Last updated: February 8, 2021
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Have you ever wondered what working for a particular company would be like? Sometimes a job posting does not provide all the details that you need or want to know to help you decide if you want to apply for that position. You may want to know what management is like or if the workload is reasonable or what the customers are like.
It is okay to research a potential employer. There is a very good chance a potential employer will research you with a background check. So checking a company’s background is not out of line. Thankfully, you can check reviews of potential employers in the same way that employers can check your references.
Two websites that I have used to research work at home companies are Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com. Indeed is considered more of a job website for traditional commuting jobs but it is also a wonderful resource for finding remote jobs. The site provides a section for current and past employees to post reviews of companies for which they have worked and links those reviews to a company’s job postings.
Glassdoor is a website primarily dedicated to providing a place for current and past employees to post reviews of companies for which they have worked. Glassdoor provides job postings as well. Both Glassdoor and Indeed provides a rating system in which to grade each company. They also provide an opportunity to leave a written review.
Indeed and Glassdoor have provided quite a bit of insight on some of the companies and positions for which I have considered applying. Some reviews were encouraging and led me to move forward with my application, while other reviews have left me apprehensive about applying. Then there were some reviews that were very mixed and left me confused. From my experience, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering these reviews.
1. Age of the Review
I have observed several companies whose reviews fell into two distinct ratings. Either the reviewer hated the company or loved the company. There were not many ratings that fell somewhere in between. I would then noticed that the bad reviews often fell into either a recent time period of less than a year or a long passed time period of more than a year and the great reviews fell into the opposite time period. So Company ABC would have a lot of high ratings from 2 years ago but recent ratings within the last year have been consistently low. Or Company XYZ would have pretty low ratings from a couple of years ago but its recent ratings from the past year were much better.
I took ratings like this to mean that the company had either improved its performance with its employees – if the ratings went up over the last year or so – or the company had become worse – if the ratings went down. I gave more weight to the most recent ratings because they were a better indicator of how well the company was currently regarded by its employees.
2. Length of the review
Suggestion: Always read the reviews. Do not rely on the ratings alone. A written review gives the story behind the rating.
The most insightful reviews are always those that have a lengthy written comment. A short review of only a sentence or two tells you almost next to nothing. Often a short review is just a rant from a disgruntled former employee that does not add any insight to your research.
A long but well-written review often provides lists of pros and cons and likely covers a number of the questions you really want to be answered about the potential employer. I tend to give more weight to written reviews that provide well-thought-out reviews that justify their rating for a company, regardless if the rating is high or low.
3. Employee’s Location
Many companies have more than one office or location. However, Indeed or Glassdoor may or may not make a distinction between each location. Therefore, low reviews from a company’s New York office may be mixed in with high reviews from their Los Angeles office.
When analyzing reviews for work at home jobs, always keep in mind that many companies have remote workers as well as on-site workers. For example, Alorica, which hires many work at home employees through its Alorica At-home division also has a brick-and-mortar on-site call center in my hometown and some other U.S. cities. However, on Glassdoor, I have found remote employee and on-site employee reviews mixed together under one heading for Alorica.
Therefore, when reading the reviews, try to look out for those distinctions if you are aware that the company hires work at home and on-site workers or that it has multiple offices.
4. Companies that work with more than one brand
A great deal of work at home customer service jobs are offered by companies that service multiple brands and clients. While there are numerous individual company brands that hire remote workers, the majority of remote customer service support jobs can be found in companies that hire workers to provide customer support for different types of businesses.
All the work at home jobs that I have worked have been with companies of this kind. A company can have one client that needs phone support to make customer’s reservations, another client that needs support for its online store, another client that needs workers to make outbound sales calls, and another client that needs workers to answer technical support calls.
When I was hired by one of these companies, I was brought on to provide support for only one of their brands or clients though, not all of them. Therefore, when an employee submits a review of the company to Indeed or Glassdoor, he or she can only provide a review of the brand(s) in which they provided support. Having worked for multiple brands within one company, I can definitely say that my experience with some brands has been wonderful, but working with some other brands was pretty difficult.
Also, each brand is serviced by a different management team. Therefore, an employee’s complaint or compliment regarding management is meant for that team in particular and not the entire company.
Additionally, each client has specific preferences regarding the type of support that is provided. Therefore, an employee’s gripe about the workload for that client only applies to that client, not the entire company.
Therefore, when analyzing reviews for work at home jobs from companies like Alorica, Sykes, Sitel, Working Solutions, NexRep, or LiveOps, try to distinguish which project, client or brand is being reviewed. Some employees are thoughtful enough to mention them in their reviews.
5. Positions in the Company
When studying reviews for work at home jobs, keep in mind that employees from different positions and departments within a company can post reviews. Therefore, you will see reviews for jobs in which you do not intend to apply and reviews that may have no direct influence over your perception of the company. Only consider reviews that are connected to the position or department for which you are interested.
So if you are looking to apply for the customer service department of a company, the low ratings from employees in the IT department may not have a direct influence over the position you are interested in. However, if you find poor reviews from those who worked in management positions, you may want to be concerned.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to check a potential employer’s references in the same way that they would check yours when applying for a job? Or maybe you just want to know more about a company before you say “yes” to a job offer. There is nothing wrong with being curious about a company’s reputation. Being informed beforehand could save you a lot of problems in the future.
So take all the factors that I have listed here into consideration when researching potential employees. You may find that a company has an overall mid-to-low rating among former and current employees. However, a closer inspection of the written reviews may show you that most of the reviews are from employees from the company’s on-site location or that most of the reviews are from more than 2 years ago, or that most of the poor reviews are from employees who worked for the same client within the company. It is important to consider all the relevant factors.
Have you ever researched a potential employer? Did you find out anything interesting about the company? Share your experience in the comments below!