A look inside Glassdoor.Com

Bob Hohman

Last week, at #SHRM12 I got to meet Glassdoor founder and CEO Robert Hohman. He has a resume that reads like a whose who on the internet, having been President of Hotwire (the travel division of Expedia). Bob was one of the founding members of Expedia, carving a career through most of the travel divisions of the business, being one of the original employees, joining from Microsoft where he started his career. I got to spend some extended time with Scott Dobroski, the community expert at Glassdoor.

I’ve been interested in the site for quite a while, and tracking their progress since they launched an application that overlays the platform on Facebook without the need to leave the platform. The concept behind Glassdoor is to give job seekers access to data and reviews about employers from their employees and previous candidates. Given Bob’s background, it’s not surprising that they describe this as the TripAdvisor for job seekers. As consumers we are getting used to leaving reviews to help others, and Glassdoor go further by offering extra features to those users who do just that. You leave a review, add salary information etc, you get more access and more features. As a concept it is easy to see the real value of this kind of platform, and when you add the Facebook platform in to the mix with close to a billion users globally, you get to see the real potential.

Reviews are entirely anonymous. A new user gets a limited number of reviews for the first month, but can gain an enhanced membership by completing a quick review of their current employer, it’s free to job seekers. The review asks for the following info:

> Employer name

> Number of employees

> Overall rating of the company based on 5 stars

> Title of the review

> Pros

> Cons

> Advice to management

> A tick box to determine if you are a current or past employee

The next set of review info is optional. The next 6 questions ask for a star ranking (with 1 star meaning very dissatisfied, 3 stars neutral/ok and 6 stars very satisfied.) The categories are:

> Career Opportunities

> Compensation and Benefits

> Work/life Balance

> Senior Management

> Culture Values

Users then get tick boxes to determine if you would recommend the employer to a friend, and 3 arrows to determine the direction you think the company will take over the next 6 months. Next up is Job Type (Full Time,Part Time or Intern.)

> Job Title

> Job City

> Length Of Employment

In the side column of the page there are community guidelines, where Glassdoor state the following to keep things balanced:

We will not post reviews containing:

  • Rants, venting, or obscenities
  • Personal insults or defamatory attacks (by name, title, or association)
  • Aggressive or discriminatory language
  • Trade secrets or information protected by employer contracts
  • Content not relevant or helpful to our community
  • Text in ALL CAPS or using excessively poor grammar
Once you click submit the pop up will ask you for more info if the review is less than 60 words, with the option to post, though it may not appear, or to edit and add extra info..
Next up is the option to add extra content, with the opportunity to win an i-pad for taking part. The extra sections asks you to provide anonymous  data under the following categories:
> Salary –  Current/Former Job, Job Title, Location by country (drop down) and city, Years of experience in the field (drop down) and Employment Status (drop down.)
Submitting this data takes you to a salary screen asking for annual, hourly or monthly salary.
> Annual salary amount
> Currency
>Average hours per week
Other types of pay:
>Cash Bonus
>Stock Bonus
>Profit Sharing
>Commision on sales
>Weeks of paid vacation
>Health Benefits – By tick box
>Retirement benefits by employer
>Employer name – with the tick box option to leave it blank and add additional info on employer size and type etc.
Submitting this data asks for a confirmation of job title to match common titles in the database.
Next up is the option to add interview data asking for:
> Employer
>Job location
>Year of last interview
> Outcome by tick box
This moves you to screens with similar information on interview process and interview questions. On the plus side I can see the benefit of this information, and community minded people will be more than happy to contribute and take part. On the downside I was asked to complete a 5 minute review and I’m now 40 minutes in. I’m tempted to quit. A bit more transparency here might be better, although this data is optional, and I do have the chance to win an i-pad. A small gripe but one for consideration. Completing a detailed review to this stage with enough thought and info to be valuable to others will take at least an hour.
The other area for improvement is that  I got asked to submit information like employer name, type, city, type etc multiple times. Auto-complete from information already submitted would be time-saving and less frustrating.
The interview info asked for is:
> How did you get the interview? (drop down)
> Position
>How long did the interview process take
>What did the interview process consist of – with 12 tick boxes, drug test etc
> Describe the hiring process – This must be a minimum of 50 words to make the site
> How would you describe the negotiation stage? (optional)
> How difficult was the interview – from very easy to very difficult
>How would you describe your interview process – Negative, neutral or positive.
Submit this data and you are asked for 2 interview questions with the option to add answers or comments and tags. and the option to add more questions, comments and tags.
Last option is to add workplace photos and captions. The upload is simple, though it was a bit irritating to have to add company information and detail for the fifth time. I think Glassdoor need to look at fixing this for time-saving and the benefit of the users. It was also not clear how to quit these optional screens without signing out completely and possibly not returning.
The information asked for is comprehensive, and invaluable to job seekers when job hunting, considering applications and preparing for interview. it’s also invaluable for employers to keep a handle on their real employer brand. Users of either the Facebook app or the main site (which mirror each other), are easy to navigate.
Users searching the jobs tab filter by job title and location, all time down to the last 24 hours, company ratings (using the stars) and distance from location. Theres also an advanced feature allowing search by company. Job seekers can be as wide or narrow in their options as they choose, and the default is automatic to local area and country. Looking at the results for the UK, it’s very accurate, with additional options to conduct the same searches by salaries, companies and reviews or interview details. Navigation, as it should be is brilliantly simple,. Each company selected offers an overview, salaries, reviews, interviews, photos, jobs and your Facebook connections who are members of Glassdoor who work at the company. You can view the profile of each of the employees listed, identify mutual connections and send a message,, which could prove useful in the application process.
All companies related to users have a profile on both the site and the app. Company profiles state if the employer has submitted any information to the profile , which includes the following fields:
> Inside Connections
>Office Photos
>Awards and Accolades
>Ratings And Reviews
>Interview Questions And Reviews
>Recent News
Glassdoor generate revenue by selling enhanced listings which enable more employer branding features like video etc, enhanced search results for jobs and companies and featured listings. Ad’s can be featured alongside any company profile unless the company has an enhanced profile, another good reason for investing in your profile. Jobs in search include the enhanced jobs and aggregated jobs from sources such as CareerBuilder, the Ladders  and most other sites. Sponsored or enhanced jobs are clearly tagged. I think there is a real benefit to investing in both an enhanced profiles and jobs to rank above your competitors, because there are more than enough features, reviews and profiles to be a valuable destination for anyone looking for employer information, and recent shows that job seekers are looking for more and more information on a company from sources they trust before applying.
The most notable development for me though has been the growth in users for the Facebook app. It’s easy to see the potential here given Glassdoors coverage of both traditional web and the Facebook audience. Checking in on Appdata.Com, the average daily users is 580,000 with  monthly average users of  3,700,000, having gained a massive 3,200,000 monthly average users since June 4’th. I’m not quite sure on the reason for this sudden growth spurt, though the ADU figure went from 220,000 on June 25’th, peaking at 1,400,000 on June 30’th before falling to 580,000 on July 1’st.  It is volatile numbers but the totals now make Glassdoor the top career app on Facebook at the moment. Branchout currently ranks at 2,600,000 MAU and 90,000 DAU by comparison.  I’d like to investigate these numbers a little more to properly understand the reasoning behind it, but combined with the web traffic, Glassdoor is proving a powerful destination for job seekers, and i think it is the user generated reviews that are providing the real value.

What has been interesting to note has been the steady climb in users of the Facebook app. Launched in