Hunting for a job can feel like just that – a hunt. There is tension, adrenaline, expectation, and excitement, as well as the fear of failure, all of which come together to make it a frequently stressful experience.
Modern technology has made things easier for job seekers, especially in terms of finding out about the quality of employers before you accept a role within them.
Indeed a whole array of employer review sites are available today, giving employees a place to post praise or vent frustrations with the organizations they work for.
You probably already know about these services, with big names like Glassdoor and Indeed creating a forum for discussion and debate around employers of all sizes.
But with so many reviews and conflicting opinions out there, a new challenge appears; how do you make the most of employee feedback without being misled?
Here is an exploration of the top tactics to try when leveraging the tools at your disposal as a job seeker:
Accounting for Unconscious Bias
Being aware of unconscious bias at work is important regardless of your role or the industry you occupy. It is also something which can prove very useful when you are looking for a new job or applying for your first position after leaving full-time education.
Ultimately, it comes down to making better decisions by scrutinizing our thought processes and finding weaknesses in the way we form conclusions, be that about an individual or an entire organization.
For example, when interviewing for a job, you might find that you are unconsciously put at ease because the existing team members are all like you in some way.
This might be because of their age, gender, appearance, social background, or anything else superficial.
In this instance, you might be compelled to overlook glaring downsides with the role, department, company culture, or benefits package simply because of this innate feeling of belonging, which only really exists at a surface level.
This is where employer review sites can give you the perspective you need to be more logical and rational, rather than being guided only by ingrained stereotypes.
And, of course, this works in the opposite direction as well; if you worry that you might not fit in at a business because you are not like anyone else there, then you could miss out on some amazing opportunities because of failing to resist unconscious bias.
If you are even considering the concept of unconscious bias when browsing for a new job, then you are already ahead of the curve.
You can broaden your opinions by seeking other perspectives on employer review sites, and you must also aim to keep an awareness of your innate biases in mind when you begin a new role.
This is a skill that will serve you well throughout your career. That is not to say you should ignore gut feelings altogether, but rather that you should analyze them subjectively and look at things from more than one angle before you commit to a particular path forward.
Looking For Where Your Values Are Represented
Another good way to leverage the reviews left by current and former employees of businesses is to first write down the values you hold and then look for where these are reflected in the feedback that is available.
In many cases, this will help to break the deadlock if you are faced with the prospect of picking between two or more employers that, on paper, are very difficult to distinguish.
You might value the opportunity to work flexibly and determine the hours you put in each day. You might value social responsibility and sustainability, and see these as a must-have both in your personal and your professional life.
You might value transparency and openness, empowering individuals at all levels within an organization rather than putting the needs and opinions of senior figures above those of their subordinates.
Whatever the case, if you know what your priorities are before you begin to sift through the reviews, it will be easier to read between the lines and process what employees think efficiently.
Of course, there are some sites that make this even easier, through the use of a points-based approach to the assessment of defining elements of employers.
Glassdoor, for example, has ratings for categories such as the work-life balance, as well as the culture and values of companies. Indeed adopts a percentage-based approach to ranking the interview process at many employers, so you can make data-driven decisions if you so wish.
Don’t Overreact to Negativity
Another aspect of using employer review sites that has to be mentioned is the bad feedback which is provided by plenty of people, alongside the good.
There is nothing inherently wrong with negative reviews, but it is also important to point out that they can be more emotive and impactful than their positive counterparts.
It also has to be pointed out that people who are happy and satisfied in their roles will not always feel the need to shout the praises of their employer from the rooftops.
Meanwhile, a person who has had a subjectively bad experience in a given business will have the angry energy to share their feelings with others.
In short, one scathing review should not be enough to blacklist any employer. Taking a broader view and doing further research is advisable.
Use Reviews to Prepare for Interviews
Lastly, you can take advantage of employer review sites as part of your preparation for a job interview.
Specifically, if you find feedback online which raises questions or concerns, be sure to note this down and then ask the interviewer about it when the big day arrives.
You might also prepare questions that delve into the company culture a little deeper, such as asking to know about everything from lunch arrangements to social activities, perks, and on-site amenities.
As you can see, employer review sites can be a helpful tool for job seekers, but they are not the only thing that should steer your decisions.