Transparency Improves Recruiting: A Q&A with Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman

Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman talks about how to manage your company’s reputation in the era of online reviews.

By Roy Maurer Jan 26, 2017
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​Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman

​More employers are realizing that they can’t just wish Glassdoor didn’t exist. Founded in 2007, it has become the go-to site for employee-generated insights into thousands of organizations, incentivizing employers to engage in constant brand management. 

Glassdoor features Yelp-like reviews of everything from the hiring process and workplace culture to salary levels and management style at 600,000 employers in 190 countries. 

The Mill Valley, Calif., company, which attracts 34 million unique visitors a month to its site, has drawn the ire of many HR professionals who often aren’t sure how to respond to negative comments from employees, former employees and job seekers. 

But Glassdoor continues to evolve: It has become one of the largest U.S. job boards and provides a range of recruitment marketing tools and employment data to its growing client base. 

Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman discussed with HR Magazine how companies are using the site to formulate HR strategy, manage their reputations and take advantage of the benefits of transparency.

How should HR professionals use Glassdoor when they are formulating their employee engagement and recruitment strategies?

For HR professionals, openness, awareness and engagement are essential when formulating recruiting strategies in today’s transparent workplace. When approaching online company reviews from employees, take time to read them to learn what’s working, what can be improved and what questions your candidates have. 

The key is to learn how Glassdoor can work for you. A great way to get started is to access your organization’s employer center with a free account. Then company representatives can monitor reviews, get basic analytics on engagement among job candidates and employees, and manage recruiting activity.

When you are trying to get a sense of how your company is performing, it’s also important to know what the averages are on the site. For example, 72 percent of workers say they are “OK” or “satisfied” with their jobs and companies. The average company rating on Glassdoor is a 3.3 on a 1-5 scale, and the average CEO rating is 67 percent, based on data as of October 2016.

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What’s the best way for company leaders and HR professionals to address negative comments?

Employers can publicly respond to reviews on Glassdoor and provide additional insights into any employee comments. This signals that company leaders are paying attention and that they care. In fact, nearly two-thirds of Glassdoor users agree that their perception of a company improves after seeing a response to a review.

And don’t forget that it’s also important to acknowledge and show appreciation for positive reviews. Think of the signal it can send to candidates when they observe an employer taking time to acknowledge positive, neutral and negative feedback.

Employers can publicly respond to reviews on Glassdoor and provide additional insights into any employee comments.

What does Glassdoor do to respond to complaints from employers about negative or false comments?

Any Glassdoor user can flag a review they feel is inappropriate. When that happens, we will take a second look to ensure that it meets community guidelines and terms of use. If it does not, we will suspend it from the site.

We also remind users that their reviews should be truthful and constitute their own personal opinion and experience with their current or former employer.  We don’t take sides when it comes to factual disputes, so we expect users to be truthful and stand behind their statements.

What processes does Glassdoor have in place to safeguard against false salary information provided by current or former employees?

Every piece of user-generated content is subject to a content-moderation process before it is posted. This helps to identify any salary reports that may be grossly inaccurate and require further review.

In addition, companies can flag salary content that may not be accurate. To help ensure quality compensation information, we invite employers to encourage their employees to anonymously and voluntarily share their own salary reports. The more information Glassdoor collects, the more valuable it becomes to job seekers in setting their expectations on fair pay.

Some critics have said that the companies that pay Glassdoor for placement have more control over the comments posted about them. Is that true?

Glassdoor takes its data integrity very seriously. If user-generated content meets Glassdoor guidelines, it will stay up on the site regardless of any paid relationships Glassdoor has with a company.

Obviously this type of transparency is helpful to job seekers. But does it really benefit employers? If so, how?

Yes. It gives company leaders greater insight into employment from the perspective and experiences of candidates, employees and former workers. It helps your organization’s leaders understand the company’s reputation in the market and enables HR professionals to improve on their recruiting efforts. 

Work is one of the most important facets of our lives. Transparency will only grow as people look to become more informed and make smarter decisions about what job they take next and how they grow their career.  

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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