CEOs and Glassdoor. The New War or a Resource?

Need to find a good restaurant? Check Yelp reviews. Need to plan a vacation? Check Trip Advisor. Not sure about a product on Amazon? Check the reviews.


The power dynamic between buyer and seller has irrevocably shifted driven by technology platforms and transparency. This is the new reality. For the most part, companies have adapted and accepted the need to actively manage their online product reputation. Transparency is here to stay.


So, it is curious that many of the CEO’s with whom I speak fight so hard against the same dynamic in play between employer and employee on sites like Glassdoor. In fact, their reactions are often overly emotional and logically challenged. “Only the poor performers and malcontents write reviews,” they say. “It’s a racket boarding on extortion.” That may be true. However, as I mentioned in an earlier article, you cannot choose to have an employer brand. You can only choose to actively manage it.


Today’s savvy candidate often knows more about your organization than the people who work there. They can find out how much the person in the position they are interviewing for made. They have quickly received an accurate assessment of their market worth. They know the truth about the hiring manager they are meeting with. They have read mounds of feedback from past and present employees. They have also read enough to be able to pick out which ones have the ring of truth. They know if your community service initiative is the real thing.


Unfortunately, their research doesn’t include feedback to you on the dozens to millions of worthy candidates that didn’t move forward because of what they read or know. It is like this. If you are a top-tier technology graduate from Stanford and you are given career opportunities as an entrepreneur, entry-level project manager at Google or a highly paid position at Yahoo, which one will you probably take? The employer brand of organizations like Yahoo is so widely known that Marissa Mayer made 53 business acquisitions. Most of them were to get talent for Yahoo. The best talent left because she wasn’t successful in changing the culture.


The new transparency being imposed on all organizations will force talent-savvy CEOs to develop full transparency within their culture. When we realize there is nothing we can hide, it becomes smart to live as if there is nothing to hide. To witness the impact of feedback organizations like Indeed, Glassdoor, and even, go online and read the notes. Go on LinkedIn or Google and search for complaints from organizations involved in hiring. “We just lost our third candidate to Glassdoor reviews. Of course, they are all….”


Today, we can also get instant feedback on the candidate’s experience. Overall, it is pretty shoddy. Candidates talk about the many organizations that interviewed them and never sent them a note or a thank you. Many of them invested hours talking to stakeholders. The easily controllable candidate experience is often undermined in organizations that put so much pressure on their recruiters that they just can’t slow down to practice basic good manners.


If full transparency exists, what is the feedback about you? Your organization? What is it like to apply for a job? What are your employees saying on Glassdoor? Indeed?


The answers to these questions will show you whether you are getting the best the talent market has to offer or, something else. The hotter the job market, the more important this becomes.


If you are a member of the 5-8% of CEOs that has good news in this area, give me a call, let’s have lunch and I would like to hear as much as possible about your point-of-view, thoughts, and innovations. If you are a member of the rest, please spend the next week exploring.


  1. Go through Indeed and Glassdoor. You cannot afford to be dismissive. Read as much feedback as possible. There is a reliable version of the truth in there.
  2. Ask someone who is not beholden to talent acquisition to connect with 20 candidates that applied to your company. What was their overall candidate experience? If you have not thought of candidate experience until now, this exercise is unnecessary.
  3. Write out one page. If you have to develop a fully transparent culture, describe what that culture and organization looks like. What does the world see?
  4. Write out another page. Based on what you have learned, what do you want to change?


For some of my readers, this will be a difficult exercise, but let’s take a second look at transparency. Clarity gives us freedom. First, however, it is going to be uncomfortable.


Brought to you by Jackson Lynch, President – 90 Consulting

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