When Virginia Love, vice president of leasing and marketing at Chicago-based Waterton, conducts interviews with potential hires, she’s accustomed to being the one asking questions. But recently she’s finding that applicants who have visited Glassdoor, a website where employees and former employees anonymously review companies and their management, are turning the tables on her.

“I had people on interviews mention it [Glassdoor],” she says. “In fact, I’ve had people ask me point-blank questions [about what they read on Glassdoor]. People are very conscious about how they’ll fit in with the company and are interested in seeing what the word of mouth [is].”

Love isn’t alone in getting those questions. “With the good job seekers it’s something they look at because they want to know the culture of the company that they’re going to go work for,” says Jennifer Staciokas, senior vice president of marketing and training at Dallas-based Pinnacle.

Being prepared for tough questions isn’t enough. Proactive apartment companies are learning that they need to not only know what’s being said about them on Glassdoor, but work to address it. 

For instance, Staciokas responds to every review that’s posted.  “I’m responding to them immediately,” she says. “It’s something we’re constantly monitoring to look for trends. If we’re seeing there’s feedback about particular issues, like benefits or training or work hours or work load, then can see those trends and bring them up to our executive team.” 

Terry Brewer, vice president of human resources, ROSS Management Services, sees similar benefits. “We also found a way to use the website as an employee service,” she says. “It gives us a pulse about how employees feel about the company they’re working at.”

Mobilizing the Team

It’s one thing to know what’s being said about your company on Glassdoor (and to respond). It’s quite another to take steps to improve your score. 

Love thinks a strategy similar to the one employed with residents could be helpful—where associates (instead of residents) are encouraged to post reviews.

“You have the opportunity to control what is said by putting your story out there,” Love says. “It’s like what you do with residents. If something good happened, tell them to go on ApartmentReviews or Google.”

That’s what’s happening at Pinnacle. “We’re encouraging our teams’ members to write about their experience good or bad,” Staciokas says. 

But some companies are looking beyond just dictating the conversation. By registering with Glassdoor, they see a recruitment tool. 

“When an applicant goes on one of their [a competitor’s] landing pages and they look at their jobs or a profile, in lower right hand corner they can see a job we have available,” Brewer says.