What are company reviews and why are they important?

Updated 24 March 2023

If you plan to apply for jobs, researching different companies is valuable in the decision-making process. Company review sites are an excellent source of information for job searching. Whether you're preparing for an interview or considering which business is the right fit, these online resources can provide insight into a particular business' fit, culture and management style. In this article, we cover what company reviews are, how to interpret them and why they are important.

What are company reviews?

The answer to 'What are company reviews?' is essentially online opinions provided by current or past business employees. These reviews provide insight into many areas, from their culture to their competence in specific areas. As the opinion of a company from a person who works in a business or worked there previously, reviews provide a window into what it might be like to work for a particular employer. Businesses in many different industries have online reviews on various websites and social media channels, making it easy to explore past opinions about a company you may be considering pursuing.

Related: 10 online job interview tips

How to interpret business reviews

Looking up reviews of a company can provide valuable insight in deciding whether to continue with a job application. It's important to consider reviews objectively when assessing whether a business is a right fit for you, as there may be a bias from the original reviewer. Here are a few tips you may want to think about when interpreting online reviews for employers:

1. Think critically about anonymous or negative reviews

Negative reviews, particularly anonymous ones, may not reflect broader opinions about a particular company. For example, a fired employee may leave a negative review on a company review page in retaliation. In some cases, negative reviews may suggest the company is not a good fit for them personally, which can provide insight into deciding whether an employer may suit you. Understanding which reviews are negative for reasons beyond the workplace itself is valuable in ensuring you get a clear picture of an employer.

Related: A guide on how to ace an interview (With tips and examples)

2. Check the date of posting on reviews

Recent reviews are typically the most helpful in considering what the business is like now. Over time, company culture can change as management leaves or if there is a company takeover. Filtering by most recent reviews can help you to understand recent improvements. Older reviews are also helpful in identifying past problem areas to determine whether they appear resolved in current opinions.

3. Look for repeated patterns in complaints and praise

Examine negative and positive reviews for patterns in wording and topics discussed to get an idea of what a company is like. For example, positive reviews that always emphasise support and leadership suggest a strong management team and resources that can help you grow. Repeated negative feedback can also suggest common themes within a business, such as a lower-than-average salary or a poor work-life balance. By noting these topics in multiple reviews, you get a clearer picture of an employer's culture and day-to-day working environment.

4. Read a wide selection of reviews from different sources

Sticking to one review site or a handful of recent reviews is less effective than examining a wide selection of reviews to gain a more diverse insight into a company. Sourcing reviews from different sites can also help find employees of different demographics. Some sites may have more activity from management professionals, while others may be more applicable to entry-level roles. Gaining information from multiple sources can be valuable in building your impression of a company through important feedback.

5. Look at other competitors in the field

Examining similar businesses within the same sector can provide valuable insight when researching a potential employer. Comparing reviews of these competitors with the reviews of the company you're considering can help you determine whether complaints or praise apply to a particular business or is industry specific. For example, multiple law firms may have reviews talking about poor work-life balance, which indicates it is a concern across the whole industry rather than in a specific company.

Why are reviews important?

Reviews are important to your job search in providing valuable information from first-hand accounts. Instead of relying on the curated brand a company offers online, reviews provide insight into what a business is like from the perspective of current and past employees. Some ways reading reviews can benefit you in finding a job include:

Providing information to help you decide if an employer is a good fit

Deciding which roles to apply for and which companies to consider is more straightforward with all relevant information available to you. Decision-making with reviews can help you figure out which companies suit your preferred culture and working environment. Reading reviews can be helpful in sending cold applications to companies that don't have any vacancies, expressing an interest in working there in the future. If you have two job offers, reviews can also be a deciding factor in picking the job that's most suitable for you.

Related: Organisational culture importance: benefits and examples

Improving your understanding of the culture and style of a workplace

Job descriptions provide information about the responsibilities of individual positions, while reviews offer insight into the company beyond a particular job role. Factors like work-life balance, working environments, hours and management style are more easily found in reviews than in a typical job description, providing a well-rounded insight into a company. Review sites often offer information on salary and work culture up-front, giving information in seconds.

Helping you create a personalised cover letter

When applying to various companies, a personalised cover letter can be an effective way to stand out. Referencing your online research into different reviews can be helpful in picking out topics and information that could be valuable for your application. For example, you may include information that you're looking for a particular company culture that aligns with the review you've read. This extra insight demonstrates that you've taken the time to research and understand the company beyond the basics, which is in your favour for interviews.

Preparing you for an interview with relevant information

Interviews are the ideal time to bring up questions about a company, whether you have specific concerns or you'd like to learn more about the working life and culture of the business. Reading and noting reviews can allow you to discuss that feedback in an interview setting to gain extra insight or information. For example, you could ask for clarity on work-life balance after reading reviews. A company responding negatively to your questions can indicate a poor fit or suggest that a company is less likely to listen to employee opinions.

What's included with employer reviews?

Typically, company review pages include individual sections, allowing you to find information quickly and easily. For example, you can filter by age for the most recent reviews or search by relevance for specific terms and information within reviews. Typical review pages include:


The introduction section of a review page often features a snapshot of a company based on different reviews. This overview often includes overall star or number ratings for particular aspects within a company, such as work-life balance, compensation, culture and management. An introductory section may also provide quick insight into the most talked-about topics, average salaries and current job vacancies within the business.

Information about the company

The secondary section on a review page is a blurb or brief description of the company itself, typically created by the brand or sourced online. This section is the advertisement for the business and provides information about the number of employees in the company, the location of its headquarters and similar relevant details. Links to company websites and social media channels are also included here. If a company claims their profile, a tick, checkbox or approved status often confirms this.

Reviews from employees

Company review pages may include employee reviews in full or have the first paragraph of longer reviews, allowing you to click through if you choose to continue reading. Reviews are usually filtered in different ways, such as based on ratings, age and types of content. A diversity score for reviews is a standard tool in this section, detailing the spread of rankings between negative and positive. More positive reviews than negative can be a strong suggestion that a company provides a positive experience to their employees.

Salaries and open positions

Salaries and open positions detail the average pay company employees receive collated from reviews and any currently available job positions. Salaries may divide into different roles in the company or include an average for the business. Open job roles are also often listed here, making it easy to review available positions and apply directly for them.


FAQs or Q&A sections allow people to ask questions directly about recruitment or culture in a company. Current employees, past employees or employers can answer questions to provide more information. Past answers are typically also listed, allowing you to browse commonly asked questions immediately with no requirement to wait for a response.

Related articles

What are salary reviews and how do you prepare for one?

Explore more articles

  • Applying for a job when pregnant: how-to guide plus tips
  • 6 barriers to employment and ways to overcome them
  • 5 tips on how to become a courier driver (With examples)
  • How to become a helicopter pilot (With skills and salary)
  • How to make a creative director portfolio (with FAQs)
  • What does a sales assistant do? (And how to become one)
  • 10 media and communications careers (salaries and duties)
  • How to become a biomedical engineer: a step-by-step guide
  • 11 Common Construction Job Titles (And What They Mean)
  • How to answer a job offer while waiting on another interview
  • How to become a nursery worker (job description and salary)
  • Janitor job description (including salary, tasks and skills)