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4 Ways to Decode Glassdoor Reviews When Job Searching

4 Ways to Decode Glassdoor Reviews When Job Searching

I separate employee reviews on any platform as the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good is obviously anything great they have to say about the company, from career growth to good benefits.

The bad can be considered any major growing pains the company may be having. These issues are not necessarily things that would make you not apply, only things that would make you do more research before applying. This can include but is not limited to: recent acquisitions and corporate restructuring that is necessarily favorable to the company. As some acquisitions and corporate restructuring can be favorable to companies, creating more opportunities for you as a potential employee.

The ugly is anything negative employees have to say. These are things that would make you not apply at all. This can include but is not limited to: no growth opportunities and horrible pay.

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If you’ve read company reviews you can tell that there are instances when some of the reviews come from a really horrible place. You might read a review and see that an employee has let too much loose or may be mad for another reason entirely.

Here are the quickest ways to decipher the good, the bad and the ugly:

Review the “Advice to Management” section

Always pay close attention to the “Advice to Management” section. It should be the first section you review. You want to know the type of people you will possibly be working for or with. If numerous employees are talking about the same issues this could be a red flag.

For example things like: no leadership, poor management, disrespectful management staff—these are all troubling issues. If these things do exist this could mean that structurally the company isn’t doing well.

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If you are going for a management role, this could trickle up to you. Or this may not be a bad thing, as maybe you can help restructure the company. However, you’d just have to find out if the company is actually open to it.

Look for employee reviews who have a similar role

When you are looking at reviews you should make sure you read at least 2-3 reviews of people who have had the role that you are going for, or a similar role. The reason for this is because you can see whether or not there are growth opportunities specific to your role.

If you are in the technology industry, you know that it is always changing. So you don’t want to get stuck at a company that does not keep up with the industry. Simply because your skills will be dated by the time you leave.

For example, if you see an employer still using a wang computer system with 4kb ram of memory and cassette tape storage, this should be a red flag.

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If you are truly interested in the company you could try to find out if they are open to advancing their technology. During your interview you could create a case for it and offer to help.

Pay attention to when the reviews were written 

I’m a firm believer that organizations can change for good (if they want to). When you see tons of negative reviews, you should note the dates and lapses in time frames.

It is not to say that a review from 6 years ago should be completely discarded. However, you want to make sure that the most recent reviews mention more positive things as opposed to 6 years ago.

It is quite possible that with exit interviews and general employee concerns over the years, a company who wants to put their employees first will and may have made improvements. Obviously things will not get changed overnight.

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Pay attention to companies that actually respond to reviews

Now I’m not saying that just because a company responds to a Glassdoor review, it’s the best place to work at. I’m simply saying in a very large way, it shows that they do care about how employees view their company. It shows that they understand brand reputation isn’t just about producing a good product; it’s also about the people behind the brand.

Obviously they can’t comment on every single thing, but you want to see a few responses. While some responses are fluff, I’ve seen others where companies take responsibility for issues and advise from what they are working on and what they’ve already worked on; as well as mentioning if they feel there is a discrepancy.

When reading online reviews for anything you have to find your equal medium. Make the best decision possible and then work from there. No matter what you choose, there is no right or wrong, only a lesson learned for next time. As each job teaches you something new about yourself.

More by this author

Aqueelah Emanuel

Founder of AQ's Corner

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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