Friday’s Dirty Little Secret

In case you’ve been living under a rock since 2007, you already know that Glassdoor has shined a spotlight on how employers treat their people (and their candidates.)

secretsHow many stars do you have? Your company and your CEO each have a score. And there’s no hiding or removing it.

Only dealing with it.

Glassdoor’s now the first place that candidates look to see if they’ll even consider having a conversation with you. I’ve stopped working with employers who have such a low score that I can’t even get candidates to the table for a conversation. I’m good, but I’m no miracle worker.

Which is sad because, as with everything in business, there’s a dirty underbelly.

And our Wall Street Journal revealed it this week in the expose, “How Companies Secretly Boost Their Glassdoor Rankings.”

I’ll save you 10 minutes of reading. It turns out that in 2016, companies started getting “smart” on how they could increase their scores artificially, by encouraging their happiest employees to post reviews.

It’s not Fake News. I’ve seen it first hand on multiple occasions over the past 12 months.

True confession: I’ve encouraged that my clients do it.

Please forgive me.

Desperate times (3.7% unemployment rate) call for desperate measures. And companies are desperate to get candidates to the table.

Just as Yelp and OpenTable and TripAdvisor get a ton of negative reviews from negative people about negative experiences, Glassdoor is littered with them. Many of them are true. In fact, perhaps all of them. But in 2016, companies said “This isn’t fair. We need our happy employees to post too.”

Remember: you’re never as good as you think. And you’re never as bad as you think. Same for your Glassdoor scores.

But candidates are looking at them. (I predict that as candidates begin understanding the scores are becoming over-inflated, they’ll put less weight on them. But for now…)

So what to do?

1. Encourage, but NEVER cajole, pay, script, bribe, or force your employees to post.

2. Do so on a regular basis. I prefer quarterly.

3. Explain to your team why it’s important. “Our business is built on people. We need the best people. It’s in both of our interests to ensure that reviews accurately reflect what it’s like to work here. Not just the negative experiences.”

4. Respond and reply to every single review (just as the smartest hoteliers do on TripAdvisor)

5. Each month, have your head of talent roll up the feedback from the reviews, put them into buckets, and choose the top two to tackle. Demand quantified improvement.

6. If you got it, flaunt it. If your scores are 4+ out of 5 (employer) or 90%+ (CEO), talk about it all of your candidate messaging, job postings, etc.

Above all, look in the mirror. If your scores suck, there’s probably a reason.

I made a list of the 18 things that create an amazing culture so that you can attract (and retain) Rockstars like nobody else.

Here’s the free PDF list.

And then your Glassdoor score will take care of itself.

Never settle,




Jeff Hyman

Jeff Hyman

Jeff Hyman is the author of Recruit Rockstars: The 10 Step Playbook to Find the Winners and Ignite Your Business. The Chief Talent Officer at Chicago-based Strong Suit Executive Search, Hyman currently teaches the MBA course on recruiting at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and hosts the five-star Strong Suit Podcast. Jeff has been featured by Inc., Fortune, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Bloomberg, and other media outlets. Learn more at

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