Jun 22, 2008
Updated • Dec 10, 2012

Glassdoor is a very new service founded by Robert Hohman and Rich Barton. They had worked at a number of large corporations including Microsoft and had previously founded successful companies themselves such as Expedia. Their idea behind Glassdoor was as

“…a career and workplace community where anyone can find and anonymously share real-time reviews, ratings and salary details about specific jobs for specific employers — all for free. What sets us apart is that all our information comes from the people who know these companies best — employees”

I’ve always been a little skeptical about these kinds of projects and services as all too often the main contributors tend to be those who are generally dissatisfied, often posting multiple times to bring down people or companies.

Glassdoor so far seems to have some good balanced contributing, and you’ll find some interesting insights into companies and people through it. However it’s easy to make conclusions based on feedback here, so I would recommend keeping in mind that only a very small percentage of company employees have actually responded.

To access the entire database you must contribute a anonymous review yourself, but if you would just like to try it out then a couple of the biggest companies such as Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are all accessible with signing up.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Glassdoor is that without the bias provided by media reporting we can get a real look at how employees themselves see CEO’s and their company.

For example we often see Google portrayed as this fantastic workplace of free food, massages and a fun culture and a place engineers are encouraged to develop their own ideas. Yet looking at the employee feedback for Google and Microsoft approval ratings for CEOs’ Balmer and Schmidt really aren’t too different.

Balmer is getting a 3.9 approval rating (Satisfied!) and Eric Schmidt is on 4.1 (Very Satisfied!). Yes it’s a difference, but not on the scale you would expect of the in-need-of-anger-management Balmer image we get given from the media.

Looking through the Google and Microsoft reviews I picked up the general consensus that Google’s biggest issues are with its culture; fitting in, being part of the googley group and dissatisfaction at management.

At Microsoft the employee dissatisfaction is largely to do with its seeming inability to effectively use the talent present in the company, the feeling that the company may deliver good products but it’s not what the consumer wants and lack of communication between management and departments.


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  1. TimA said on June 24, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Hi Joshua –

    TimA from here. Thanks for checking out the site and helpful feedback.

    I’m glad you noted the balanced contributing as that’s been a huge goal for us. We don’t want to become a rant site but instead want to create a place where people can share contructive feedback about their workplaces and senior management. In fact, we require people who post a review to provide **pros** **cons** to help keep the comments in check. The reality is: even if you hate your job, there are some redeeming qualities that we want shared with the community.

    We think people are finding value in our “give to get” model because they can first preview the quality and thoughtfulness of reviews for our four sneak peek companies. They’re seeing how valuable candid feedback is and are more inclined to give it themselves.

    Also, on CEO ratings – I want to point out the numbers you reference are overall company ratings (3.9 for Microsoft and 4.1 for Google) The CEO approval ratings are actually 53% approval for Ballmer and 86% approval for Schmidt – so a pretty significant difference. We realize this is somewhat confusing and will be working to make this more clear.

    Thanks for the comments.

  2. Justin said on June 23, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Yeah, it’s a good one, but I found another that sounds more interractive

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