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During interviews, the interviewers ask a lot of detailed questions about my previous jobs and work experience, which I understand.

Before interviews I always look up the company on GlassDoor and read the reviews. I understand that there will be negative reviews from disgruntled employees who were laid off or fired, but on some companies I'm seeing no positive reviews, all negative.

Is it appropriate to bring this up as a question during an interview? It seems only fair as they are probing me for any negatives -- why not ask them to discuss negative reviews on GlassDoor?

marked as duplicate by gnat, David K, Masked Man, Draken, Monica Cellio May 26 '17 at 16:16

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    If they are all negative reviews, and you value glassdoor reviews, why are you applying to work there? "I want to work for you, but I've heard you are a terrible place to work, convince me" sounds a bit odd – mattumotu May 25 '17 at 12:21
  • Good find @whrrgarbl. Both questions have pretty much the same top answer too! – David K May 25 '17 at 15:56
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    @mattumotu Because often on sites like that people only create accounts to warn people about a bad place they worked or interviewed. They aren't as motivated to leave good reviews for other employers. 0 good reviews is worrisome but 5 bad reviews from a company that employs 500 people isn't conclusive either. – BSMP May 25 '17 at 16:37
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It would be extremely bad form to bring up an online review of a company.

As you observed, there will be reviews from disgruntled employees.

HOWEVER

Bringing up the issues RAISED on an online review is fair. For example, if a review said that they don't pay overtime, I would ask "What's your policy on overtime".

So, don't mention that you read a review, but DO bring up anything you saw as red flags. You want to make sure that you're not going into a bad situation.

Ask plenty of questions and intersperse the issues you read about into your questions. Also, it never hurts to ask why the position is open....

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    Why is it extremely bad form? Glassdoor is so common now, it is nearly standard to read about a company on Glassdoor during the application process. If a common complaint is "people who don't carry their weight are still with the company", I think asking directly is best because otherwise the interviewer would have to wonder where the interviewee got that impression from. – Akavall May 25 '17 at 6:21
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    @Akavall That depends on a lot of things, so it's not as standard as you might think. In your area of work and your locale, possibly. Keep in mind this is a site with international audience. In this case though, it doesn't matter. Naming your source, regardless of the source, would be bad form. – Mast May 25 '17 at 9:01
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    @Akavall (IMO) It puts them in a position of needing to defend the company, possibly from completely false and/or ridiculous claims. That could leave a very bad impression of you. I don't see a good response to the complaint you used as an example - the people you've fired or how you've fired them probably isn't something you want to talk about during an interview, not to mention that the person you're talking to might not know the details necessary to answer the question appropriately (especially if it's a more technical interview). – Dukeling May 25 '17 at 9:15
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    +1 Almost everything you read on the internet is biased anyway. You will find the most vocal people are angry ones. It is also possible that there are many more people who actually like the company and just don't review it because they have no need to express that opinion. – SaggingRufus May 25 '17 at 10:48
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    @Akavall because it comes across as an accusation and puts the interviewer on the defensive. If the interviewer hasn't seen the review, he can't address it. He CAN address questions about company policy and performance. – Richard U May 25 '17 at 13:33
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I completely disagree with the assertion that it is not appropriate to bring up GD reviews, or any other negative aspects about the company - provided it is done with tact. My opinion is based both on having received almost every job I have interviewed for and having conducted dozens of interviews myself.

People forget, an interview is for both parties. It is a chance for the company to know if you are a good fit as well as a chance for you to know if the company is a good fit.

When I am being interview, I often start by saying "I'm going to be as open as I can with you, because I want to be certain that this position is a good fit for both of us." I have never had any negative feedback to that approach. If I'm going to potentially give myself to a company for 8-10 hours a day for a very long time - darn right I can and should be clear in my mind that I will not hate working there in six months. If the interviewers don't like the question (provided I ask it tactfully), they are probably doing me a favor.

From the interviewers perspective, I want the candidate to be certain he or she wants to be there. I don't want to have to train them, watch them leave, and go through the process again. If you have a question - ask it. I've never been offended by a tactful question by an candidate. I have, however, been concerned by candidates that allow themselves to be interrogated for hours without having the fortitude to do some interrogation of their own.

There is a point in which questions can become greedy, and I'm not suggesting that you don't pick your battles. For example, if a engineer fresh out of college is asking about the vacation policy - I see that as a red flag. I don't think that is what the OP is referring to, however.

Hope that helps.

EDIT It is funny, the last line was just an after thought and is getting all of the attention : ) . Perhaps it is confusing because I am an engineer and am therefore conducting engineering interviews. Were I HR, I might have a different take. Hope that keeps everyone's head from spinning.

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    For example, if a engineer fresh out of college is asking about the vacation policy - I see that as a red flag. This is probably too chatty, but why? – BSMP May 25 '17 at 16:50
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    @SteveJ An engineer trying to discover important details before making a life-changing decision is a red flag? – Mike A. May 25 '17 at 19:19
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    @MikeA. It can't be life-changing if you're not allowed to have a life. – R.M. May 25 '17 at 19:25
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    The idea that a junior engineer straight out of college has never worked a day (in the field or otherwise) in his/her life seems like an unfair generalization. The expectation that a junior engineer should not be concerned with vacation time is also unfair. Are inexperienced employees not entitled to work-life balance? That kind of pressure - the kind that discourages entry-level engineers from even asking about vacation time - is going to lead to burnout among new hires. – Dr. Funk May 25 '17 at 20:04
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    SteveJ, if there is anyone from whom an employer considers a question about vacation policy to be a red flag, that's a red flag against the employer. How about questions about how often they get paid? "We want our employees to be interested in their work, not interested in their pay." As @BoundaryImposition says, it would be utterly ludicrous not to ask such questions. – Wildcard May 25 '17 at 22:07
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Towards the end of the interview when they give you a chance to ask question, I would politely bring up glassdoor and ask for their side of the story and if the explanation you received seems genuine to you then you can go from there. If they seem to be making excuses I would steer clear. But as far as GD goes, I think it's fair game.

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    -1 I disagree. Richard says it best: it wouldn't be appropriate to bring up the reviews, but would be appropriate to bring up issues or red flags you saw in a neutral "I'm curious how your company handles this" way – Tas May 25 '17 at 2:09
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    Realistically, in an interview situation the company holds all the power. They probably interview dozens of people for the role, and this might make you seem like a problem hire. They'll think you're one of the ones who will end up leaving a bad GD review about them... I think it's better to ask questions in a vague way if there's a specific issue. – samiles May 25 '17 at 7:31
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    @samiles if a company thinks it holds all the power, then you are probably better of not working for it – emory May 25 '17 at 14:33
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    But imagine this in reverse: an interviewer who interrogated you about every negative thing past bosses and co-workers had to say about you. So instead of being asked about your communication skills you get, "Amy says your e-mails are always confusing. What's up with that?" – BSMP May 25 '17 at 16:47
  • @samiles Unless the interview is for a low level staff position that requires no special skill or talent your statement is exactly backwards. In most interviews the applicant holds all the "power" (the talent or skill the company is hiring for). The company holds the key to employment and a paycheck but if that's all you're working for, then I guess your statement is correct.... and I disagree with this answer as well for the record. – Mike Devenney May 25 '17 at 17:11

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