July 14, 2023
min read

The Glassdoor Dilemma: Unveiling the Truth Behind Company Reviews

Luis Minvielle

Does Glassdoor remove company reviews? 

Lately, the question has been lingering among professionals who’re wondering about the behaviour of one of the most traditional company review platforms.

The answer is as complex as the relationship between Glassdoor, HR departments, and the impact of negative reviews on companies. Throughout this article, we will equip you with the tools to identify potential discrepancies and red flags in company reviews. By understanding the dynamics at play, you can navigate the review landscape more effectively and make better-informed decisions about your career trajectory.

The Glassdoor controversy

Glassdoor, a company review site founded in 2007, quickly became synonymous with forthright employee transparency, providing a platform for sincere employees to share their blunt experiences and opinions about their employers without retaliation. It promises an unfiltered view of the corporate world, allowing job seekers to make informed decisions based on real employee insights. 

However, recent revelations have exposed a more nuanced reality, raising concerns about the reliability and integrity of the reviews on Glassdoor. Research by blogger Gergely Orosz suggests that companies turn to review manipulation on Glassdoor after carrying out mass layoffs. It seems that when companies face workforce reductions, their previously positive reviews take a nosedive. This, in turn, prompts companies to take unethical action – avowed by Glassdoor — to protect their reputation.

“I’ve been wanting to get in with this one company for a while, and they had a rash of bad reviews that seemed to focus on a few things that didn’t seem to apply to the department I wanted, so I wasn’t too concerned.

Now, a position has come up and I’m back looking on Glassdoor and suddenly all the bad reviews that were up last year are gone. Not even a reference to "has been removed due to..." or anything. From what I remember, there were no personal things, no names, no firm numbers. Just general things like “management thinks” and things of that nature.

So do companies have a way to pay-to-remove or otherwise influence reviews? I suppose my fear is that a company that would remove bad reviews rather than answer/address them is far shadier than I would expect.” — 4br4c4d4br4 on Reddit

A delicate balance

While Glassdoor vehemently denies allowing review manipulation, it’s important to consider the platform’s financial dependence on the companies being reviewed. 

Glassdoor generates revenue by selling job advertisements and company branding services to employers. However, Glassdoor has stated that revenue from these services does not affect how the company displays or moderates reviews on its platform, which are determined by a proprietary algorithm and strict community guidelines.

But this reliance on organisations that reviewers might be scolding raised questions about the true nature of its customer base. By following the money trail, a potential conflict of interest that casts doubt on the platform’s impartiality clearly arises. 

“You cannot trust Glassdoor anymore. I think they get paid by engaged employers to remove negative reviews. Their business model makes money on companies. It is all about money. The Glassdoor is not longer friend to job seekers (not sure it has ever been). Do not trust it.” — Anonymous user on Quora

HR and Glassdoor: A symbiotic relationship

HR departments play a vital role in managing a company’s reputation, and the impact of Glassdoor reviews on their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) cannot be underestimated. It comes as no surprise, then, that communication between HR teams and Glassdoor is both frequent and consequential. 

When negative reviews appear, HR departments actively flag them for potential removal. However, the guidelines governing review removal on Glassdoor remain veiled in secrecy, leaving employees and job seekers questioning the platform’s transparency. Glassdoor claims to have certain policies and criteria for review removal, but the details of their decision-making process are largely undisclosed.

“I wrote a 1 star review of my former company, after they terminated me [the] same day I gave notice (not because I had done anything bad, just because I told them I would be accepting another offer). This was not a good review for them, but it certainly wasn’t inappropriate. Previously the company had other bad reviews as well. I went on today and the company has NO reviews, NONE. I looked [at] my contributions and it said mine was removed for violating community guidelines. I read these guidelines and I could find nothing wrong so I posted another review, less scathing and specific, more general- of course this couldn’t be taken down. WRONG 15 seconds later that was also removed. So I wrote another this time it was extremely vague and absolutely NOTHING specific, this review wasn’t positive but it was hardly negative. It couldn’t possibly be violating guidelines. Again wrong, this was again taken down in 15 seconds.” — mermaidpro2 on Reddit

Case study: Company X

To provide a more in-depth understanding of the impact of negative reviews and the process of review removal, we turn to the research conducted by Gergely Orosz. Through his investigation, Orosz uncovered a compelling case study involving “Company X,” a company that underwent a significant downsizing, resulting in a sharp decline in its Glassdoor rating.

Determined to restore its reputation, Company X embarked on a strategic mission to improve their score. HR flagged 1-star reviews for potential removal, acknowledging that Glassdoor has the final say on content decisions. Simultaneously, the company initiated efforts to generate a wave of new 5-star reviews. This was achieved through HR initiatives or by leveraging company events, with the aim of creating a positive atmosphere.

