Bringing up negative company reviews in your interview could actually help you land the job

There's a fine line between being frank and offending your interviewer.

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There’s a fine line between being frank and offending your interviewer.
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Pressmaster/Shutterstock

  • Bringing up negative Glassdoor reviews during a job interview sounds like a risky idea.
  • But it might be in your best interest, and also the company’s, to discuss any red flags you read about online.
  • Just be sure to bring up any incidents in a non-judgmental way.

A job interview might seem like the worst place to bring up your prospective employer’s negative Glassdoor reviews.

But, according to Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman, with the right approach, you can get honest feedback and impress your interviewer in the process.

Hohman told Business Insider that candidates should indeed ask questions about any negative things they’ve read about the company online.

In his own capacity as an interviewer, Hohman said that he appreciates it when candidates asking tough questions, as this demonstrates that they’ve done their homework. “I’m always happy to give them the full picture around whatever the issue was,” Hohman said.

And it’s not just him. Hohman added that many of the companies Glassdoor works with, including Google and Amazon, would agree. “They really value candidates who come knowing what they’re getting into… if they hire the wrong person it’s really expensive,” he said.

According to Coast Resource’s George Black, it costs an average of two and a half times an individual’s salary to replace an employee who doesn’t work out, including the cost of recruitment, training, and severance, as well as lost productivity. More than four out of 10 organizations (42%) say it costs at least three times an employee’s salary.

And from a job seeker’s perspective, vetting and rejecting potentially toxic workplaces is crucial.

“Most people value an employer that is willing to engage in that conversation,” Hohman said. “If an employer is going to be offended about you asking that curiously, odds are you probably don’t want to work there anyway.”

So how do you ask about a company’s problems without sounding overly confrontational? The key is exhibiting curiosity, as opposed to judgment.

Hohman provided an easy way to frame your question as non-confrontational: “I read this on Glassdoor, could you tell me about that?”

Basically, avoid coming across like you’re already assuming the company is in the wrong.

“Frequently the company will have a very different perspective on what happened, and it really helps you understand the full picture when you get their perspective, too,” Hohman said.

Risking an awkward question might sound like an iffy job interview strategy, but it’s a crucial part of engaging in an honest dialogue with a potential employer.