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Can a Company Review Kill Your Dream to Work There?

Recently, a talent pulled out of a senior-level role due to the reviews they read on a well-known “straight-from-source” peer review website.

Up until this point, they were the front runner to be offered a role with a global organisation. The interviews had been incredibly successful and culturally, both parties seemed to be a great fit.

However, after the talent did their own research and across peer reviews from (recent) employees that had worked with this particular company, they politely pulled out of the interview process. 

Out of curiosity, I created a LinkedIn poll asking people if they would go through the recruitment process & make up their own minds OR pull out of the recruitment process “if” they came across bad company reviews.

The Results

223 people voted and 49% said they would pull out of the job process, while 51% said they would keep interviewing. 

Some of the respondents said: 

“I would definitely pull out. I had made the mistake of joining a nationally well-known organisation instead of reading their terrible reviews (related to work culture), and it ended up adversely affecting my mental health. It is so important to take reviews seriously.” 

“Keep interviewing and make up my mind if I get an offer. I would also study whether there have been leadership changes — it’s always important to note the publish dates of those reviews. Older angrier reviews get ranked higher for some reason. I also discern the root issue from a bad review — what’s bad for one person could be good for me.”

“We’ve been created differently in every aspect, so what might seem a terrible experience to someone will not be the same for another, I have to experience it myself to decide, I’ll always have the chance to quit.”

To Research or Not Research?

How many times have you started a new job with an organisation, only to find the culture was the opposite of what you expected? Maybe you went into a job with low expectations, only to be pleasantly surprised by how amazing the company culture is. The reality is no matter what you read or find out by speaking to past and present employees, everyone is going to have a different experience. Plus, employees come and go (even managers & CEOs), which can drastically change the culture of the company. 

If you choose not to research the company prior to being interviewed, look out for signs during the interview that don’t align with your values or contradict what you’ve been previously told.  

During the interview:

  • Look around at people’s faces! Do they look happy to be there? What’s the general vibe in the office like? Buzzing? Or is there complete silence? YIKES!
  • Notice how the interviewer speaks about current (and past!) employees within the company
  • Refuse to answer and take notice of any inappropriate questions you are asked!
  • Ask about the company culture and values – what’s important to this company? And, what steps does management take to enrich the company culture?

Research, Research, Research!

If you decide to research beforehand, think of some questions ahead of the interview, around your role, the key clients (and the current relationship the organisation has with them), the company culture, flexibility and salary.

According to a survey conducted by US company CareerBuilder, two-thirds of employees said they accepted a job only to realise it was not a good fit and half of them quit in the first six months. While it’s hard to know what you’re stepping into, researching the company beforehand will give you a better insight into the culture and feel of the company. 

Research the company by looking at Glassdoor or HerWerk for recent employee reviews. If you feel comfortable doing so, contact current and former employees via LinkedIn and ask them basic questions about what they like and disliked about the company. Everyone will have a different opinion, so it’s important to speak to as many people as possible.

Topics could include;

  • Company culture
  • Treatment of staff
  • Office environment
  • Office perks
  • Management 

Having a better understanding of the company and culture is important. If you have made it to the interview round and have decided the company is not a good fit for you, simply call or email the interviewer/recruiter thanking them for their consideration and politely ask to be taken out of the running. If you want to have a confidential chat or need advice, please send me an email HERE. 


Iceberg, Melbourne’s go-to recruitment company! Specialising exclusively in recruiting for digital, marketing, PR, digital, experiential & advertising jobs. Permanent, freelance and contract roles available!. Sign up to our weekly newsletter HERE.