Employer reviews: the nature and senselessness of anonymous reviews

Together with job sites, where you can quite openly express an opinion about a company, logging in through social networks, the “black lists” of employers are actively developing in RuNet. This is a real cesspool of negative emotions, which, by the will of fate, I first plunged recently. The instinct prompted that there should be reviews only from storekeepers, and fast food employees — that is, from the position where the low threshold of entry and high turnover of personnel. What was my surprise when I found a lot of slop erupted at IT companies, including those where half of the industry wants to work! Is it possible that in the market where logic rules, this dirt is quoted?


I am a manual testing specialist with many years of experience. I don’t want to call my employer, because it’s not about him specifically, but about the industry as a whole. But it was the company profile on one of the review sites that prompted me to contact the community with this text (and questions at the end).

I am basically satisfied with the working conditions. My colleagues and I have been working on an interesting project for a couple of years, we are paid the promised wages on time, everything is fair with taxes. As in any team, there are mutual misunderstandings, but they are solved in working order. In the worst case, someone will yell at someone, but calm down. The situation suits me so much that I recently decided to recommend a vacancy in the same company to a good friend. What was my surprise when he, studying the Internet for feedback about a potential employer (apparently to complete the picture that I described), found whole buckets of sloping water to not only the company, but also its leaders personally, in my opinion, quite adequate. Tellingly, these buckets were found on the site of anonymous reviews - see, an unknown author or authors were afraid to leave their name under the above.

People who have said goodbye to the company during the time that I work here can be counted on fingers. And just a couple of them left with scandal. There is no need to be a detective to build an assumption. But it is impossible to assert reliably that this is one of them. Maybe this is the machinations of competitors, or so some candidate was noted, not the last interview? Or a bot, and why not? There may be many options, but suspicion primarily falls on former employees. Apparently, this is how our brain works. However, when I communicated with them personally, I could not even think that they were capable of expressing their emotions “from under the floor”. Not only is it anonymous, it’s also complete nonsense.

I am not so “employer-oriented” to rush to argue and whitewash the company in the above mentioned septic tanks. But it became a shame for the team, after all, they also walked through the recall, although they did not give names. And I'm helpful to understand - what is it, who reads it at all and why anonymous reviews have a non-zero effect?

Resource motivation

Honestly, I myself did not particularly look at the reviews on the Internet in employment. Much more information can be obtained from existing employees - during the interview. And in the responses, you initially expect more negative. It is known that negative experience is described more often.

Data on reviews as a whole - not only for employers, but also for goods / services, source.

As I began to dig, I discovered a whole Universe of negative things that someone is probably studying.
Resources that collect this negative proudly report on the truth to employees, which is posted on their pages, ignoring the fact that an anonymous review can be left by anyone, not just an employee. And in practice, in the search, along with the sites themselves, ads are easily found, offering to remove negative from them for money. Even for life.

Screenshot fragment of the first page of Google

An interesting model of work is obtained: they throw up negatives, and then they easily prove to the company that their reputation in the labor market is spoiled (read: normal people will not work here), so you need to urgently invest in restoring it.

How true these ads are is a separate conversation. But in general, this whole system with reviews seems to be “feeding” an entire army of companies supposedly professionally working with reputation. They do not even need to have any connection with the otzovikov sites. For a successful business, it is enough just to promote through PR the idea that the negative should be properly processed, and they are here to help. No, for sure there are normal tools for working with reputations, but, you see, all this looks very doubtful in connection with anonymous reviews.

Imaginary anonymity

The degree of anonymity of the author of the review is highly dependent on the size of the company.
If this is a conditional Google with offices in different cities and countries, a bunch of divisions and a huge personnel flow, the author of the review is quite a chance to remain unrecognized.
But if, like us, there are enough fingers to count the employees who are no longer working in the company, then if you specify the details in the recall, it is quite possible to establish who wrote it, even if he did not bother to subscribe. And references to small companies on such sites - the majority.

In general, anonymity turns out to be some kind of "one-sided". Each review contains quite reliable company names, and often the full name of the guilty (from the point of view of the review author) employees, but not the data of the “prosecutor”. The resources themselves explain this contradiction by saying that reviewers want to feel safe. However, this smacks of banal deception - the desire to lure the audience more through the dirt and false promises. More audience - more attention to the site, more noise, which means even more visitors. And more likely that there will be someone willing to pay for deleting a review, isn't it?

