Two lessons I have learned in the past is one from my dad "Don't believe everything people say" and the other being one of my first marketing lessons "Bad news travels further than good news". I think I am not the only who has been taught these lessons and most people have at least heard of them.
Why is it though that most people still completely ignore these lessons when it comes to applying for language jobs and believe an online negative review straight away? As a multilingual recruiter I have dealt with these reviews since my first day in recruitment. Company reviews are nothing new but it is far easier to find one on Glassdoor nowadays.
What reviews tend to be online?
Think about it "Bad news travels further than good news". So if you are happy with your employer you are not necessarily going to put it on some random website but instead tell friends, ex-colleagues etc. and ask them to join the team. You will try to sell your employer and as old school sales people say there is no sales in emails so there is no point putting it online unless it is in an email to the person you are targeting. It is the opposite with negatives reviews, the easiest way to share your thoughts and views is to post them online somewhere. Think about it, how many newspapers do you know that only have positive news? Most newspapers sell because of the bad or negative news-stories.
So how to deal with Employer reviews?
Lesson one I was taught is "don't believe everything people say". So when you read a review don't believe what you read until you have looked at the following:
Date-stamp: When was this review posted, I still get people talking about reviews they have read that were posted in 2011. Is this review still relevant?
Size of the company: If you are reading reviews of a company that has employed on average 500 employees at any given stage over the last 2 years how relevant are let's say 5 reviews? Let's say the company has 20% staff turnover, turnover that means around 700 people have worked/are working there in the last 2 years and 5 reviews is less than 1%.
- Company or colleague review? Some of the reviews you read are about the company as a whole but others seem to be personal and aimed at a manager or colleague. Where ever you will work whether you are working abroad or in your home country there is always a chance you might not get on with a colleague or manager but this might not be reflective on the company and who says you will be working in the same team or with the same manager?
- Employee performance: How did the reviewer perform themselves in the company? People that perform well will enjoy their job and their employer better than people who struggle in meeting targets and living up to the company standards.
Still have doubts about Employer reviews?
Discuss this with your recruiter. Regardless if it is an agency recruiter or in-house recruiter do discuss this. The worst thing is not discussing it while you might have an interest in the language job abroad. Recruiters have been dealing with this for years now and have no issues discussing this with you.
So how serious do we need to take a negative employer review?
Think about a company you absolutely loved working for. I am pretty sure I can find someone who is more than happy to give a negative review about the company you used to work for. Even the most desired company in the world like Google will have people who have negative employer reviews.