You may want to take a look at online ratings of prospective employers the next time you are looking for a new job.
TODD KOROL / REUTERS
WestJet is rated as Canada’s most attractive employer by one online site, but gets mixed reviews from others.
If you wouldn’t think of booking a vacation without checking out your destination on tripadvisor.ca, you may want to take a look at online ratings of prospective employers the next time you are looking for a new job.
Started in 2007, ratemyemployer.ca is a non-profit division of JobWings, a company that does online recruitment marketing through specialized job boards like HRjob.ca, techjobs.ca and retail.ca. Currently the Montreal-based company has over 36,500 ratings posted about 8,000 companies.
Ratemyemployer’s administrator Mona Ghalehi says “Employers have tools like background checks, reference checks and credit checks to find out about prospective employees. However, candidates looking for information are typically limited to reviewing the career section of the company’s website.”
Her staff does not monitor or verify the accuracy of every rating or comment. However, if users flag comments they view as inappropriate, the comment is taken down pending further investigation.
When current or former employees use ratemyemployer.ca to evaluate companies, they are asked to assign between one and five stars in each of 20 categories covering working conditions, compensation and benefits and management style.
The average rating assigned by each participant is averaged with ratings of all participants to come up with the overall company rating. Reviewers can also post more detailed written remarks.
Ghalehi acknowledges that comments posted are often more negative than positive because unhappy people are more inclined to share their experiences. To get a better balance, she is considering running a contest or a draw for people who post positive remarks.
Glassdoor.ca is the Canadian division of a Sausalito, California-based website. It has employee-generated content including company ratings for over 250,000 companies.
Glassdoor’s spokespeson Samantha Zupan says every company rated on her site requires current or former employees to provide insights on the pros and cons of working for the company, to ensure content is balanced.
There can be considerable difference in the ratings assigned by the two websites. For example, Ranstad Canada recently named WestJet as Canada’s most attractive employer, based on interviews with 7,000 Canadian workers and jobseekers. On ratingmyemployer.ca the company gets 2.5/5 stars based on the reviews of 124 people. However, 27 reviewers on glassdoor.ca gave the company a 4/5 star rating.
Lorna Hegarty, is a human resources consultant and recruiter with LCH Resources Ltd. in Toronto. She agrees that the ratings assigned by these “backdoor” websites are unscientific.
Nevertheless she advises her clients that ignoring negative comments or writing them off as “sour grapes,” is always a big mistake. “If an organization truly values their employees and their reputation, they will have a strategy to deal with good and bad ratings,” she says.
She also notes that rating websites give job hunters valuable clues how to prepare for interviews. “If a summer intern writes that she spent her work term filing or trying to look busy because no work was assigned, the next applicant may be wise to ask specifically what her job responsibilities will be.”
Another helpful feature for job seekers on Glassdoor.ca is that people who have recently been interviewed by a company can describe the interview process and post interview questions they were asked. For instance, at Indigo Books & Music an applicant was recently asked to name a book and how she would sell it to the interviewer.