The Interwebs are a wonderful thing, aren’t they? You can make financial transactions online, keep in touch with friends halfway across the world and now, thanks to websites like Glassdoor.com, job candidates can be fully prepared for their next interview. In fact, they can actually walk into the interview knowing exactly what questions you’re going to ask them!
Glassdoor has quickly been building a critical mass of job-hungry visitors to its platform since it launched in 2008. In 2010, once they had achieved a healthy stream of traffic from jobseekers, the company downshifted and accelerated into monetization mode with an “Enhanced Employer Profile”. While this seems like a common path to revenue for an online company, Glassdoor has done something unique but, in my opinion, controversial.
In a similar fashion to the way Linkedin started holding employer profiles hostage for money, Glassdoor also charges employers a hefty fee to spruce up their image, but they continued to allow employees and would-be employees to post salaries, reviews and interview questions on the site with complete transparency. Seems like a double-edged sword for employers, doesn’t it?
From my perspective, this causes a major problem as it relates to the interview process. I don’t mind if employees are leaving feedback on a company; in fact, I think it keeps employers honest and allows them to make changes to how they run their business.
Where I become a little disturbed is how Glassdoor maintains an entire segment of their site devoted to exposing employer interviewing practices. If they want to publish salaries, that’s fine. But interview questions and interview processes? I think that crosses the line. It’s one thing to prepare for an interview by knowing in general what to expect, but it’s another thing to be handed the exact sequence and specific questions from another interviewer who just went through the process.
It’s like having the answers to a test. It enables weak candidates — those who normally wouldn’t know the answers to a question — to sound like winners, even to the most discerning employers. To me, that’s a losing proposition for companies, especially those trying to filter out unqualified candidates.
Below is a look at the interface using Google as an example. As you can see, there are roughly 2,500 company reviews, 11,000 salary data points and 3,100 posts related to Google’s interview process. They also show some relatively meaningless interview data followed by whatever details a candidate is willing to provide about their interview experience.
In light of this new era of openness, there are a couple things that an employer can do to maintain some level of rigor and honesty to their interview process.
For one, ensure that your Talent Acquisition department, or whoever assembles your interview guides and administers your hiring process, is monitoring Glassdoor for leaks regarding specific questions being asked in your interview process.
It’s fine if you see comments like “Uses behavioral interviews” or “Be prepared for situational interview questions”. But if you find that someone has posted a manifesto on how to beat the system, you should make changes to your interview questions to ensure that you’re not like that lazy professor in college who never changed the questions on his exam semester after semester.
Another idea to consider is to schedule a regular quarterly or semi-annual interview process refresh to stay ahead of Glassdoor and any similar sites out there who are giving candidates the keys to the castle.
Don’t get me wrong here…I think most of what the site does is generally good. It provides value to its clients, but I think they go a step too far when opening up a company’s interview process. Companies should have the right to censor revealing posts.
Think about it this way…this practice would be like Yelp publishing the recipe for the pizza dough at Vinny’s Pizza Shop without Vinny’s permission. Not cool, right?