The Glassdoor Effect

The Glassdoor Effect

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“Glassdoor claims that eighty-three per cent of job
seekers in the U.S. read its reviews. (A recent survey by Software
Advice puts the number at just under fifty per cent.) There are reviews
of jobs at mall kiosks, truck stops, and Amazon warehouse facilities.
But it is in higher-paid industries like tech and consulting, where
workers wield the most negotiating power, that the reviews hold the most
sway. Beth Steinberg, the chief people officer at the online insurance
company Zenefits, who previously worked at Electronic Arts, Facebook,
and Nike, told me, ‘It’s pretty rare that a job candidate doesn’t look
at Glassdoor before they come in. Often, they bring it up in the
interview. They’ll say, ‘I read this on Glassdoor. How do you
respond?’’”

“In addition to publishing job
listings, the company sells ‘enhanced profiles,’ which are like display
ads in the Yellow Pages. Glassdoor creates a bare-bones Web page for any
company that gets a review, which will often appear at the top of a
Google search. The company can’t make Glassdoor take the page down, but,
for a minimum of six thousand dollars a year, and often an amount well
into six figures, it can ‘claim’ its Glassdoor page and make it look
nicer—adding photographs and mission statements. For a higher fee, the
company can customize its page for different types of workers, or get
rid of advertisements from competitors. Jeremy Heimans, the co-author of New Power, a forthcoming book about the implications of growing
online participation, described to me the process of getting a ‘Glassdoor face-lift’ as ‘gentle extortion.’ Threatening to damage your
reputation, Glassdoor charges you to repair it.

The New Yorker, January 22, 2018:
“Improving Workplace Culture, One Review at a Time,” by Lizzie Widdicombe

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