Since it was founded in 2008, Glassdoor has been changing the job searching process through crowdsourcing. Glassdoor leverages the knowledge of employees of companies to collect data about these companies’ positions, salaries, interview process, culture, and more. This compilation of data is then used to attract job-seekers to glassdoor.com. People visit the website to learn about companies they are considering, to prepare for interviews, and to get an idea of companies’ pay and benefits. The more job-seekers use Glassdoor, the more attractive it becomes for recruiters. Glassdoor allows companies to create a branded company profile and post jobs, making glassdoor.com a one-stop-shop for job-seekers – from discovery of companies, through research, and until the application. Users are then encouraged to come back and report about the process they went through (interviews, salary, etc.), and so the cycle continues. The incentive of companies to create a company page and post jobs on Glassdoor is clear, and they pay for this service. But how does Glassdoor convince employees and job-seekers to share information and enrich the database? One important method they use is enforcing reciprocity. To see all the reviews a user must sign up. As part of the signup the user is prompted to reveal where she works, what is her salary and write a review about the company. There is a way to skip this but Glassdoor really tries to hide this option. In any case, after reviewing a few postings the user must upgrade to a “premium account” by, you guessed correctly, posting a salary, an interview, or a review of a company. Thus, every user who uses Glassdoor for more than a one-off search must contribute to the database. Still, most posts are very thoughtful and comprehensive, indicating that people are actually interested in sharing their experience. Disgruntled employees use Glassdoor as a small revenge against their employers, and happy employees use it to share their satisfaction and make it public. It seems like Glassdoor serves as a resort to every engaged employee, whether she’s happy with her job or not.
Glassdoor clearly creates value to both job-seekers and companies. Job-seekers get job-specific crowd-sourced information they would otherwise not have access to, and companies get access to a highly targeted set of candidates – candidates that are in the market for a new job and have looked into the company. Glassdoor is a private company so its financials are not published, but it seems that their value capture is mainly based on charges to companies that post jobs ($99-$249 per month per ad) and promote their brand (by building and promoting their profile page). Another, secondary source of revenue is display ads (powered by Google ads).
Glassdoor has been successful in creating a large database and positioning itself as a destination for job-seekers. This will be difficult to replicate and gives them a competitive advantage in the field of company-specific intelligence over other players in the recruiting market, including the behemoth LinkedIn. However, Glassdoor cannot rest on its laurels. The data they crowd-source constantly changes and to remain up-to-date, Glassdoor must continue building the community and expanding its database and user base, or else it would quickly become obsolete. To add to that, other companies are constantly innovating in the recruiting space, spearheaded by LinkedIn which aspires to be the portal for job-seekers and recruiters. It’s not impossible for LinkedIn to attack Glassdoor in its home court and start compiling a similar database, they certainly have deep enough pockets to do so. Still, Glassdoor has been very successful in crowd-sourcing company-specific intelligence and is well set to remain a key player in the online recruiting market.