Sleuthing the job: How to use LinkedIn and Glassdoor to research a company

passive-job-hunting (1)Glassdoor’s marketing team is boasting better traffic for company pages over LinkedIn, but we think both career sites offer valuable insider-information when researching a new job.

Circulating around the web this week is job site’s latest research: they’re boasting that employers see 3 times as much traffic on their Glassdoor profile when compared to their company page on LinkedIn.

What does this mean? It means that far more job seekers are turning to Glassdoor when weighing out the pros and cons of a new company or role.

But, while Glassdoor certainly satisfies some of the typical burning job-seeker questions (salary, benefits, interview questions), we don’t want you to overlook the value of the more indirect data housed on LinkedIn. Here’s how you can use both online career resources to make the best decision about your next challenge:

What’s so attractive about the content on Glassdoor?

  • It’s interesting. They offer insider information, interview questions, no-hold bar reviews of culture and management, even salary details. This is the kind of inside-scoop that truly social media thrives on.
  • It’s user-generated. Which in the online world sometimes translates to “trusted” or semi-trusted. And that’s the kind of behind-the-scenes info that candidates really want to know when deciding to pursue a job.

What can you learn on LinkedIn?

While LinkedIn company pages can often come across as “all-business, no-fun,” there’s actually a wealth of information on LinkedIn to be found out about employers and the people who work for them. Here’s how:

  • Manager/Co-Worker Research: Sure, LinkedIn rarely offers the kind of impassioned rant that Glassdoor users sometimes post about their bosses, but it is interesting to check out the LinkedIn recommendations left for your manager and co-workers to-be. The best comments will give away far more than just a hearty thumbs-up or down, they’ll give you insight into leadership style (“she’s tough but always 100% behind her team), working relationships (“we could always count on him”) and team roles (“She always kept us laughing”).
  • Interview Research: When faced with a daunting interview schedule (CMO at 9am, CTO at 10am, etc.), it pays to do your research. While Glassdoor is known for divulging potential interview questions, LinkedIn is where you’ll want to go to research your actual interviewer. LinkedIn profiles can give you a great sense of what your interviewer might be interested in talking about – check out the groups they belong to, what kind of status updates they’re commenting on, any whitepapers or slideshares they’ve posted and any personal blog or social profiles they’ve linked too.
  • Eliminate first meeting jitters: While you can undertake your sleuthing in stealth mode, as you can on Glassdoor, we think it’s actually a great idea to ‘connect’ on LinkedIn in advance of your interview.  After all, doing your research helps to show your engagement in the role. Even better, inviting a soft-meeting before your face-to-face can actually help ease some of your pre-interview jitters.

So, do the traffic numbers that Glassdoor reports ring true? You tell us. They’ve gone so far as to issue an employer challenge with detailed instructions on how to check your page view stats for each site. If you take the test, we’d love to hear what you find.

In the meantime, here’s what we know: whether or not the Glassdoor challenge succeeds in a flood of recruiters jumping ship on LinkedIn (clearly, a valuable and necessary professional tool in its own right), they’ve definitely succeeded in planting a nugget. Job seekers are looking for information – and lots of it.

Our suggestion: don’t discount any source when doing your due diligence on a new role. As we all know, a job is far more than its description. The information you find online about people, culture and processes will give you a far better sense of where to steer the recruitment conversation – and maybe even offer a tip or two on how to catch the employer’s attention.