From fake news to fake reviews: Is Glassdoor being used correctly?

From fake news to fake reviews: Is Glassdoor being used correctly?

Glassdoor is a popular jobs site, which has a review function where employees anonymously rate their employers. Its star ratings are an established feature on the recruitment landscape, with candidates often looking first at the score before deciding whether to proceed with a job application.

However, as ISL Recruitment Director, Alan Furley tells us, there’s the capacity for foul play.

“I’m not going to name names, but it’s been known for some bosses to tell staff they must give the business good Glassdoor ratings,” he said. “I understand, for example, that in some businesses writing and posting positive Glassdoor reviews is literally part of the promotion criteria – in an unofficial sense, of course.

“Imagine writing a positive review – reluctantly or not – then being told to take it down and write another one until your manager is happy with it. This actually happens, and recruitment firms are just as guilty as anyone else.”

Furley is concerned that Glassdoor could have the ‘TripAdvisor’ effect, witnessed a few years ago, when a journalist made his shed the #1 rated restaurant in London.

But, whilst TripAdvisor have enhanced their screening of reviews, it delegitimises the candid nature intended by these review sites. Furley believes that, whilst it’s important you care about your brands online presence and reputations, fake reviews are “a sign of weakness and pointless. First, you’re kidding yourself if you think people A) won’t cotton on to the fact that you’re doing it B) don’t mind doing it and C) will not think less of you,” he said.

“Perhaps more importantly – to tether my high horse to the fence just for the moment – you’re missing a trick by not understanding your workforce, and in the long run that will cost you in reputation, quality inward recruitment and staff turnover. Prospective employees will do their due diligence and ask around about a potential employer, and not just rely on online reviews. Most sectors which seem huge to an outsider are frequently quite small in reality, with specialisms smaller again – and word quickly gets around.”

Furley insists that the best employers listen closely to what their staff tell them, and where they need to, appropriate act on it. “This is not done piecemeal, but as a structured part of the business cycle and, again, it’s important your people know that’s the case,” he said.

And the returns are measurable. ISL managed to reach a staff retention rate of 86% for 2017, 24% higher than the industry average. “With the cost of each replaced employee at an estimated £30,000, that represents a very considerable saving,” Furley continues. “It also means we keep our best people – people who live our values. And we can do it without having to fake anything.”

A spokesperson for Glassdoor reached out to Recruitment Grapevine, who told us that it is highly unlikely that fake reviews make it onto the site. “We require each person to certify their employee relationship to the company when they post any content. We remove content if we have evidence that users were incentivised or coerced into leaving content.”

They added that Glassdoor reject around 5-10% of content for not meeting community guidelines and allow users to flag reviews if they deem it to be inappropriate. “Our ultimate goal is to make sure that we have a productive and healthy community where people can get straight, untainted talk,” they said.


This article was written by ISL Recruitment and published first in Recruitment Grapevine, Wed, 21 Feb 2018 10:37am GMT