree with, you can ask exactly the points you listed:

  • 401k matching
  • advancement options, and the criteria to get there
  • for how long are your potential teammates at the company already

None of these are unusual questions in an interview.

Wages should be negotiated every time anyway.

Maybe ask to get a contact for one of the potential teammates to talk to them as well, although this could be trickier in a phone interview.

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