Taking Cues From Former Employees to Know What Employers Expect

Interview Tips

Past and current employees can give you valuable career advice on what it’s like to work at a company. You might learn that it’s a great place to work for, or you may learn that there are difficult personalities. Offering insight, employee comments provide both pros and cons with potential employers!

1. Online Searches For Employee Comments

Before interviewing with a new company, it might help to see what others have to say about working there, especially if it’s a dream company you’re hoping to work for long term. Do a search with the company name and include the word “comments” to see if there’s a job board where current and past employees have expressed what it was like working at the business. While one person’s negative comments if they were fired may not be accurate, if the company consistently receives 1-star, negative feedback, it can be a warning sign you might not want to work there.

2. How Inside Information Benefits You

When you read comments and reviews online from people that worked at a particular company, the inside information can be insightful. You might be able to get a bird’s eye view on what it’s like to work at that company. For example, comments might indicate specifics about hiring practices, what it’s like to work in specific departments, salaries, benefits, promotions, and more. This can help if you’re considering this particular company long-term or if you want to work in a specific department. Employee comments can offer transparent insight on how a business treats its staff.

3. When Employees Mention Difficult Personalities

Employees may complain online about a staff member with a difficult personality. It might be a senior-level manager or owner with a Type-A personality. If you wouldn’t be reporting directly to this person, it might not be a problem. The downside is, if you are in their department or directly under them, and you have any kind of anxiety issues or haven’t worked with difficult people, you might want to pass. There are all kinds of office politics, anger issues, and passive-aggressive personalities that you may have to deal with and keeping stress levels down is important.

4. Interviews at Firms with Less Than Stellar Reputations

It can be tough to decide on interviewing with a company with a bad reputation. For example, all negative feedback and comments about sexist staff might indicate it’s not a good working environment for women. A bank or financial firm where employees have complained about long hours and minimal time off can also be a deterrent. At the same time, if you have specific goals and a plan to only stay for a year or two, it may help. At least you’re going in knowing what to expect and a well-known company name looks good on resumes.

5. When Employees Rave About Their Firm

When you do a search with a company name and include “comments” in your search, seeing a lot of 4-5 star ratings is great. That means employees are happy working for the business. Read through their comments to see if they worked or work in the department that you are apply for to help you learn more about the business. A word of caution though, there are fake reviews online where businesses are trying to make themselves look good if there were bad comments left. Read through all the comments for clear insight.

6. Should You Ever Contact a Former Employee?

If you are interested in interviewing at a job and find comments from past employees online, it might be tempting to try to contact them to find out more. Generally speaking, you might not want to do this as some job boards won’t allow it. If you find that the person is on LinkedIn and you know someone who knows them, it might be okay to reach out to them. Contacting former employees can help if you want to know the right person to get in touch with or who to ask for.

7. When A Company Has High Turnovers

You might find in your online search for a company’s comments from past employees that they had a lot of turnovers or disorganization in upper management. This can be a red flag that you might want to look elsewhere. It can be an indication that there are managerial conflicts and you might not receive the training or structure that you need to help advance your career. If a recruiter indicates that a business has high turnovers, this can also be a sign of layoffs, a manager that does a lot of firings, or internal politics you might want to avoid.

8. Search For Interview Questions

Before heading to your interview, check out the company’s Glassdoor interviews page. Here you can find interview questions from candidates and employees who went through the interview process with the company. You might even be able to find popular interview questions that were asked for the role you are applying. If the company doesn’t have results, try searching interviews and your job title. There’s a good chance other companies are asking similar questions for the same role.