By the way, about three years ago on Habré there was an analysis of such sites with evidence that they are optimized for issuing in a search by company name in the very first Google, specifically of a negative.

And anonymity allows you to "hide the ends in the water." You can write any implausible dirt, but the claim for protection of business reputation from a company or an employee mentioned does not threaten the site or the author of the text. There is no need to even enter into a dialogue - simply there is no one with it (technically, there is an option to protect business reputation in court in this case, but there is talk about special production - here you have to go to lawyers for advice).

In general, to fully experience the situation, you always want to listen to the second side of the conflict. In the format of an open dialogue with the indication of posts this would be more informative. Here we see the outpouring of the subjective, which is very similar to the behavior of a cowardly schoolboy: put the feces in a bag, set it on fire, threw it under the door and ran away so that no one could guess who did it.

It is curious that an attempt to create a mirror situation - a site for companies with feedback on employees and their personal data - is punishable by a whole list of laws. It turns out that legal entities and employees who still work in it cannot protect themselves from dismissed ones?

Motivation of authors

Frankly, researching the question, I myself plunged into reading reviews in the companies of my region. Overall impression - for the most part there are some emotions and a minimum of facts.
There is a separate “pot” for companies that do not pay the promised money, but here, in my opinion, employees are often to blame for themselves - you do not have to agree to “gray” conditions from the start, no matter what nice-looking personnel tell you. There are several legal and legitimate schemes of interaction with a legal entity (TK, author's agreement, PI, etc.), each of which is applicable in its own situation. And in order not to be deceived, you just need to understand how they differ from each other.

If the review does not apply to money, then it often goes to the individual. And here in many cases, the description of the situation shows that the problem is not so much in the company as in the inability of the employee to control his emotions, approach the problem from the right side, etc. This is especially noticeable to those who at least occasionally work with subordinates. I believe that a large proportion of those who are dissatisfied are among those who could not cope with their work and were dismissed fairly. And such a “review”, sent anonymously, allows revenge for the employer for “unfair dismissal”.

Was there an author?

On any site with anonymous reviews, I did not notice the information that the reliability of these facts was checked by someone. In the case of my employer, the facts stated in the recall hinted at a well-defined employee. But where did he get all these details from? And in general, was he? Truth there is about a third. And who is the judge here? It seems that nothing prevents to write a negative review about the company in which you have never worked. Or run a bot that will scribble such opus on all the companies?

It seems to me that if these otzoviki really pursued some “lofty goals” about bringing order to the labor market, they would require registration from the users indicating real, and even passport, data and checking the information - at least the basic facts (worked with such for such, dismissed under article), but simply would not show data to employers and other visitors.

It is curious that the same sites are full of companies with supposedly perfect reputation. This is what gives me the biggest questions. Is this possible: for organizations that have the highest ratings on sites with non-anonymous reviews, one or two points, and for some obscure PIs, pawnshops and obscure medicine clinics from the regions, only the highest rating? And I'm not the only one so incredulous ... People in general do not believe in ideals.

Rating of reviews that cause the most trust among readers, source )

What I think as a consumer reviews

Actually, I hurt that so walked on my team.

An acquaintance did send his resume, but for this, in a conversation with him, I became the “seller” of the employer — I explained the situation to him as she looks on my part. Tellingly, my review had more weight, since we are not familiar with the first day. And in my example, he also plans to ask questions during the interview ...

Honestly, I would like to see the same thing in the feedback on employers on career resources: any positive or negative should be signed by a specific employee indicating the position in which he worked. It’s possible that they throw stones at me for this, but I am inclined to think of senior-developers who have worked for several years in one company, to trust more than juniors who haven’t passed a probationary period. And I want to be able to contact the author of the review in order to get the details of interest, and at the same time to make sure that this is a current or former employee, and not a misleading “Cossack” or bot.

Sites with anonymous reviews should disappear or cease to be anonymous, so as not to lose a niche in the market. And at the moment it is completely discredited dumps. I doubt that a reasonable person will write a review or look for useful information.

And what do you think?

  1. Do you believe anonymous otzovikam about employers? (well no)
  2. Your opinion about the employer would be corrected, if the negative response of the company or its existing employees, as advised by “reputation managers”? (well no)

If you believe, explain in the comments why.

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Do you believe anonymous otzovikam about employers?

Your opinion about the employer would be corrected, if the negative response of the company or its existing employees, as advised by “reputation managers”?

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