Jobs is one of the most mature verticals online. There are the proverbial “big three”: CareerBuilder, Monster and the newly resurgent HotJobs. Then there is the insurgent turned incumbent Craigslist. Then there are the meta-search jobs sites such as Indeed and SimplyHired. Beyond this there are dozens and dozens more, not to mention niche job boards on blogs.
Undaunted, Glassdoor has entered the fray. The site, founded by former travel company executives, offers company ratings and detailed reviews and salary information. Think of it as Zillow or TripAdvisor for careers. Indeed the salaries information has the same voyeuristic and viral potential as Zillow’s home valuations.
When I spoke to CEO Robert Hohman and Chairman Rich Barton (who remains CEO of Zillow) we had a lengthy discussion about how you manage the “culture” of the site to avoid rants and character assassination (not to mention legal defamation). Without reproducing that discussion here, Hohman told me that all content is editorially reviewed and approved before it goes live and any mentions of individuals within companies (other than the CEOs, who are quasi-public figures) are disapproved.
The CEO rankings and ratings are more novel and PR-worthy than actually useful to job seekers, but most of the information here is potentially quite valuable (especially the salary survey and detailed narratives). The challenge is getting the content from current and former employees. Glassdoor has variety of ways to do that, but it asks people to enter or submit content about their own companies before they’re allowed to see in-depth information on the site. Membership is free; users are just asked to contribute as the “price” of admission.
Consistent with other projects he’s been involved in, Rich Barton wants to bring more “transparency” to the jobs market. Zillow and Avvo (another Barton-related effort) both do this for their respective verticals. However, Glassdoor isn’t the first site to bring “insider information” about companies to the Internet. The well-established Vault.com does something quite similar. That model is subscription-based but with advertising thrown in. Glassdoor will be largely ad supported.
As mentioned, Glassdoor has the potential to be extremely viral. However the familiar “chicken and egg” problem must be conquered: can the site get the content that it needs from users in order to make it really useful and widely used? Over time, certainly.
Glassdoor has spent about six months building up a base of content about the most high-profile tech companies in Silicon Valley and the financial sector. It will need to move beyond that to more mundane and traditional industries to gain mainstream appeal, however. But this is an impressive start.