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Friend of a friend is looking for a new job. He finished IT university 2 years ago and started to work as a developer (C#/C++) in a small company but he wants to grow now and it is basically impossible there. So he responded to some job offers and one big international company invited him to interview. He was happy about it until I showed him what kind of opinions I googled about his future employer. Basically anything but pure slavery would be better. Of course we all know how it is with internet and opinions especially when scorned employee is in case but all this had him thinking whether he should even go to interview or not. And he asked me is it possible to somehow get to the bottom of this via innocent questions he could ask.

To be honest I didn't know what to tell him. I have 12 years of experience in IT and few companies in my cv and in one case it was a frikking waste of time but I never thought about the case when I try to estimate amount of bullsh*t on interview. Usually I was just interested in salary, tools, what kind of projects they do or plan, etc.

I told him about Joel test but that seems a little limited to check if you should expect to be treated as a person and valuable asset or just a furniture. In semi joking manner I told him that maybe he could just ask them about those bad reviews and see how they react. After all he has a job (stable and with good salary) so it's not like he has a pistol to his head. And it can be fun to see if they squirm and blame everything on unprofessional people raging after being fired or will have some explanation and behave as a grown ups.

But I would like to ask community what would be a good question in this case. Did you ever try such way of doing interview? Or maybe you were an interviewer in a company with such bad PR? Will appreciate any suggestions, maybe I will need them too at some point :)

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Might be better off posting this at workplace.stackexchange.com –  Jeremy1026 Jan 14 '13 at 19:28
@Jeremy1026: Agreed, there might already be similar questions there. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Jan 14 '13 at 19:43
@grapkulec Please do not cross post across StackExchange sites. If you feel this belongs on the Workplace then flag the question and ask for it to be migrated. The moderators will decide if the question should be migrated or not. –  maple_shaft Jan 14 '13 at 19:57
oh, I didn't know there is something like workplace on SE. sorry for the mess. –  grapkulec Jan 14 '13 at 20:51
@grapkulec - I have to downvote this question because of the vulgar language in the title. –  Ramhound Jan 15 '13 at 12:29
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closed as off topic by Glenn Nelson, Walter, Blrfl, maple_shaft Jan 14 '13 at 19:55

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2 Answers

My company has a bunch of negative reviews on Glassdoor and no positive ones. I was a little worried about starting here, but now that I'm here I don't think I've ever been treated better.

I think a good way to tell is to look around the offices or even ask for a tour. If you see smiling happy people then I wouldn't worry too much. If you're going to be a developer, then you're right, asking about their score on the Joel test is a good question as well.

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One could try the totally up front honest approach: "While researching the company I found a lot of negative opinions from former employees such as X, Y, Z. This concerns me."

Let them go from there, how the interviewer reacts will tell you a great deal.

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