Glassdoor – Trusted Source or T.M.I. ?

I recentlly had someone I trust share a link to Glassdoor ‘reviews’ on a client we were serving. Admittedly Glassdoor was new to me,  and I was immediately intrigued.  I’d like to share a 3 part series with you where we can discover together whether or not Glass door is all it’s cracked up to be (pun intended)

Douglas Copeland’s “City of Glass” has been steadily increasing its transparency quotient through the use of a growing online job-site, Glassdoor – a free jobs and career community. What sets Glassdoor apart? They invite their 14-million (and growing) user-community to submit first-hand reviews of employers and workplaces online – revealing everything from interview questions to salary information.

Dubbed by critics and proponents alike as a “virtual water cooler,” Glassdoor is now rivaling professional-network powerhouse LinkedIn with its anonymous, reveal-all chatter about where people work. And, with over 40% of its traffic now coming from outside the US (and $20-million in recently acquired VC funds ear-marked for international expansion), Glassdoor is starting to weigh-in on career decisions right here in Vancouver.

Data Mining your job search

Glassdoor provides job seekers with a whole new set of analytics to decide whether or not any given “job” is a good fit. Through its “employee generated content,” Glassdoor goes beyond the descriptive properties of the standard job description and gives access to some interestingly predictive on-the-job info.

In a glance, you’ll get anonymous, user-submitted information on what a company’s really like, questions you might get asked in the interview process, how functional (or not) work units might be and, even, what you can expect to get paid.

The big question here, of course, is how much weight should you give a negative – or positive – review on Glassdoor? Is it all gossip and grumblings or is there real worth in evaluating the opinions and reports of present and past employees? And how relevant will their input be to your actual on-site experience?

What you won’t find on LinkedIn

From out-there interview questions (think how many penguins are in Antarctica) to previously closed-door details on how much people make, Glassdoor is unapologetically candid and social  – a fact further supported by last year’s integration with Facebook. Glassdoor’s “Inside Connection” tool allows users to connect Glassdoor to their Facebook accounts. This means that when you view a specific job posting or comments about a company, you can also see which of your Facebook friends – and friends of friends – presently or previously worked there.

What does this mean? If LinkedIn remains the best place to expand your professional network, then Glassdoor is all about leveraging the one you already have.  As Glassdoor co-founder Tim Besse said: “It turns out, if you’re in jobs hunt mode … maybe that family member, or that guy you partied with in Berlin, can help.”

Another interesting fact: “We have as many baristas on the site as we do software engineers,” says Besse. That’s something LinkedIn can’t say.

Go ahead and check out Glassdoor for yourself– look up your company (or target company)… enlightening? trustworthy?  comments?