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How to Use Online Company Reviews in Your Job Search

12.14.15   |   Job Search & Career   |   David DeMelo, Division Manager at Treeline, Inc.

how to use online company reviews in your job search

Are you finding that your job search is a product of reading company reviews?

We are currently in a world that has changed significantly.  We have the capability of getting information from simply clicking a button.  We are information hungry.  We don’t know the answer, we Google it.  We want reviews, we click on Yelp, Glassdoor, Rotten Tomato, Imdb and the list goes on and on.  We seek the opinion of friends, family, significant others, co-workers etc. We want to get ahead, we want to prepare ourselves on what to expect, but will all of this really satisfy what you are looking for? And are company reviews more helpful or harmful in the job search?

As a sales recruiter, I’ve come across many objections, concerns, dislikes and flat out no’s.  One of the latest concerns that candidates bring up are “Company Reviews.” I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve heard:

“Well Dave, the reviews are horrible! 

“I can’t believe they make their employees do that?”

“I do not want to work in a sweat shop”

“Management is not supportive”

“After reading those reviews Dave, I want to pull myself from the process.”

And my response is…What?!

Granted, having the ability to do research and gather information is a fantastic thing, but my question to you is why would you let a stranger influence your job search?  Keep in mind, people are more likely to write a negative review than a positive one. It’s more natural to vent than it is to share a positive experience. What I am trying to say is take the reviews, GOOD or BAD, with a grain of salt and use them to your advantage.  Turn down job offers, not job interviews. There is a job out there for everyone, and one that is great for you may not be for others.  So how do you leverage reviews in your interview process? 

It is all about the ability to ask questions. Be prepared. An interview does not start when you get there, it starts with your preparation. Do your homework, educate yourself and be prepared to ask what YOU need know understand the job, the company and the management team.

{Related Article: How to Prepare For A Sales Job Interview}

Here are some examples of bad reviews that you can use to help you ask the right questions in an interview.

Review:

There is pretty high turnover in some departments - many employees grumble about certain management and have negative things to say about the company”

If you’re concerned by this review, ask the question in the interview to answer your concerns. Ask, “What is the average tenure in a sales role here (i.e. Business Development, Account Executive etc.)?”  “What is the training like and how do you continue to develop your employees?” “What is the growth pattern?”

Review:

“It's definitely "live to work" here despite that they advertise otherwise - long hours (10+ hrs/day) are expected and even when you stay beyond those hours, do not expect to be thanked or even recognized - it's taken for granted”

Is work-life balance a major concern? Then ask questions around day-to-day operations. Ask, “What is a typical day of a successful representative?”  “What makes your top performers successful in this role?” “What are the day-to-day responsibilities for this role?”  “What are your typical hours?” 

Review:

“They have attempted to pull together a suite of products that represent the full development cycle of software development. This has brought complexity to the integration of the offerings which creates blockage in operations”

If you’re wondering how the model works and how different teams work together, try asking “How do your support your products?”  “What are some of the challenges sales representatives face with their clients on product support?”  “How do the internal teams communicate and interact with each other?”  “What is your client retention look like?” “What does a typical sales cycle look like?”

Review:

“Management is more like overpaid babysitters. Innovation is NOT rewarded. No real path for professional growth - a very easy place to get "stuck in a rut."

Are looking to join a company with a strong and engaged leadership team that reward, retain and develop their employees? Try asking about the path to professional growth. “The individuals whom you hired for this particular role in the past, what does the growth pattern look like?”  “How do you measure your representatives aside from revenue booked?” “How many representatives exceed their goals?”

In short, use the company review websites as a compass. Do not let your job search be a result of online company reviews. Don't let your job search run you, take initiative and control and do yourself a favor…go interview.

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