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Wall Street Journal Analysis: “Companies Game Glassdoor Rankings”

According to a recently published report by The Wall Street Journal, there’s good reason to doubt the credibility of Glassdoor employer rankings that so many employees use to decide which employers to work for.

“Glassdoor’s company ratings,” including their annual ‘Best Places to Work’ awards, “are a powerful weapon in job recruiting, giving companies an incentive to inflate them.”

Some employers admit pressuring their employees to post rave reviews; some employers admit only “suggesting” they do so.

While Glassdoor claims that it tries hard to limit companies from “ballot stuffing” their Glassdoor reviews, it remains an undeniable fact that the “real” customers of Glassdoor are employers, who advertise on the site, and who can even, for an additional fee, have Glassdoor refuse to place ads for job openings from their competitors. Glassdoor also charges employers to customize their pages and promote their open positions.

Like other “ratings” websites, like Yelp and TripAdvisor, Glassdoor suffers from the gross conflict of interest at the very heart of its business model: the rated employers are Glassdoor’s best clients. As the old saying goes, “No one bites the hand that feeds them.” Some employers pay Glassdoor as much as tens of thousands of dollars each and every month.

A mathematical probability analysis performed for the Wall Street Journal by statisticians at Columbia University and the University of Washington found it nearly impossible to explain significant “spikes” of votes and ratings changes at Glassdoor over short periods of time . . . especially in October of each year, just before Glassdoor calculates its annual rankings.

In the summer of 2018, one employer, Guaranteed Rate, Inc., had a poor rating of 2.6 stars out of 5.0. After its CEO, Victor Ciardelli, instructed his team to tell his employees to flood Glassdoor with positive reviews, its Glassdoor ranking jumped from a dismal 2.6 to a delightful 4.1.

Employers LinkedIn and Anthem Health have admitted they “encourage” their employees to submit positive rankings. Five star reviews of employers have almost doubled over the past five years.

A message to all working people who consider Glassdoor’s rankings when making employment and career decisions: consider other ways to make those decisions, and consider any Glassdoor ranking suspect, at best.

Bad data “in” leads only to bad decisions “out.” Know the Difference. That’s part of both our job and our joy at SkloverWorkingWisdom.com™

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