The combined approach of review removal and the influx of positive reinforcement proved to be effective for Company X. Within a remarkably short span of just two months, their Glassdoor rating experienced a notable improvement, soaring from 2.3 to 2.8. The company’s ultimate goal is to surpass the coveted 3.0 mark, which holds significant weight for prospective employees and job seekers.

Orosz’s research sheds light on the intricate dynamics at play between Glassdoor, HR departments, and the manipulation of company reviews. While Glassdoor maintains that they do not allow review manipulation, the realities of its business model, which heavily relies on revenue from the companies being reviewed, raise questions about the platform’s ability to maintain absolute impartiality.

It is crucial for individuals navigating the job market to be aware of these intricacies. Glassdoor's reviews should be approached with a discerning eye, recognising that the relationship between Glassdoor and HR departments introduces potential biases and challenges the platform’s claim of impartiality.

“How reliable is Glassdoor? My negative review is no longer visible. Today I got an email from Glassdoor saying that since my review contained “strong allegations” against my former employer I had to re-submit it. After navigating their terrible mobile browser site I was able to do so. However, my review along with the only other negative review (out of 6 total reviews) are no longer visible on the company’s page. It says there are 6 reviews but only shows the 4 positive ones.” — scrumperumper on Reddit

Spotting red flags 🚩

Given the complex dynamics at play, it’s essential for job seekers to approach Glassdoor reviews with a discerning eye. 

While Glassdoor claims to foster transparency, the reality may be more nuanced. Here are a few red flags to consider when analysing company reviews:

  1. Sudden and dramatic rating changes: If a company’s rating experiences significant fluctuations over a short period, it may warrant closer scrutiny.
  2. A flood of positive reviews: An influx of glowing 5-star reviews should raise eyebrows, especially after negative ones were flagged or removed.
  3. Lack of transparency in review removal: Glassdoor’s opacity regarding the review removal process leaves room for speculation. It’s important to take reviews with a grain of salt and conduct thorough research before drawing conclusions.

Navigating the Glassdoor maze and making informed choices

Glassdoor’s position in the world of company reviews is both powerful and precarious. It’s imperative to approach Glassdoor reviews with caution.  As you embark on your own job search journey, we encourage you to consider multiple sources of information and not rely solely on Glassdoor reviews. Connect with current or former employees, conduct thorough research, and engage in reverse interviews with potential colleagues to interpret a company’s culture and work environment.

When asked about product reviews, most consumers point out that they filter by four-star businesses only. This is, to purchase products, they check for well-reviewed businesses. Could it be that this stands for companies, as well, pushing the review sites to moderate towards four or five stars?

Remember, fellow tech enthusiasts, while Glassdoor can provide glimpses into a company’s inner workings, it should never be the sole basis for your decision-making process. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the world of company reviews and make informed choices:

  1. Seek patterns: Don’t focus solely on individual reviews; instead, look for recurring themes or patterns across multiple reviews. This will give you a more reliable indication of the company’s strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Consider the sample size: Consider the number of reviews a company has. A single negative review among a sea of positive ones may not be a cause for concern, but if a significant portion of the reviews point to similar issues, it’s worth paying attention to.
  3. Read between the lines: Reviews can sometimes be subjective or biased. Look for reviews that provide specific examples or detailed accounts of experiences. These tend to carry more weight than generic or vague statements.
  4. Seek alternative sources: While Glassdoor is a popular platform, it’s not the only one. Check out other review sites, professional networking platforms, and even social media to gather a more comprehensive picture of a company’s reputation.
  5. Connect with current or former employees: Reach out to people in your network who may have worked at the company you’re interested in. Their firsthand experiences can offer valuable insights and help you make a more informed decision.


While Glassdoor remains a prominent platform for company reviews, it’s crucial to approach its content with a critical mindset. While the platform positions itself as a paragon of transparency, the reality may be more multifaceted. The relationship between Glassdoor and HR departments introduces potential biases and challenges the platform’s claim of impartiality. As individuals seeking employment opportunities, it is imperative to spot red flags and exercise caution when relying solely on Glassdoor reviews. By combining online research with personal connections and in-depth interviews, you can better understand a company’s culture, work environment, and overall reputation.

In the dynamic tech industry, where talent and opportunities abound, it’s essential to stay informed and make decisions based on various trustworthy sources. Remember, the power to shape your career lies in your hands, and by being proactive and discerning, you can find the perfect fit for your professional aspirations.

The Glassdoor Dilemma: Unveiling the Truth Behind Company Reviews

July 14, 2023
min read

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