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How Much Should You Rely on Online Employer Reviews?

How Much Should You Rely on Online Employer Reviews?

If you’re re-entering the legal job market and are looking to explore new career opportunities in California — whether at a law firm or in an in-house legal department — then chances are that you’ll come across online reviews of the workplace.

It’s worth noting that online reviews can either resolve the half-stereotypes and unsubstantiated rumors that often floated around the legal market in the past, or in some cases affirm those beliefs.  It’s not entirely a “bad” or a “good” thing — but it is important to be cautious when going through these reviews.

Employment-related reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed are the norm, these days, and provide useful “at a glance” assessments.  But poor reviews may not always tell the whole story, and it’s important not to let poor reviews completely dictate whether you see a target organization as a legitimate prospect — after all, experiences can vary.

Let’s take a closer look.

Context Matters

Anonymized, online reviews of employers are a good thing.  They keep organizations “on their toes” and push HR to implement worker-friendly policies and processes.

However, as an attorney-candidate looking to explore the legal job market and evaluate various firms and in-house departments as landing spots for the next step in your career, it’s important to recognize that online reviews are often lacking context.

Without proper context, a negative review may not be a wholly accurate and objective assessment — after all, subjective experiences of the workplace can vary quite a bit from individual-to-individual.  What may seem like an unfriendly workplace to one lawyer may come across as collegial to another lawyer.

Valuable context may be missing from anonymized online reviews.  For example, you may not be aware that the underlying reason being why the reviewer was struggling with projects was because they lacked subject-area knowledge, and remained “behind the curve” of their colleagues, causing them to remain in a perpetually challenging psychological cycle.

Understanding the background of the reviewer — their training, approach, and experiences — can help to give a clearer picture as to why they are giving a negative or positive assessment of the organization.

Using a Legal Recruiter’s Network

Legal recruitment firms have extensive networks of professionals — colleagues, associates, and former attorney-candidate clients — that serve as a valuable resource for understanding the job market on an organizational level.

Rather than relying on anonymous online reviews, attorney-candidates can work with their recruiter to evaluate firms and in-house departments based on the opinions of those who are currently employed in those organizations (or who recently worked there), giving an up-to-date idea of the workplace reality.

Further, because the legal recruiter has a personal relationship with the individual providing said evaluation, there is additional context as to their opinions.  For example, if an attorney who is more focused on “lifestyle” and “work-life” balance complains that a firm’s culture is overly competitive and hostile, that may not be a relevant opinion for an attorney-candidate who is more focused on rapidly growing their career and is willing to put in the hours/work to achieve their career goals.

Simply put, legal recruiters can source opinions from those whose backgrounds/goals are similar to those of the attorney-candidate that they are helping — this makes an organizational evaluation significantly more relevant.

Contact Garb Jaffe for Legal Recruitment Assistance

Here at Garb Jaffe & Associates, our team of experienced Los Angeles recruiters have served attorney-candidates for decades.  Over the years, we have helped attorney-candidates navigate the unique challenges and opportunities of the legal job market — all throughout the state of California — with respect to prestigious Biglaw firms and in-house legal departments alike.

We have a large network of professional associates, clients, and others who are embedded in the California legal job market.  This gives us special insight into the overall market, as well as the specifics of each organization — the “true” story with respect to workplace culture, upcoming projects and expectations, and more.  In many cases, we find that we’re able to guide candidates towards organizations that are more consistent with their values and interests.

Garb Jaffe is committed to providing comprehensive legal recruitment services.  Simply put, our team works closely with attorney-candidates at every stage of the hiring process, from identifying potential target firms to updating resumés, coaching for interviews, and more.  This approach ensures that candidates are well-equipped to secure an “ideal” position on the legal job market — one that will satisfy both their short-term and long-term career objectives.

If you’d like to speak to a Los Angeles legal recruiter at Garb Jaffe, we encourage you to contact us at your earliest convenience.  We look forward to discussing your candidacy and how we can help you achieve your career goals.

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